NY Jets: Denzel Mims could make or break the passing game

NY Jets (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images) /

The fate of the NY Jets’ wide receiver position will rely on Denzel Mims

The NY Jets went into the offseason knowing that they needed to upgrade what was one of the worst wide receiver groups in the NFL in 2019. And perhaps no offseason addition is more important than second-round pick Denzel Mims.

The team lost arguably their top receiver in the offseason when Robby Anderson signed on with the Carolina Panthers to a meager two-year, $20 million contract. That left what was already a thin wide receiver corps without their most talented player.

As a result, the Jets signed the speedy Breshad Perriman in the offseason to hopefully fill Anderson’s role. But the former first-round pick has battled injuries and inconsistencies to this point — he’s far from a sure thing.

But Mims, he has the potential to be a very special player.

The Baylor product has elite ball skills using his large 6-foot-3 frame to outmuscle opposing defensive backs. He isn’t just a one-trick pony jump-ball receiver either running a blazing 4.38 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine.

From an athletic standpoint, Mims is the complete package. But he’s far from a finished product.

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The 22-year-old ran a very limited route tree while at Baylor and still remains unpolished as a receiver. Ideally, he would be asked to play a limited role in his rookie season as he continues to develop and learn the nuances of the position.

A perfect example could be a player like Chris Godwin of the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Godwin was an athletic specimen coming out of Penn State with all the physical talent needed to be a superstar receiver. But he was about as unpolished as Mims and needed plenty of time to develop.

Fortunately, he was placed in a situation where he was afforded that time.

Godwin started two games in his rookie season and just five in his second campaign before taking over as a full-time starter in 2019. Each year, Godwin showed improvements and flashed the potential that Tampa Bay saw when they drafted him.

And finally, he responded with a 2019 season that saw him haul in 86 catches for 1,333 yards and nine touchdowns. Now, he’s likely an undebated top-10 receiver in the NFL.

Mims has that same potential, but he isn’t going to be in the same situation as Godwin. Far from it, unfortunately.

The first-team All-Big 12 selection in 2019 will immediately be thrust into a starting role playing in an offensive system that hasn’t exactly maximized the talent of its players.

Unnecessary early expectations combined with a questionable situation (lackluster scheme and postponed training camp) aren’t exactly encouraging signs that Mims will be ultra-productive in his rookie season.

NY Jets will need Denzel Mims to develop quicker than expected in 2020

But if the Jets’ offense is going to have success in 2020, a lot of it will ultimately fall on Mims’ shoulders.

If he could exceed expectations and develop quicker than most are expecting, the Jets may actually have a capable receiving corps. But if he’s slow to develop and falters early on in his career, the team’s passing attack will suffer immensely.

If Mims isn’t ready for a starting role yet, what do the Jets do? Do they insert someone like Vyncint Smith into that position? Do they hope that Josh Doctson or one of their undrafted free-agent signings can surprise and develop into a viable starter?

Both options aren’t exactly very appealing meaning that it will be on Mims to solidify the wide receiver position.

It isn’t a fair scenario for the raw rookie to be placed into, but the fate of the Jets’ passing attack — and perhaps their offense — could be determined by his success as a rookie.

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No rookie will have a greater impact on the Jets’ success in 2020 than Denzel Mims.