Second-year New York Jets wide receiver Denzel Mims has been chosen by PFF as one of the NFL’s top offensive breakout candidates in 2021.
In a recent video – courtesy of Pro Football Focus and shared by the New York Jets‘ YouTube channel – second-year wideout Denzel Mims was named one of PFF’s top breakout candidates on the offensive side of the ball for the 2021 NFL season.
“Mims was a player hamstrung by poor quarterback play and scheme with the Jets as a rookie,” the video notes.
Those two things are certainly true – and Mims was hamstrung by his hamstrings, too.
Mims battled a hamstring injury throughout the offseason, which ended up keeping him out of the Jets’ first six games of the season. He returned to make his NFL debut against the Bills in Week 7.
As mentioned by the video, iffy quarterback play and an Adam Gase-led scheme both hurt Mims as well.
In terms of quarterback play, Mims’ production was undoubtedly limited by the struggles of Sam Darnold, who had the worst passer rating in the NFL among qualified throwers (72.7). Darnold frequently missed Mims when he was open.
Mims averaged only 32.0 receiving yards per game in contests started by Darnold. His production skyrocketed when Darnold was out of the lineup. He averaged 66.5 receiving yards per game across two contests with Joe Flacco.
Many Jets fans are aware of how detrimental Gase can be for a young offensive player. Gase inexplicably faded Mims out of the offense despite a hot start to the season.
Through six games, Mims was targeted 6.0 times per game and averaged 54.0 yards per game, leading the team’s wide receivers with an average of 9.0 yards per target.
Mims missed the Jets’ Week 14 game against the Seahawks due to a personal matter, and when he returned, he was little more than a decoy. Mims was targeted just 2.7 times per game over the final three weeks, in turn averaging a mere 11.0 yards per game.
Commenting on Mims’ long-term potential, PFF noted Mims’ impressive Senior Bowl performance and his special athletic traits.
“[Mims] earned the highest PFF grade during the week of Senior Bowl practices since PFF has been grading those one-on-one reps, and was a 90th-plus percentile athlete in several pre-draft measurements.”
The video continues, “If Zach Wilson and the new coaching ticket proves to be the upgrade it’s supposed to be, we could see a major impact from Mims in year two.”
Mims missed some of the Jets’ OTAs practices in June with an illness, which landed him with the second-team offense at times, but that was no indication of Mims’ current standing on the depth chart. It was simply a normal reaction to a player missing time by Robert Saleh, who has shown in the early goings of his stint as the Jets’ head coach that he wants every player to earn his keep.