New Jets receiver Denzel Mims is trading his green and gold Baylor jersey for one that's green and white. Even though the NFL Draft is unpredictable, his gut told him he'd end up with the Jets.
"We had a few conversations and I always thought I would be a Jet in the back of my head one day," he said after the Jets traded down in Round 2 and selected the former Bear with the 59th overall selection. "When I got the phone call, I was very excited and very happy."
The 6-2, 207-pounder is a playmaker on the outside, whom GM Joe Douglas described as "long, smooth receiver with great body control, a big catch radius and soft hands." He was the only player in the NCAA with at least 8 receiving TDs in each of the last three seasons. The Daingerfield, TX, native led the Bears in receiving in 2017 and '19, eclipsing the 1,000-yard mark in each year. Mims finished his collegiate career earning first-team All-Big 12 honors.
"I developed a lot from my freshman year to my senior year," he said. "I matured as a man on and off the field. I was taught the game of football, the actual details of everything on the football field. The way they used me, they knew I needed the ball in my hand. I make a lot of plays when I have the ball in my hands and when it comes down to crunch time, they knew I want the ball to make the play to try to help my team get the win."
Jets coach Adam Gase and Douglas talked about adding explosive playmakers to the offense and Mims fits the bill. He tied for third among wideouts at the Combine with a 4.38 40-yard dash and ranked fourth with a 10'11" broad jump.
"That's something that we've been talking about before we even started last year, keep adding guys that can bring speed to the field and put pressure on the other team," Gase said. "That's something that our scouts have been combing colleges all year long. That's what the last couple days are all about — finding guys that will fit the profile of what we're looking for."
In addition to his speed, Mims told reporters after he was selected Friday night that he also takes pride in his blocking and his ability to haul in contested catches.
"I worked on it a lot," he said. "I know that at the next level there are a lot of great corners and you're not always going to have a lot of separation, so there are going to be a lot of 50-50 balls and I'll come through with them."
Mims said he's "everything that you want in a football player" and is excited about playing with 22-year-old Jets QB Sam Darnold.
"We have Sam Darnold and that's a great quarterback," he said. "I can't wait to get to work with him and make a lot of things happen with him. I had time to watch him and to actually be playing with him, on the same team as him and same offense, it's unbelievable."
Mims rose up draft boards with an impressive week at January's Senior Bowl and followed it with a strong Combine. In a rich receiver class, however, he was the 13th wideout selected, which has lit a fire under the newest Jet.
"Usually when you call these guys, they're excited, there's a lot of emotion," Douglas said. "Denzel had a real chip on his shoulder. It was important to him that he was going to make these teams pay that passed him up. We can't wait to get that type of competitor, that type of mentality in the building."