After slipping down the depth chart this offseason, wide receiver Denzel Mims isn't losing confidence.
The former second-rounder missed a chunk of time this spring, unable to participate in practices and workouts due to a scary battle with food poisoning, one that resulted in the loss of 20 pounds.
Now that he's back with the team as the preseason is set to begin, Mims is comfortable once again, seeking to show New York's new coaching staff what he can do while standing out in a vastly improved wide receiver room.
"You always gotta battle each and every day no matter where you're at," Mims told reporters on Wednesday. "You can be starting at x or number one receiver, you gotta battle each and every day because you slack and someone else can come take your spot."
Mims didn't have a perfect rookie season last year—missing time due to injury and playing in just nine games—but he still profiled as a candidate to break out this season or at least be a starter at wide receiver. There were flashes across his time between the lines in 2020 that showed his potential, a wideout with playmaking ability at the next level.
After New York brought in free agents Corey Davis and Keelan Cole, drafting Elijah Moore in the second round, speculation about Mims' future with Gang Green is all of a sudden warranted. How does he fit with this group, especially after his absence for a good chunk of the summer?
Those factors aren't deterring the Baylor product from getting his work in, however. He's not concerning himself with those questions about his role this season and beyond.
"During practice, when I'm not in, I catch with the quarterbacks to make sure we're on the same page," the wideout added. "I just try to do everything I can to make sure I'm ready."
That extra work and his positive attitude amid an uncertain situation has resonated with his teammates and his new head coach.
"He's got that fire right now, man, and he just wants to be great," quarterback Zach Wilson said. "He's really just trying to show everybody what he can do. And he's just doing everything he can to just make sure he follows his assignment, gives that full effort. We're going to do what we can to get him the ball."
Asked if the organization is considering parting ways with Mims, Robert Saleh didn't hesitate in his reply.
"No, absolutely not. There isn’t a player in this organization that anyone is ready to give up on," Saleh said. "They’ve got three opportunities to go against other rosters and to continue to compete and establish themselves as what we want on this 53-man roster. Every single player is competing their tails off and they’re doing a really good job and I’m just excited for them to get an opportunity to go against a different colored jersey."
A lot can change over the next month leading up to Week 1 in Carolina. As players jockey for position on the depth chart, especially in New York's three preseason games (and joint practices that are coming up), keep an eye on Mims and what kind of workload he receives.
The illness he had certainly set him back, but Mims has no doubts that he can rise to the occasion in a new offensive system once he's done catching up.
"I just got to focus on my job and just continue to be myself and focus on my craft so I can get better," he said. "If you worry, you won't get no better."
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