Denzel Mims is Proving To Be More Than An Explosive Option

Photo: © Jerome Miron-USA TODAY Sports

Texas is known for its larger than life style and surplus of football talent. There's nothing better than homegrown talent and Baylor head coach Matt Rhule has thrived off of that. The Bears are off to a 9-0 start, but a big credit to their offensive output is senior receiver Denzel Mims. The Big 12 has produced plenty of wide receiver talent in years past and the Baylor standout seems to be the next in line.

A three-sport standout (football, basketball and track) at Daingerfield High School (Texas), Mims shined on the field. As a three-year starter, he finished his career with 89 catches for 1,625 receiving yards, and 24 total touchdowns. His success not only came on the field, he was also named as a two-time all-district team member in 2015 and 2016.

His greatest accomplishment came in track though as he was one of the best sprinters to ever perform in the program. To cap off his senior season, he won the 2015 Class 3A 200-meter state championship (21.30). Blowing away the competition, he would continue his career at Baylor.

In the Bears high octane offense, he fit in right away. Playing in 11-of-13 games as a true freshman, he only recorded four catches for 24 yards, but his potential was evident throughout the early stages. So much that, as a sophomore, he started 11-of-12 games played -- collecting 1,087 receiving yards on 61 catches and eight touchdowns.

His explosiveness was on full display, as he recorded 39 catches of 20-plus yards. Mims’ receiving yardage totals went down as the eighth-best mark in school history. Starting 10-of-12 games as a junior (2018), he snared 55 catches for 794 receiving yards and a team-leading eight touchdown receptions. 

Already off to his usual pace this season, he's recorded 44 catches for 675 catches, and eight touchdowns. Tying a career high for the number of trips to pay dirt, he's helped the Bears high powered offense maintain its efficiency.

Where He Wins (+)

Mims is often the fastest person on the turf. His track background is littered throughout his game. A cushion eater that quickly eats up room allowed from defensive backs during initial route stems. He puts a lot of stress on single coverage and when bypassing it, it usually results in a win down-the-field. His fast tempos are also utilized on shallow crossers and tunnel screens in order to get the ball in his hands quickly in hopes of his speed generating large unforeseen gains.

Even when the ball isn't designed, his presence in certain alignments alarm defenses of what may be next. Mims speed over the top opens windows underneath and provides more opportunities due to his speed loosening the coverage. 

When attacking the ball, he experiences sporadic hiccups with double catching, but easily shows to be comfortable with catching the ball vertically. Experience in that area has helped him evolve into a vertical assassin and has easy explosiveness down the field. Demonstrating the correct hand positioning and when to flash them in these regions are well above average. Mims plucks the ball out of the air underneath and doesn’t rely heavily on being a body catcher.

Where He Must Improve (-)

Mims has a lean and leggy frame throughout. The Baylor target will need to add some weight onto his frame in order to survive the challenges on the perimeter that he will face. The added weight may also help prevent durability issues in the future. 

He has experience in the slot and on the outside, but due to Baylor’s scheme, he mostly operates on the left side of formations. Predominantly left side operator that has a wealth of exposure to that one side. There may be an adjustment period with running routes from the opposite side though.

In an offense that relies heavily on explosive plays. Because of that, Mims rawness with running detailed routes underneath are noticeable. Dull or elongated cuts on in and out-breaking routes are a constant issues that will need to be corrected unless he becomes used strictly as a vertical stretcher. 

Written By:

Jordan Reid

Senior NFL Draft Analyst

Senior NFL Draft Analyst for The Draft Network. Co-Founder of Former QB and Coach at North Carolina Central Univ.