When the jets get closer to the training camp, I examine the list and give it to you my top 25 players. Every weekday, we reveal another person on the list who leads right into the camp. I do not include rookies on this list because I do not feel it is possible to fully evaluate them before playing a game.
Nr. 11: Denzel Mims
Last year’s location: Unranked (rookie)
Age on opening day: 23
How acquired: Elected in the second round of the NFL Draft 2020
Years back on contract: 3
2021 Wage limitation figures: $ 1.2 million
Looking back on 2020
It was a strange rookie season for Mims, who injured his hamstring in training camp and then injured his second hoarding just before the season. He ended up playing only nine games, starting eight.
Mims had 23 catches in 357 yards but did not score a touchdown. He showed flashes of potential that the Jets saw from him in Baylor, but he could never quite put together a complete game.
He had a strong stretch in the middle of the season after returning from the hamstring injuries. He had four catches 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 address a personal issue and did not look like the same player when he returned. He had a poor finish to the season, including a week 16 game against the Browns with zero catches.
PFF ranked Mims 67th out of 127 wide receivers.
Mims showed good hands with only one fall and one could see the speed he has to take the top of a defense.
Expectations for 2021
The evaluation of Mims may be the most difficult in this countdown. He really didn’t get a chance to show what he could do in 2020. Mims really needed the offseason to learn an NFL offense after playing in Baylor, and COVID-19 restrictions wiped out all spring. He then damaged the hoarding before the training camp started and missed the truncated camp. Just before the regular season, he injured his second hoarding and missed the first six games.
When Mims played, you could see his talent. But he was really not ready to play after the injuries and the COVID restrictions. He was limited in what he could do, and the total malaise that the offense was in did not help him. There were games where you could see Mims putting it together. The Chargers game stands out: he played and also drew penalties. But he disappeared at the end of the year.
A game I saw in practice stands out in my memory. The Jets would make a period of competition at the beginning of the exercise with the starting offense against the starting defense. Mims got a diving catch from a deep ball from Sam Darnold. He stretched out completely and got the ball. It was a great effort during a mid-season on a bad team. Players and coaches raved about plays that Mims did in practice.
In the spring, Mims did not make much noise, which can be a problem. The Jets suddenly have a crowded receiving room and you wonder if Mims, a favorite of the former coaching staff, is being pushed out by the new coaches. He fights for playing time in training camp with Corey Davis, Jamison Crowder, Keelan Cole and Elijah Moore, all of whom appear to be important factors in the offense. Where does Mims fit in? That is a question he will have to answer.