Texans Caserio Not Eager, But Steady to Start QB Mills

Nick Caserio isn't going to play the short game with the Stanford product, meaning he'll need to earn starting reps
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HOUSTON -- Nick Caserio will feel the pressure to start rookie quarterback Davis Mills sooner rather than later. After all, he's the first pick the Houston Texans made during the first-year GM's era. 

Mills' case is a tad different than any other rookie quarterback, though. Franchises usually either view early picks to start right away or be the future due to poor production from the year before. 

Mills' reality exists somewhere in between.

For Mills, if he becomes a first-teamer, he'll be starting in part due to Deshaun Watson's predicament. Not only does the Pro Bowl veteran Watson want out of NRG Stadium, he's also still facing 22 civil suits of sexual misconduct and assault. 

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Rookie camp is a week away for the Texans. That said, Caserio will be patient with the Stanford moving into offseason workouts. 

"I think we’re eager to see everybody," Caserio said Monday at the Texans’ annual charity golf tournament to benefit the Houston Texans Foundation. "You’ve got to be careful going out there watching one throw and making a judgment off of like, 'Guy made a great throw, he looked good today."'

Mills enters rookie camp with still more questions than answers regarding his future. Despite being the nation's No. 1 pocket-passing QB of the 2017 high school recruiting class, the Duluth, Ga. native only started 11 games for David Shaw's team at Stanford.

Shaw gave the pick high praise when Caserio nabbed Mills with the No. 67 selection, calling it "the steal" of the draft. Caserio isn't ready to say that until he sees the former Cardinal in action for himself. 

“I’m not a draft expert. I have a lot of respect for David, so you can talk to David about what he thinks," Caserio said. "We’re just glad that we have the players that we have in the building.” 

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The Texans will at least enter 2021 with two other options at quarterback to give Mills time. They agreed to a one-year deal with journeyman Tyrod Taylor. Houston also traded for Ryan Finley from Cincinnati in March. 

There's no ticking clock on when the rookie will start. Like the four other newbies, Houston enters the summer with only the expectation of building a team that understands coach David Culley's playbook. Some names could move faster up the depth chart — Davis included. 

The chances of him being a Week 1 starter following rookie and minicamp's completion on June 17? That's all up to Davis' skills like any other new Texan. ... well, and up to the Watson situation.

“Bring him in, teach him our system, teach him our terminology, take it one step at a time," Caserio said of getting Mills ready. "Again, different players are going to be able to absorb more information than others, some can learn it quickly and move on to the next thing. Each player is going to be different.

"It’s about fundamentals and it’s about a foundation. It’s not about Xs and Os at this point."

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