Jets Coach: Struggling Draft Pick in ‘Best Physical Shape He Has Ever Seen Him’

Denzel Mims

Getty New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims (#11) is drawing attention at camp again, but is this time any different?

New York Jets minicamp is officially underway and that means bold statements will be made about different NYJ prospects.

For wide receiver Denzel Mims, it has been nothing but hype since he was first drafted in 2020 and this summer could be his final opportunity to prove himself. Fans will no doubt take anything they see or hear about the former second-round pick with a grain of salt, and they should be based on the track record.

Still, positives are always better than negatives in a case like this, and offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur provided some more Mims hype at the start of mandatory practices.

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Physically & Mentally, Mims Gains Attention

During his press conference before the start of Jets minicamp, LaFleur told reporters that “Mims is in the best physical shape he has ever seen him or his Jets teammates have ever seen him.”

Dennis Waszak Jr. of the Associated Press relayed the quote, which added that the wideout is also “much more confident in the offense.” Continuing: “He’s been putting himself in the best situation to be as successful as he can.”

Known for his physical prowess at Baylor, the second part of LaFleur’s statement may actually surprise fans more than the beginning. Mims appeared to struggle with the new playbook last offseason, just as much or more than he did with his bout of food poisoning.

Both physically and mentally, Mims seems more ready than ever — or so the organization says.

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Who Are the Jets Trying to Fool?

There are three ways to look at this statement:

  • The Jets are trying to build Mims’ confidence, and in a way, fool the media and the fans. The more that people believe in the wide receiver, the more any self-doubt he may have drifts away, right?
  • The Jets are trying to fool other NFL teams in an effort to raise Mims’ trade value. This is always a possibility as word may have come down from Joe Douglas himself to pump up his former selection.
  • The Jets are being honest, and Mims really is better prepared to succeed this summer.

Head coach Robert Saleh always notes that year three is the make-or-break campaign for most draft picks and Mims is entering that last-ditch effort.

In a recent article on ESPN, beat reporter Rich Cimini described this as “crunch time” for the entire 2020 draft class — which still includes Mekhi Becton, Mims, Ashytn Davis, Jabari Zuniga, La’Mical Perine, Bryce Hall and Braden Mann on the current roster.

Outside of Hall and possibly Mann, you might say this is a prove-it season for everyone else in Douglas’ inaugural class and a couple of the prospects feel like a longshot to survive cuts. Cimini noted that these next few months will be “absolutely vital” for players like Perine and Zuniga, who have already been buried on the depth chart.

Mims may have a better shot of making it to Week 1 but he’s not in a great position either. Douglas has already replaced him with Elijah Moore and Garrett Wilson in the draft, as well as Corey Davis in free agency.

If an undrafted rookie like Calvin Jackson Jr. or Irvin Charles beats out Mims in August, it could finally be sayonara for the fallen star of the 2020 draft.

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