The wide receiver class in the 2023 NFL Draft could prove to be a challenging one for most NFL teams.
There are few truly well-rounded prospects, and for the most part the position is divided into two groups. The first is players with prototypical size and mediocre athletic traits. The other is players who are undersized but have dynamic athleticism. That could force teams to choose between selecting players who fit physical thresholds but might not have the athleticism to make much noise in the NFL, or players who are risky from a size perspective but could be playmakers.
Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims Jr. falls into the latter group of receivers. He’s somewhat undersized at 5-foot 10 7/8 inches, 183 pounds, but he’s an explosive athlete who averaged over 20 yards per catch and racked up 6 touchdowns — despite some inconsistent quarterbacking his junior year.
New York Giants GM Joe Schoen has said that he’s more interested in a receivers ability to get open than what kind of body type he has. Could Mims’ playmaking ability put him on the Giants’ radar?
Prospect: Marvin Mims Jr. (17)
Games Watched: vs. Oregon (2021), vs. Kansas State (2022), vs. TCU (2022), vs. Texas Tech (2022)
Games Played: 37
Yards (YPC): 2,398 (19.5 per catch)
2022 Played: 13
Yards (YPC): 1,083 (20.1 per catch)
Best: Long speed, agility, quickness, competitive toughness, ball skills, blocking
Worst: Size, route running
Projection: A developmental wide receiver with positional versatility and starting upside.
Oklahoma’s Marvin Mims Jr. is an undersized but athletic, versatile, and highly competitive receiver prospect.
Mims played both slot receiver and wide receiver in Oklahoma’s offense, and lined up on the line of scrimmage as well as off the line of scrimmage when out wide. Mims has an efficient release into his route against off coverage, using a good burst off the line of scrimmage to eat up the cushion afforded him. He used a quick stutter-step to upset the timing of corners in man coverage, though that had varying degrees of success. When he did get the corner to hesitate, Mims’ long speed allowed him to run past them and open up separation down the field.
Mims was used in the short and intermediate areas of the field, and was used as a vertical threat as well. He executed shallow crossing routes and quick slats with good timing and crisp breaks to create separation. His speed and subtle hand usage allowed him to create separation down the field against tighter coverage, while he has a good sense for finding soft spots between coverage zones.
He is both dangerous after the catch on short passes and has very good ball skills down the field. Mims is quick out of his breaks, has solid contact balance, and good vision as a ball carrier. He is able to force poor tackle attempts, as well as “get skinny” and pick up extra yardage in traffic. Once in the open field, Mims has the speed to run away from most defenders.
Mims does a great job of locating, tracking, and adjusting to the ball on vertical routes. He’s able to turn and look for the ball without compromising his speed and has the body control to contort and make difficult catches. Mims is a natural “hands” catcher who extends to maximize his catch radius and pluck the ball out of the air, and has fantastic concentration on receptions as well.
Finally, Mims is a very competitive receiver. He is perfectly willing to take on larger defenders at the catch point and is a very willing blocker for his teammates. He looks for work as a blocker and approaches blocks like a miniature offensive lineman. Mims generally blocks with solid technique and positioning, and fights to sustain his blocks.
That said, Mims’ size shows up throughout his game. He can be overpowered as a blocker by bigger defenders, and he can be knocked off his routes or outmuscled by big corners at the catch point.
Mims also needs to continue to hone his craft as a wide receiver. He wasn’t asked to run a particularly broad or nuanced route tree, and was mostly limited to crossing or slant routes, vertical routes, and the occasional come-back. He ran the routes he was asked to well enough, but the offense didn’t put much on their receivers. He will need to learn how to run his routes with more nuance and savvy to win against NFL caliber cornerbacks. Likewise, he might need some development in order to execute more intricate route concepts at the NFL level.
Overall Grade: 7.1
Marvin Mims Jr. projects as a developmental receiver to start his career, but he has the upside to produce early on and could well become a starter by the end of his rookie contract.
Like many receivers in this class, Mims won’t be for every team, and the team that selects him will need a plan for how to use his skill set while he develops. He has the ability to be a weapon down the field, or in run after catch situations, right away, and his future team should scheme packages of plays to get him going early.
He also has the potential to help his team without the ball as well. Mims is a very willing blocker and often wins through sheer competitiveness. His speed also allows him to be an effective distraction by being put in jet motion before the snap. Defenses can’t ignore the threat he poses as a ball carrier, and that can help pull defenders out of position – or at least slow them down.
Mims also has experience as a punt returner and should at least get a look there as well.
He might not be an every-down player right now, but Mims should certainly produce his share of exciting highlights in his rookie camp. It’ll be hard for his future team to keep him off the field, even if it takes him a year or two to become a dependable starter.