Denzel Mims enters a pivotal Year 3 in New York knowing he has to put it all on the line to prove he belongs.
To that end, the 24-year-old receiver began his offseason training early with hopes of being ready for the grind.
Mims’ trainer, Chad Marr, said the goal this offseason was for the receiver to add lean muscle after a bout with food poisoning last spring caused him to lose 20 pounds and put him behind the eight ball in preparing for Mike LaFleur’s offense.
“We did put more size on him, but we leaned him out at the same time,” Marr told Brian Costello of the New York Post. “He is a bigger, leaner version of himself. The leaner and the stronger guys are, the more efficient movers that they are. He definitely needed to put on some size. He had lost quite a bit of size.”
A second-round pick in 2020, Mims flashed ability as a rookie but cratered in his second season. Buried on the depth chart, Mims barely saw the field in 2021, catching just eight passes for 133 yards in 11 games. He has yet to record a touchdown in his two seasons.
Players bulking up in the offseason is nothing new, but it’s a gateway for us to look at the Jets receiver position, which remains with question marks ahead of the draft later this month.
Last offseason, Gang Green inked Corey Davis to a big-money contract to be their No. 1 receiver. However, injuries and a lack of rapport with Zach Wilson caused that vision to be blurred. Davis looked more like the No. 2 he was in Tennessee than a top-flight receiver.
Then New York spent another second-round pick on Elijah Moore. The rookie led the Jets with 538 yards receiving on 43 catches and showed flashes of brilliance. But he, too, dealt with injuries that curtailed his production and wiped out the end of his season. Moore has the talent to explode in Year 2, but questions marks riddle the corps elsewhere.
The Jets brought back trusty slot receiver Braxton Berrios, they watched Jamison Crowder leave for Buffalo, and Keelan Cole remains a free agent.
While they were in the mix to bring in a true No. 1 wideout — including trying to trade for Tyreek Hill — the Jets couldn’t land that big bird. With two top-10 draft picks, Gang Green might use one on a wideout to grow alongside Moore.
If New York, with holes across the roster, eschews receiver early in the draft, it would open the door for Mims to earn a more prominent role this season. What the Jets do in the draft will tell us plenty about how they feel about their corps and whether they expect Mims to play a role in 2022.
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