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NY Jets: It’s best to curb expectations for Denzel Mims

NY Jets (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
NY Jets (Photo by Michael Hickey/Getty Images)
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NY Jets fans would be better off curbing expectations for second-round pick Denzel Mims.

The NY Jets will certainly have high hopes for rookie wide receiver Denzel Mims after selecting him in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

The belief is that Mims has the potential to develop into a true No. 1 receiver in the NFL after dominating at Baylor. But while it’s hard to argue that he doesn’t have that potential, the immediate results might not be what everyone is expecting.

Mims was one of the most talented receivers in an extraordinarily deep receiver class. His physical dominance combined with his uncanny athleticism gives him one of the highest ceilings out of anyone in the draft.

But he isn’t going to reach that ceiling in his rookie season. And if he does reach his full potential, fans shouldn’t expect it to happen for at least a few years.

It’s best to curb early expectations for Mims.

While his talent is evident, Mims remains very much an unfinished product. A raw route-runner, Mims wasn’t asked to run a very diverse route tree while at Baylor. The result is a player who relies on his physicality and athleticism to win both in his routes and at the catch point.

That’s something that won’t always work in the NFL.

His footwork is a little messy, his breaks are predictable, and he tends to run too upright which limits his hip flexibility. These are things that improve over time, but it takes years of experience to fully learn the nuances of the position.

Rarely do we see receivers transition smoothly from the college level to the NFL in one season. And that’s doubly true for this year.

NY Jets’ rookie Denzel Mims will be impacted by limited offseason reps.

Mims and the rest of the 2020 rookie class will be at a major disadvantage given the lack of minicamp, OTAs, and a preseason. Essentially, aside from virtual Zoom meetings, these players will have four weeks of practice to get ready for Week 1.

And for players like Mims who need all the development they could get, that’s far from ideal.

Mims ran a very limited route tree in college and is now being asked to learn a pretty complex system with the Jets. And he’s only being given four weeks to actually take reps on a practice field.

Actually, in reality, he won’t even have four weeks when all is said and done.

Mims suffered a hamstring injury this week and missed the team’s first practice on Friday. It’s unclear how long he will be sidelined, but any time missed is incredibly detrimental to his progress as a rookie.

Ultimately, Mims is being put in arguably the worst possible situation for him to succeed early on. Ideally, the 22-year-old would be placed in a vertical offense on a team with ample receiver depth where he would be given time to develop more.

Instead, he’s being thrown into a West Coast system that doesn’t highlight his strengths while being asked to start from day one after limited practice reps in the offseason.

Combine that with an injury that will only further delay his progress and it’s hard to imagine Mims having the year many are hoping that he will have.

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Look at someone like Chris Godwin for example. Coming out of Penn State, Godwin comparable to Mims in many ways.

Both were supremely talented receivers who had the physical/athletic profile of an elite receiver, but needed to expand their route trees and work on learning the nuances of the position.

Godwin was given time to develop as a depth receiver over his first two years while placed in an Air Raid offense that accentuated his skill set. So when he was finally asked to be a full-time starter in 2019, the results were phenomenal.

Mims won’t have that same luxury. In fact, his situation is the complete opposite in pretty much every way possible.

That isn’t to say that he won’t one day become the No. 1 receiver that Jets fans and team officials know he can be.

Next. NY Jets: 3 takeaways from the first actual practice of training camp

But as far as 2020 goes, it’s probably best to curb our expectations.

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