INDIANAPOLIS — If the New England Patriots are going to do the unthinkable and take a wide receiver in the first round of the NFL Draft for the second straight year, then Thursday’s night’s workouts revealed the top candidate.
Baylor’s Denzel Mims hit nearly every measurable mark the Patriots typically look for in draftable wide receivers. At 6-foot-3, 207 pounds, Mims ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash with a 38.5-inch vertical leap, 10-feet, 11-inch broad jump, 4.43-second short shuttle and — most importantly — a 6.66-second three-cone drill.
Mims isn’t just an athletic anomaly either. He caught 66 passes for 1,020 yards with 12 touchdowns in 2019 with the Bears. Mims finished his three-year college career with 182 catches for 2,901 yards and 28 touchdowns.
He also met with the Patriots on Monday at the combine.
“It went real well,” Mims said. “I had a great conversation with them. I let them know how I felt and they let me know how they felt. It was a great conversation.”
Despite his exceptional agility, Mims hardly played in the slot in college. Primarily working from the outside, Mims dropped seven passes in 2019 and caught 10 deep targets for 308 yards and three touchdowns on deep passes, per Pro Football Focus. Mims is considered a late-first-round prospect by PFF.
One of his biggest strengths is making contested catches. He caught 20 contested balls, which was tied for second in the FBS, per PFF’s charting.
“We did a lot of drills that had me get pushed around and had me still got to catch the ball,” Mims said. “We stayed late after practice and I got to catch 100 contested balls. And if I don’t catch them, I’m going to be there all night. If I drop one, we start over. We just work on it every single day. And it turns out I’m good at it.”
He’s also a willing blocker.
“I had seen that it would separate my game from a lot of receivers in this league, and, so, I took pride in it,” Mims said. “And I knew that if I were elite at that, then I’d be an elite receiver.”
It does seem doubtful that the Patriots would take a wide receiver in the first round after using the 32nd overall pick in the 2019 NFL Draft on N’Keal Harry. But the Patriots do need help at wide receiver, and Mims and Harry would make an imposing outside duo.
Thumbnail photo via Vasha Hunt/USA TODAY Sports Images