Tyrod Taylor

Texans Could Draft DE If QB Mills Shows Promise

With two defensive ends topping most 2022 NFL mock drafts and the Texans staring down a potential spot in the top 3 draft picks, Adam Schefter of ESPN reports that his sources have told him Houston may elect to draft Michigan’s Aidan Hutchinson or Oregon’s Kayvon Thibodeaux should rookie quarterback Davis Mills show promise in the last four games of the season.

The third-round pick out of Stanford has started seven games this season, taking over for season starter Tyrod Taylor after Taylor suffered a hamstring injury in Week 2 of this season. When Taylor returned to health, Mills went back to his backup role. In Week 13, due to an injured wrist and general ineffectiveness Taylor was benched for Mills and the Texans announced that Mills would be tabbed as the starter for the remainder of the season.

In his play as a rookie, Mills has shown impressive accuracy completing 65.8% of his passes. He’s thrown for eight touchdowns and eight interceptions and, in games he’s started, he’s averaged about 227 passing yards per game for a Texans team that isn’t necessarily rich in offensive weapons. The Texans did say that, if Mills struggles down the stretch, they still may aim for a quarterback with a high draft pick.

This decision may end up being a bit more complicated than they’re currently saying. If Mills shows too much promise en route to proving they don’t need to draft a quarterback and wins a couple of games, he could potentially push them out of range of the draft’s top defensive ends. If Mills does indeed struggle in the tail end of the season and Houston decides they need to draft one of the top quarterbacks available in the draft, due to the lack of a consensus top quarterback prospect, they may be tempted to let an anxious team trade up into their high draft pick, assuming that some of the top quarterback prospects may still be available throughout the top 10 picks.

Regardless of the their thought process, Houston has provided Mills with motivation and an opportunity to take hold of the starting job and has put the onus on him to determine how they approach the 2022 NFL Draft. In his attempts to prove his starting abilities, Mills will face the Jaguars, Chargers, 49ers, and Titans in the final four games of the season.

Texans To Start Davis Mills

Davis Mills will start the rest of the way for the Texans, head coach David Culley announced on Friday (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com). That means Tyrod Taylor will serve as the backup quarterback starting this week, when the Texans host the Seahawks. 

It’s been a trying week for Taylor, who hyperextended his left wrist last Sunday against the Colts. Even though that’s his non-throwing arm, handoffs and snaps proved to be challenging. Taylor exited in the third quarter after going 5-of-13 for 45 yards and one interception. Mills, meanwhile, completed 6-of-14 of his throws for 49 yards. None of those passes achieved much in the end — the Texans lost 31-0, dropping them to 2-10 on the year.

Mills has made six starts for the Texans this year, filling in for Taylor when he was on IR. To date, he’s got a 65.5% completion percentage with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions. Unless he really shines in the coming weeks, he’s unlikely to return as the Texans’ starter in 2022. If the season ended today, the Texans would own the No. 3 overall pick in the draft, behind the No. 1 Lions and No. 2 Jaguars — ample ammo to select, or trade down for, one of this year’s top QBs.

Taylor, meanwhile, will be a free agent when his one-year deal expires in March. His pact could have been worth up to $12.5MM via incentives, but the final tally will wind up closer to his base of $5.5MM.

Texans Activate QB Tyrod Taylor

Tyrod Taylor is officially back. The Texans activated the quarterback from injured reserve today, per ESPN’s Sarah Barshop (via Twitter). To make room on the roster, the team placed linebacker Christian Kirksey on injured reserve.

Taylor returned to practice in late October, and head coach David Culley made it clear that the veteran would start once he was healthy. The 32-year-old started the Texans first two games this season, completing 70.5 percent of his passes for 416 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. He added another 55 yards and one touchdown on five carries. Taylor landed on injured reserve after suffering a hamstring injury during Week 2.

Davis Mills has been serving as the starter ever since, but the results haven’t been great. His best performance came against the Patriots as he completed 21 of 29 passes for 312 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. The Pats went on to win 25-22 and the Texans went on to drop their next two games to the Colts and Cardinals.

Taylor hasn’t started more than three games since the 2017 season. While his return should provide a small spark to a struggling Texans offense, it’s unlikely the veteran will be able to guide Houston out of the cellar.

Kirksey suffered a fractured thumb and ligament damage during Sunday’s loss to the Rams, and now he’ll be sidelined for at least the next three games. The 29-year-old joined the Texans this offseason, and he’s collected a team-leading 56 tackles in eight starts.

NFL Minor Transactions: 10/27/21

All of today’s minor transactions in one place:

Carolina Panthers

Chicago Bears

Detroit Lions

Houston Texans

New England Patriots

New Orleans Saints

New York Jets

Pittsburgh Steelers

San Francisco 49ers

Tyrod Taylor To Start For Texans

Tyrod Taylor will return to practice on Wednesday, head coach David Culley announced. Culley added that Taylor “was our starting quarterback, [so] when he’s healthy, he’ll be our starting quarterback,” (Twitter link via Adam Schefter of ESPN.com).

[RELATED: Latest On Watson Trade Talks]

Taylor has been on IR ever since his Week 2 hamstring injury. Davis Mills has been serving as the starter ever since, but the results haven’t been great. His best performance came against the Patriots as he completed 21 of 29 passes for 312 yards, three touchdowns, and no interceptions. The Pats went on to win 25-22 and the Texans went on to drop their next two games to the Colts and Cardinals.

Following Sunday’s loss to Arizona, the Texans are 1-6 and in serious need of a spark. Taylor could help to some extent, but it remains to be seen if he’ll be able to go against the Rams this week.

In other Texans QB news, a Deshaun Watson trade could be just around the corner. The Dolphins and Panthers are said to be the clubhouse favorites for him, ahead of the Eagles, Broncos, and other suitors.

Texans’ Tyrod Taylor Could Miss One Month

TUESDAY: Houston’s starting quarterback will be shut down for a bit. The Texans placed Taylor on IR Tuesday. This marks the third time in the past four seasons Taylor will have lost his starting job in September. Injuries have resulted in the veteran passer being sidelined in each of the past two years, with this hamstring ailment following last season’s scary chest injury involving a pregame injection mishap.

With Watson not in the picture, David Culley also confirmed Tuesday that Mills will start against the Panthers.

MONDAY: Tyrod Taylor‘s hamstring injury could keep him sidelined for the next four games. Mark Berman of Fox26 in Houston reports (via Twitter) that the Texans quarterback “could be out for as long as a month” as he recovers from his hamstring injury.

[RELATED: Texans Won’t Play Deshaun Watson]

According to Aaron Wilson (on Twitter), Taylor was diagnosed with a grade two hamstring injury, leading to the one-month timeline. NFL Network’s Tom Pelissero seems to insinuate (on Twitter) that Taylor is waiting for swelling to go down before committing to a definitive timeline, with the reporter adding that “an IR stint could be in play.” If Taylor is indeed sidelined for a month, the Texans would surely place the QB on short-term IR to open an extra roster spot. If the Texans don’t place him on IR, that would mean the team thinks Taylor can get on the field in a couple of weeks. NFL Network’s Ian Rapoport tweets that the QB is currently considered “week-to-week.”

After spending the past two seasons with the Chargers, Taylor inked a one-year contract with the Texans this past offseason. Following a Week 1 victory where the QB tossed two touchdowns, Taylor completed 10 of his 11 passes for 125 yards and one touchdown before leaving the game on Sunday.

Davis Mills took over during that eventual loss to the Browns, and the rookie will be under center going forward. According to Wilson, Jeff Driskel is expected to be elevated from practice squad to serve as the primary backup. We learned earlier today that Deshaun Watson wouldn’t be seeing the field despite Taylor’s injury.

Tyrod Taylor Suffers Hamstring Injury

Texans quarterback Tyrod Taylor was forced out of Sunday’s game early with a hamstring injury. Tomorrow’s MRI will give a fuller picture, but the QB has already been ruled out of Thursday night’s contest against the Panthers. (Twitter link via NFL.com’s Ian Rapoport). 

Taylor was replaced by rookie Davis Mills as the Browns went on to win 31-21. It’ll be Mills once again on Thursday night, making his first ever NFL start. When speaking with reporters, head coach David Culley declined to say whether Deshaun Watson could wind up on the 53-man roster for Week 3. But, based on the way things have been going, we’d be shocked to see Watson activated for Thursday night.

Mills, a third-round pick, finished the day going 8-of-18 for 102 yards, one touchdown, and one interception. Taylor, before his early exit, completed 10 of 11 throws for 125 yards and one TD.

The Texans will head into Thursday night with a 1-1 record, thanks to their Week 1 victory over the Jaguars.

Texans To Start Tyrod Taylor

As expected, the Texans will roll with Tyrod Taylor as their starting quarterback. Head coach David Culley made the announcement on Monday, which means Taylor will be backstopped by rookie Davis Mills as embattled star Deshaun Watson remains in limbo. 

Taylor, entering his age-32 season, has started just four games since 2018. Prior to that, however, the dual-threat QB did operate as Buffalo’s starter for three seasons and overlapped with Culley in ’17. While the risk-averse passer did well to limit turnovers, he has yet to show the kind of big play upside that Watson has brought to the table.

It’s an opportunity for Taylor to reassert himself in the NFL. He’ll also have a chance to more than double his base salary. Taylor is slated to make $5.5MM, but he can also reach up to $12MM via incentives. That includes $4MM if he serves as the QB1 for the whole year — he’ll get $1MM for each playtime marker of 60%, 70%, 80%, 90%.

In addition to Taylor and Davis, the Texans will also have veteran Jeff Driskel nearby on the practice squad.

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.”

Texans To Sign QB Tyrod Taylor

Texans brass has continued to insist Deshaun Watson will not be traded, but the team is signing another starter-caliber quarterback. They agreed to terms with Tyrod Taylor on Tuesday, Adam Schefter of ESPN.com tweets.

The now-well-traveled stopgap starter/backup option can make up to $12.5MM on this one-year deal with Houston, Schefter adds.NFL.com’s Tom Pelissero reports (via Twitter) that Taylor’s deal has a base value of $5.5MM, including $2.5MM guaranteed.

While Taylor would certainly not be an impediment to Watson, were Houston’s starter to reverse course, the 10-year vet represents a potential bridge option for a Texans team attempting to avoid a major transition.

Houston will add Taylor on an incentive-laden deal similar to the contracts Cam Newton and Jameis Winston recently agreed to, Tom Pelissero of NFL.com tweets. It would seem Taylor’s compensation will largely depend on how Houston proceeds with Watson.

Following Philip Rivers‘ defection to the Colts last year, the Chargers turned to Taylor. But a mishap with a pregame injection resulted in an earlier-than-expected transition to Justin Herbert. Taylor’s previous understudy started the Bolts’ final 15 games, earning Offensive Rookie of the Year acclaim. Taylor has now been a backup for most of the past three seasons.

Entering his age-32 season, Taylor has started just four games since 2018. Prior to that, however, the dual-threat QB did operate as Buffalo’s starter for three seasons. New Texans HC David Culley was Taylor’s position coach in 2017. While the risk-averse passer did well to limit turnovers, he did not offer much in the way of upside. That remains the case. Taylor would make sense as both a Watson backup and, in what would be the Texans’ emergency scenario, a bridge starter as the team attempts to construct a rebuild effort.

The bridge-QB market has moved since Monday night. Taylor, Ryan Fitzpatrick and Andy Dalton have chosen destinations. They followed Newton in doing so. Each could well be starters next season. Like Washington, Chicago and New England, the Texans are not in position to land one of the top quarterback prospects in the draft. As of now, they do not hold a first- or second-round pick this year. While Watson would net the Texans a bounty of picks, Culley and GM Nick Caserio have insisted — the former in roundabout fashion — that Watson was not going anywhere.