Fri Aug 5 3:32pm ET
By DENNIS WASZAK Jr.
AP Pro Football Writer
FILE -New York Jets' Denzel Mims participates in a drill at the NFL football team's training facility in Florham Park, N.J., Tuesday, May 24, 2022. Denzel Mims was the New York Jets' exciting new playmaker two summers ago, a potential game-changing wide receiver for years to come. A lot has happened since. And not a lot good.(AP Photo/Seth Wenig, File)
FLORHAM PARK, N.J. (AP) Denzel Mims was the New York Jets' exciting new playmaker two summers ago, a potential game-changing wide receiver for years to come.
A lot has happened since. And not a lot good.
The 2020 second-round pick out of Baylor dealt with hamstring issues as a rookie, an awful case of food poisoning that caused him to lose 20 pounds last offseason, a bout with COVID-19 last season and seeing his role in the offense dwindle to nearly non-existent.
And during that time, there was a lot of chatter - mostly by frustrated fans and puzzled media, all wondering what happened to the player the Jets thought they were getting.
''Everyone's gonna talk,'' Mims said after practice Friday. ''It's up to you if you let that bother you. I don't (go) on social media like that. I don't pay no attention to that (stuff).
''I'm just going to continue to do what I need to do, honestly.''
Mims has played in just 20 games - including 11 starts - in two NFL seasons, catching 31 passes for 490 yards and zero touchdowns. His slide down the team's depth chart at wide receiver has been glaring, and he's below Corey Davis, Elijah Moore, Garrett Wilson, Braxton Berrios and Jeff Smith in training camp.
Mims' roster spot is far from guaranteed. But the 24-year-old receiver has grand goals for himself - the same as he had the moment his name was called with the 59th overall pick in the draft.
''Hopefully I see myself on top,'' he said. ''I mean, I feel like I put in enough work to be there. That's the coaches' decision, but I'll continue to work my tail off and do everything I can.''
Mims doesn't mean just being part of a rotation, either.
''A starting receiver,'' he said. ''That's my goal. That's my only goal.''
His confidence has not waned, even if everyone else's in him has. Mims says he feels a lot better this summer than he did last season.
''I just think, shoot, I'm trying to do everything right,'' he said.
His health is improved and his knowledge of the playbook is on point.
''I show it every day,'' Mims said. ''It's up to them if they want to play me or not, but I show it every day what I can do. And I'm going to continue to do that.''
When Mims was drafted by the Jets, he came to New York to play in an offense led by then-coach Adam Gase and offensive coordinator Dowell Loggains. He missed most of training camp with a hamstring injury and didn't make his debut until Week 7. He finished with 23 catches for 357 yards in nine games.
Following a coaching change in the offseason, food poisoning after eating some bad salmon set him back and he spent most of last summer trying to get up to speed physically and mentally in a new system. That comfort zone never developed as he had just eight receptions for 133 yards in 11 games, and he missed three others because of COVID-19.
There were lapses in Mims' overall game - and perhaps his focus - that prevented him from reaching his potential. Coach Robert Saleh has seen a difference, with Mims having some playmaking flashes during the early part of camp.
''He's doing a really good job,'' Saleh said. ''He is fighting his tail off in the run game. Because he's so well-conditioned right now, he's doing things with his body in the passing game from a route-running standpoint that he hasn't been able to do in the past.''
Mims also has been working extra on special teams, a role that could play in the final decisions on cutdown day in a few weeks.
''Really, really happy with the approach he's taken this offseason,'' Saleh said. ''The way he attacked OTAs and the way he's come into training camp, where he is mentally, the coaching that he's accepting.
''He doesn't make excuses, he's just grinding and he's approaching it like a professional. And for that, I'm grateful.''
NOTES: RB Tevin Coleman (illness) and TE Jeremy Ruckert (foot) made their practice debuts. ... RB Ty Johnson and DE Vinny Curry remained sidelined with hamstring injuries. ... The Jets had three minor skirmishes, but all were broken up quickly. ''One rule: No punching,'' Saleh said. ''They're going to push, they're going to shove. It's going to happen. They're sick of each other. I think I'm sick of hearing the same calls from the coordinators, and I think everyone's sick of each other at this point in camp. But we've got one more week of it before we get to go to Philadelphia (for the preseason opener) and see different humans. But rule one, protect the team, don't punch.''
Houston Texans running backs Marlon Mack and Rex Burkhead are listed as co-starters at running back on the team's first unofficial depth chart of training camp. They are followed by rookie Dameon Pierce, Royce Freeman, Dare Ogunbowale and Darius Anderson. Coming off a serious Achilles injury that limited him to seven games the last two seasons with the Indianapolis Colts, the 26-year-old Mack figures to lead Houston's backfield to begin the 2022 season. However, this could be a frustrating backfield to predict early on, and Pierce has the goods to become the starter by season's end in an offense run by quarterback Davis Mills. If you're betting on anyone as a last-round RB for depth, Pierce is probably the best low-cost investment with the most upside.
The Kansas City Chiefs agreed to an undisclosed one-year deal with veteran free-agent defensive tackle Danny Shelton on Tuesday, according to his agents, Drew Rosenhaus and Ryan Matha. Shelton played in 13 games (zero starts) for the New York Giants last year, recording 31 tackles (12 solo) and half a sack. He was originally a first-round pick of the Cleveland Browns in 2015 out of the University of Washington, and he spent his first three seasons in the NFL in Cleveland. The 28-year-old pass-rusher has also spent time with the New England Patriots and Detroit Lions. Shelton will be looking to compete for a starting spot on the interior of KC's defensive line. He has 278 tackles (138 solo), 17 tackles for loss, 19 QB hits, six sacks and a forced fumble in seven NFL seasons.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Jalen Reagor continues to stack good days at training camp in what has definitely been his most consistent camp as a professional. At the moment, he looks too good to consider releasing, in the opinion of The Athletic's Bo Wulf, although a trade remains on the table. The former first-round pick has been a disappointment through his two NFL seasons, compiling 64 catches (111 targets) for 695 yards and three touchdowns in 28 games (24 starts). The 23-year-old will probably only be fantasy relevant if he's traded to a team that gives him a realistic chance to start. As things stand now in Philly, he's behind the likes of A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith, Quez Watkins and Zach Pascal.
Cleveland Browns All-Pro returner and wide receiver Jakeem Grant Sr. (Achilles) is feared to have torn his Achilles in training camp practice on Tuesday. He will undergo tests to confirm after he was carted off the field on Tuesday. This will be a big blow to Cleveland's special teams unit this year as well as their receiver depth. The 29-year-old speedy wideout was looking for a role on both special teams and as a pass-catcher in his first year with the Browns after catching 11 of his 17 targets for 132 yards and two touchdowns in 2021 with the Miami Dolphins and Chicago Bears. He was a Pro Bowler last year for his work as a returner, handling 23 kickoff returns for 539 yards and 26 punt returns for 309 yards and one touchdown.
Philadelphia Eagles wide receiver Zach Pascal missed the first week-plus of training camp with food poisoning and has been slowly acclimating since, but Monday was his best day by a wide margin. He showcased nice route-running and dominated a portion of seven-on-seven drills with a one-handed catch. Pascal has yet to make much of an impact in team drills, though, and he's still trying to get on the same page as quarterback Jalen Hurts. Unfortunately for Pascal, he's currently fourth on the Eagles depth chart behind A.J. Brown, DeVonta Smith and Quez Watkins, who had a productive day in team drills on Monday with a couple of nice catches. Pascal can be passed over on draft day in most leagues to begin the 2022 season.
Dynasty | Browns wide receiver and special teams ace Jakeem Grant was carted off with an apparent leg injury at practice. Dynasty Analysis: This has the looks of a potentially serious injury. Grant was making some headway on the depth chart and figured to be the Browns primary return man as well. If he's indeed lost for the season, it would open up more snaps and targets for the likes of Donovan Peoples-Jones and David Bell. As for Grant, he's already a fringe dynasty player and there would be little reason to keep him should this be a serious injury. Stay tuned.
Cleveland Browns WR Jakeem Grant (leg) was carted off the field after suffering an apparent left leg injury at practice Tuesday, Aug. 9.
New York Giants running back Saquon Barkley continues to look good in training camp this summer. He looked decisive and quick during training camp practice on Sunday when the team mostly worked on red-zone runs. Head coach Brian Daboll has called Barkley "explosive," and it's been evident on the field as well. Center Jon Feliciano said this version of Barkley is the best he's seen from any RB on any of his teams. The 25-year-old was still rehabbing from an ACL tear last summer and didn't look like the same player in 2021. But he's looking much different in 2022 as he enters the final year of his rookie contract. If your league mates are hesitant to touch Barkley in fantasy drafts, take advantage. He could be a massive value pick as a high-end RB2.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Trey Lance finished Saturday's training camp practice with a flourish, but it didn't carry over to Sunday. He completed just four of his 12 passes on Sunday, which included a bad interception that was forced during the final period of the day. However, according to receiver Brandon Aiyuk, Lance was not fazed by his performance and talked to teammates about the plays he wanted back and how he could improve going forward. It shows Lance's maturity at a young age, but even though the Niners believe he's their long-term answer at the position, they're unsure how well he'll play in his first full year as the starter in 2022. The 22-year-old will surely have his ups and downs, but his dual-threat abilities give him low-end QB1 upside right away.
The Tennessee Titans signed former Cleveland Browns safety Adrian Colbert to an undisclosed one-year deal on Tuesday, according to his agents. Colbert spent the 2021 season with the Browns and New York Jets, but all of his production came in New York. He had 16 tackles (10 solo) in just four games played (three starts) for Gang Green. Originally a seventh-round pick by the San Francisco 49ers in 2017 out of the University of Miami, Colbert has put up 109 tackles (84 solo), eight passes defensed, two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery in 39 career games (22 starts) with the 49ers, Miami Dolphins, New York Giants, Browns and Jets. He'll simply provide defensive back depth in Tennessee if he sticks around.
Updating a previous report, free-agent QB EJ Perry (Jaguars) signed an undisclosed contract with the Jacksonville Jaguars on Tuesday, Aug. 9. QB Kyle Sloter was released to make room for him on the roster.
New York Jets former first-round offensive tackle Mekhi Becton (knee) suffered an avulsion fracture of his right kneecap in training camp practice on Monday. He'll visit with a surgeon on Wednesday, but Becton will likely miss all of the 2022 season. It's brutal news for the Jets and the 23-year-old, who missed all but one game last year due to an unrelated knee injury. In his absence, George Fant stepped in at left tackle and did a commendable job protecting quarterback Zach Wilson's blind side in his rookie season. Becton had a solid rookie season in 2020, but injuries in back-to-back seasons have quickly turned him into a bust early in his career.
Atlanta Falcons rookie running back Tyler Allgeier was listed as the team's eighth running back on the first official depth chart of training camp, but not much should be read into it, as head coach Arthur Smith generally puts rookies on the back end of the depth chart at this stage of the preseason. Along with Allgeier, eighth overall pick Drake London was listed fifth at the wideout position behind KhaDarel Hodge, Geronimo Allison, Damiere Byrd and Auden Tate. London has been working with the first-team offense in camp, and it's fair to expect him to play a ton once the regular season begins. Allgeier has a realistic shot to become the No. 2 in his rookie season behind Cordarrelle Patterson and ahead of Damien Williams.
Dynasty | James Robinson reportedly took first team reps in Jaguars practice on Monday. Dynasty Analysis: Robinson still has a ways to go before being ready for game action, but this is a big step forward after he was only participating in team drills prior to Monday. Travis Etienne's presence is obviously going to eat into Robinson's value, but Robinson and Cam Akers are both proving achilles tears may not be the death knell they used to be. Sitting at RB41, there could be some serious value in Robinson and he looks like a "buy" candidate.
Kansas City Chiefs WR JuJu Smith-Schuster could be the second-most targeted player behind TE Travis Kelce, in the opinion of Arrowhead Pride's Pete Sweeney on Tuesday, Aug. 9. 'Speaking of Smith-Schuster -- Marquez Valdes-Scantling looked like he could be the go-to WR in OTAs, but at training camp, through my looks, it's been Smith-Schuster. I'm now tending to think he'll be the second-most targeted Chiefs pass-catcher behind TE Travis Kelce in 2022.'
Fantasy Spin: With Tyreek Hill gone, Smith-Schuster has a chance to be the top WR for Patrick Mahomes. Given the ambiguous depth chart and the history of success early in his career, Smith-Schuster carries WR2 upside despite being drafted as a WR3.
Cleveland Browns head coach Kevin Stefanski has a plan for quarterback Deshaun Watson and the rest of the team's QBs for the team's preseason opener on Friday against the Jacksonville Jaguars, but he hasn't told them yet and won't tell the media. It's unclear if Watson will play. NFL disciplinary officer Sue L. Robinson handed down a six-game suspension for Watson, but the NFL has appealed and is seeking a full-season suspension, which could result in the case moving to federal court. It's anyone's guess as to how much he'll play in the preseason, but it doesn't really mean much in the grand scheme of things for fantasy. With at least a six-game ban for Watson in 2022, he's a low-end QB2, at best in upcoming fantasy drafts.
Seattle Seahawks quarterback Geno Smith took all of the first-team repetitions during Sunday's walk-through practice, while Drew Lock worked exclusively with the No. 2 offense as the QB competition appeared to remain status quo. Smith has gotten virtually all of the first-team reps in the first week and a half of training camp, but that could start to change based on Lock's strong showing in Saturday's mock game. Lock was clearly the better QB, while Smith underwhelmed while leading the first-team offense against backups. The Seattle coaching staff hasn't made any judgments on the two QBs since the weekend, but there's a chance that Lock could have his opening to take the starting QB job and run with it for the rest of camp and the preseason. Stay tuned.
Kansas City Chiefs WR Justin Watson is a precise route-runner that the team's quarterbacks - including Patrick Mahomes - love throwing to, according to Peter King of NBC Sports.
San Francisco 49ers rookie running back Tyrion Davis-Price is listed as the team's No. 4 RB on the first unofficial depth chart of training camp. Second-year back Elijah Mitchell is the starter, with Jeff Wilson Jr. and Trey Sermon directly behind him. Fantasy managers shouldn't read too much into these unofficial depth charts, but it's another reminder that the Niners backfield is very crowded. Davis-Price has looked impressive in training camp and could be involved early in his rookie season, but it's unrealistic to expect him to have a big role given all the other bodies in this backfield. The 21-year-old will be much more attractive in dynasty/keeper setups, and he might be worth a late-round dart throw in deeper leagues.
Only twice last year in his rookie season did Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Rondale Moore have more than six targets in a game, and those two games ended up being his best. He caught seven passes for 114 yards and a touchdown over the Vikings and had 11 receptions for 51 yards in late November in a win over the Seahawks. But other than that, he was mostly used in gadget situations. Moore is expected to have a bigger role in 2022, especially with DeAndre Hopkins suspended for the first six games. The 22-year-old second-year wideout is a popular pick to break out for this offense. The Cardinals anticipate using Moore all over the field, even out of the backfield. In an offense that likes to throw the ball around often, Moore is absolutely worth a late-round pick in fantasy drafts for his upside.