All of the hype, scouting reports, rumors, rumblings, and leaked Wonderlic scores have led to this. The 2020 NFL Draft is this week. We're only days away from finding out where the incoming class of promising rookies will land.
Perhaps the position that's most intriguing heading into Thursday night is the wide receiver group. The much-ballyhooed class seems poised to make a huge splash on night one of the draft, with anywhere from 5-7 expected to come off the board in the top 32.
There's a clear elite three: Oklahoma's CeeDee Lamb and Alabama's Jerry Jeudy and Henry Ruggs III. Most draft analysts have LSU's Justin Jefferson as the No. 4 option. After that, it's wide open.
So, where does a player like Baylor's Denzel Mims fit in? Here's where the oddsmakers have set Mims' draft position over/under:
Bovada is leaning pretty heavily toward Mims being a first-round pick. It's not hard to see why. The Baylor standout has the size (6-foot-3, 207 pounds) and natural athletic ability NFL teams covet in an outside wide receiver. He can catch just about anything (but doesn't always) and has great body control, particularly on 50-50 balls.
Maybe the biggest key to getting early reps as a rookie is his desire and ability to block. He puts in an enthusiastic effort in that area, even when unsuccessful, and his long arms help him keep defenders at bay. That could be a deciding factor for some run-heavy, WR-needy teams in the latter half of the first round.
Which teams could be interested?
Let's take a look at a few teams that need to add a receiver and could take one late in the first round or early in the second round.
Philadelphia Eagles (No. 21)
If Justin Jefferson is still on the board, I'd be shocked if the Eagles passed on him. However, there's so much buzz around the former LSU receiver that he might be a top-20 pick. At that point, the Eagles must decide whether or not to attack some of their defensive holes (maybe LB Kenneth Murray or a cornerback) or take Mims.
Minnesota Vikings (Nos. 22 or 25)
This is where I have Mims landing in my mock draft. Here's why I like the fit so much:
After the Vikings clean up all the drinks they knocked over when Jefferson gets taken right in front of them, they'll pivot to the more physical Mims. Aside from the back-shoulder options, he'll open up for Kirk Cousins, Mims' strong blocking skills make him an ideal fit in Minnesota's run-heavy offense.
Baltimore Ravens (No. 28)
Like Minnesota, the Ravens are a run-heavy team in need of wide receiver help. Mims can be a big red-zone target for reigning NFL MVP Lamar Jackson. Mims can also serve as the go-up-and-get-it guy for Jackson when things break down in the pocket. Jackson's progression as a passer will have a lot to do with the improved corps of weapons around him. Mims and Jackson can make each other better.
Green Bay Packers (No. 30)
This is where SI's Kevin Hanson has Mims landing in his latest mock. Despite the addition of Devin Funchess this offseason, the Packers are in desperate need for receiver help opposite of Davante Adams. Mims can be the long-term solution to that problem and could bully lesser corners if teams focus too heavily on Adams. I can already see Mims coming down with an Aaron Rodgers miracle hail mary.
San Francisco 49ers (No. 31)
If San Francisco elects to use the 13th overall pick on a player like Javon Kinlaw or C.J. Henderson, it'll be in the receiver market late in Round 1. SI's 49ers publisher Grant Cohn thinks Mims would be a tremendous fit for the 49ers.
Mims is exactly the kind of wide receiver the 49ers don’t already have. They have deep threats -- Marquise Goodwin and Travis Benjamin. They have a gadget receiver -- Deebo Samuel. They have a possession receiver -- Kendrick Bourne. They have slot receivers -- Trent Taylor, Richie James Jr. and Jalen Hurd. But they don’t have a big, fast No. 1 receiver, such as Julio Jones or Andre Johnson.
Cincinnati Bengals (No. 33)
After taking QB Joe Burrow with the No. 1 overall pick, the Bengals could look to add more weapons around him with the top pick in Round 2. Sure, A.J. Green is coming back under the franchise tag, and Tyler Boyd is locked up for the next few years, but John Ross's contract expires after 2020, and Green hasn't exactly been a pillar of health and is entering his age-32 season. Cincinnati isn't building to compete this season anyway, so Mims can be a long-term option for them.
Indianapolis Colts (Nos. 34 or 44)
Unless the Colts trade back into the first round to take QB Jordan Love, it feels like they'll go receiver with one of their two second-round picks. T.Y. Hilton is a star, but Parris Campbell is emerging and unproven. Plus, no one ever complained about having three viable options at receiver. Mims gives the Colts the big receiver and true red-zone threat they lack, especially with tight end Eric Ebron leaving this offseason.
Most draft analysts have Mims as either their fifth- or sixth-ranked wide receiver, and I expect at least six pass-catchers to come off the board on the draft's opening night. There are too many WR-needy teams between picks 21-31 to see Mims falling out of the first round.
The Play: UNDER 32.5 (-200)
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