The Big 12 is known for its high-flying and high-powered offenses. Several successful offensive playmakers have come into the NFL over the years from the Big 12, including players like Patrick Mahomes, Baker Mayfield, Tyler Lockett, Mark Andrews, Hollywood Brown, and Kyler Murray. With the offensive talent that has come in, it’s a surprise to me that Baylor’s Denzel Mims remains so under the radar. To me, Mims has the talent to be a top 10 player at his position, even in this loaded wide receiver class. That’s okay with me, however, as I get to write about why this uber-talented wide receiver is underrated.
Baylor is undefeated this season, but they wouldn’t be without Denzel Mims. Without his playmaking, Baylor quite possibly has losses to Iowa State, Texas Tech, TCU, and potentially West Virginia. With the amount of game-saving plays he’s made this season playing for an undefeated team, you would think Mims would be in the running for the Biletnikoff Award. However, his name gets overshadowed by the other talented names around the country, such as Oklahoma’s Ceedee Lamb, Alabama’s Jerry Jeudy, and LSU’s Ja’Marr Chase. Don’t make the mistake of over-looking him as a prospect.
Mims is a bonafide playmaker for the Baylor Bears. He stands just about 6-3, 220 pounds and is a legitimate deep threat. Mims is a former track star, and that track background shows up in his explosiveness.
Many people think that the term “explosiveness” in receivers means they shoot up off the line of scrimmage and just outrun every defensive player. Which is true, it just omits some things. Explosiveness is what occurs in the lower body to launch the player in a direction. That’s why we hear people refer to the vertical jump and the broad jump referred to as tests of explosiveness, because they measure the body’s ability to launch itself in a direction. Some guys have it, and others don’t. That isn’t to say Mims isn’t “fast,” but he’s not running a John Ross-level 40 time, in my opinion.
Mims’ explosiveness isn’t where he’ll dust defensive players. He can, but his track explosiveness is more focused on his propulsion. Watch this play here, and you’ll see what I mean:
Mims makes the most impossible catches part 1. pic.twitter.com/0iAsOwe130
— AJ Schulte (@AJDraftScout) November 13, 2019
Watch the hop to secure the catch. That’s on the run after running what looks like a comeback route to the sideline. His body explodes to leap and adjust to make that catch. He doesn’t stop to reset his feet, he leaps and adjusts for it the football mid-route. I called it the catch of the year when I saw it because it’s that freaky. There are not that many NFL receivers that can make an adjustment like this.
Mims makes this stuff routine. Every season he makes more and more incredible catches and demonstrates elite body control and length to make them. This was last season, against Kansas State. This was a game-tying touchdown and helped Baylor ultimately win the game.
Mims makes the most impossible catches part 2. pic.twitter.com/5M7fZCihkG
— AJ Schulte (@AJDraftScout) November 13, 2019
He’s a little slow off the line on this rep, which is something I’ll get to in a second. On this one, watch the second angle. Watch his feet. He launches himself into the air and over the defender who has better positioning on him on ONE FOOT. That is what we talk about when we look for length and explosiveness. This is a throw that I would never tell my quarterback to throw. This should have been an incompletion at best or an interception at worst. Mims uses his extraordinary length and explosiveness to increase his catch radius, and then the concentration to pull in the catch afterward. Impressive stuff. The fact that Denzel Mims is making plays like this and is still an underrated wide receiver is mind-boggling to me.
I wouldn’t be surprised if we see Mims hit 40”+ in the vertical jump and 128”+ in the broad jump. Those numbers would undoubtedly raise some eyebrows, but they match the tape.
So, why isn’t Mims on a lot of NFL radars? He’s the top playmaker for an undefeated team, and he continually makes highlight-reel plays, so where’s the buzz? It’s tricky. The 2020 NFL Draft wide receiver class is incredibly talented, so players will inevitably fall through the cracks. It happens and will continue to happen. That’s part of the case for Mims. Baylor isn’t a high-profile team, so his name doesn’t have the hype that the receivers from Ohio State or Alabama or Oklahoma would have. This is why Mims is such an underrated receiver for the Baylor Bears.
The other is that Mims has his own issues that will likely push him down, draft boards. The biggest issue with Mims are his drops. It’s mind-boggling that Mims can make impossible catches, but has concentration issues on the simpler ones. He’s going to have to demonstrate becoming a more reliable target. He knows how to catch, so it isn’t a technique issue.
Denzel Mims is an underrated wide receiver for the Baylor Bears. He’s demonstrated elite body control, length, explosiveness, and strength on his tape with legit track speed. He’s also a good route-runner, though certainly not on the level of, say, Jerry Jeudy, but better than former Baylor wide receiver Corey Coleman. His tape has continuously improved as the years have gone on, which suggests that his upside and growth are worth banking on.
Mims is a WR3 with WR2 upside, in my opinion. I would put him in a vertical passing offense, and let him use that length and body control to make catches in the deeper areas of the field. I can see Mims being played at the Z spot or even as a big slot-style wide receiver who’ll make those tough catches over the middle and intermediate levels of the field. He’s an elite red zone player.
Over his past 11 games, Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims has posted:
• 55 receptions
• 835 yards
• 10 touchdowns
Up to 24 touchdowns over the past 3 years, 16 of which have come from the 22-yard line or closer. Redzone threat.
— Brad Kelly (@BradKelly17) November 13, 2019
I would be interested to see him with a team like the Carolina Panthers or the Kansas City Chiefs to pair with the speedsters those teams already have on their rosters. The fact that there is no buzz about Denzel Mims, despite him being incredibly talented, is a shame, and it leaves him an underrated player in my eyes, even in this wide receiver class. That’s okay though; he’ll open the league’s eyes in the offseason.
AJ Schulte is a writer for PFN covering the NFL Draft. You can follow him on Twitter @AJDraftScout