The Houston Texans are in rebuilding mode, and need to start finding a way to replace Deshaun Watson. “Yeah? And the sky is blue too!” is what you might be thinking to yourself as you are reading these words.
That level of awareness and enthusiasm is great! The question is, however, does the Texans front office have that same level of awareness that die-hard fans such as you and others do? The answer isn’t a simple yes or no, but rather a “we’ll just have to wait and see .”
The 2023 draft will ultimately show where the Houston Texans’ collective head is at, as an organization. Will they give a backsliding Davis Mills, in which they just benched for last week’s game, a third chance to be the next cornerstone QB of the franchise? Alternatively, do they look at prospects such as Bryce Young instead, thus giving up on Mills after two mere seasons of failure?
The truth is, regardless of where you stand, the undeniable fact of the matter is that Davis Mills hasn’t improved from last season. Meaning he’s made no progress in terms of turning into the replacement for Watson that the Houston Texans have hoped for when they drafted him. As a matter of fact, he has only gotten worse and here’s why.
For starters his touchdowns to interception ratio last season was 16 TDS and 10 INTS, while this year it’s 11 and 11 respectively. He will throw for more total yards than last year assuming he plays any more football this season and doesn’t stay benched, however, he’s still 500 yards away from passing last season’s mark of 2,664 yards in the air.
It’s also worth noting in this fact, that he only played 13 games last season. Meanwhile, he has already played 10 so far this time around. This means that in terms of total production he’s on par with himself a year ago, and efficiency wise has gotten far worse.
Not enough numbers for you? Okay, well here’s some more then. His QBR (quarterback rating, which is the measure given to all QBs as a performance score relative to other QBs in the league), has dropped from an already pedestrian 35.5 in 2021, to a disappointing 29.3 in 2022.
You might defend this and say; “ well he’s only in his second season, you shouldn’t expect him to be Joe Burrow that early! “. This argument makes some sense on the surface but forgets one key fact.
Joe Burrow became Joe Burrow, in his second season which led his team to the Superbowl at a mere 21 years of age! Yes, I understand that not every prospect is that good, but the more important aspect is Mill’s obvious regression. This supports the idea that great QBs can mold into stars early, when given the keys to the franchise like Mills had.
Whether it’s a sophomore slump or not, to put it bluntly, it doesn’t matter. Joe didn’t have one, Tom Brady didn’t have one, Deshaun Watson (mostly) didn’t have one and the list goes on.
Tossing that point to the side for a moment, and looking at who is likely to be taken by the Texans in the 2023 NFL draft. Bryce Young by far looks like the pick for #1. If you simply turn on an Alabama game, you can see the fact that he *is* that team, and commands it as if he’s already in the NFL.
There’s not a better example of this, than just looking at the game he *didn’t* play against Texas A&M. Despite being unranked and now a 5-7 bowl-ineligible team, in the early weeks of the season they took Alabama to the literal final play of the game. The score was 24-20, Young was hurt and the backup (Jalen Milroe) was one Texas A&M goal line pass away from losing to an eventual 5-7 squad.
Since that game, Alabama has 2 losses by a combined total of 4 points, against 8th-ranked Tennessee and the SEC west champ LSU. Oh yeah, and I forgot to mention one thing. He’s the returning Heisman trophy winner, something our former star QB Deshaun Watson also was.
The only knock on Young is that he isn’t half the runner Deshaun Watson was, but if you watch his tape, you would clearly see his ability to run at least in spurts. The issue is, we don’t have a large sample size of said spurts, mostly due to Alabama’s ability to get wide receivers open, thus not needing much-running action from the QB.
However, his arm is arguably more damaging than Watson’s, to the point where Alabama has lost twice and was still only one placement in the rankings away from becoming the first two-loss team to ever make the college football playoff.
Houston Texans Need A Game Changer
I don’t see any reason for the Houston Texans to not attempt to draft a QB given that Davis Mills isn’t exactly the superstar piece we so desperately need to create an identity moving forward. The fastest way to rebuild a struggling football team is to draft a franchise QB, it worked for the Bengals so why can’t it work for Houston?
Bryce Young could be the replacement for Deshaun Watson, or the Houston Texans can draft some meaningless skill position player who gets traded 2 seasons in because Mills doesn’t know how to throw a ball past 15 yards downfield. The Texans have two choices which are; to either stick with the QB whose record is an awful 3-16-1 or draft the defending Heisman trophy winner, who is the most NFL-ready QB in the draft this spring.