HOUSTON - Instead of throwing passes for the Texans, Jeff Driskel now hopes to catch them.
The veteran third-string quarterback is making the transition to become a full-time tight end.
Driskel is an outstanding athlete at 6-foot-4, 234 pounds. He officially ran the 40-yard dash in 4.56 seconds at the NFL scouting combine, but many scouts had him in the 4.4 range.
The Texans hope that Driskel emerges as a versatile athlete in the mold of New Orleans Saints quarterback Taysom Hill.
"Everybody is looking for that Taysom Hill," Texans tight ends coach Andy Bischoff said Thursday. "He's got rare traits. Jeff is on a journey. He has embraced it. It's been noted that his future might not be at quarterback here, but tight end could be good for his future. He's making the shift to a full-time tight end. He's a great athlete. You've seen it happen in this league a lot. They're all on a journey and we're excited to have him.
"He'll make a play a day that turns somebody's eyes and we're just excited to help him make that transition. He's an athlete. Speed is not an issue. Catches well, good clean hands."
Driskel was signed during the offseason to a one-year, $2.5 million contract, according to a league source not authorized to speak publicly.
Driskel received a $1 million base salary with $500,000 guaranteed for skill, injury and salary cap, a $250,000 signing bonus, up to $500,000 in per-game active roster bonuses and $750,000 in achievable playtime incentives. He was released from the roster during the cutdown to 53 players then signed to the practice squad.
A former San Francisco 49ers sixth-round draft pick from Louisiana Tech who began his career at Florida, Driskel has also played for the Cincinnati Bengals, Detroit Lions and Denver Broncos.
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Driskel, 28, has passed for 2,120 career yards, 13 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He has rushed for 309 yards and three scores.
He started one game for the Broncos last season, passing for 176 yards, one touchdown and one interception.
He tested positive for COVID-9 in November and was released in May.
In his only season at Louisiana Tech, he passed for 4,026 yards and 27 touchdowns.
Driskel's athleticism is impressive.
"I've heard 4.4 or 4.5," Bischoff said. "I know this. When we ran the conditioning test, it was him and Kahale Warring and everybody else was back there. The guy turns easily, transitions. He's athletic.
"When I was in Baltimore, Trace McSorley was our next Taysom Hill. Problem is, he was this tall. Jeff has those traits. He's smart, fast athletic. I think he can do the same things for our special teams."
What would it take for Hill to play tight end in an actual game for the Texans, whose depth chart includes Pharaoh Brown, Jordan Akins and rookie Brevin Jordan?
"You know what, it's a crazy league," Bischoff said. " =I would say it's a process and I wouldn't want to project what that process is. He knows the offense. Now, it's about becoming a tight end. Two guys could stub their toe on one play. We're more looking at this as a developmental process that I'm really excited about."