Denzel Mims is supposed to be one of the young wide receivers that will help revamp the New York Jets’ aerial game to being a deep threat for rookie quarterback Zach Wilson.
With veteran slot receiver Jamison Crowder out due to COVID-19, the opportunity for the big second-year pass-catcher out of Baylor to make an early mark on the offense.
Instead, he was on the field for a total of three offensive snaps in a 19-14 Week 1 loss to the Carolina Panthers and got his only reception with just under three minutes remaining in the fourth quarter — a 40-yard strike from Wilson down the left sideline.
That’s the kind of threat that many Jets fans expect to see from Mims, but the lack of time on the field was certainly a concern for them — and one that has caused ceaseless debate since.
First-year head coach Robert Saleh provided some insight as to why Mims was limited to just three snaps.
“Mims, he’s been doing a good job getting himself a little bit better every day but, he’s got to know, when you’re not one of the main guys, you got to know all three spots and you’ve got to know it at a high level so you can step in and take advantage of all those opportunities,” Saleh said. “So, if the Z, the F, or the X needs a break, you’re the first one that goes in because you know all three spots, you can execute at a high level and you can roll.”
That role of being a fourth receiver appears to be Mims’ spot should he figure it out. Corey Davis had a strong debut as the Jets’ No. 1 receiver with five catches, 97 yards, and two touchdowns while Elijah Moore and a healthy Crowder are likely to be ahead of him on the depth chart.
Mims’ ceiling is certainly higher than that of the veteran Keelan Cole, who was also out Sunday due to injury, but the former Jaguar provides more dependability than the 2020 second-round pick, who has left plenty to be desired since camp.