Denzel Mims brings his speed and receiving skills to the Jets' wide receiving corps that has already added speedster Breshad Perriman and former first-round pick Josh Doctson to the WR room during free agency. What's surprised us when we started researching Mims? Here are five things to know about the second-round pick from deep in the heart of Texas:
Round 1 Value
Mims lasted not only until the Jets drafted him in Round 2, but until they traded down 11 spots from 48 to 59 before they pulled the trigger on him. But he was still one of the prize wideouts in this loaded WR class in the 2020 NFL Draft, not just based on his final season at Baylor (66 catches, 1,015 yards, 12 TDs) but on his Senior Bowl practices and Combine workout. So says Pro Football Focus.
"The 2020 NFL Draft features one of the strongest groups of wide receivers ever," PFF wrote last month, "and with so many potential stars available, some players are going to be overlooked and underrated more than they would in an ordinary year. Denzel Mims is the most likely candidate — he may be the most under-the-radar potential superstar of the group."
Holiday touch football games must get pretty serious around the Mims household in tiny Daingerfield, TX (pop: 2,460). Three of Denzel's brothers played high school football. Cousin David Mims II was a corner at Texas State signed as an undrafted free agent by the Falcons. David's dad, also David, was a running back at ... Baylor.
And another cousin, Keyarris Garrett, starred as a Tulsa WR, was signed by the Carolina Panthers as an undrafted free agent, had a brief Arena Football League fling, and now plays in the CFL.
See the Top Images of the Wide Receiver from Baylor, Who Was Selected No. 59 Overall in the 2020 NFL Draft
Mims hopes to follow his cousin's footsteps to the pros. "I look up to Keyarris a lot," he in a feature on The Waco Tribune-Herald website. "His senior year [at Tulsa] he led the nation in receiving yards. That's why I wear No. 15 now, because he wore 15 with the Panthers."
Will Mims be known as No. 15 as a Jet? That would be a tough ask since sixth-year WR Josh Bellamy has the number now. But you never know.
If Not Philly, then ... New York?
Mims didn't sound like a shy dude or a smalltown wallflower when he spoke with Jets reporters. Yes, he grew up in Daingerfield. But in fact, he went to Baylor, which is in Waco, just down the interstate from Dallas/Fort Worth.
But an Internet search for his name brings up a number of versions of his aversion for the City of Brotherly Love during a predraft visit with Eagles officials.
"I wasn't familiar with the whole city," Mims was quoted as saying about Philadelphia. "There was a lot going on. You see a lot of people that look scary. I'm not part of that, I don't like that. I had a bad experience going up there that first time."
We could be wrong but something tells us he was putting on those Philadelphia city slickers. He's a New Yorker now and says, "I want the spotlight on me ... I want everything on my shoulders." Doesn't sound like Mims scares that easily.
Quite the Athlete
Here's a further wrinkle on the type of athlete Mims is and the Jets are getting. He was not a two- or three-sport star in high school. He actually excelled at four sports: football, basketball, track and baseball.
And in baseball, he saw himself as a promising prospect at a young age ... until he suffered a tough arm injury.
"I hurt my arm when I was pitching as a freshman in high school," he recalled. "I still can't throw a spiral at all."
Why a spiral? Because not only was Mims a young pitcher but also a young QB, playing the position throughout junior high and his freshman HS season. After the injury, he became a wideout. The rest, Jets fans hope, will be history.