NORMAN, OK - SEPTEMBER 29: Wide receiver Denzel Mims #15 of the Baylor Bears catches a touchdown in front of cornerback Tre Brown #6 of the Oklahoma Sooners at Gaylord Family Oklahoma Memorial Stadium on September 29, 2018 in Norman, Oklahoma. New York Jets
(Photo by Brett Deering/Getty Images)

Joe Douglas provides Sam Darnold a high upside weapon in round two. It’s time to meet the New York Jets’ new wide receiver, Denzel Mims.

Kyle Newman

With the 59th pick in the 2020 NFL Draft, the New York Jets select… Denzel Mims, wide receiver, Baylor. This was a phenomenal pick for a number of reasons.

The Jets entered the night knowing they needed to add weapons for Sam Darnold. They couldn’t go into the season with Breshad Perriman as their No. 1 receiver.

There’s no chance they thought Denzel Mims would be on the board at 48. He was, and general manager Joe Douglas passed by trading back and adding an additional third-round pick. By some stroke of luck or genius, Mims was still there at 59.

The Jets add a first-round grade wide receiver with pick 59. That’s better than anyone could have possibly hoped when the night began.

So, who is the Jets’ new No. 1 receiver exactly?

Production

Mims arrived at Bayor as a three-star prospect coming out of high school. He wasn’t the most highly-touted player coming in, but he got to work and earned a role for himself in his freshman year playing in three games.

He didn’t do much in those three games as he only came away with 24 yards on four receptions, but that was the last time he’d be held down.

Mims came back in his sophomore year and he blew up the Big 12. He put up 1,087 yards on 61 receptions for eight touchdowns. His 17.8 yards per reception would be the best in his college career.

Expectations were high for Mims in his junior year, but poor quarterback play and a breakout season by Jalen Hurd led to reduced numbers. Mims put up a disappointing 794 yards on 55 receptions although he did put up eight more touchdowns.

In 2019, Mims was asked to be the No. 1 receiver. He was basically the team’s entire offense, and it worked. Mims put up a strong 1,020 yards on 66 receptions and 12 touchdowns.

The most impressive stat for Mims is that he led the NCAA in contested catches since 2017.

Athleticism

Denzel Mims is an athletic freak. He stands at 6-foot-3 and 207 pounds and ran a 4.38 40-yard dash. He also put up a 38.5 inch vertical, 131-inch broad jump, 6.66 three-cone, and 4.43 20-yard shuttle. Mims finished top five in almost every physical trait at the combine.

He puts all of those skills to work on the field. He can beat corners deep, out-physical them, or use his big body to wall off corners. If the quarterback can put the ball in a place Mims can get it, he’ll find a way to haul it in. Whether it’s sideline catches, jump balls, or anything in-between.

His physical traits allowed him to dominate at the college level in nearly all facets of the game.

Strengths

Denzel Mims’ strengths are pretty clear. He’s an athletic freak and knows how to use it. He can burn a corner deep if given the chance, and he can make them pay if they play off of him. He’s a smart football player who knows who he is as an athlete. There’s little more a coach could want from a mid-round pick.

He’s also a crafty route runner. He has great double moves, and his head fakes are strong. He knows how to create separation either with his speed or his technique.

Mims may be the best 50-50 ball receiver in the class. He is astonishingly good at going up and making a play on the ball. He bailed his quarterbacks out of bad throws on more than one occasion. That’s a skill that Sam Darnold is going to appreciate.

Lastly, Mims is a strong blocker. His size allows him to move corners off the ball in the run game, and he’s not afraid to be physical enough to mix it up with bigger targets.

Weaknesses

Denzel Mims struggles against press coverage. For a guy as big and physical as he is, this shouldn’t be the case, but he struggles off the line. He’ll need to learn strong technique to overcome this weakness.

Mims is slow breaking out of routes, which forces him to rely heavily on his athleticism to create separation on quick breaking routes like slants, digs, and outs. This could be a huge problem in an offense like Adam Gase’s that loves the short, quick passing game.

Mims can lack motor at times on the field. If the play isn’t run to his side or he’s not the primary read on the pass he can slow down, taking himself out of the play. That’s not going to fly in the NFL, especially on a New York Jets team that is known for disciplining players to an extreme level.

Most pressing is that Mims has had a history of drops. It’s not a huge issue and it’s not like he has stone hands or he’s a body catcher, but he can lack focus.

Mims has to prove that he’s 100% devoted to football. If he can do that and put in the work he needs to, he’ll be a star in this league. if he doesn’t, he could be just the next in a long line of failed Jets second-round picks.

He could be the next Demaryius Thomas or he could be the next Stephen Hill. It’ll all be up to him.

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