Houston Texans fans, it is OK to like and cheer for Davis Mills.
Like in relationships, the rebound quarterback doesn’t always get the attention, recognition, or opportunity that they deserve from the person or in this case the fan base that was done wrong by their ex.
Houston Texans fans are looking at you Deshaun Watson.
Regardless of how anyone feels about the Watson situation the reality is he’s gone. He may be on the Texans roster, but he’s not going to ever play for Houston again. While many are looking at the 2022 NFL Draft for answers at quarterback, they should be looking at a player many thought would be in that draft class.
Davis Mills, a five-star quarterback out of high school, played quarterback at Stanford University between 2018-20. Mills redshirted his freshman season in ’17 and started 11 games (13 games played total) in four years on the team.
While at Stanford, Mills threw for 3,468 yards total with 18 touchdowns to eight interceptions between 2019-20. Even in such a small sample size Mills showed the traits that made him a five-star quarterback coming out of high school.
In a surprise decision, Mills decided to declare for the NFL Draft a year earlier than everyone thought he would due to concerns of how the Pac 12 was handling the entire Covid-19 pandemic.
One can argue the reason Mills fell to the third round of the 2021 NFL Draft was simply a lack of playing time. Experts such as Mel Kiper had Mills going in the second round if not late in the first even with coming out early.
Houston Texans: Former Mills head coach speaks about potential of QB
There is no denying the talent Mills has and with the right coaching/mentoring Mills has the potential to be a solid starting quarterback in the NFL. Mills college coach David Shaw had this to say about his quarterback.
"“The ability I think is obvious when you watch the film: arm strength, accuracy, athleticism, great at escaping, getting out of danger, You wouldn’t necessarily call him fast, but you watch him he’s an athlete. He’s made moves in the backfield to get away from rushers, push up in the pocket, scrambling for first downs. Guy’s got all the intangibles: character, leadership, toughness. Shaw also had this to say about Mills draft stock had he returned to college for another year."
Shaw continued to say the following about the quarterback:
"“Much has been said, too, that if he did come back, he would probably be one of the top two or three quarterbacks in America, potentially a top-15 pick,” said Shaw. “So, that’s why, to me, he’s such a steal in the third round to get a guy who, if he came back to college, was probably going to be a first-15 pick with college.”"
Fans are quick to forget or are not in the know of the fact that in Mills’ class he was the top ranked quarterback going into college over players like Tua Tagovailoa, Jake Fromm, and Mac Jones who people have no problem saying can be or are starting NFL quarterbacks.
The best thing that can happen to Mills is happening now. He needs to play “Baptism by Fire” if you will. While he didn’t blow the world away with his performance on Thursday night there was a lot to like especially when you take the quick turnaround on a short week with no game planning or real practice.
One could argue the biggest thing holding Mills back was the play calling. After the game, Houston Texan head coach David Culley even admitted to trying to protect Mills followed up by admitting they went too far with it and saying they plan to open the playbook for Mills going forward.
Mills showed poise against the best defense In football. The moment wasn’t too big. He stood tall and delivered throws when he was allowed to throw while getting up and showing toughness after being absolutely obliterated on sacks multiple times.
While the fanbase will likely never give Mills a chance with Deshaun Watson still on the team, don’t count this kid out in the long run, to take the starting job and be the guy in Houston.
Take the advice that Mills’ own father gave the fan base before his first start: “Give the kid a chance. He’s probably out there a little earlier than anyone anticipated. Stick with him and he’ll do good for you.”