Why the Slide?: Denzel Mims

Why the Slide?: Denzel Mims, WR, Baylor
By Charlie Campbell, @draftcampbell

Six years ago, we started a series of articles on why certain prospects went undrafted. In that series, I reach out to sources with NFL teams to find out why their organizations passed on drafting a given player, and/or, what were the reasons for other teams to pass on that prospect. We got a lot of positive reader feedback about the series, so we decided to expand in the genre to investigate why some prospects slid in the draft. Four years ago, we started the Why the Slide? series, and this year it is back. Feel free to email me requests for Why the Slide? and Why Undrafted? at draftcampbell@gmail.com. I can't promise to get to all of them, but I will do my best and definitely will respond to the email.

Some scouts around the NFL felt Denzel Mims was one of the most overrated and overhyped prospects in the 2020 NFL Draft. After a strong finish to the 2019 season, a quality Senior Bowl, and a fast 40 at the combine, the hype train was pushing Mims into the first round of mock drafts. However, there were mixed feelings about Mims with teams, and he ended up sliding to late in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft.

In speaking to team sources, Mims was a love-hate prospect. The evaluators who didn't like Mims say he was not a separation receiver at Baylor, which the tape proves. TCU's Jeff Gladney, among others, was able to run the route and keep Mims from getting open. Those team evaluators say Mims also has some issues with drops, does not play as fast as his timed speed, and is not great on 50-50 receptions. Some of them had Mims graded on the third day of the 2020 NFL Draft. That opinion was wide spread enough for Mims to slide to late in the second round.

The New York Jets ended Mims fall, taking him a few picks ahead of the third round. The Jets were a good landing spot for Mims to compete for playing time quickly. New York needs some young receivers to emerge as weapons for Sam Darnold, and the team lost its best wide receiver - Robby Anderson - in free agency. Breshad Perriman flashed some for Tampa Bay since being a first-round bust for Baltimore, and he could be one starter for New York. Veteran Jamison Crowder fits in the slot, so Mims could compete for the other starting spot with another first-round bust, Josh Doctson.

If Mims can earn playing time, he could be in a position for success as the Jets have a revamped and improved offensive line with a talented young quarterback in Sam Darnold, and a respected running back in Le'Veon Bell to draw the attention of safeties. Mims is in a great spot to compete, and he will be given every opportunity to become a starter. It will be up to him to prove the doubters wrong and succeed in the NFL.


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