ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — The Broncos waited a long time to make their first pick of the 2023 NFL Draft, but it wasn’t as long of a wait as anticipated.
The Broncos traded picks No. 68 and 138 for picks No. 63 and 183 to select wide receiver Marvin Mims Jr., 21, out of Oklahoma. The undersized speedster was a potential first-round pick and the Broncos jumped at the opportunity to select him with the final pick of the second round.
Here’s what you need to know about Mims:
If you know one thing about Marvin Mims Jr., it should be this: he can outrun almost anybody.
Of the 42 other receivers who ran the 40-yard dash at the NFL Combine, only three posted a better time than Mims’ 4.38 seconds. NFL.com’s Chad Reuter named Mims one of the combine’s top risers.
“Mims exceeded my expectations with his measurements (5-foot-10 7/8, 183) and still put up an excellent 40 time (4.38 seconds),” Reuter wrote. “He impressed with a 39 1/2-inch vertical and 10-foot-9 broad jump, as well. He seemed to fly a bit under the radar nationally despite playing at Oklahoma, but everyone saw him excel in drills. Mims caught every pass thrown his way. His body control was outstanding and he was one of the few receivers able to make a hairpin turn on comeback routes. Time to watch his stock rise.”
Mims doesn’t want to be known just for his speed, though.
Oklahoma uses a unique route tree that doesn’t align particularly well with what NFL wide receivers are asked to do. Before his Pro Day earlier this offseason, Mims honed in his route-running ability and then put his inside-outside versatility on display for scouts.
“(It was good) just to show my versatility inside, outside, did it both today,” Mims said, according to OU Daily. “Been doing it for the last three years I’ve been here. I’ve known it. Coaches have known it. Players have known it. So just to be able to come out here and show scouts, it’s been pretty good.”
He was Mr. Texas Football
In the long, storied history of Texas high school football, no receiver has been as productive as Marvin Mims Jr.
Mims racked up 5,485 receiving yards in his prep career, the most in Texas high school history. He beat out a 17-year-old record posted by Jordan Shipley. Mims totaled 2,629 yards as a senior, which set a national record. He earned Mr. Texas Football honors for his 2019 campaign.
His efforts in high school made him a high-priority recruit with offers from Notre Dame, Ohio State and others. He initially committed to Stanford but later flipped his commitment to Oklahoma. He also took an official visit to the University of Colorado.
He made an immediate impact at Oklahoma
In his first season with the Sooners, Mims made his presence felt.
Mims caught three passes for 80 yards and a touchdown in his collegiate debut against Missouri State. In his second game, against Kansas State, he caught five passes for 31 yards and two more touchdowns.
“We are seeing the next star born here at Oklahoma,” Klatt said during the FOX broadcast of the game. “I initially said they wouldn’t have that outside and deep threat after CeeDee Lamb, but Marvin Mims.”
By the end of the year, Mims had racked up 37 catches for 610 yards and nine touchdowns. All of those numbers were the best on the team. He was a second-team All-Big-12 selection as a true freshman and also made the Freshman All-American team.
He almost transferred
In his second season in Norman, Mims’ production took a small step backward. His catches, touchdowns and yards per game all decreased slightly.
According to 247Sports, Mims would have transferred if head coach Lincoln Riley had stuck around. Instead, Riley left for USC and Mims played out his third and final season.
“I just really wasn’t happy with it,” Mims said, according to 247Sports. “I just wanted a change.”
Mims wanted the ball more.
“There wasn’t as many targets as I was looking for, nowhere near it,” Mims said. “It was kind of a letdown, but at the end of the day I had to just keep battling through it. There were times where I was really unhappy about it with both the receiver coach and the offensive coordinator, but it was what it was.”
Under the new regime, Mims caught 54 passes for 1,083 yards. Both were career bests. He also caught six touchdowns.
He’s a returner
Given his speed, it won’t come as a surprise that Mims is a punt returner.
Oklahoma deployed him occasionally as a returner for all three seasons he played with the Sooners, and Mims produced 11.8 yards per return over 33 attempts. His 2020 mark of 12.5 yards per return was the 10th-best in the country.
Whether Mims will return punts in Denver is still up in the air, but if the Borncos want to show off their newest toy, there would be no better opportunity.