What do the numbers say about Sam Darnold‘s newest weapon?
Joe Douglas was able to snag a tantalizing target for Sam Darnold in the second round of the 2020 NFL Draft, grabbing Baylor’s Denzel Mims with the 59th pick after trading down 11 spots from the 48th slot.
Let’s dig into the analytics that showcase what Mims brings to the table.
Dominance in contested situations
Darnold’s aggressive mentality has been limited by the absence of an above-the-rim target that he can feel comfortable about throwing up a gutsy pass to. His special gifts as a scrambler have often gone for naught, as that “just throw it up and I’ll make a play” pass-catcher has not been there.
In addition, the Jets have not had a receiver capable of executing a fade route in the red zone since Brandon Marshall – or any short route in the red zone, for that matter. Robby Anderson leads the Jets with four touchdown receptions of 10 yards or less since 2016. That ties him for 108th in the NFL over that span.
The Jets have clearly prioritized solving this problem, focusing on receivers who possess the “go-up-and-get-it” ability that maximizes Darnold’s best traits. After adding a receiver in Breshad Perriman whose greatest strength is making acrobatic grabs (not to mention Josh Doctson), the Jets went out and gave Darnold another contested-catch specialist in Mims.
According to Pro Football Focus’ tracking, Mims reeled in 20 contested catches this past season, tied for the second-most in college football. Those receptions came across 41 contested targets, giving him a solid catch rate of 48.8% in those situations (average is about 44%). The fact that Mims was trusted for over three contested throws per game just goes to show how much confidence that quarterbacks have in him. That is exactly what Darnold needs – a receiver he can trust.
Mims will be the first red zone threat that the Jets have had on the outside since Marshall, and should provide a substantial upgrade over Anderson when it comes to complimenting Darnold’s gunslinger mentality.