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Marvin Mims, forgotten man in the Broncos WR room, could make significant noise in camp

The rookie, drafted in the second round of April’s NFL Draft, is not getting the chatter guys like Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, and Tim Patrick are. But maybe he should.

NFLPA Rookie Premiere Portrait Session Photo by Michael Owens/Getty Images

Excitement is growing throughout Broncos Country with training camp just two weeks away, and one of the most talked about position groups this offseason has been the wide receivers.

Given new head coach Sean Payton’s reputation for getting the best out of his receivers in his high-octane offense, there is good reason for that. Follow that up with the excellent close to the 2022 season Jerry Jeudy had, the comparisons to Michael Thomas that Payton made about Courtland Sutton (and that Sutton has been studying Thomas’ film), and the return of ultimate glue guy receiver Tim Patrick, and of course this position group may end up being the most followed story of camp.

One name that has been mentioned scarcely, mainly in passing, is rookie wideout Marvin Mims out of Oklahoma. Outside a couple of “names to watch” mentions and minor injury updates, the second-round pick isn’t exactly generating the same chatter as his veteran teammates. But there is a case to be made that he should be.

It wasn’t long ago that it was widely reported Payton was actively shopping both Jeudy and Sutton prior (and possibly during) the NFL Draft, perhaps suggesting the new man in town was not pleased enough with what the two bring to the table. Could that change in training camp (if not already changed during OTAs)? Of course. The early skepticism, however, suggests the duo will need to be the best versions of themselves (which they haven’t always been to date) at a much more consistent level this season.

Patrick has developed a Mr. Reliable reputation, but he is coming off a torn ACL, and as he is nearing 30 years of age, may not be able to fully capitalize off the potential he showed prior to the injury. And the fourth member of the primary receiver rotation, KJ Hamler, just cannot stay healthy.

Therefore, the group consists of a top two that the new head coach was, at least early on, iffy on, and two additional players with injury history. And none, for the record, were Payton picks.

The only guys on the team who Payton hand picked to bring over to Denver are Marquez Calloway and Lil’Jordan Humphrey, two talented receivers but perhaps not threats to become primary targets.

Mims, Payton’s first-ever draft pick as Broncos head coach, is not just a player Payton liked, but someone the team traded up to get. Yes, George Paton made the ultimate decision to make that trade, but don’t think for a second that Payton didn’t sign off on it.

Factor in as well that when Payton wants a rookie wide receiver to produce, they historically have answered that bell.

In his very first season as head coach of the New Orleans Saints, he took little known Marques Colston in the seventh round out of Hofstra in the 2006 NFL Draft. Colton would emerge to lead the team with 70 catches for 1,038 yards and eight touchdowns his rookie year and would produce 1,000+ yard seasons in five of the next six seasons.

As a fifth-round pick in 2013, Kenny Stills out of Oklahoma would end up as a top-three receiver for the Saints his rookie year, grabbing 32 receptions for 641 yards, and he followed that up with 63 catches for 931 yards in his sophomore campaign

The following year after Stills’ solid rookie campaign, the team would take Brandin Cooks in the first round, and he would produce 53 catches for 553 yards as the new man in the group.

Then comes Michael Thomas out of Ohio State who, like Mims, was a second-round pick. Thomas would have a ridiculous 92 catches his rookie season for 1,137 yards and nine touchdowns.

Again, when Payton likes a rookie receiver, he tends to get the most out of them, and seeing as he saw enough in Mims to trade up for him, he’s a name that should start to surface in more discussions in just a short while.

Does this mean that lightning will strike once more and another rookie sensation for Payton will emerge? Of course not. Did those other names mentioned get a major boost from hauling in passes from Drew Brees. Of course.

It will of course come down to just how much Payton can get out of Russell Wilson, but for Mims to not only be handpicked by Payton, but also a player he gave up capital to get, is not a player who should be overlooked.

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