For the Houston Texans, it’s time to rebuild. Perhaps their quarterback is already in place, though, with second-year pro Davis Mills.
In 2021, the Houston Texans made a stunning decision. Despite coming off a four-win year, having a star quarterback in Deshaun Watson and being without first- and second-round selections in the NFL Draft, Houston took a quarterback in the third round (its first pick).
Davis Mills, Stanford.
Mills was projected almost universally to be a backup both immediately and forever, showcasing low upside to many evaluators but a high enough floor to be an asset. However, the Texans needed starters or, at the worst, players with high ceilings who could blossom.
Surprisingly, Mills started 11 games as a rookie with Watson sidelined for the season after demanding a trade and while facing both 22 civil suits and 10 criminal complaints for alleged sexual misconduct. In his rookie campaign, the Pac-12 product threw for 2,664 yards with 16 touchdowns against 10 interceptions, all while having only one legitimate weapon in wide receiver Brandin Cooks and a terrible offensive line.
With Friday’s trade of Watson to the Cleveland Browns — bringing back three first-round picks among other assets — general manager Nick Caserio is moving forward. It sounds like Mills is part of those plans, per ESPN:
“Davis had opportunities last year and did a nice job with those opportunities. I would say when you get into the draft, you really don’t want to necessarily eliminate any position or particular player. You just want to look at it with the mentality and just figure out what makes the most sense for the organization.
“… But Davis has certainly earned an opportunity here, and that’s kind of the extent of what he’s earned. But I think he’s excited about the chances that he has in front of him, and we’ll see how it all unfolds.”
For Houston, it’s wise to see what Mills can do with a full season behind him and an offseason working with a new coaching staff, helmed by head coach Lovie Smith. If he’s the answer beyond 2022, the Texans can utilize their draft capital to build around him. If not, Mills can be replaced with one of those picks while either being a quality backup or flipped for additional selections.
The Texans have far more questions than answers, but Mills presents an intriguing player for them at the sport’s most-important position.