By Jeff Moeller, The New York Extra/thenyextra.com
In April 2020, the Jets believed they had solved their wide receiver problem with Denzel Mims.
In June 2021, the Jets apparently may still be wondering if they have.
With the 59th overall pick and their second, the Jets drafted the Baylor blaze deep threat. They had a legitimate deep threat in Robbie Anderson, but they let him walk in free agency to Carolina.
He was supposed to be the Jets’ answer and the most impactful receiver drafted since Keyshawn Johnson.
Then training camp struck, and Mims consequently became labeled as a bust.
He missed the entire camp and the start of the season with a nagging hamstring injury. There were enough skeptics who questioned his work ethic and determination.
Mims eventually emerged in October, and his 23 catches for 357 and better for more than 15 yards per catch initially began to prove his worth over his nine games.
At the end of the season, many saw Mims as the team’s breakout threat for 2021.
This spring, GM Joe Douglas decided Mims either wasn’t their top receiver or he needed some help around him. Douglas also figured a rookie quarterback would need plenty of support.
He signed veterans Corey Davis and Keelan Cole – both of whom should be invaluable – and again chose another burner and a slot threat in the second round with Elijah Moore. They also Jamison Crowder, who obviously was their MVR (most valuable receiver) in the slot the past two years.
On the surface, rookie Zach Wilson has plenty of targets to choose from.
But, where does that leave Mims? He needs the proverbial tap on the shoulder to remind him that he needs to prove himself. The Jets apparently aren’t ready to hand anything to him.
Douglas certainly solidified a glaring weakness with his corral of receivers. This is a good mix that also includes Braxton Barrios and Vyncint Smith. In that perspective, there will be attrition. Crowder already is mentioned as trade bait.
It also appears Douglas is covering his track if Mims begins to become injury prone throughput his career.
In spring camp, Mims missed some time with an illness, and he spent the majority of his time with the second-team offense.
Mims apparently has accepted his role as he has praised the role of Davis as a mentor, and he realizes his role isn’t a guaranteed one, stating that he wanted to “keep doing what he was doing and stay focused.”
Offensive coordinator Mike LaFleur likely will play a short-to-medium-range passing game, and Mims may be regarded as the luxury.
“He plays big on the outside. He’s got the length and the radius,” LaFleur said of Mims recently on the Jets’ website. “We’re gonna get him playing better inside the numbers.”
Mims will have a role with the Jets, and he could emerge as the deep threat they originally had envisioned.
With a strong cast around him, Mims will need to secure the lead role.