NY Jets: What to expect from second-round pick Denzel Mims

The NY Jets will be hoping for big things out of rookie receiver Denzel Mims in 2020 and beyond.

With a glaring need at the wide receiver position, the NY Jets selected Denzel Mims out of Baylor in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft. Let’s take a look at what will be expected out of the rookie in the upcoming season.

Leading up to the 2020 NFL Draft, there was a bit of a debate surrounding the Jets and which direction the team would go with the No. 11 overall pick.

With needs at both offensive tackle and wide receiver, there were certainly reasons to consider addressing either position in the first round, especially given the fact that this draft class happened to be a highly talented one in terms of offensive linemen and wide receivers.

Ultimately, however, the Jets selected towering tackle Mekhi Becton out of Louisville at No. 11, leading many to believe that the team had to select a pass catcher in the second round.

And with promising Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims still on the board, it seemed like a no-brainer for Gang Green to select him with the No. 48 pick.

General manager Joe Douglas then took a risk, however, trading the 48th pick to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for the 59th pick and the 101st pick.

The NY Jets traded down and still landed their guy in Denzel Mims.

Luckily for Douglas and the Jets, Mims was still available at 59, leading the team to select him and making the trade appear as a well-executed move for Douglas.

In Mims, the Jets acquired a physically imposing talent, as the 22-year-old stands 6-foot-3 and weighs about 207 pounds. Yet he still possesses high-level speed, which was on display at the NFL Combine where he ran a 4.38 40-yard dash.

Although still a bit of a raw talent, there’s a lot to like about Mims, specifically his size and speed as mentioned above along with his catch-radius, his ability to make contested catches, and his skills as both a downfield target and a red-zone threat.

At Baylor, Mims also proved that he can produce at a high level. In four years, he totaled 186 receptions for 2,925 yards and 28 touchdowns, while surpassing the 1,000-yard receiving mark twice. In his senior season specifically, Mims brought in 66 catches for 1,020 yards and 12 touchdowns.

So, what will be expected of Mims as he begins his career with the Jets? Well, there are a few layers that go into answering that question.

Heading into the offseason, it was clear that the green and white were lacking a true number one wide receiver that could serve as an elite level weapon for young quarterback Sam Darnold.

And while Mims could one day turn into exactly that, it’d be a bit unfair to expect that type of production out of him right away.

Mims, however, will likely be expected to serve as a reliable weapon for Darnold on the outside. Given the lack of playmakers Darnold has been surrounded by, Mims, if developed and used correctly, has the speed and physicality to open things up for head coach Adam Gase.

His speed and ability as a downfield threat are already apparent, but his size, ability to make contested catches, and talent in the red zone should make him a valuable asset to the Jets offense.

In addition, should he become comfortable with the playbook quickly and begin to gel with Darnold, he could see a decent amount of targets like tight end Chris Herndon, who developed noticeable chemistry with Darnold during his rookie year, did before getting injured last year.

Ultimately, Mims is just entering the league and there will likely be an adjustment period for him as he gets used to life as a professional athlete.

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But on a team with a young, developing quarterback and a lack of offensive weapons, Mims will be expected to produce sooner rather than later.