There was a lot of negative energy surrounding the Houston Texans franchise in 2021, but somehow, the organization set it all aside and provided a bit of hope for fans with a strong NFL Draft.
And they did it despite not having a pick until the third round.
No. 67 QB Davis Mills, 13 games/11 starts
No. 89 WR Nico Collins, 14 games/8 starts
No. 147 TE Brevin Jordan, 9 games/2 starts
No. 170 LB Garret Wallow, 17 games/2 starts
No. 195 DT Roy Lopez, 16 games/15 starts
NFL.com graded each team's 2021 draft class as a whole and gave the Texans a B-plus:
All things considered, 2021 had to be the most depressing year in the two-decade history of the Texans franchise. But amidst all the negative energy, the 2021 rookie class served as a beacon of hope in Houston. That's a major credit to the scouting staff, considering the Texans didn't even go on the clock until Round 3 and ultimately left the draft with a five-man class. Shoot, Jacksonville made five picks before Houston's first selection. And yet, the Texans unquestionably boast the AFC South's most productive rookie class.
The Texans selected Stanford quarterback Davis Mills with their first pick, No. 67 overall. With the Deshaun Watson saga in full force and fresh off the free-agent acquisition of Tyrod Taylor, Houston went with Mills knowing they needed to potentially replace Watson. Quarterback Ryan Finley was also added via trade.
Mills was the eighth quarterback off the board and was expected to be the backup. Taylor won the job but was injured in Week 2, opening the door for Mills. Taylor took back the starting job when he was healthy but the Texans went back to Mills in mid-December.
Mills' final five games were impressive, completing 68.2 percent of his passes, throwing nine touchdowns to two interceptions, and posting a 102.4 passer rating. He even upset the L.A. Chargers and second-year phenom quarterback Justin Herbert along the way.
NFL.com graded the Jacksonville Jaguars second in the division with a C-minus, with the Indianapolis Colts and Tennessee Titans tying for last at D-plus.
Aside from Mills, Houston got strong play from third-round pick Nico Collins at receiver, fifth-round pick Brevin Jordan at the tight end position a sixth-rounder in defensive lineman Roy Lopez who started 15 games.
Follow Timm Hamm on Twitter at @IndyCarTim