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Texans draft Davis Mills in case they lose Deshaun Watson

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Davis Mills, the Texans’ hedge against Deshaun Watson possibly not playing this year.

Davis Mills, the Texans’ hedge against Deshaun Watson possibly not playing this year.
Photo: Getty Images

There are few axioms this time of year that ring more true than “actions speak louder than words.” The Houston Texans, with their first opportunity to make a pick in the draft, demonstrated that statement perfectly in selecting a quarterback in the third round despite essentially being silent about the Deshaun Watson situation.

With the 67th overall pick, the Texans selected Davis Mills, quarterback out of Stanford. The NFL Network broadcast crew, anchored by Rich Eisen, was stunned. “What? What?” Eisen repeated for a solid minute. It was a bold, non-verbal statement about the uncertainty surrounding the organization, and around Deshaun Watson in particular.

The news around Watson has been quiet over the last couple weeks, but the NFL calendar continues to move. As the season grows ever closer, Houston has no choice than to stare down the elephant in the room and figure out what life without Watson could look like. They made the decision to add to their quarterback room, which currently consists of veteran journeyman Tyrod Taylor and Ryan Finley. As the legal process continues to drag on surrounding the 22 civil lawsuits that Watson is facing, there’s growing speculation that Watson will not play this season.

Mills is an intriguing prospect. He was a five-star recruit and the No. 1 ranked pro-style quarterback in the 2017 class, before injuring his knee in his final high school game. He sat out his first year at Stanford while rehabbing the injury, and then re-injured it as he was close to being ready. That led to another season on the shelf.

The once highly-touted recruit has limited games played in college because of the injuries and a COVID-shortened 2020 season, but the tools are there for Mills to be a developmental quarterback at the NFL level.

To the Texans fans out there, this was a “no no, I just have some dust in my eyes. I’m fine” type of moment. All the promise and hope of an organization helmed by a superstar quarterback has gone up in flames in the last year. Bill O’Brien tanked the franchise and moved their draft picks in the process, the quarterback that was supposed to be their savior is facing 22 lawsuits for sexual misconduct, organizational pillar J.J. Watt is now in Arizona with former Texans star wide receiver DeAndre Hopkins, and now Texans fans are faced with the stark reality that comes with drafting a developmental quarterback. It’s going to be a long road to healing in Houston. 

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