Jets hoping Denzel Mims’ production can match potential

As the Jets get closer to training camp, I am examining the roster and giving you my top 25 players. Each weekday, we will reveal another person on the list, leading right into camp. I am not including rookies on this list because I do not feel it is possible to fully evaluate them before they play a game.

No. 11: Denzel Mims

Last year’s ranking: Unranked (rookie)

Position: WR

Age on Opening Day: 23

How acquired: Selected in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft

Years left on contract: 3

2021 Salary Cap figure: $1.2 million

Looking back at 2020

It was a strange rookie season for Mims, who injured his hamstring in training camp and then injured his other hamstring right before the season. He ended up playing just nine games, starting eight.

Mims had 23 catches for 357 yards but did not score a touchdown. He showed flashes of the potential the Jets saw from him at Baylor, but he never could quite put together a complete game.

Denzel Mims runs for a first down against the Dolphins.
Denzel Mims runs for a first down against the Dolphins.
Getty Images

He had a strong stretch in the middle of the season after he returned from the hamstring injuries. He had four catches for 42 yards against the Bills, 3 for 71 against the Chargers and 4 for 67 against the Dolphins. He ended up missing the Seattle game in December to deal with a personal issue and did not look like the same player when he came back. He had a poor finish to the season, including a Week 16 game against the Browns with zero catches.

PFF graded Mims 67th out of 127 wide receievers.

Mims showed good hands with just one drop, and you could see the speed he has to take the top off a defense.

Outlook for 2021

Denzel Mims warms up for a game against the Patriots.
Denzel Mims warms up for a game against the Patriots.
Getty Images

The evaluation of Mims may be the most difficult one in this countdown. He really did not get a chance to show what he could do in 2020. Mims really needed the offseason to learn an NFL offense after playing at Baylor, and COVID-19 restrictions wiped out all spring practices. Then, he injured his hamstring before training camp started and missed the truncated camp. Just before the regular season, he injured his other hamstring and missed the first six games.

When Mims did play, you could see his talent. But he really was not ready to play after the injuries and COVID restrictions. He was limited in what he could do and the overall malaise the offense was in did not help him. There were games when you could see Mims putting it together. The Chargers game stands out: he made plays and also drew penalties. But he vanished at the end of the year.

One play I saw in practice stands out in my memory. The Jets would do a competition period at the beginning of practice with the starting offense against the starting defense. Mims made a diving catch of a deep ball from Sam Darnold. He fully extended and got the ball. It was an amazing effort play during a midseason practice on a bad team. Players and coaches raved about plays Mims made like that in practice.

This spring, Mims did not make much noise, which may be a concern. The Jets suddenly have a crowded receivers room and you wonder if Mims, a favorite of the former coaching staff, gets squeezed out by the new coaches. He will be fighting for playing time in training camp with Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Keelan Cole and Elijah Moore all looking like they will be major factors in the offense. Where does Mims fit in? That is a question he’ll have to answer.

Leave a Comment