Burleson, a receiver-turned-NFL Network analyst, has some high hopes for Denzel Mims, the New York Jets’ second-round choice from 2020.
Nate Burleson knows about having a breakout sophomore season. Back in 2004, he led the Minnesota Vikings to a playoff berth with 1,006 yards on 68 receptions, coming up particularly big when Randy Moss went down with a hamstring injury.
The receiver-turned-NFL Network analyst foretold a similar ascension for second-year New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims on Monday’s edition of Good Morning Football, including the second-round choice on his list of five potential breakout receiver candidates for 2021.
Burleson labels Mims “one of (his) favorite young receivers in the game” and urges viewers not to let Mims’ relatively pedestrian rookie numbers (357 yards on 23 receptions) steer them in the wrong direction. He notes that five of those 23 catches earned 25 yards or more, bestowing Mims the title of a “big-play god.
“This guy had plays that we could look at and say you know what, he’s gonna be quite the talent,” Burleson said, noting that his rookie season was spent under the haze of an unstable quarterback situation. “He was averaging around 15 (yards) a pop, and we know this offense struggled. Offensively, it couldn’t keep the quarterback clean, the quarterback couldn’t stay healthy, there was just no rhythm and consistency.”
Burleson also brings up Mike LaFleur‘s comparison of Mims to NBA star Kevin Durant. He admits the offensive coordinator’s words are unusual, but makes perfect sense of it in his case for Mims.
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“Isn’t (Durant) skinny?” Burleson rhetorically asks. “Yeah, but he’s skinny, and he’s long. The quote is actually this: he has a wingspan like Kevin Durant’s, he’s got tons of brains. As the long ball gets around him anywhere, he can catch that thing, so we know that he can be, I guess you can say, the easy money sniper within this offense.”
Burleson ends his analysis by referencing perhaps the most renowned Denzel, saying that Mims “will be The Equalizer within this offense for the Jets”, referencing the well-received 2014 action film starring Denzel Washington.
Other breakout candidates mentioned by Burleson included former LaFleur disciple Kendrick Bourne of New England, as well as Mims’ fellow sophomores Jerry Jeudy (Denver), Tee Higgins (Cincinnati), and Laviska Shenault (Jacksonville).
Geoff Magliocchetti is on Twitter @GeoffJMags