Former Foes

Sean Payton on Marvin Mims: ‘The Only Thing That Stopped His Progress as a Reciever Was Us’

NCAA Football: Alamo Bowl-Oregon at Oklahoma

Marvin Mims showed flashes of being a star in the making during his rookie season with the Denver Broncos, earning Pro Bowl honors as a returner in his first NFL season.

While his receiving stats don’t jump off the page – 22 receptions for 377 yards and one touchdown – Mims was exceptional in the return game, averaging 26.5 yards per kick return and 16.4 yards per punt return, ranking near the top of the league in both categories.

His success is no surprise to anyone familiar with Oklahoma football, as the second-round pick in the 2023 NFL Draft was a regular playmaker during his three-year stint in Norman. However, Sooner fans are used to seeing Mims make huge plays in the passing game instead of in the return game.


After all, Mims was the previous record-holder for receiving touchdowns as a freshman (9) before Nic Anderson broke that in 2023 and finished his final season with the Sooners north of 1,000 receiving and 20.1 yards per reception.

According to Denver head coach, Sean Payton, Mims’ lack of progress as a receiver in Year 1 was no fault of his own, but rather a shortcoming of the staff and organization as a whole.

“I really think the only thing that really stopped his progress as a receiver was us…,” Payton told media at the NFL Combine on Tuesday. “Man, I think you’re going to see a lot of growth with this player. He’s tough. He can run. We’re certainly excited we have him.”

His praise for the former Sooner didn’t stop there, though, as Payton eluded to the possibility that Mims’ role could expand in his second season in the league.


“Every time we kind off put his name on a certain play, he hasn’t disappointed,” Payton said. “His progress was hampered a little bit more by the depth in the room and what we were able to do and sometimes trying to balance that out. I think we’ll see that expand.”

Mims will have to try and work his way up the targets list in a wideout room that features Jerry Jeudy and Courtland Sutton, the latter of whom is coming off a year with ten receiving touchdowns.

Still, with all that we’ve seen from Mims over the last half-decade, there’s not much doubt from the folks in and around Norman that he’ll become a star for the Broncos, just as he was for the interlocking O-U.

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