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Denzel Mims is an Excellent YAC Receiver


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Denzel Mims is actually an excellent YAC receiver | NY Jets Film

By
 Michael Nania
 -
 07/21/2021
 

Denzel Mims does fit into Mike LaFleur's NY Jets offense thanks to his YAC ability. Jet X Graphic, Getty Images

 

Denzel Mims is considered by some as a poor fit in Mike LaFleur‘s NY Jets offense, but his YAC ability actually makes him right at home.

 

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There is a false narrative I occasionally see surrounding Denzel Mims. It claims he is a one-dimensional vertical threat who does not fit into a Mike LaFleur offense that is built around over-the-middle passing and presenting playmakers with opportunities to create in space.

That could not be further from the truth.

Mims is not just some tall, athletic guy who’s without nuance and is only capable of sprinting down the sideline on a go route or catching a jump ball on a fade route. It’s easy to immediately point to Mims’ vertical prowess and contested-catch proficiency as his greatest strengths since his physical traits lend themselves to excellence in those two areas, but Mims offers more than merely the low-hanging-fruit abilities you would expect him to have.

In his rookie season with the New York Jets, Mims showed that he is a very good after-the-catch playmaker – one that LaFleur is likely chomping at the bit to unleash in his offense.

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Mims’ YAC numbers

LaFleur’s San Francisco 49ers gained 53.2% of their passing yards through after-the-catch yardage in 2020, the fourth-highest portion in the NFL.

Contrary to popular belief, Mims will have no problem fitting into that type of offense. He averaged 5.0 YAC (yards after the catch) per reception in 2020, according to NFL Next Gen Stats, which ranked 35th out of 98 qualified wide receivers (65th percentile).

That mark is solid enough in itself, but it is even more impressive when you consider that many of Mims’ catches were deep sideline throws in which he had no chance to create YAC, hurting his average.

NFL’s Next Gen Stats’ “YAC Above Expectation” statistic accounts for this dilemma. It compares a player’s YAC total to the YAC total that the league-average player would be expected to gain in the same situations, using tracking data to calculate expected YAC totals (location of the catch, momentum at the catch, how many defenders are around, how many blockers are around, et cetera).

Mims was only expected to gain 3.5 YAC per reception, tying for 66th at his position. He ended up ranking 31 spots higher in actual YAC per reception. His YAC Above Expectation of +1.5 (5.0 YAC vs. 3.5 expected YAC) tied for 10th-best among qualified wide receivers (91st percentile).

 

Jets X-Factor Membership

The 49ers placed a heavy emphasis on that statistic. Wide receiver Deebo Samuel (+4.4) and tight end George Kittle (+2.3) led their respective positions in YAC Above Expectation this past season.

Thanks to his ability to create after the catch, Mims was one of the most efficient short-range receivers in the league. He gained 10.7 yards per reception on catches made from zero to nine yards beyond the line of scrimmage, which ranked sixth-best among wideouts.

Ranking one spot ahead of Mims was LaFleur and the 49ers’ Kendrick Bourne (10.8), further displaying the parallels between Mims’ YAC strengths and the YAC needs of San Francisco’s offense.

The proof that Mims is a good YAC receiver is sitting right out there in the open. It’s time to bury the narrative that he cannot fit into a YAC-based offense.

Mims’ YAC film

Here is a great example of Mims creating more YAC than what was presented to him. He catches a wide-open pass on a drag route and meets a defender only seven yards downfield.

Mims feels the defender bearing down aggressively, so he halts his momentum, plants, and uses the defender’s momentum against him as he throws him away. A short gain is turned into a first down.

At the front of a bunch formation, Mims comes off the line patiently before getting into his inside break on the drag route. He catches the ball in stride and shows off a solid amount of speed as he turns upfield and separates from the trailing linebacker.

Mims runs a pivot route and shows good awareness as he adds depth to his route in order to separate from the underneath linebacker. Sam Darnold puts the ball out in front and Mims fully extends for a smooth all-hands catch, grabbing it in-stride and continuing downfield on his way to 30 yards.

Over-the-middle catches like the one above are where Mims’ 4.38-second 40-yard-dash speed flashed the brightest, even more so than when he ran vertical routes down the sideline.

LaFleur will certainly be looking to create plenty of opportunities for Mims to catch the ball in stride and maximize his speed after the catch.

Mims snatches a slant route from Joe Flacco, extending his arms over the middle to pluck the ball out of the air and run through it. He then goes back to the move we saw in the first clip. Mims slows up, plants, and throws the defender against his momentum, striking him by the shoulder. After clearing the obstruction, Mims continues rumbling for bonus yards above expectation.

Is Mims a guy who the Jets will be featuring on screen passes and jet sweeps? Probably not.

That does not mean Mims is a poor fit for the Jets’ offense. Not every receiver in a Kyle Shanahan/Mike LaFleur offense needs to be a Deebo Samuel-esque dynamo. They just need to be capable of separating over the middle on short-to-intermediate routes and then making plays after the catch in those situations.

Mims fits that bill.

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I was a huge fan of Mims in last year’s draft, and was psyched when the Jets drafted him. The injuries were really frustrating, and I was really hoping for more than the 40 yards a game he managed when he finally got in there. He flashed, but… 

Really hoping last year was a Gase/Darnold issue and that this year is a clean slate. It’s a little concerning that he seemed to be in the doghouse this spring. He’s just got incredible size and athletic ability. His potential is thru the roof. This is just a player I think every Jet fan should be rooting for. He really has star potential. If Zach can throw the ball downfield the way he did in college, I’m thinking Mims can track it. 

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Denzel Mims is no stiff and therefore he's going to be solid in yards after catch due to blazing 4.3 speed but imo his strongest attribute is his ability to make catches in traffic (something he led the entire Country in while @ Baylor).

It's absolutely stupid to judge Denzel Mims based off of his Rookie season because once returning week 7 from an offseasonless/offseason he was then stuck within an atrocious Adam Gase offense (no creativity), a QB who ranked 47th in QB Rating (Sam), a completely washed up backup QB (Flacco), playing opposite of an absolute 1st round bust (Perriman) along with a 40 year old RB (Gore). 

etc. 

These aren't rookie excuses either imo these are NFL facts and just in case some of us have (already) forgotten what type of 2nd round talent JD stole well then let me remind ourselves of...

 

No. I'm not as high on Denzel Mims as I am Elijah Moore and that's only because I feel and believe Elijah Moore has more ability than A.J. Brown but I'm super excited for Denzel Mims because you surrounded him by and put him within the mixture of Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Jamison Crowder, Michael Carter and Mike LaFleur's creativity and I believe Denzel Mims becomes an NFL problem especially against #2 CBs. 

Corey Davis. 

Denzel Mims. 

Elijah Moore. 

Jamison Crowder. 

When going 4 wide that's exciting.

 

 

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29 minutes ago, Defense Wins Championships said:

Denzel Mims is no stiff and therefore he's going to be solid in yards after catch due to blazing 4.3 speed but imo his strongest attribute is his ability to make catches in traffic (something he led the entire Country in while @ Baylor).

It's absolutely stupid to judge Denzel Mims based off of his Rookie season because once returning week 7 from an offseasonless/offseason he was then stuck within an atrocious Adam Gase offense (no creativity), a QB who ranked 47th in QB Rating (Sam), a completely washed up backup QB (Flacco), playing opposite of an absolute 1st round bust (Perriman) along with a 40 year old RB (Gore). 

etc. 

These aren't rookie excuses either imo these are NFL facts and just in case some of us have (already) forgotten what type of 2nd round talent JD stole well then let me remind ourselves of...

 

No. I'm not as high on Denzel Mims as I am Elijah Moore and that's only because I feel and believe Elijah Moore has more ability than A.J. Brown but I'm super excited for Denzel Mims because you surrounded him by and put him within the mixture of Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Jamison Crowder, Michael Carter and Mike LaFleur's creativity and I believe Denzel Mims becomes an NFL problem especially against #2 CBs. 

Corey Davis. 

Denzel Mims. 

Elijah Moore. 

Jamison Crowder. 

When going 4 wide that's exciting.

 

 

Personally Id love to see the offense get creative with Fant at TE, Carter/Ty Johnson, Mims, Moore and Davis.

 

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3 minutes ago, BCJet said:

Personally Id love to see the offense get creative with Fant at TE, Carter/Ty Johnson, Mims, Moore and Davis.

 

I want Fant nowhere near Zach Wilson not anywhere near him. Fant ranked dead last 62nd/62nd amongst all OTs in pass protection last year. He stinks.

And I'm not sure why anyone talks him up as some type of TE either because heading into now his 6th NFL season he's only recorded 1 career catch and got made fun of laughed @ due to stumbling/tripping over his own feet...

He's a waste of roster space.

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4 hours ago, BurnleyJet said:

The hype on this guy is to much. I’m saying now Moore is going to be a star. Mims I’m yet to be convinced. Playing a full season will be a start.

Did you watch any of his tape from last year? Dude had plays where he was wide open and Darnold wouldn't throw the ball. How many games when he was healthy last year did he make plays in the first half then the sh*tty qb qb stopped throwing him the ball? His route running needs alot work but his size, speed, ability to go up and get it are good traits. 

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1 hour ago, Sperm Edwards said:

+1 

Thread title should be

  • Denzel Mims hopes to hold onto starting job

or

  • Denzel Mims hopes to play most of this football season

or

  • Denzel Mims hopes to vindicate GM who traded down and drafted him, instead of staying pat and drafting coverage nightmare WR taken by Pittsburgh who was sitting right there at Jets' initial draft slot

Ok admittedly that last one would be a long title. Still...

Denzel Mims kicked Chase Claypool's ass in college in terms of statistical production in all of receptions, receiving yards and TD receptions. 

Outside of a hamstring injury the only difference was Claypool was drafted into an offense with a future HOF QB in Ben Roethlisberger and finished 3rd in receptions while being hidden behind JuJu and Johnson. 

Put him alongside of Sam/Flacco/Gore/Gase/Perriman and he'd do absolutely nothingness. 

Final 6 games for Claypool = 44 targets with 23 catches @ a 52.3% catch rate, 314 receiving yards and 1 TD. 

Final 6 games for D. Mims = 26  targets with 13 catches @ 50% catch rate, 211 receiving yards and 0 TDs. 

Chase Claypool isn't a better talent than Denzel Mims he just wasn't drafted into absolute crap like Mims was and if drafted by Gase/Sam/Gore/Perriman/Loggains Chase would've looked like absolute crap as a JET.

 

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2 hours ago, JETSALLDAY24X said:

Did you watch any of his tape from last year? Dude had plays where he was wide open and Darnold wouldn't throw the ball. How many games when he was healthy last year did he make plays in the first half then the sh*tty qb qb stopped throwing him the ball? His route running needs alot work but his size, speed, ability to go up and get it are good traits. 

So what’s a good year to for this kid In year 2, 850 yards, 750, 650..

Touchdowns 8 TDS, 6, 5, More?

No doubt Mom’s has all the physical tools. Does have the drive, dedication, the ability to improve his game, route running? - The wide open thing isn’t unique, Often receivers run routes and are wide open and get missed.

I want to see numbers meaningful stats, and real game impact. Mims as all the tools you could wish for, I want to see production. Personally I think Moore is going to be the Star in this teams wide receivers.
 

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10 hours ago, BurnleyJet said:

So what’s a good year to for this kid In year 2, 850 yards, 750, 650..

Touchdowns 8 TDS, 6, 5, More?

No doubt Mom’s has all the physical tools. Does have the drive, dedication, the ability to improve his game, route running? - The wide open thing isn’t unique, Often receivers run routes and are wide open and get missed.

I want to see numbers meaningful stats, and real game impact. Mims as all the tools you could wish for, I want to see production. Personally I think Moore is going to be the Star in this teams wide receivers.
 

I don't really look at numbers as a measure of success. A good year for him would be staying healthy and making the most of his opportunities. It's a crowded receiving room this year so his numbers may not jump out. 

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17 hours ago, BurnleyJet said:

The hype on this guy is to much. I’m saying now Moore is going to be a star. Mims I’m yet to be convinced. Playing a full season will be a start.

I don't think there is all that much hype surrounding Mims. Moore is getting all the hype so far this offseason, and well deserved. Mims was actually downplayed by many because during OTAs he was running with the 2's. Many speculated that he didn't fit the Lafleur scheme because he wasn't a "yac" guy, this article attempts to refute that. 

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4 hours ago, Paradis said:

 

You guys make me not want to come on JN. No hyberbole

The hype is too much? da fck does that mean. More like he's been loosely panned for not making the pro bowl in his rookie year, led by Adam Gase and Darnold - on a shortened covid offseason with hamstring injurIES... 

Rookie fcking covid year

I can't with some of you. 

Haven't you figured it out yet.  JN loves the players it hasn't seen play yet.  Wilson, Moore, AVT and Carter are all on their way to Canton (ok, this is hyperbole). 

But second year players who did not set the world on fire as rookies all suck.  Mims, Becton, Davis, Perine, Zuniga, Morgan, Clarke.  All considered wasted picks by some on this site -- except maybe Becton, but he has had his share of detractors this offseason.

I am almost as excited to see what some of these 2nd year guys can do after a full offseason.  I am a fan of Mims and think he can be a very big part of this offense.  When he was healthy, I thought he was underused & /undertargeted last year.  If healthy, I expect him to play well this year.

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59 minutes ago, Paradis said:

 

You guys make me not want to come on JN. No hyberbole

The hype is too much? da fck does that mean. More like he's been loosely panned for not making the pro bowl in his rookie year, led by Adam Gase and Darnold - on a shortened covid offseason with hamstring injurIES... 

Rookie fcking covid year

I can't with some of you. 

Agreed.   Mims didn’t stand a chance in Gase’s offense, it was just a miserable offense for the type of receiver he is.  Add in the injuries and zero training camp, and you can see why his role was limited.  

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1 hour ago, Paradis said:

 

You guys make me not want to come on JN. No hyberbole

The hype is too much? da fck does that mean. More like he's been loosely panned for not making the pro bowl in his rookie year, led by Adam Gase and Darnold - on a shortened covid offseason with hamstring injurIES... 

Rookie fcking covid year

I can't with some of you. 

It means we’ve had threads with people ball washing Mims based on measurables. All I’m saying is we need to see it in games.

I’d also like to see him play the full season.

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9 minutes ago, BurnleyJet said:

It means we’ve had threads with people ball washing Mims based on measurables. All I’m saying is we need to see it in games.

I’d also like to see him play the full season.

We did see it in games.  On a per game basis, his performances with Flacco under center rivaled some of the top performing rookie WR's last year.  

If anyone wasn't impressed with Mims last season, then he either wasn't watching, wasn't paying attention, or saw what he wanted to see, perhaps because he wanted Claypool instead and was still pissed off about it.  

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1 hour ago, Paradis said:

 

You guys make me not want to come on JN. No hyberbole

The hype is too much? da fck does that mean. More like he's been loosely panned for not making the pro bowl in his rookie year, led by Adam Gase and Darnold - on a shortened covid offseason with hamstring injurIES... 

Rookie fcking covid year

I can't with some of you. 

Oh come on. I have nothing against Mims. Just waiting for his production to match his hype & that's it. I don't see this as any different than the omg omg wailing when we picked one QB over another. Let's see if Wilson's production matches his hype as well. 

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53 minutes ago, sec101row23 said:

Agreed.   Mims didn’t stand a chance in Gase’s offense, it was just a miserable offense for the type of receiver he is.  Add in the injuries and zero training camp, and you can see why his role was limited.  

Plus Sam Darnold has zero deep ball accuracy.  That didn't help.  

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1 minute ago, Sperm Edwards said:

Oh come on. I have nothing against Mims. Just waiting for his production to match his hype & that's it. I don't see this as any different than the omg omg wailing when we picked one QB over another. Let's see if Wilson's production matches his hype as well. 

 

14 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

We did see it in games.  On a per game basis, his performances with Flacco under center rivaled some of the top performing rookie WR's last year.  

If anyone wasn't impressed with Mims last season, then he either wasn't watching, wasn't paying attention, or saw what he wanted to see, perhaps because he wanted Claypool instead and was still pissed off about it.  

 

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18 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

 

 

meh they were fine. You can't extrapolate a couple games to a whole season by throwing out the games you don't want to count from said extrapolation.

Know what this is? 

53/80 (66%) - 5 TDs, 1 INT - 111.8 QB rating - record of 2-1 (a lone 1-point loss against the SB champs)

That's a cherry-picked 3-game stretch to end Geno Smith's 2014 season. Turns out you can't look at his best 3-game stretch on a per-game basis and extrapolate that over a full season. Not unless you're - as you're putting it - just seeing what you want to see.

I have nothing against Mims. He was supposed to be a steal, physically he looks the part, and am hopeful he takes a major leap forward. I'm just waiting to see him reach or exceed the production that was scoffed at for players you advocated dumping after categorizing as a #3 WR at best. And until then I can make little wise cracks that don't mean anything anyway ;)

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6 minutes ago, Sperm Edwards said:

meh they were fine. You can't extrapolate a couple games to a whole season by throwing out the games you don't want to count from said extrapolation.

Know what this is? 

53/80 (66%) - 5 TDs, 1 INT - 111.8 QB rating - record of 2-1 (a lone 1-point loss against the SB champs)

That's a cherry-picked 3-game stretch to end Geno Smith's 2014 season. Turns out you can't look at his best 3-game stretch on a per-game basis and extrapolate that over a full season. Not unless you're - as you're putting it - just seeing what you want to see.

I have nothing against Mims. He was supposed to be a steal, physically he looks the part, and am hopeful he takes a major leap forward. I'm just waiting to see him reach or exceed the production that was scoffed at for players you advocated dumping after categorizing as a #3 WR at best. And until then I can make little wise cracks that don't mean anything anyway ;)

 

Maybe I can't.  But you also can't tell me that a season where a rookie WR had:  1) No real offseason, 2) Adam Gase as his coach, and 3) Sam Darnold as his QB didn't have his productivity hindered. 

Thus, I'll take the positives where I can, because he had a lot working against him.  For those 2 games with Flacco, a decent deep ball thrower, his productivity was good and he passed the eye test.  That's something, not nothing.  So if you want to say "Mims needs to show us something", to that I say, he DID show us something last year.  It doesn't mean he is automatically a stud WR1, but it also doesn't mean he failed to show anything like so many would like to argue. 

Hopefully he builds off of it.  He's certainly in a good system to do it, and just about anyone has to be a better deep ball thrower than Darnold was.

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6 minutes ago, Jetsfan80 said:

 

Maybe I can't.  But you also can't tell me that a season where a rookie WR had:  1) No real offseason, 2) Adam Gase as his coach, and 3) Sam Darnold as his QB didn't have his productivity hindered. 

Thus, I'll take the positives where I can, because he had a lot working against him.  For those 2 games with Flacco, a decent deep ball thrower, his productivity was good and he passed the eye test.  That's something, not nothing.  So if you want to say "Mims needs to show us something", to that I say, he DID show us something last year.  It doesn't mean he is automatically a stud WR1, but it also doesn't mean he failed to show anything like so many would like to argue. 

Hopefully he builds off of it.  He's certainly in a good system to do it, and just about anyone has to be a better deep ball thrower than Darnold was.

I don't disagree with any of this. 

I'm just saying:

a) he still has a lot to prove, and yes that includes not being handed a starting job again. He should have to beat out Moore for a starting job, seeing how Crowder is more proven as a slot receiver at this level than Moore. Ultimately a team wants its best 3 on the field. If that's Davis-Moore-Crowder, so be it. If it's Davis-Mims-Moore, that would be my preference. But since all are on the roster the starting jobs should be earned, not granted due to draft slot.

b) you can't ignore all but the 2-3 games you'd like to cherry pick and then extrapolate only those over the rest of the season. Doesn't hold one ounce of additional validity over doing the same with his 2-3 worst games and extrapolating those instead. 

The "Mims needs to show us something" quote is not mine, nor is any use of the word "nothing" (as in he showed nothing), so I don't know why you're throwing that in my face as though I did. FFS literally my only use of the word in my post you're quoting was when I said "I have nothing against Mims."

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20 hours ago, BurnleyJet said:

The hype on this guy is to much. I’m saying now Moore is going to be a star. Mims I’m yet to be convinced. Playing a full season will be a start.

I'm no football expert, by far. Can't even pretend to scout the game like some on here can. But watching Moore, against SEC competition, and there is a athletic fluidity and skill where it seemed like he was a just a level above the guys guarding him. 

I think he's going to be fantastic. 

Also, maybe Mims is just ok/good. Of course I hope he'll be better than that. But if he's just good, it's still putting a WR out there who is good, who is cheap and on their rookie deal. 

I'll take it.  

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13 hours ago, BurnleyJet said:

So what’s a good year to for this kid In year 2, 850 yards, 750, 650..

Touchdowns 8 TDS, 6, 5, More?

No doubt Mom’s has all the physical tools. Does have the drive, dedication, the ability to improve his game, route running? - The wide open thing isn’t unique, Often receivers run routes and are wide open and get missed.

I want to see numbers meaningful stats, and real game impact. Mims as all the tools you could wish for, I want to see production. Personally I think Moore is going to be the Star in this teams wide receivers.
 

Is this another Zach Wilson's mom post? :-)

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1 hour ago, Sperm Edwards said:

I don't disagree with any of this. 

I'm just saying:

a) he still has a lot to prove, and yes that includes not being handed a starting job again. He should have to beat out Moore for a starting job, seeing how Crowder is more proven as a slot receiver at this level than Moore. Ultimately a team wants its best 3 on the field. If that's Davis-Moore-Crowder, so be it. If it's Davis-Mims-Moore, that would be my preference. But since all are on the roster the starting jobs should be earned, not granted due to draft slot.

b) you can't ignore all but the 2-3 games you'd like to cherry pick and then extrapolate only those over the rest of the season. Doesn't hold one ounce of additional validity over doing the same with his 2-3 worst games and extrapolating those instead. 

The "Mims needs to show us something" quote is not mine, nor is any use of the word "nothing" (as in he showed nothing), so I don't know why you're throwing that in my face as though I did. FFS literally my only use of the word in my post you're quoting was when I said "I have nothing against Mims."

 

Can't you just upvote my post and move on once and a while?  Damn you.  lol.  

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Did Mims have enoug touches to be statistically significant?   You can see the talent but there isn't enough production to draw any conclusions.  This guy was suppossed to be a late 1 early 2 and fell to the bottom of the secnd round.  It's time for him to show up and get to work.  

Moore looks like a guy who might show the veterans how to be great.  Maybe it rubs off on Mims?   Would love to see these 2 develop together into a great pair.   

Zach and Moore clearly are on a different level in terms of preparation.  Hopefully it rubs off on Mims and the 3 of them create a dynamic downfield attack that we haven't had in a very long time. 

If the light goes on this could be fun.  If not he's going to be another JAG with huge upside. 

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