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Marvin Mims

Rookie steps up in final exhibition

Actions have meaning. So when Denver, which already seemed overstocked with wide receivers, traded up for Marvin Mims in the second round, it was a statement of how much they liked the guy. Little did they know at the time how much they might need him.

Back then, Denver was supposedly shopping Courtland Sutton or Jerry Jeudy. Now it's a good thing they still have those guys, because Tim Patrick (Achilles) is out for the season, again, and KJ Hamler (heart condition) has been released and will be focusing on those health issues. But Jeudy was carted off from practice with a hamstring injury last week and will probably miss regular-season games.

Mims looks like he'll open as the No. 2, and he stepped up in the final exhibition last night. He made a diving catch of a slightly underthrown bomb early on; initially ruled a 75-yard touchdown, it wound up as a 50-yard grab. He also handled the ball on an endaround near the goal line. Sutton was held out of that game (understandably), but it's clear Mims is going to have a big role early on.

Mims was a difference-maker at Oklahoma. As a true freshman in 2020, a quarter of his 37 receptions (9) went for touchdowns. He caught 5 more touchdowns (while averaging 22 yards per catch) as a sophomore, then last year caught 54 balls for 1,083 yards and 6 scores -- 20.1 yards per reception. That was a top-3 average in college last year. He went to the combine and ran a 4.38, before Denver (which didn't have a pick in either of the first two rounds) traded up to select him at No. 63 overall, the final pick of Round 2.

Mims' 20.1 yard per catch average is the 2nd-best final year of college season (50-plus catches) by any second rounder in the last 10 years; only former Steeler and Cowboy James Washington was better.

In the last 10 years, 40 other wide receivers have caught at least 50 passes in their final year of college and then been selected in the second round. That includes three other 2023 rookies: Jonathan Mingo in Carolina, Rashee Rice in Kansas City, and Jayden Reed in Green Bay. All four teams seem to have an opportunity for a rookie to make a quick impact.

It's tough for that to happen, but not unprecedented. Of the previous 37 second-round picks, six have posted top-30 numbers (PPR) as rookies. About a fifth (seven) have gone over 800 receiving yards in their rookie seasons, while six have scored at least 8 TDs.

Table shows final year of college numbers from second-round wideouts the last 10 years (minimum 50 catches), including yards per reception, with the last two columns showing their rookie year numbers and rank that season (PPR), sorted by that ranking.

2ND-ROUND WRS (50-PLUS CATCHES), 2014-2023, ROOKIE SEASONS
YearPkPlayerNoYdsTDAvgRookieRk
201647Michael Thomas, N.O.56781913.992-1137-97
201762JuJu Smith-Schuster, Pitt.709141013.158-917-820
201951A.J. Brown, Tenn.851320615.552-1051-922
202049Chase Claypool, Pitt.6610371315.762-873-1123
201442Jordan Matthews, Phil.1121477713.267-872-825
202033Tee Higgins, Cin.5911671419.867-908-628
201463Jarvis Landry, Mia.56573510.284-758-530
201936Deebo Samuel, S.F.628821114.257-802-631
201640Sterling Shepard, NYG8612881115.065-683-836
202042Laviska Shenault, Jac.56764613.658-600-546
202134Elijah Moore, NYJ861193813.943-538-650
201840Courtland Sutton, Den.6810851316.042-704-450
201847Christian Kirk, Ariz.719191012.943-590-358
201540Dorial Green-Beckham, Tenn.598831215.032-549-459
201851Anthony Miller, Chi.9614621815.233-423-760
201655Tyler Boyd, Cin.91926610.254-603-163
202253Alec Pierce, Ind.52884817.041-593-264
201541Devin Funchess, Car.62733411.831-473-565
201461Allen Robinson, Jac.971432614.848-548-265
201844Dante Pettis, S.F.63761712.127-467-571
201453Davante Adams, G.B.13117182413.138-446-375
202034Michael Pittman, Ind.10112751112.640-503-180
201737Zay Jones, Buff.1581746811.127-316-287
202046KJ Hamler, Den.56904816.130-381-388
201439Marqise Lee, Jac.57791413.937-422-188
202250Tyquan Thornton, N.E.629481015.322-247-398
201445Paul Richardson, Sea.8313431016.229-271-198
202059Denzel Mims, NYJ6610201215.523-357-0107
202243Wan'Dale Robinson, NYG1041334712.823-227-1116
202254Skyy Moore, K.C.9512921013.622-250-0118
201959Parris Campbell, Ind.9010631211.818-127-1121
201860James Washington, Pitt.7415491420.916-217-1125
201740Curtis Samuel, Car.748651511.715-115-0126
201962Andy Isabella , Ariz.10216981416.69-189-1131
201957JJ Arcega-Whiteside, Phil.6310591416.810-169-1136
201456Cody Latimer, Den.721096915.22-23-0172
202244John Metchie, Hou.961142811.9Injured--
202339Jonathan Mingo, Car.51861816.9??????
202350Jayden Reed, G.B.55636511.6??????
202355Rashee Rice, K.C.9613551014.1??????
202363Marvin Mims, Den.541083620.1??????

The Broncos previously put a pair of second-rounders on this list, Sutton (who had a decent rookie season) and Hamler (who didn't). Broncos coach Sean Payton is pretty familiar with the guy who had the best of those rookie seasons, Michael Thomas.

I drafted Mims in the second round in my dynasty draft back in May. I'm feeling optimistic about his rookie-year impact, especially given the team's current situation at the position. Worth a late selection.

--Andy Richardson

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