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Broncos Notebook: WR Marvin Mims Jr. feels 'night and day' difference from rookie year as he approaches more opportunities in Year 2

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. — Shortly after the Broncos drafted Marvin Mims Jr. in 2023, Head Coach Sean Payton compared the Oklahoma product's speed to driving on an open highway.

During Thursday's OTA practice, the second-year player again ran away from all the traffic.

Mims caught a deep ball from Jarrett Stidham — one of the highlight plays of Thursday's practice — and demonstrated his playmaking ability.

"It was a good play call," Mims said. "We ended up getting matched with the right coverage. Incredible ball. [It was] just me running. Didn't have to break stride. Caught it. Touchdown."

Reminiscent of an early season touchdown last year against Washington, Mims' score showed off his speed — and a chance for a bigger role in 2024.

"I've said this, and I'll say it again: We were as much responsible for, I don't want to say holding him back, but you're trying to get snaps with [former WR] Jerry Jeudy [and] with [WR] Courtland [Sutton]," Head Coach Sean Payton said Thursday. "I think we'll see a lot of growth from Year 1 to Year 2. He's tough. He had a really good play today. We know he's a good returner. We felt that was one of the strengths, obviously, that we saw on tape. But we saw transitional speed, we saw the things that you need to have at that receiver position. So I don't think it was his development as much as, and I don't want to say a crowded room, but just trying to create enough touches for those guys. Now we have a room, and we have a lot of young players. Size is certainly something you see at the receiver position right now. I'm anxious as we go through this process to watch these guys. This first half of these OTAs has gone really good, I mean really good. I told them that. I like the energy. I feel like we're younger, and you kind of feel that at practice."

The Broncos traded Jeudy in the offseason for a pair of Day 3 picks, and Mims could be the beneficiary of added reps. Mims credited Jeudy on Thursday for teaching him as a rookie and wished him the best in Cleveland. In Denver, though, Mims will look to prove on the practice field that he's deserving of more targets.

"First and foremost, it starts out here on the practice field," Mims said. "If I take care of my business out here, it will go to the games. For the most part, I'm looking forward to it. But I just know I have to my business here and then eventually when we get there in the fall, we'll get there."

Mims caught 22 passes for 377 yards and a touchdown in 2023, and his most productive performance came with the aforementioned two-catch, 113-yard outing against Washington. He also caught three passes for 63 yards as Denver tried to complete a late-season comeback against New England.

As he enters 2024, Mims said there is a "night and day" difference between his rookie and sophomore campaigns.

"Coming into Year 2, knowing what to expect, knowing the routes, knowing what I have to do as a receiver, I feel like this is starting to go a lot smoother for me, especially mentally," Mims said. "… I had the hamstring injury when I got here, so I sat out a lot. Right now, I'm healthy. [I've] felt the best I've felt in a while. And also just knowing the coaches, knowing what they're expecting, knowing the routes — all that stuff — and being with the same guys, it's pretty cool."


The Broncos' quarterback competition rolls on, and Payton said Thursday he is "encouraged" by the performance of Jarrett Stidham, Zach Wilson and Bo Nix.

"All three of them are doing well," Payton said.

Asked specifically about Nix's progression from Week 1 to Week 2, Payton joked that having to catch media members up on the practices they haven't seen is like trying to refresh someone on a Netflix series.

"He's picking it up," Payton said. "There's a lot that's going in. He's throwing the ball extremely well."

Nix made several tight-window throws on Thursday, and Payton said the process begins right away as young quarterbacks try to learn which types of throws they'll be able to make at the NFL level.

"I think that you immediately begin to feel the speed difference and the reaction difference and the length," Payton said. "What was open in college, those windows were bigger. Generally speaking, then, you begin to adapt to the timing. One of the things that all of these [quarterbacks do is] get the ball out quick. Holding on to the ball and waiting can sometimes be obviously detrimental. I think it's the studying and the understanding of the defensive scheme, and then understanding where the windows are in regards to the spacing. I do think that begins the first time you're out here and everyone is moving around full speed. It's like, 'Wow.' The speed of your simulator just went up a little bit."


Former Orange Crush safety Steve Foley was elected to the Broncos Ring of Fame alongside tight end Riley Odoms on Thursday, and Foley attended Broncos practice after receiving the news. Payton spoke to Foley on the phone on Thursday morning and later had the franchise's all-time interception leader address the team.

"I think it's important for [the team] to appreciate the history, embrace it," Payton said. "And I shared some other earlier stories with them about it, but I said, 'Look, you'll remember this meeting. There are going to be a number of you in this room that will go through [a Ring of Fame election]. I just can't tell you who, but it will mean a lot to you.' It certainly means a lot to these players the further they're removed, but it's only special because they won.

"… So, yes, I think the young players don't think about it right now. And Steve's message was very good. He said, 'We didn't think about that. We thought about playing for each other and winning, and the other stuff takes care of itself.'"

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