New York Jets third-year wide receiver Denzel Mims has been a polarizing player for fans and the media to discuss, dating back to around this time last year. Mims was a talented draft prospect who had a ton of upside physically and athletically. He is 6-foot-3, around 205 pounds, and has 4.3 speed.
Joe Douglas drafted him 59th overall in the 2020 NFL Draft. Following a disappointing 2021, there has been speculation pertaining to his future with the team.
As a rookie, Mims proved some exciting things. An injury caused him to miss the first six games of his first season. When he got healthy, Mims delivered. He had at least 40 receiving yards in each of his first six games. In five of those games, Mims recorded at least a 23-yard catch. He concluded his rookie year averaging 15.5 yards per catch, proving his big-play threat ability.
Roughly this time a year ago, Mims was having some struggles with his offseason. He battled food poisoning, had to learn a new playbook, and lost out on reps. Year two went on to be a tough one for Mims. He only played 279 snaps on the season and was targeted just 23 times, catching only eight passes. Route running was his main concern as a draft prospect.
The offense run by Mike LaFleur does ask receivers to run extensive routes. His raw ability as a route runner contributed to his lack of involvement. He committed some mental mistakes with drops and penalties when he gained chances.
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What is next for Mims?
Most wrote Mims off following last year. However, Douglas and Robert Saleh have spoken highly of Mims throughout the offseason. It has led fans and the media to question whether or not they are doing it to boost his trade stock potentially or if they still have confidence in his skillset. Physically and mentally, he looks to be much better. He seems to have taken last year as a valuable learning opportunity that could make a difference for him moving forward.
When assessing the Jets’ wide receivers, there is a lack of depth after the top four players in Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson, Corey Davis, and Braxton Berrios. As a result, it gives Mims an opportunity to earn the fifth receiver spot. He is still only 24-years-old and has room to grow, considering his size and athletic traits.
Mims can help Zach Wilson and the Jets offense in two specific areas outside the numbers when down the field using his 4.3 speed and big frame. Also, in the red zone with his size where he was successful in college. From 2017-19, in 37 games, he caught 28 touchdowns, with 12 of them in 2019.
Mims is still under his rookie contract with the Jets for the next two years. Ideally, he is more comfortable now with the offensive scheme and able to play up to his ability. Having as much depth around Wilson as a second-year quarterback should be a point of emphasis. As still such a young player, there is no need to be giving up on Mims just yet.