By the time the NFL Draft is just a few days away, we’ll have a clear idea of whom the Cincinnati Bengals will be targeting early on. Usually, the discussion surrounds the first-round pick, but that’s anything but a mystery now.
The second round is where the conversation truly begins this year, and former Baylor wide receiver Denzel Mims will absolutely be a part of it. Mims could very well be a first-round pick and has risen into the conversation as a top-five receiver in this class after dominating the Senior Bowl and scouting combine.
As it happens, a member of the Bengals’ coaching staff is already intimately familiar with Mims.
Wide receivers coach Bob Bicknell came to Cincinnati in 2018 after spending the 2017 season with Baylor in the same role. While there, he personally coached Mims during his sophomore season when he first broke out. According to Bengals.com, Mims’ 2017 season was one of the most productive out of all Power Five receivers that year.
Under Bicknell’s guidance, sophomore Denzel Mims became one of only six WRs from Power Five schools to top 1000 yards for a season. Mims notched career-highs in catches (61), receiving yards (1087) and TDs (eight).
Mims’ 1,087 yards remained a career high for him at Baylor and it accounted for 31.49% of their passing yardage, which is a mark that bodes well for his NFL potential.
That season was when Mims first appeared on the NFL’s radar, and Bicknell found his way back into the NFL with the Bengals soon after. Bicknell remains one of the handful of coaches kept from the Marvin Lewis era, so clearly head coach Zac Taylor values his coaching style and scouting ability.
In the two years that followed his sophomore year, Mims continued to develop into a well-rounded prospect who eventually earned both a Senior Bowl and combine invite. From there, he’s elevated himself into a draft pick locked for the top 50 selections.
How early Mims goes is unclear; he’s currently an underdog to be a first-round pick per oddshark.com. If he makes it to pick No. 33, you can bet Bicknell will want to be reunited with his former player. Mims checks all the boxes for what the Bengals value in receivers and they will have him high on their board—if not as the best player available.