After an up-and-down rookie campaign, the former Baylor product showed enough pop to warrant some excitement heading into a new year.
On top of the potential, it was supposed to be paired with better offensive talent around him, improved quarterback play, and an upgraded offensive coaching staff.
Instead of growth and development, we were met with excuses and inactivity.
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The Odd Usage of Denzel Mims Has Reached Another Level
There were whispers earlier in the week that maybe Denzel Mims could be a healthy scratch on Sunday. Although that was under the assumption that both Jamison Crowder and Keelan Cole were returning to the lineup after a week away.
Crowder surprisingly wasn’t available due to a nagging groin injury that flared back up on Friday.
Despite that, Mims was still inactive ahead of the Week 2 matchup with the New England Patriots. This is a player that was the No. 59 overall pick in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft.
“If Mims wants to play he has to be better than those other guys, that’s the bottom line,” Gang Green head coach Robert Saleh. “We are an organization where it doesn’t matter [where you were drafted] you have to earn your keep and your playing time. He has got to be better than those other guys and as soon as that happens he’ll be active.”
He has size (6-foot-3), speed (4.38 40 yard dash), and draft status (day two pick) yet still found himself on the bench. Following comments from Jets head coach Robert Saleh after the game, it doesn’t sound like his status will be changing any time soon:
“You have to be reliable in regards to multiple positions and play special teams,” Saleh on the decision to make Mims inactive. “If he can capitalize on a good week of practice I don’t anticipate this being much longer but at the same time I don’t see Jeff [Smith], Keelan [Cole], and all those guys relenting. Those guys are every bit as deserving of being on the football field too.”
Line up the two big boys on the outside and slide the rookie into the slot. That’s what most fans seemed to be complaining about after Week 1.
One of the problems with that is something Rich Cimini of ESPN revealed in his Sunday morning column saying the Jets are “determined to turn Moore into an outside receiver even though most of his college production came from the slot.”
With that being the case and Davis, Gang Green’s prized big-money free agent at the other outside spot, there doesn’t seem to be a place in this offense for Mims.
Although even if Mims isn’t as familiar with the playbook as the coaches would like, at least you can use him where he knows what he’s doing.
You can’t tell me you can’t find a situational role for a big physical wide receiver in the red zone or outside the numbers. Yet it doesn’t sound like he’s in the rotation nor is he going to crack it any time soon.
If he isn’t super knowledgable on the playbook, or better than the other wideouts on the team, or has the special teams prowess they’re looking for, when is any of that going to change in the middle of the 2021 season?
Spoiler alert: it won’t.
A Trade Could Be Coming Sooner Rather Than Later
Rich Cimini of ESPN said several teams are “monitoring the situation” and he wouldn’t be “shocked” if the Jets starts receiving phone calls ahead of the NFL trade deadline.
If you were paying attention this weekend, we may have witnessed some potential early maneuvering by the Jets’ front office.
Connor Hughes of The Athletic tweeted out that Mims had a “great week of practice” on Sunday morning and went on to add that he “destroyed” the starting defensive unit.
Joe Caporoso of the Badlands feed interpreted that like many of us did saying this, “reads like a make us an offer leak from said source.”
The Jets should want to keep Mims, he’s only 23 years old and still has two additional cheap years after 2021 left on his rookie contract.
Yet for whatever reason, he has clearly upset the coaching staff and is in the dog house.
With no clear path to playing time in 2021, it would behoove the Jets to trade the talented second-year wideout while his value is as high as it could be (right now).
Although every week he’s inactive his trade value continues to plummet. If teams know he isn’t in the Jets’ plans then they won’t offer a lot.
What is his trade value?
That is anyone’s guess. He was originally a second-rounder and has shown glimpses of potential, he’s still young, and his contract is incredibly cheap. That would be attractive to a variety of contending NFL teams who could look for a nice boost.
Although general manager Joe Douglas has always seemed to squeeze the most juice out of every trade that he has ever been involved in with the green and white. Maybe he’s got a bit more magic up his sleeve.
This is a very bizarre situation that has a lot of Gang Green fans upset with what appears to be another wasted second-round draft choice.
When you take a magnifying glass to general manager Joe Douglas’ first foundational draft class it lacks some luster:
To add insult to injury, the Jets originally held the No. 48 overall pick in the second round of the 2020 NFL draft, but they traded back to No. 59 where they ultimately selected Mims out of Baylor.
Here are two players they passed up with that trade back:
- Chase Claypool, wide receiver, Pittsburgh Steelers
- 65 receptions for 918 yards and nine touchdowns
- Van Jefferson
- 21 receptions for 300 yards and two touchdowns