The first thing that comes to mind when thinking about Denzel Mims is WWE’s Road Dogg Jesse James’ intro music: “Oh you didn’t know?!? Your ass better call somebodyyyyy!!!” Mims has been a favorite of mine since I started really watching these prospects in late December and I have the receipts to prove it (I’m supposed to say that, right?). Let’s dig into the Denzel Mims Rookie Profile to see what caught my attention early and why his combine performance made him the new hawtness.
While Denzel Mims is making a lot of noise now, he wasn’t a highly sought after recruit during the 2016 cycle. The 247Sports Composite had him as a three-star prospect, coming in as the 410th recruit nationally and WR68. He was a multi-sport athlete throughout high school, including winning Texas’ Class-3A 200 meter state title. Before Mims received his Baylor offer he had just one other Power-5 school knocking at his door (Texas Tech), while also holding offers from Tulsa, Arkansas State, and Texas State.
After his nearly nonexistent usage in his freshman year, Mims stepped up in a huge way from his sophomore year on. From 2017 until his senior year, Mims’ dominator rating never dropped below 30% and in two of those three years, he led Baylor in yards from scrimmage. During Mims’ breakout 2017 season, his 61/1087/8 accounted for 22.7%, 31.5%, and 34.8% of the team’s production. In 2019, his 12 receiving touchdowns were good for second in the Big 12, sandwiched between CeeDee Lamb (14) and Devin Duverynay (9). For his career, his 186/2925/28 all rank in the top-6 or better for Baylor, with his 28 touchdowns putting him at third all-time.
Lastly, what kind of Denzel Mims article would this be if I didn’t reference his combine? Per MockDraftable, his 40-yard dash, vertical jump, broad jump, and 3-cone drill are all 84th percentile or better for wide receivers. His 6.66 second 3-cone time was the best at this year’s combine across all positions, and since 2000 it’s the second-best at his size (I looked at 6’2″-6’4″ and 205-210 pounds) for wide receivers. At 6’3″ and 207 pounds, his 4.38 40 gives him a 96th percentile size adjust speed score. ParisHiltonThatsHot.Gif, amirite?
Before he melted our faces with his combine performance, it was Mims’ tape that got me excited. Mims wins with his long frame and catch radius, great body control, and athleticism both throughout his routes and after the catch. If he has any type of space with the ball in his hands, he’s going to rack up YAC, son. Let’s get to some clips.
This first clip from his 2019 game against Texas shows both a positive and negative of Mims’ game. He’s lined up at the bottom of the screen here facing man coverage. What I love from this play is seeing Mims snap off his route at the top of his stem. He threatens vertically and is able to stop and turn on a dime, creating instant separation. Mims is still raw as a route runner, but flashes like this make me feel comfortable projecting improvement in the NFL.
The negative? You want to see Mims attack the ball here instead of passively waiting for it and allowing the ball into his chest. Once he sees the ball coming his way, he should work back towards the quarterback and catch the ball with his hands extended away from his frame.
I mentioned Mims’ body control and ability to make adjustments and this clip does a good job of showing it. He’s nearly fully extended while making the back shoulder adjustment and is able to complete the catch with the safety coming across and hitting him.
Again, his routes need improvement, but this catch? Come on. (Texas Tech, 2019)
My biggest knocks on Mims I mentioned above (play more aggressively, refine his route running). The other thing that his fantasy owners just may have to live with is his drops. Per PFF, Mims carries a 12.9% drop rate over the past two years on 139 catchable targets. He’ll literally make a catch like the clip above, and then his next target will be perfectly placed and will be dropped. You can’t teach his size and athleticism, however, and he has shown enough for me to believe he can improve upon these critiques.
According to DLF’s March rookie ADP, Mims has jumped an entire round from last month to 13th overall. Out of 10 mock drafts, the highest he was selected was 1.09 in two of them. Unless something crazy happens between now and the NFL Draft, I think we’ll see Mims settle in the 1.08-2.01 range in 1QB leagues. If Mims is able to add nuance to his routes and improve his overall route running technique, he’s going to be a monster. He’s still going to be able to out-athlete some corners and use his frame against smaller DBs, but he could add an entire extra element to his game with improved route running.
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