There are always players who help or hurt themselves with their performance at the annual NFL scouting combine. Last month in Indianapolis, a player who may have helped himself the most was former Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims.
Mims was a standout player in the Big 12, though he was overshadowed by Oklahoma’s CeeDee Lamb — widely considered one of the top two receivers of the historically stacked 2020 class. Still, Mims joined Lamb as a first-team All-Big 12 honoree in 2019.
Mims caught 66 passes for 1,020 yards and 12 touchdowns in his senior year, giving him 186 receptions for 2,925 yards and 28 TDs in his four collegiate seasons.
Those numbers were enough to get him into the second or third round of most mock drafts heading into January.
But then Mims impressed at the Senior Bowl, before really setting himself apart with his performance at the combine.
Mims checked in at 6-foot-3 and 207 pounds — pretty ideal size for a receiver. Then he ran a 4.38-second 40-yard dash, had a 38½-inch vertical jump, ran the three-cone drill in 6.66 seconds and had a 20-yard shuttle run of 4.43 seconds. Each of those numbers put Mims in an elite category for wide receivers.
Coming out of the combine, analysts took note of what Mims had done, with NFL Network’s Mike Garofolo saying on “NFL Total Access” he thought the wide receiver had made himself “an absolute lock” to be a first-round pick with his combination of size and speed.
“I know how deep it is at the receiver position in this draft,” Garofolo said. “But boy, this guy really put on a display.”
In his latest mock draft, ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. had the Vikings selecting Mims at No. 22 in the first round to help replace Stefon Diggs, who was recently traded to the Bills. Mims didn’t appear in either of Kiper’s first two mocks.
“Mims is one of the biggest risers from the pre-draft process,” Kiper said.
Even prior to working out at the combine, Mims said he felt like he was one of the top receivers in the draft class.
“Most definitely think I belong in the first round,” Mims said, adding that he’s not necessarily paying attention to what the draft pundits were saying about him because he’s not on Twitter.
He also said he felt like he could improve his route-running ability.
“I feel like I can do a better job with transitions at the top of my routes,” Mims said. “I want to get elite running out of my routes, so that I can get away from defenders, catch the ball and get open more.”
Still, with his combine performance Mims has put himself in position to become become one of the top drafted wide receivers in the class.
“He showed short-area quickness. He showed long speed. He’s got the size,” NFL.com draft analytst Lance Zierlein said after Mims’ performance at the combine. “Now you tie it to the Senior Bowl performance, and all these boxes start to come into place.”