The New York Jets used their second round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft on Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims. Let’s take a deeper dive into his game, projected role and how he could impact the team’s offense. Check out our other 2020 draft pick deep dives…
Mims played four seasons at Baylor and had incredibly sustained, consistent production from 2017-2019. In his breakout 2017 season, he racked up 61 receptions for 1,087 yards with 8 touchdowns, his production declined a bit in 2018 as he dealt with an injury but still managed 55 receptions, 794 yards and 8 touchdowns. Finally, in 2019 he jumped back up to 66 receptions, 1,020 yards and 12 touchdowns. Last season, Mims had four games when he went over 100 yards and eight games where he went over 75 yards. He also scored in 7 of Baylor’s 12 games and had 4 games where he scored multiple touchdowns. In his career, Mims finished with a YPC of 15.7. He dropped 12 passes in 2018 and then 7 passes in 2019 but was dealing with a hand/thumb injury that likely impacted that number.
Mims has dream measurables for a NFL receiver: 6’3, 207 pounds, a 38.5 vertical jump and 34 inch arms. He has a massive catch radius complemented by a 4.39 forty yard dash time and will only be 21 years old on week 1 of this season. Mims used his size to dominate in the red zone in college, where he racked up 7 of his 12 touchdowns last season. Unlike many college receivers, he consistently high points the football (please god, don’t make any Stephen Hill comparisons) and does a good job battling and winning on contested catches. Mims is also a willing blocker and has shown an ability to regularly use his body control and positioning to generate pass interference penalties. Despite the forty yard time, Mims is a power forward on the football field not a pure burner, deep threat in the mold of Robby Anderson.
The reason Mims was a late second round pick despite all the above is concerns about his route tree and mechanics/sharpness when pushing through his cuts and double moves. His injury likely played into his issue with drops but it is still something worth monitoring at the next level. Despite being a generally physical player, Mims did not generate many yards after the catch as a runner in college (he ranked 308th last year among receivers with 50+ targets in yards after catch per reception). A question for Mims will be if he can round out his game to be more than a red zone threat and someone who only consistently wins on slant routes at the next level.
There have been more than a few floating around but Kenny Golladay is both an aspirational and pragmatic player Mims could prospectively develop into. Similar to Golladay, it wouldn’t be surprising to see him have a few bumps while adjusting to the pro game his rookie year but flash enough big play ability to be trusted as a full time lead target in year two where he could threaten for 1,000+ yards. Jets fans who are having Stephen Hill PTSD just because Mims is a big, fast second round receiver are crazy, as Mims is a far superior prospect. Jets fans who are talking about DeAndre Hopkins and DaVante Adams are probably being a bit too ambitious about his ceiling. The Jets should be ecstatic if they can get Golladay like production from Mims in 2021 and beyond…
Due to the Jets wide receiver depth chart, Mims is likely to be a day one starter in the Jets three wide sets. Where he falls in the target priority order remains to be seen. Both him and Breshad Perriman (the other presumed outside receiver) are new to Sam Darnold and will likely have to deal with an abbreviated offseason. It is reasonable to think Jamison Crowder, Le’Veon Bell and Chris Herndon are going to chew up more targets and opportunities than Mims in 2020, along with Perriman. However, Mims shouldn’t be short on red zone targets and overall reps. If the Jets can get somewhere between 500-700 yards with a handful touchdowns along with a notable progression throughout the season, it should set the table well for 2021 and beyond.
Long Term Expectations
Mims should have every opportunity to become a primary target for Sam Darnold in the final two years of his rookie contract. The ability is there to become a 1,000 yard receiver which is an uncommon thing for the Jets offense but with the right development, quarterback and system in 2021/2022, Mims can be that type of player. The Jets got good value selecting Mims at 59th overall (personally, I think he should have went in the 35-50 range) and he has a much higher ceiling than their other recent mid round receiver swings (Devin Smith, ArDarius Stewart, Chad Hansen and Stephen Hill).
Mims joins Justin Jefferson (Minnesota) and Jerry Jeudy (Denver) with 5.5 as their rookie season receiving TD total. FanDuel has UNDER (-160) as the favorite and OVER (+126) as the underdog. Fellow rookies Jalen Reagor (Philadelphia), Henry Ruggs III (Las Vegas) and CeeDee Lamb (Dallas) are one score back with 4.5 TD total odds.
One thing I noticed about Mims is he goes after every jump ball like he’s supposed to catch it. Hell, sometimes the ball was so off target that most receivers wouldn’t have even stuck their hands up at it, but he would fight for every reception, and he came up with more than his fair share
Denzel Mims projects as an X-receiver at the NFL level. With his notable catch radius, physical play and high end body control, Mims projects as a potential starter at the pro level. He brings developing routes and effective play side blocking to the field — which will help him find reps early on in his pro career as he looks to add further refinement to his game. Mims enjoyed a career season in 2019 and appears to have the arrow facing up as he transitions into the pro game