Sean Pendergast

When Does Davis Mills Take Over as Texans' QB?

David Culley will likely have a tough decision to make at quarterback during the season.
David Culley will likely have a tough decision to make at quarterback during the season. Screen grab from YouTube
In the NFL, the most intriguing topics surrounding any of the 32 teams typically revolves around the quarterback position. The Houston Texans certainly fall in line with that trend in 2021, largely for the wrong reasons. Deshaun Watson is one of the most pivotal figures in the league this coming season, and we don't even know IF he will play, let alone for whom.

One thing that appears fairly certain is that, if he does play, it won't be for the Houston Texans, so now the Texans' quarterback position becomes intriguing, but for highly depressing reasons, if you're a Texans fan. Nick Caserio, the Texans' GM, used the team's first pick in the draft (3rd round, 67th overall) on QB Davis Mills out of Stanford. He also signed journeyman, sometimes-starter Tyrod Taylor to a one-year deal.

The Texans re likely not going to be a very good team this season, so logically, they need to find out what they have in Mills before going into the 2022 with, presumably, a very high pick to use on a future franchise quarterback. So how does this play out?

Taylor gets off to a reasonably decent start, where he does Tyrod Taylor things — protects the football, makes the occasional "Wow!" play with his legs, and given the relatively manageable first month of the season — Jacksonville and Carolina at NRG Stadium within the first three weeks — perhaps Taylor starts out, say, 2-2. eventually, though, the talent void on the roster shows its head, and by the bye week (Week 10), Mills is tabbed as the starter for the rest of the season, and Caserio gets eight games to see what the rookie can do. I think this is what many expect the season to look like, assuming Taylor nor Mills gets hurt in camp.

What would change the above scenario? A few things....

Tyrod Taylor balls out
Hey, you never know! Taylor skippered a Buffalo Bills team that wasn't THAT much more talented than these Texans, and took them to the playoffs in 2017. Perhaps all of these veteran free agents come together, and the team is able to still score some points, and at the bye week, they're a frisky 5-4 or 4-5, instead of 2-7. At that point, don't you play it out with Taylor until the team's eliminated? (I know, many of you would say "NO!")

Davis Mills get injured during the season
Obviously, Mills not being available would impact this decision making, but even if the injury were something that Mills could play through, perhaps he'd shown enough in practice or whatever game action he had gotten to make the team think "Hey, let's not do anything stupid here." This scenario is very specific, and highly unlikely, but I just want to make sure we are looking at all the angles.

Davis Mills doesn't ever appear ready
This would be the most disappointing of all the scenarios, because it would mean the Texans essentially took the 67th overall pick and figuratively lit on fire. There was already a ton of criticism over using their scarce draft capital on a quarterback. This would be an awful scenario for Nick Caserio, and would snowball in that it would tear away at any confidence people have in Caserio making the right pick for a QB in 2022!

Deshaun Watson shows up and plays  for the Texans
This would appear to be the least likely of all the scenarios, and I don't even know if I could caveat this with "stranger things have happened." I think my conclusion in all of this is that, despite his very suspect procurement of and alleged conduct during massages, there is part of us that will miss Deshaun Watson when he's gone.

Listen to Sean Pendergast on SportsRadio 610 from 6 a.m. to 10 a.m. weekdays. Also, follow him on Twitter at and like him on Facebook at
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Sean Pendergast is a contributing freelance writer who covers Houston area sports daily in the News section, with periodic columns and features, as well. He also hosts afternoon drive on SportsRadio 610, as well as the post game show for the Houston Texans.
Contact: Sean Pendergast