Marvin Mims is a well-known commodity in the states of Texas and Oklahoma. But his 2023 NFL Draft scouting report shows why he should be on the national radar. Mims and Oklahoma enter 2022 with a new head coach, offensive play-caller, and quarterback. While change two years into a career and the first year of draft eligibility would typically be a negative, it may just be what the doctor orders for Mims’ professional development.
Marvin Mims NFL draft profile
Texas is a hotbed for high school football talent. Born and raised in Frisco, Mims understood that well. And yet, while at Lone Star High School, he ascended to a level never before seen. As a senior, Mims hauled in 117 receptions for a national record of 2,629 yards and 32 touchdowns. He also holds Texas’ high school career receiving yards record (5,485) — 82 more than Ohio State star WR Jaxon Smith-Njigba.
Despite 30+ offers on the table as a four-star recruit, Mims decided to take his talents to Oklahoma. And since stepping on campus, business has been boomin.
In 2020, Mims became the first-ever Oklahoma wide receiver to earn FWAA Freshman All-American honors. Additionally, he continued his record-breaking ways, catching the most touchdowns (nine) in OU freshman history. He’s led the Sooners in receiving yards in each of his two collegiate seasons, totaling 69 receptions for 1,315 yards and 14 TDs.
Although the stat sheet was healthy, Mim’s relationship with the coaching staff wasn’t. He nearly transferred this offseason, saying, “I just wanted a change.” Well, that change came to him, as head coach Lincoln Riley, quarterback Caleb Williams, and wide receivers Mario Williams and Jadon Haselwood all left Norman.
- Position: Wide Receiver
- School: Oklahoma
- Current Year: Junior
- Height/Weight: 5’11”, 184 pounds
Marvin Mims scouting report
New head coach Brent Venables has implemented a new culture in town, and the team has bought in. “Definitely physicality,” Mims said. “The things we do in practice are way more physical than usual. That’s probably the biggest adjustment to me, just the way that we practice, running on and off the field. Everything that we do has to be elite. He’s not going to settle for anything less.”
Joining Venables as Norman newcomers are offensive coordinator Jeff Lebby and QB Dillon Gabriel. Lebby was Gabriel’s QB coach and OC at UCF in 2019, so rekindling their chemistry will be a top priority. Now reunited at Oklahoma, expect the offense to remain high octane, with Mims the unquestioned No. 1 option. But what exactly does Mims offer as an NFL draft prospect?
Where Mims wins
We all know Smith-Njigba, Kayshon Boutte, and Jordan Addison. Even TCU’s Quentin Johnston has a growing fanbase, including PFN’s very own Ian Cummings. Yet, Mims should be in the top-five conversation.
Mims’ speed is clear to see, and I’m not just talking deep speed — though he doesn’t lack in that department (over 63% of his targets came 10+ yards downfield last season). The Oklahoma WR is an explosive athlete with the ability to accelerate instantly. Double-moves to work upfield (such as a sluggo) are easy chunk gains as Mims plants his foot and hits the afterburners. As the saying goes, “if he’s even, he’s leavin.” Additionally, Mims can tempo his routes, lulling DBs into a false sense of security before crossing their face.
Mims is a yards-after-the-catch monster but not in the “make you miss” mold. Instead, he pulls away, uses his vision to find holes on the fly, and simply outruns defenders for extra yardage. He has enough wiggle and start/stop ability to force an occasional missed tackle, but that’s not his game.
What is Mims’ game is as a versatile, sure-handed weapon. He can line up as the X, in the slot, or as the Z. Mims hasn’t faced much press thus far, with 60% of his snaps coming from the slot, but his release repertoire is solid enough. Similarly, he only faced true man coverage on roughly 15% of collegiate targets. Still, against zone, Mims showed an excellent feel of spacing and finding pockets to make himself available for his QB.
However, where Mims really shines is with the ball in the air. Drops are a non-factor, and he can make acrobatic catches away from his frame with ease — turn on the Tulane and Texas games last season. Contact doesn’t faze Mims, as he keeps his eyes on the ball and looks passes in. He’s also undeterred by passes over the middle, securing the reception through violent hits. Furthermore, Mims routinely attacks the football and doesn’t wait for it to reach his chest plate. His hands are some of the most reliable in the country.
But wait, there’s more! Oklahoma often asked Mims to be the lead blocker on WR screens despite his smaller stature. That’s likely due to his transparent competitive toughness. Mims just plays bigger than his listed 5’11” and 184 pounds. Sure, stronger/larger defenders will get the best of him, but he’ll go down swinging. Oh, and Mims has experience as a punt and kick returner, further adding to his allure.
Mims’ areas for improvement
I love Mims. His tape has already turned him into one of “my guys” for the 2023 cycle. But even I can recognize his faults.
Chief of which is, of course, his size. There’s no getting around the fact that Mims will struggle against longer, more physical DBs. Scheming him open and offering him room to work will be more necessary for NFL OCs than on the collegiate stage. And while Mims has enough juice to spread defenses vertically, he isn’t a sub-4.4 speed demon. Therein lies Mims’ most significant barrier to a high NFL draft pick: He’s small without game-changing speed.
As a result, the Oklahoma WR must be near-perfect in every other facet. So how can Mims get there? First, he must eliminate all wasted motion from his game. At the line, Mims will sometimes cross his arms over his knee, extend his knees too much, and stand upright. All of which not only allows a DB to shock him off the snap but also requires at least one extra step before working upfield. I will say Mims’ electric acceleration affords him some room for error here, but that will dwindle in the pros.
He must master the route tree and route-running nuances. Mims snaps down at the top of routes and uses his first step to guide his body into his next move. But occasionally, he will raise his pad level at the top of stems, giving DBs more time to react as well as forcing extra steps to get out of the break. Under Riley, Mims mainly ran post/corner variations alongside speed outs, slants, and WR screens. Unfortunately, his route tree may not be much more diverse in Lebby’s RPO-heavy offense.
Current draft projection for Oklahoma WR Marvin Mims
Mims can’t do much about his naturally slender build. After all, there’s only so much muscle mass he can put on before sacrificing his trademark athleticism and body control. Thus, Mims profiles as a slot-first receiver, although I believe he has the ability to play the Z when needed.
Mims has the tools to be a productive NFL receiver and will likely hear his name called in the Day 2 range. If he can improve on his wasted motion, showcase a broader route tree, and increase his production as Oklahoma’s top weapon with a new OC/QB combo, Mims should easily crack the top 50 picks.
Mims wanted change. Now that he has it, it’s up to him to earn a high selection in the 2023 NFL Draft.