Can Denzel Mims Translate Stellar Athleticism Into NFL Success? A 2020 NFL Draft Prospect Profile
Image Credit: Matthew Pearce/Icon Sportswire. Pictured: Denzel Mims.

Denzel Mims turned in a fantastic performance at the 2020 NFL combine. Besides displaying better than 50th percentile agility and explosion that eclipsed the 75th percentile, Mims ran the forty-yard dash at a 93rd percentile time of 4.38 seconds. The former Baylor Bear stands 6 feet 3 inches tall and weighs 207 pounds. This translates to a freak score of 73, well above the 75th percentile.1

Of course, athleticism only tells half of the story and in no way guarantees NFL success.

From the Beginning

Mims played high school ball in Texas and drew interest from Baylor, Texas Tech, Texas A&M, Tulsa, and Kansas State as a three-star recruit. He also was successful as a track athlete winning the 2015 Class 3A 200-meter state championship with a time of 21.30 seconds. It’s worth noting that Mims weighed just 175 pounds as a senior in high school, meaning that he put on 32 pounds during his collegiate career while maintaining significant speed.

College Production Story

SeasGamesRecRecYdsRecTDRecMSRecYdsMSRecTDMSRecDominator
Career391862925280.220.270.390.33
2016242400.080.040.000.02
20171261108780.230.310.350.33
2018125579480.200.230.380.30
201913661020120.250.310.550.43

 

As a 19-year-old freshman, Mims played a minor role in Baylor’s offense. However, he made an immediate impact as a sophomore scoring a touchdown and accumulating 85 yards in Week 1 against Liberty. While this performance didn’t come against a Power-Five foe, Mims’s best game of the season came against Oklahoma. In this game, he caught 11 passes for 192 yards and found the end zone three times. At season’s end, he led the team in receptions, receiving yards, and receiving touchdowns.

As a junior, Mims shared a significant portion of the offense with future third-round draft pick Jalen Hurd. Hurd caught 14 more passes and amassed 152 more yards. However, Mims accounted for eight of the team’s 22 passing touchdowns, whereas Hurd accounted for four. Mims recorded his best games of the season against Oklahoma, recording 11 receptions, 114 yards, and a touchdown, and Texas Tech posting five receptions, 62 yards, and two touchdowns.

His best all-around season came as a 22-year-old senior in which he scored 12 touchdowns, caught 66 passes and eclipsed 1,000 yards.  He was responsible for more than half of his team’s receiving touchdowns, a quarter of its receptions, and posted a high dominator of 0.43. All things considered, his collegiate career produced a solid body of work inclusive of early production, proven touchdown-scoring ability, and significant market share. Of course, it has to be noted that he was 20 when he recorded his “early production.” As a reference point, CeeDee Lamb was 20 in his final collegiate season and recorded impressive production, at Alabama, as an 18-year-old freshman.

Comps and Draft Prospects

Given his fantastic combine performance, his draft stock has risen. In fact, Daniel Jeremiah mocked Mims as a first-round selection in a post-combine mock draft. If we take a conservative approach and plug a draft position of 45 into the Prospect Box Score Scout, a couple of intriguing comps are generated.

 
SimScore Player DraftPos CarRecYdsMS CarRecTDMS FinalRecYdsMS FinalRecTD/G Forty Weight
98 Leonard Hankerson 79 0.26 0.38 0.37 1 4.4 209
96 DeVier Posey 68 0.3 0.3 0.34 0.67 4.39 211
94 Brian Robiskie 36 0.25 0.33 0.27 0.62 4.46 209
92 Devin Smith 37 0.26 0.28 0.27 0.86 4.42 196
90 Deebo Samuel 36 0.29 0.29 0.26 0.92 4.48 214
88 Torrey Smith 58 0.29 0.37 0.38 0.92 4.41 204
86 James Washington 60 0.26 0.33 0.31 1 4.54 213
84 Christian Kirk 47 0.29 0.36 0.28 0.77 4.47 201
82 Sterling Shepard 40 0.27 0.25 0.32 0.85 4.48 194
80 Chris Godwin 84 0.26 0.3 0.28 0.85 4.42 209

While the players toward the top of the list failed to put together productive NFL careers, Deebo Samuel had a solid rookie year with the 49ers, Torrey Smith recorded four top-30 PPR finishes, and Christian Kirk and Sterling Shepard have demonstrated that they are able to contribute at the NFL level. Seeing Chris Godwin will certainly draw excitement, but it’s important to recognize that he was only 20 during his last season at Penn State, his junior season. If you’re a believer in the importance of age and early declaration in evaluating WR prospects, this can’t be ignored.

If an aggressive draft position of 32 is used, his comps tell a similar story. While you may not find this list to be overly exciting, I’d encourage you to review the comps generated for other top-prospects and you’ll see for yourself that it is actually a fairly encouraging list. Is it likely that Mims is the next Godwin? Probably not, but the odds that any prospect is the next Godwin are tenuous. Given his collegiate market shares, ability to find the end zone, multiple 1,000-yard seasons, and stellar athletic ability, Mims profiles as a solid, albeit older, NFL prospect and makes for an exciting pick in 2020 dynasty drafts.

  1. Freak Score is our scaled metric that uses height, weight, and speed to project the TD-scoring potential for NFL prospects. Unlike many other measures for an NFL prospect’s size/athleticism profile, the Freak Score gives us a measure that directly relates to an important element of fantasy scoring. If you aren’t adjusting for the importance of height, then you’re missing the critical element.  (back)

Dave Caban

Senior Fantasy Analyst, app developer, hosts the RotoViz Radio Flagship, auction draft enthusiast.
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