ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Marvin Mims Jr. first welcome to the NFL moment was, well, when he was welcomed as he walked into the Denver Broncos’ locker room last Thursday.
The Broncos made the former Oklahoma receiver the final pick in the second round – which is so much better than being the first pick in the third round – on April 28. It would be nearly three weeks later before he showed up for the Broncos’ rookie minicamp this past Saturday.
“It’s been weird. I’d say it didn’t really sit in until I got here,’’ Mims said about the draft-to-rookie time frame. “After the draft it was cool for that weekend and then Monday hits and I’m just sitting around, just waiting, training and all that stuff. And then you get here and actually start feeling it. Start walking around seeing other guys here, it starts feeling real.”
Here’s a second welcome to the NFL moment for Mims: He is now, by the world’s definition, rich. Sources confirmed to 9NEWS that Mims reached agreement Tuesday with the Broncos on a four-year contract worth $6.1 million (remember, there are no fifth-year options for any rookie not drafted in the first round) that includes a $1.41 million signing bonus.
The Broncos now have their contracts finished with four of their five draft picks. Inside linebacker Drew Sanders is the lone exception. Sanders, who was drafted No. 67 overall – four spots behind Mims – is nearing agreement on a four-year deal that will include a $1.17 million signing bonus.
Mims may have dreamed about one day catching passes in the NFL since he was a little kid. But dreamy thoughts started moving towards possibility during his sensational senior year in high school.
Playing for Lone Star High School in Frisco (Texas, of course), Mims in his senior year of 2019 had 117 catches for a national record 2,629 yards for a 22.5-yard average. He also scored 32 touchdowns. His 5,485 receiving yards over his high school career was a Texas high school state record.
He then graduated a semester early so he could enroll at the Oklahoma University in January 2020. That way, he could participate in the Sooners’ spring ball program and get a jump on other freshmen.
By the time Mims left the Sooners program following his true junior season of 2022 but before his 21st birthday and before the Broncos took him with the No. 63 overall selection in the second round, he was far more advanced and mature than others his age.
After he ran go routes mixed with crossing routes Saturday during the Broncos’ rookie minicamp practice at what has now been named Centura Health Training Center, Mims was asked in front of his NFL locker about when he first thought he would be standing in this coveted area.
“Honestly, I would say a mix of my senior year (in high school) and freshman year at Oklahoma,’’ he said. “Senior year I broke a national record and all that stuff which is great and then getting to OU, it was kind of like coming here … just getting comfortable. Making plays at a young age and that’s when I really thought, “Oh I can really get to the NFL and make a life of it.'
"Ever since then I’ve been working hard and trying to get here and now I’m here and I’m going to keep working.”
Starting next Tuesday, Mims will mix in with Courtland Sutton, Jerry Jeudy, Tim Patrick and other veteran receivers as the Broncos begin OTAs (Organized Training Activities).
“Established guys that have been in the league for a while,’’ Mims said. “The No. 1 thing is to learn the ins and outs of the NFL game. Being around those guys it’s something that I’m actually really looking forward to. Seeing what they’ve done at the college level, seeing what they’ve done at the NFL level.
"Having (quarterback) Russell Wilson back there, also. I mean there is so much to learn from. Being here and coach Sean Payton, a legendary football coach -- so much to learn here I’m just trying to take it all in.”
A speedster (4.38/40) to go with a 5-foot-11, 183-pound frame, Mims figures to move into the role currently held by KJ Hamler, who is battling another injury. After compiling 9 touchdown receptions in just 11 games as a true freshman at Oklahoma during the COVID-shortened season of 2020, Mims averaged an astonishing 22.0 yards a catch as a sophomore and went past 1,000 yards receiving in just 13 games as a junior.
He also excelled as a part-time punt returner all three seasons at Oklahoma, to the point he might get the gig full-time as a rookie with the Broncos. Characteristic No. 1 for a punt returner? Courage.
“I mean you’re back there by yourself, guys are running full speed wanting to knock your head off,’’ Mims said. “But just trust. Being in the moment and focusing on the ball and not the guys running down at you.”
Eye on the ball may be a little easier knowing there’s about to be money in the bank.
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