Did Houston Texans draft enough help for Davis Mills?

Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports
Mandatory Credit: Thomas Shea-USA TODAY Sports /

In what could be a make-or-break season, quarterback Davis Mills may be left looking for answers from the Houston Texans.

As soon as the NFL Draft concludes, all anyone cares about is the draft grades. Do the experts think your team got better? Well, for the Houston Texans, the consensus is yes.

Twitter user @RNBWCV compiled a list of 18 analysts’ draft grades ranging from Mel Kiper Jr. to Pro Football Focus. On this list, Houston’s draft class ranked 11th among 32 teams.

But how will this draft affect second-year QB Davis Mills? Or simply, did the Houston Texans do enough in this year’s draft to help Davis Mills’ development? The answer is no.

Overall, it was a very solid class. The common theme, however, is choosing second-tier options for Mills in favor of defense/overall team building.

This trend begins in the first round. Derek Stingley Jr. certainly has the potential to develop into an All-Pro type of player, but his injury history makes it an unnecessary risk.

A much better pick would’ve been Alabama’s Evan Neal. Neal’s ability to play right tackle and Laremy Tunsil’s return would’ve significantly improved Houston’s 29th-ranked offensive line.

What’s the big deal since they drafted a guard at pick 15? There is a difference between Evan Neal and Kenyon Green as prospects. Neal was second overall on CBS Sports’ prospect rankings. Green, on the other hand, was 27th. This is just the first example of Houston putting Mills’ development on the back burner.

When you look at the Texans’ entire class, you can see this common theme. Swapping out Stingley Jr. for Neal would’ve gone a long way to changing this. If Neal’s the pick at three, then Houston wouldn’t have to go guard at 15.

They instead could’ve gone receiver, filling a glaring need much sooner. Instead, Treylon Burks, who was CBS Sports’ 15th ranked prospect, was available.

However, since the Texans needed offensive line help, they were forced to pass on Burks. Alternatively, the team reached on WR John Metchie III, who was ranked 78th after tearing his ACL late last season.

Houston Texans went with second-tier players in the 2022 NFL Draft

The ideal order Houston should have picked in is the following: Evan Neal at three, and Treylon Burks at 15. This leaves running back as the major weakness left.

Now the Texans did select Florida RB Dameon Pierce in the fourth round. If the prior path were followed, then they would’ve been able to select Michigan State RB Kenneth Walker III at pick 37. Walker was a real game-changer and was one of the top three running backs in the draft.

Football isn’t just a one-sided game. Defense does still matter, and when you were as bad as the  Texans were last season, everything helps. But Houston would’ve been able to find key defensive contributors, even if they were “Mills-centric” at the start.

Instead of selecting safety Jalen Pitre at pick 37, they could’ve gone with Jaquan Brisker. However, Brisker was ranked just five spots lower than Pitre per CBS Sports and was still available.

The Texans could’ve kept the original selection of linebacker Christian Harris at pick 75 and addressed their cornerback need at pick 107, where Cincinnati CB Coby Bryant was available. Last season’s Jim Thorpe Award winner would’ve provided excellent value for Houston while also filling a need.

Given all that, the Houston Texans slightly hindered  Davis Mills’ development. The problem is when you look ahead to next year’s draft. There will likely be two top quarterbacks available (Bryce Young and C.J. Stroud).

There also will be a dominant pass rusher available (Will Anderson Jr.). If Houston had surrounded Mills with as much talent as possible and he underperformed, the choice may be easy.

However, they went with second-tier options, meaning a down season may not all be on Mills, thus making a future decision between Anderson Jr. and Young/Stroud next season that much more challenging.

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