NY Jets WR Denzel Mims has 5 games to prove he deserves a role in 2022

NY Jets, Denzel Mims
NY Jets, Denzel Mims / Al Pereira/GettyImages

NY Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims is getting a second — and perhaps his last — chance to make an impact in the offense. Can he make up for lost time?

Five games. That's all the time Mims has to prove he still deserves a spot in the Jets' wide receiver room next year.

New York gave Mims a golden opportunity to step up in Corey Davis' place when Davis was first injured mid-season, but Mims failed to impress.

In Weeks 8 and 9, when Davis was sidelined, Mims started and played in 70 and 60 percent of offensive snaps respectively.

But during those two weeks, Mims hauled in just three catches of eight targets for 50 receiving yards. With Davis set to undergo season-ending injury, it's now or never for Denzel Mims.

The 2020 second-round pick has had to claw his way up the depth chart after starting the season at a disadvantage. A stomach virus hindered his participation in training camp and stunted his development in the Jets' offensive game plan.

Head coach Robert Saleh kept Mims on the sideline in the second and third games of the season, claiming Mims needed more time to learn the receiver positions and would do well spending some time on special teams.

NY Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims is running out of time to make an impact

Once a highly-touted prospect and fan favorite, Mims has since lost much of his initial appeal given the little impact he's made when his number has been called.

In seven games, Mims has eight catches for 133 yards and hasn't reached the end zone once. He does lead the team in yards per catch (16.6 yards) and also leads the wide receiver room in yards after the catch (6.1 yards).

But none of his game performances so far have shown the Jets that he can be a consistent, productive, or promising offensive weapon. Youngsters like Elijah Moore and Michael Carter have far surpassed expectations, and even older wideouts with arguably less upside (Jamison Crowder, Keelan Cole) have earned their keep on the team.

Mims, however, has yet to find his stride, and he had better find it soon.

If some thought this was a chemistry problem with Zach Wilson, it's not. Mims struggled under the arms of Mike White and Josh Johnson as well, even when White dropped jaws with his 405-passing yard Week 8 game against the Cincinnati Bengals.

For Mims, the age-old breakup cliche gets inverted: it's not them. It's him.

In Week 14, the Jets will face a hope-deprived New Orleans Saints team that has been snowballing itself down a hill in their last five games.

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If Mims can't gain the trust of the Jets franchise in this game, he may lose the privilege of donning the green and white next season.