The Houston Texans signed an intriguing quarterback to their roster in Nick Tiano of the University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
The Houston Texans added quarterback Nick Tiano after he surprisingly went undrafted in the 2020 NFL Draft. Tiano was one of the under-the-radar quarterbacks entering the draft that wasn’t able to have the Pro Day to cement his status as a draft pick with the pandemic.
However, Tiano was invited to the 2020 NFLPA game, where he took home the MVP honors. Tiano had this platform to perform against former NFL head coaches, players, and talent evaluators.
Tiano said to David Paschall of Chattanooga Times Free Press that he gathered significant interest from five-to-six teams before agreeing to terms with the Houston Texans. Tiano was a late addition after the Texans had originally made a mistake and weren’t going to have an available roster spot for him.
Although luckily for Tiano, Houston was able to work it out at the end, and he will now have the opportunity to fight for the third quarterback spot on the depth chart behind Deshaun Watson and A.J. McCarron. Here is the Toro Times interview we had with the Houston Texans rookie signal-caller.
Q: Starting off in Mississippi State, in which you where you were part of a talented QB room that included Dak Prescott; you ultimately decided to transfer to UTC after your first year. What were you able to take away in your time there for your game and personal life as you took a leap of faith to pursue your dream of playing in the NFL?
A: Playing at MSU was an incredible experience. Coach [Dan] Mullen and his staff are some of the best coaches in the country. Along with that, having the chance to sit behind Dak [Prescott] and watch and learn the way he worked, prepared, and led our team was huge for me as a young player, and I took so much from that.
I hated to have to transfer, but I ultimately knew that it was the best decision for me to get on the field and have the chance to play at the next level. And I couldn’t be more thankful for my time at UTC, I truly enjoyed it and wouldn’t change my college experience because of the lessons I learned along the way.
Q: Well, your time in Chattanooga certainly paid off. You were a hot name in NFL circles after your performance in the 2020 NFLPA game where you took home the MVP honors. What was the overall experience like, and were you able to interact with your future Houston teammate in RB Scott Phillips?
A: The NFLPA game was a huge opportunity for me. Small school guys don’t get to play on national TV every Saturday, so to play against top competition in front of NFL personnel was so big for me early in this process. I knew I needed to take advantage of that week, and it was also a great time meeting so many great players from all over the country. And yes I did meet him, he was on my team, so we spent a lot of time together during that week. I’ll be excited to see him again when we get to Houston this summer.
Q: Although Chattanooga isn’t the biggest football program, it has produced proven NFL talent in Terrell Owens and Buster Skrine. Do you feel you’re next in line to put your school on the map now that you’re at the next level?
A: For an FCS school, I think Chattanooga has to be near the top of the list as far as guys playing in the NFL. I think right now we have eight guys on rosters, so that’s something to be proud of for a small school. I’m definitely thankful and proud to be one of those, and hopefully, I can represent Chattanooga in the NFL for a long time.
Q: Going back on your comment on the NFLPA game, you were working with a lot of former NFL coaches and players including Marvin Lewis, Kevin Mawae, Jackie Slater, and Rod Woodson. How much of an impact is it to already work and interact with those types of people?
A: Being a lifelong NFL fan, it was so cool for me to work with all of the guys on our staff that I grew up watching coach and play in the league. I tried to soak up as much knowledge and advice from them as I could because those guys know what it takes to play and be successful at that level. The whole week did a great job of preparing us to show up to training camp ready to learn and perform very quickly.
Q: Entering the NFL, what are positive traits of yours that you’re confident will translate to the league?
A: I’m not a big fan of talking about myself, but I do think I have what it takes to be a great player in the NFL. I think I can make all the throws, and I have enough athleticism to extend and make plays with my feet. I also am confident in my knowledge of the game, and the way I will prepare and work to improve and get better every day as long as I am in the league.
Q: What sold you on Houston as your first choice, and were the Texans keeping tabs on you throughout the draft process?
A: I had the chance to speak with the OC [Tim Kelly] a couple weeks ago, and we had a great conversation, and there was a mutual interest. I knew going into the draft that if I didn’t get picked, Houston would be one of my top places to go. I think the coaching staff has a great track record with developing QB’s.
It’s a great organization that is competing for championships, and there are some great QB’s in the room that I’ll have a great opportunity to learn from early in my career. Overall I just felt like it was a great fit for me and would be an awesome place to go play.
Q: Has it finally sunk in now that you’re an NFL QB?
A: To be honest, not really. I think when I am able to get to Houston and be in the building and meet my teammates and coaches, it will feel more real. It’s been a lifelong dream of mine to play in the NFL, and I’m so thankful for the opportunity and will do everything I can to maximize it.
Q: Speaking of meeting your teammates, you will be joining former MSU teammate Jordan Thomas. Have you’ve reached out to him after joining the Houston Texans, and is he someone you considered can help you get up to speed on the offense?
A: For sure, I’m excited to be back on the field with Jordan [Thomas] again. I’m so happy for him and the success he’s had in the last couple years. I will definitely look to him to help me get started as I join the team.
Q: Do you have a message you want to send Houston Texans fans or anything you want them to know about you?
A: I just couldn’t be more excited to get to Houston and do anything I can to help the team win!
The Houston Texans have an impressive quarterback prospect in Tiano, it will certainly be entertaining to see him and the other undrafted free agents have the opportunity compete for a roster spot for the upcoming season