At least for now, the Houston Texans belong to rookie quarterback Davis Mills.
Those who watch Thursday Night Football in Week 3 won’t be greeted with Deshaun Watson slinging touchdowns against the Carolina Panthers or Tyrod Taylor zigging and zagging en route to the end zone. Instead, it’ll be Mills — a third-round pick from Stanford — who will take the first-team reps on national television.
Davis Mills is starting for the Houston Texans in Week 3
The sounds have stopped on this round of musical chairs, and it’s Mills’ time to take a seat.
The 22-year-old made his NFL debut against Baker Mayfield and the Cleveland Browns in Week 2 after Taylor left with a hamstring injury. Mills completed eight of his 18 pass attempts (44.4%) for 102 yards, a touchdown, and an interception in the Texans’ 31-21 loss.
With Taylor now on injured reserve, Texans head coach David Culley is turning his team over to Mills. Jeff Driskel, a journeyman with nine career starts to his name, is expected to serve as the backup quarterback.
Recruiting outlets considered him one of the country’s top high school quarterback prospects in 2017
High school rankings can be a funny thing. Plenty of 5-star prospects never pan out as expected, and 2-star players often turn into excellent college and NFL players.
Scout and Rivals each considered Mills the nation’s top quarterback in the class of 2017, while 247 Sports listed him as the country’s top pro-style quarterback. That class included future NFL starting quarterbacks Mac Jones and Tua Tagovailoa, along with 2021 draftees Kellen Mond and Sam Ehlinger.
Mills played well at Stanford despite a low sample size
Despite playing for a Power 5 program at Stanford, Mills didn’t have the national notoriety that the likes of Justin Fields and Trevor Lawrence did in recent years. Still, he played more than capably as the Cardinal’s starting quarterback from 2019-20.
Across 13 games in that time, the 6-foot-4 signal-caller completed 65.8% of his passes for 3,468 yards, 18 touchdowns, and eight interceptions. He also ran for three touchdowns and even turned an 8-yard reception into a score in 2019.
Mills holds Stanford’s single-game passing yards record
The talented quarterback completed 33 of his 50 passes on Nov. 16, 2019, for a school-record 504 yards, three touchdowns, and two interceptions in a 49-22 road loss to Washington State. Such is the fun that comes with Pac-12 after dark.
Both of his sisters played tennis in college
Depending on where and when you attended school in the 2010s, Davis may not have been the only member of the Mills family you saw play a sport.
One sister, Ali, played tennis at the University of South Carolina from 2014 through 2017. She regularly earned academic honors, including Honor Roll and the Dean’s List, during her three seasons. Another sister, Erin, played tennis at Tusculum University (Tenn.) from 2013-17.
Mills will become the fourth quarterback selected in the 2021 draft to start an NFL game
Ten quarterbacks were selected in the 2021 NFL Draft, and five went within the first 15 picks. Mills, the 67th overall pick, was the eighth signal-caller taken this year.
In spite of going so late among quarterbacks, he’ll be the fourth rookie of those 10 to start an NFL game. Jacksonville’s Trevor Lawrence (the first overall pick), the New York Jets’ Zach Wilson (No. 2), and New England’s Mac Jones (No. 15) all started — and lost — in Week 1.
Chicago’s Justin Fields (No. 11) will also make his first NFL start in Week 3. However, Mills beat him to the punch by three days.