Davis Mills struggled out of the gate during his rookie season before turning it around to author a nice stretch run that gave the Houston Texans faith he could be their starter for 2021.
"I think experience is a big factor in how my game progressed through the last season," Mills said, per the team's official website. "These reps I've gotten in this offseason are extremely valuable, and I'm excited to keep progressing. I still have a lot to prove to myself and to my teammates to go out there and win games, but we're all excited for it, and I want to keep moving forward."
In the first six games he started as a rookie, Mills completed 69.11 percent of his attempts for 209.2 yards per game, 6 touchdowns, 7 interceptions, 82.3 passer rating, 19 sacks and 6.57 yards per attempt. Mills looked lost at times and struggled behind the offensive line as he needed time to process.
After heading back to the bench for three games, he returned to the starting lineup for the final five tilts. The contrast couldn't have been more stark. In those five starts -- two wins -- he completed 68.42 percent of his passes for 251.6 YPG, 9 TDs, 2 INTs, 102.4 passer rating, 9 sacks and 7.36 Y/A. Mills ran the offense well and showed the willingness to stretch the field.
We've seen young quarterbacks go on end-of-year runs as rookies and never progress -- Drew Lock in 2019 comes to mind. But the Texans believe Mills has the tools and mental makeup to be the long-term answer.
"I would say two of the most important things are decision-making and accuracy," general manager Nick Caserio told Sports Radio 610 on Thursday, via the Texans Wire. "So, when you look at that position, do you take care of the football, do you make the right decision, do you go where the play tells you the ball should go? So, I would say, for the most part, the majority of the plays that we've run during the course of the spring, that's been the case. Are there some instances where he could have made some better throws or a throw there? So, I would say for the most part those couple of areas I articulated I would say he's certainly ahead."
As Houston continues its rebuild, it's on Mills to prove he has the tools to be the franchise quarterback. If he swims, the Texans unearthed a draft steal in the third round. If he sinks, they'll be in position to select a rookie in the first round in 2023.