Denzel Mims NFL Draft diary: Ready for the moment


After starring at the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine, wide receiver Denzel Mims is likely a first-round pick in the 2020 NFL Draft.

To read the other two installments of Mims’ Draft Diary with FanSided: Part 1 and Part 2.

Denzel Mims understands the stigma. He’s tired of hearing about it, though. He’s ready to break it.

Mims, 22, is the latest in a long line of University of Baylor receivers lauded coming out for the NFL Draft. The system was built for putting up numbers, and over the years, many have been products of the scheme. The latest example? Corey Coleman.

Coleman racked up 2,482 receiving yards and 31 touchdowns over his final two seasons with the Baylor Bears before being taken 15th-overall in the 2016 Draft by the Cleveland Browns. He’s already out of the league.

Enter Mims, a new breed of Baylor receiver.

“It’s fair of what they say about Baylor receivers, but not now,” Mims told FanSided. “We were a whole different system, a new style, a new culture (under head coach Matt Rhule). They view us as the same as them because of the logo and because of the name. …To have them view us as the old receivers, it kind of hurt.”

Under Rhule — who was hired in January by the Carolina Panthers and given a seven-year deal — Mims became the Bears’ leading man in an offensive juggernaut.

The Daingerfield, Texas native notched a pair of 1,000-yard seasons during his time in Waco. In 2019, Mims went for 66 catches and 1,020 yards with 12 touchdowns last year, earning First-Team All-Big 12 honors.

It appears the NFL understands the player Mims projects to be, regardless of alma mater.

Last week, it was announced Mims would be one of the 58 players chosen for the virtual green room, an honor extended by the league for players believed to be the best incoming rookies.

“I found out from my agent, he called and told me,” Mims said. “Just hearing that, it’s a great feeling because you grew up and dreamed about being in that green room. Just having that opportunity to be there, it’s a great feeling and I’m glad I’m able to experience that and be a part of it.”

After entering the draft process as a borderline top-50 prospect in the eyes of many within the league, Mims’ performances at the Senior Bowl and Scouting Combine have vaulted him squarely into the first-round conversation.

With only a few days until the draft, Mims has met with and spoken to almost every team, save the Kansas City Chiefs. The Zoom calls have lasted between 30-60 minutes, giving him time to work out at home between meetings.

Like every prospect, Mims doesn’t reveal a preference in where he ends up. The only goal? Go the earliest possible and to a quality environment.

Still, as the days and hours dwindle before NFL commissioner Roger Goodell puts the Cincinnati Bengals on the clock, Mims can’t help but feel some anxiety in anticipation.

“It’s been nervous a little bit, but I can’t control it. I can control what I can control. I’m leaving it in God’s hands and when the day comes just be there and be in the moment.”

On Thursday, Mims will be surrounded by a small group — after all, social distancing and such. He plans to watch the draft with his mother, grandmother, two brothers, girlfriend and 11-month-old daughter, Parker Noelle.

In four days, Mims’ life will change forever. One call from an unfamiliar area code and suddenly the dream becomes a reality.

Yet, in the mind of Mims, this isn’t only about him. It’s about those around him.

“This past year, Corey Coleman give me a lot of advice on what to expect. He told me how it’s going to be.  Don’t make some of the mistakes he made. Hearing it from him it means a lot.”

Time to prove it’s a new day for Baylor. Time for Mims to make his mark.