Davis Mills

Texans Wanted Kellen Mond At No. 67?

The Texans just drafted Davis Mills in the third-round, giving them some quarterback insurance as they wait for the Deshaun Watson saga to play out.

Tyrod Taylor is also on the roster, but if Watson ends up traded or suspended it seems like there’s a good chance the rookie from Stanford makes some starts. New head coach David Culley recently raved about Mills, but as it turns out it sounds like the Texans originally had their eye on a different signal-caller. Houston was planning to take Texas A&M passer Kellen Mond at 67 before the Vikings nabbed him at 66, Mond’s father Kevin told Chris Tomasson of the St. Paul Pioneer Press.

(There was a) phone call from his agent, text message, and the agent said, ‘Hey, the Houston Texans are getting ready to select (Mond) at pick 67,’” the elder Mond said. “It wasn’t supposed to be Mills,” he added. “It was going to be Kellen.”

Getting drafted by the Texans would’ve meant staying in his home state, but Kevin said that Kellen is happy to be headed to Minnesota.

Mond might’ve had a better path to immediate playing time in Houston, but going to the Vikings might prove to be better long-term. He’ll start his pro career behind Kirk Cousins, but if the Vikings elect to move on from Cousins after this season he’ll definitely be in the mix as a potential successor.

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Texans Sign QB Davis Mills

The Texans have officially signed rookie quarterback Davis Mills (Twitter link via ESPN.com’s Field Yates). Per the terms of his slot, Davis will earn $5.2MM+ over the course of his four-year deal.

Davis was a third-round pick, but he was the first player taken by the Texans this year. Ideally, the Texans would like to ease the Stanford product into the pro game. But, with continued uncertainty surrounding Deshaun Watson, there’s no telling how Mills will be deployed. For what it’s worth, new head coach David Culley is high on him.

“Davis Mills, I thought [GM Nick Caserio‘s] staff did a great job of all of a sudden earmarking a guy that fit what a quarterback in the NFL is all about,” Culley said earlier this month. “Obviously he didn’t play as much football as some of the other guys because of the COVID situation in the Pac-12, but we really love what he’s all about. We love all of the intangibles he has. He’s a pro-type NFL quarterback and we feel good to have him. He’s smart. He can make all the throws and we feel good and feel fortunate that we’re able to get him when we got him.”

If Watson doesn’t return to the Texans this year, Mills will likely start the year as the No. 2 QB behind team veteran Tyrod Taylor. Well-traveled QB Jeff Driskel is also in the mix, having leapfrogged Ryan Finley, who was recently cut.

As a two-year starter, Mills threw for 3,468 yards, 18 touchdowns, and eight interceptions while completing 65.5% of his throws. Now, he’ll look to make his mark in the pros along with the rest of the Texans’ rookie class. Mills was the first one picked and the last one to sign, meaning that the Texans’ entire class has now been wrapped up.

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Texans HC David Culley On QB Davis Mills

Due to the legal drama surrounding Texans quarterback Deshaun Watson, along with Watson’s insistence that he will never play another snap for the Texans, Houston has made several high-profile additions to its QB room. The team signed veteran Tyrod Taylor in March, and then used its first choice in the 2021 draft (No. 67 overall) on Stanford signal-caller Davis Mills.

Obviously, there is no way to know when Watson’s legal situation will be wrapped up. There may or may not have been recent settlement talks between his legal team and the team representing the 22 women who have filed lawsuits against him, but even a best-case scenario for Watson — a dismissal of the suits (which isn’t happening) or a quick settlement that allows him to escape a major financial hit — still leaves the Texans in a bind because of Watson’s previous trade demands.

A settlement, along with minimal or no punishment from the league, would at least allow Watson’s trade market to heat back up. One way or another, it appears that the Texans will be rolling with either Taylor or Mills when the 2021 regular season opens, and new head coach David Culley had a lot of good things to say about Mills during a press conference yesterday.

“Davis Mills, I thought [GM Nick Caserio‘s] staff did a great job of all of a sudden earmarking a guy that fit what a quarterback in the NFL is all about,” Culley said (via the Texans’ PR department). “Obviously he didn’t play as much football as some of the other guys because of the COVID situation in the Pac-12, but we really love what he’s all about. We love all of the intangibles he has. He’s a pro-type NFL quarterback and we feel good to have him. He’s smart. He can make all the throws and we feel good and feel fortunate that we’re able to get him when we got him.”

The Texans would presumably like for Mills to beat out Taylor for the starting job so that they can get a complete picture of what the rookie can do and set their 2022 priorities accordingly. But when Culley was asked how important it is to give Mills ample playing time this season, Culley had something of a predictable answer. “We’re not looking at it like that,” he said. “We’re looking at it like there’s going to be competition at all positions. This is a new football team here. Basically, we’ve created competition all around this football team. Not just at the quarterback position, but basically at all positions.”

At least one NFL scouting director believes Mills could have been a first-round pick in 2022 if he had stayed in school, so there is some cause for optimism for a franchise that appears to be headed for a major rebuild. “Davis Mills, man, the ball comes out of his hand really nice,” the scouting director said (via veteran NFL reporter Aaron Wilson on Twitter). “His release quickness is really good. A lot of people around the league are saying he could have been a first-round draft pick next year if he had stayed in school. Very intriguing.”

When asked specifically about Watson, Culley said, “we have nothing to say about that situation at this time.”

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.