As the Houston Texans' training camp draws near, TexansDaily.com will dive into each position group looking at the sure things, battles to watch, and potential sleepers to keep an eye on as the summer progresses.
Let's start by addressing the elephant in the room.
Had we been predicting the 2021 starter prior to this January, obviously there was only going to be one answer. But Deshaun Watson's ongoing legal entanglements and trade request means there is a virtually 0% chance he will suit up for the Texans in Week 1, and maybe ever again.
As such while there is a chance that he could be traded prior to the start of the season, which could include another QB coming the other way, we'll base this prediction off of what we know.
Tyrod Taylor is the presumptive starter. He's on a starting salary, has the most experience out of the available options, and is the most accomplished.
Yes, he's the wrong side of 30, but he brings with him a great deal of knowledge from different systems, a solid track record, and experience playing for head coach David Culley, quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton and offensive line coach James Campen.
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In any other situation, there would be little pressure on a third-round rookie t start. However, being Houston's highest draft pick in 2021, all eyes are on Davis Mills heading into training camp.
Thankfully, with Taylor on the roster, there is no immediate pressure on Mills to start. But once he's ready and settled in, it would come as no surprise to see Mills take over as QB1 this year.
The good news for the former Stanford Cardinal is that Texans aren't expected to have a particularly competitive roster this year given that they are very clearly in a transitional stage. This means that, barring further twists and turns, Mills shouldn't be under too much pressure to win right away.
The Texans, however, do need to see enough of Mills to properly evaluate him moving into 2022 and beyond. Do they have a long-term starter in Mills? will they need to use a first-rounder to find a replacement for Watson in 2022?
The third-choice quarterback is former Denver Bronco Jeff Driskel. A 2016 sixth-round pick, Driskel has nine career starts to his name and has a chance to see the field should Taylor go down and Mills is not yet ready.
But general manager Nick Caserio isn't afraid to chop and change the roster at any moment, so keep an eye on the end-of-training camp cuts around the league for other potential quarterbacks.
Taylor has been under-appreciated in the past, particularly during his time with the Bills. A Pro Bowler in Buffalo, Taylor has the confidence of Culley and Hamilton.
Also worth keeping in mind, given that the Texans, in theory, have a stronger run game this season, Taylor will have that to lean on as well as a top-tier receiver in Brandin Cooks.
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