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NFL Draft

Texans Will Have Successful 2021 Season If…

  • The Draft Network
  • July 11, 2021
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Let’s not try to be tricky here, the Houston Texans are in a world of hurt as they approach training camp.

With underlying legal issues surrounding their franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson, who in fact may never strap up under center in Houston ever again, the Texans have entered a full-blown rebuild with many of their former franchise cornerstones now on to greener pastures. 

It’s a roster drastically lacking in talent and positional depth so much that it wouldn’t be surprising if Houston has their eyes set on 2022 and beyond, using this season as a training ground and scouting tool for potential future rosters, especially if they have to move on from Watson.

However, it’s not all negative as first-year talents in Davis Mills and Nico Collins group well with rangy linebacker Zach Cunningham to leave a shimmer of light at the end of the long, dark tunnel the Texans have found themselves encapsulated in.

Mills, one of the biggest risers in the evaluation process regardless of position, offers a unique skill set for a team set to start veteran journeyman Tyrod Taylor. With just 14 games of collegiate experience, and with Watson currently absent, the former Stanford product enters the fold with Taylor in what will be a trial by error process for general manager Nick Caserio to ultimately find his quarterback moving forward. While Mills might never truly earn a chance to start, Houston took action on the stoic signal-caller following an excellent pre-draft process. While a Justin Herbert-like jolt to stardom isn’t realistic right now, given the possibility Watson never plays for Houston again, the best-case scenario is Mills develops into a starting quarterback over the next year or two if given the chance to showcase his talent. And despite the surrounding narrative of his lack of experience in college, Mills thrived against top competition during his time under center for the Cardinal. His 92.8 total QBR in starts against ranked opponents over the last two years ranked as the third-best mark for all FBS signal-callers, something Houston hung their hat on during the spring months when finalizing draft evaluations.

“[Mills] has some of the attributes of a quarterback that we like who played well with his opportunities when he was on the field,” Caserio said. “So it was a situation where we like the player, we spent time with him before the draft, did our research, and did our homework.”

It’s really a win-win scenario for Mills, Caserio, Culley, and the future of the Texans organization when projecting potential success down the road. 

All in all, however, there just isn’t much to be excited about for Texans faithful. And while I hoped I could scour film and flip the pages of roster profiles, it becomes increasingly difficult to not envision the Texans near, or at the top of next year’s draft. Even if Watson returns, and that’s a massive “if,” the current group of talent set to lead the Texans into battle just doesn’t meet NFL standards. 

Following six division titles in the last decade, the Texans aren’t the same unit of old, as they got rid of their headlining talent and enjoyed a drastic shuffle in the front office all while their dynamic quarterback has been absent from any team activities. 

A successful campaign in Houston is the bare minimum in that each position should sit under a microscope. With the former Patriots executive in Caserio now in place with hopes to transfer his success from Foxboro to Houston, anything above a handful of wins would be overperforming. Production from first-year talent and progression from potential future assets will be the story following the Texans in 2021. It’s all eyes toward the future as the Texans attempt to trudge their way back to neutral.

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