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Broncos Training Camp Battle: Tim Patrick vs Marvin Mims Jr

  • Justin Melo
  • July 20, 2023
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Denver Broncos rookie wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr. is in contention with veteran Tim Patrick to be Denver’s No. 3 wideout. The winner of this positional battle will help complement Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton in three-receiver sets.

New Broncos head coach Sean Payton is tasked with rebuilding franchise quarterback Russell Wilson, who lost confidence and effectiveness in 2022. Part of Peyton’s plan to rehabilitate Wilson is to surround him with an abundance of playmakers at the pass-catching positions. The Broncos have done well on that front, and drafting Mims Jr. added another layer to the equation.

Broncos general manager George Paton actually traded up a handful of picks to secure Mims Jr.’s services. The rookie possesses literal game-changing speed, which appealed to the Broncos throughout the pre-draft process. Mims Jr., who ran a 4.38 at the NFL Scouting Combine, and averaged 19.5 yards per reception at Oklahoma, could quickly play his way onto the field by making explosive plays at training camp.

Patrick’s efforts to fend off Mims Jr. may depend on his physical condition. Once considered one of the league’s most underappreciated performers, Patrick suffered a season-ending torn ACL during an early August practice, ruling him out for the entire 2022 campaign. Dating back to 2020 and 2021, Patrick quietly enjoyed back-to-back 700-plus-yard seasons before injury reared its ugly head.

Patrick has been called “the best receiver in the room” by members of Denver’s new coaching staff, per James Palmer. Payton’s staff is high on their returning playmaker, but Mims Jr. was drafted to add depth and competition. If Patrick struggles to regain his explosiveness, Mims Jr. could take advantage of an opportunity to earn more playing time.

The likeliest outcome is that Mims Jr. works his way into Denver’s game plan as a rotational receiver and gadget player while doubling as the primary punt and kick returner. Mims Jr. was an explosive returner at Oklahoma, accounting for 381 total yards with three explosive returns of 30-plus yards. Mims Jr. should have an immediate impact on special teams.

It’s worth acknowledging that Patrick and Mims Jr. aren’t so much in direct competition for a position but more so for targets. They’re different players stylistically. The speedy Mims Jr. is better utilized from the slot, whereas Patrick is a big-bodied X-type possession receiver. 

There’s another potential outcome worth weighing. Sutton has been the subject of rampant trade rumors dating back to last season. If the Broncos pull the trigger, Patrick could be his replacement on the boundary with Mims Jr. taking up Sutton’s vacated spot in three receiver sets.

The Broncos also signed Marquez Callaway and Lil’Jordan Humphrey this offseason. Neither player is going to contend for significant playing time, but both of them have a ton of experience in the Payton offense. The injury-prone K.J. Hamler also remains on the roster for now. The competition will be fierce throughout the summer. Mims Jr. is tasked with quickly learning Payton’s playbook.

Denver’s depth chart is littered with playmakers at wide receiver and Payton is tasked with making the correct choices to field the most efficient offense possible. Mims Jr. and Patrick will need to make their cases.

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Justin Melo