Denzel Mims was a part of the last recruiting class by Art Briles before Briles was dismissed. It makes sense why Mims would have wanted to play for Art Briles, as his offense is ideal for the skill set. That didn’t work out quite as planned with the exit of Briles and Matt Rhule came in for Mims’ sophomore season. There were some struggles for the team, but Mims stuck it out and had three really productive seasons for the Bears.
Going into the 2019 season, Mims was looking at being a second or third-round pick. He was seen as a raw player with athletic upside but there wasn’t a whole lot of polish there. Throughout the season, Mims put on a show and continuously made highlight-reel plays and got him an invite to the Senior Bowl where he dominated out in a big way.
Body Control And Tracking
As a prototypical X receiver, you want to see Mims be able to high point the football and create separation with his size and length. In the above clip, Mims shows all of this and it isn’t a one-time occurrence either. There are numerous highlight-reel catches that would make Cris Carter proud, including a few on fade routes as shown below. Mims’ ability to track and high point the football is one of the best in this class in the red zone as seen below.
As you can see above, Denzel Mims is a dynamic athlete, testing very high in the most important areas for a receiver: three cone, vertical jump and 40-yard dash. While being a great athlete isn’t a prerequisite to being a great receiver it is definitely a plus. While looking up the spider charts of other receivers of similar size, there was one that stood out as a good comparison: Julio Jones. They both posted identical scores in the vertical jump and the 3 cone along with similar scores in the broad jump (98th percentile) and the 40-yard dash (95th percentile). It would be unfair at this point to say that Mims is going to be Julio Jones, but it does lay out a blueprint to what his ceiling could look like.
When you have a receiver that is as big as Mims is, physicality is a must. You want to see him throw his weight around and be able to box out the opponent, but also be a good blocker in the running game. Mims is not only a willing blocker but a very good one. He will take on anybody with gusto and give 100% to drive them out of the play.
While there aren’t a lot of negatives with Denzel Mims, his hands should not be one of them, but they are something of concern. With 189 targets over the last two seasons, his 19 drops give Mims a staggering 10 percent drop rate. When I watched the tape, they were mostly concentration drops. It is an issue that can be fixed at the next level, but it normally isn’t something that goes away.
Coming into the NFL, Mims was not asked to do a whole lot The Baylor offense is a relatively simple spread offense where it is based on reads and spacing. The majority of Mims’ routes were slants, hitches and go routes. At the next level, Mims is going to need to develop a more complete route tree to be a true success at the next level. A good comparison for what Mims’ progression could be at the next level is DK Metcalf. When Metcalf entered the league, he only ran 3 routes consistently. By the end of the season, his route tree was more diverse, being able to run upwards of 9 routes. With his athletic profile and elite 3 cone, Mims has the traits to develop into a good route runner.
His Fit For The Vikings
After trading Stefon Diggs, the Vikings all of the sudden had a glaring need at receiver. Adam Thielen has a diverse skill set where he can play all across the formation and be effective. Denzel Mims gives Mike Zimmer the true X receiver they were trying to acquire when they drafted Laquon Treadwell. The biggest difference here is that Mims is a dynamic athlete whereas Treadwell is not. Having Mims start off in a role where he is getting jump balls, running deep routes and slants is the ideal way to ease him into the league and he can learn on the job. Overall, selecting Mims would be the ideal selection at 22 as he checks all of the boxes.