HOUSTON -- Once selected with the 67th overall pick, Davis Mills became the headliner name for the Houston Texans. As a quarterback, plus being the first pick Houston made in the 2021 NFL Draft, expectations are high.
Mills now has the opportunity to be the next franchise quarterback in Houston. Deshaun Watson's time with the organization seems up and a new era under David Culley and Nick Caserio can begin with the Stanford product.
Much of Mills' success will come based off coaching. Houston is putting its trust in offensive coordinator Tim Kelly and pass game coordinator Pep Hamilton to find a middle ground of development between Watson and Chargers' Justin Herbert's success from last season.
So far, Mills appreciates the new skills learned through OTAs.
“They’ve been great, and I love it,” Mills told reporters Saturday before his appearance at the TriStar Show in Houston. “They definitely have a lot to teach me, and I have a lot to learn. They’ve thrown a lot at me, and I think I’ve picked it up pretty fast so far."
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As for where he sits entering minicamp, Mills knows there's much that still must be learned before Week 1 of the season.
“I think I’ve done pretty well so far, but I’ve got a long way to go,” Mills said.
Watson led the NFL in passing yards last season and reset the franchise record in passing touchdowns. Mills understands that, but that isn't on his radar.
Neither is replacing Watson as the “face of the franchise” Houston fans will learn to love. Instead, Mills' attention is learning under Culley and the veteran quarterbacks in camp to enhance his skills when called upon.
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“He’s a great coach,” Mills said of the Texans first-year boss. “He knows so much. It’s OTAs and I haven’t had a lot of one-on-one time with him, and I look forward to it.”
Three quarterbacks are looking to show they have what it takes to make the roster come September. Incumbent starter Tyrod Taylor seems likely to play the de facto starter until Mills is ready.
Veteran Jeff Driskel will be competing with the Georgia native Mills for snaps at QB No. 2. Mills is pleased, though, with the opportunity to learn under Taylor based off the way he's carried himself throughout his time in the league.
“His knowledge of the game, which takes time to learn, his professionalism and the way he comes to work every day,” Mills said of Taylor’s attributes.
In his previous two stops, Taylor was replaced by a rookie due to injury. In 2018 with the Cleveland Browns, he suffered a concussion in Week 3 and was replaced by Baker Mayfield. In 2020, a punctured lung in Week 2 led to Herbert becoming the full-time starter.
Taylor told reporters earlier this week that while he hopes to be a starter, he relishes in the role of being a mentor to the next group of gunslingers in the league.
“I don’t hide any information. If it’s something I can share with a younger quarterback or whatever position it is, I’ll share it," Taylor said. "You can’t focus on outside factors. You have to bring your 'A game' every day, lead by example and everything else will fall in line the way it’s supposed to.”
The Texans are teaching. Davis Mills is listening.
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