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NFL Draft: Jets pick Denzel Mims welcomes the chip and burden of proof on his shoulders

Denzel Mims, who had more than 1,000 receiving

Denzel Mims, who had more than 1,000 receiving yards twice at Baylor and had 12 TD catches last year alone, did not expect to last all the way until the 59th pick in the NFL Draft.   Credit: AP/Michael Conroy

Denzel Mims’ physical traits and abilities had already impressed Jets general manager Joe Douglas. But what the Baylor receiver said on the phone after the Jets used the No. 59 pick to take him made Douglas feel even better with the selection.

“Usually when you call these guys, they’re excited,” Douglas said. “Denzel had a real big chip on his shoulder. It was important to him that he’s going to make these teams pay that passed him up. We can’t wait to get that type of competitor, that type of mentality in here.”

Mims admitted he was “upset a little bit” that he fell. He was the 13th receiver selected. Mims considers himself much better than that, and he intends to prove it.

“I feel like I make plays all around the field,” Mims said. “I know that when it comes down to crunch time and it comes down to the end of the game, I want the spotlight on me. I want to help the team get the victory and I want everything on my shoulders.”

The Jets had the opportunity to take Mims with the 48th pick, but Douglas traded down for additional draft capital and still got the big Baylor wideout. Mims fills a definite need, and the Jets expect him to step in and be a main target for Sam Darnold.

“He’s not a guy that we’d be limiting very much with what we do with him,” coach Adam Gase said.

The 6-3, 207-pound Mims caught 66 passes for 1,020 yards and 12 touchdowns as a senior. With his size and strength, he can go up and make tough, contested catches and he has tremendous speed.

Mims followed up an impressive Senior Bowl by running a 4.38 40-yard dash. The Jets will play him inside and out, but he’s a legitimate deep threat for Darnold and Gase’s offense.

“Denzel is a long, smooth receiver, with great body control, a good catch radius, soft hands, and ability to turn short catches into long touchdowns runs,” Douglas said. “He had a strong week down there (at the Senior Bowl) and really separated himself as one of the top receivers.”

Much has been made about Mims’ drops, but Douglas believes that is overblown. Mims, who played for current Carolina Panthers coach Matt Rhule at Baylor, believes he’s ready to make the jump to the NFL and is looking forward to connecting with Darnold.

“I think he’s a great quarterback,” Mims said. “I think I can come in right away, get rolling together and build a great connection and we make the Jets program a lot better. I feel like I can do a lot of good things to help the team and I believe the Jets believe in me.”

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