It’s been a couple of weeks ago that the Texans went completely off the map and selected Stanford quarterback Davis Mills in the third-round – their actual first pick — of the NFL Draft.
Almost immediately, there were questions about what the selection of Mills means for the future of disgruntled and troubled franchise quarterback Deshaun Watson. Those questions have only grown louder in the silence from the Texans when it comes to Watson’s status with the team.
Their actions, however, seem to have spoken volumes.
Since Watson first demanded a trade because of issues with owner Cal McNair to the serious legal trouble the quarterback faces after 22 massage therapists have filed lawsuits alleging sexual misconduct, the Texans quarterback room has changed dramatically.
The team has added veteran starter Tyrod Taylor, reliable backup Ryan Finley and now Mills via a valuable commodity also known as a third-round pick. And passing game coordinator and quarterbacks coach Pep Hamilton is now leading the room. It would seem the Texans have put a plan in place to move on from Watson.
New general manager Nick Caserio has done his best to make us believe Mills was simply the best player available regardless of position at the No. 67 overall pick. That might be more believable had the Texans picked a pass rush specialist or wide receiver with the first pick of this new regime.
“It’s just part of the team-building process,” said Caserio, who is a disciple of Bill Belichick. “I wouldn’t say there was any one specific factor or any one particular thing that goes into it. What we tried to do is evaluate the players and put the players in a position and on the board and then go through our process.”
The Texans are smart to have made the moves that have been made in the quarterback room. There is a chance that even if the Texans wanted to hold Watson to the four-year, $156 million contract extension he signed last fall, that with the serious nature of the criminal and civil allegations being waged he won’t be available to play for any team this upcoming season.
But the Texans have pretended in public that the drafting of Mills is no different than adding a new wide receiver to the team and that there are no specific plans for how to bring Mills along and when he may be unleashed.
“No different than any other player,” Caserio said when asked by The Defender this week what plan is in place to bring Mills along this season. “Bring him in, teach him our system, teach him our terminology, take it one step at a time.”
When you look at the history of third-round picks, those players are brought in to eventually become impact players sooner rather than later. Taylor will hold down the No.1 quarterback spot to start the season and perhaps as long as it takes to get the pro-style Mills ready to assume the top spot.
In the meantime, the question is what will happen with Watson. Indications are, the Texans have some trade possibilities though not nearly as vast and lucrative as before the sexual misconduct allegations popped up. If Watson is found liable or guilty of any of the allegations, he is almost certainly facing a suspension by the NFL and the Texans could have the right to void his contract on code of conduct violations if all trade possibilities disappear.
For now, the Texans are getting ready to see their third-round investment up close and personal for the first time this weekend when they host rookie camp.
“I think we are eager to see everybody,” Caserio said. “You have to be careful about going out there and watching one throw and making a judgment off of a guy making a great throw.”