It’s part of the process. The same events that occur along the same set of days that the calendar holds us hostage to. The NFL Draft follows the same process. It’s Twitter clips of prospects during the season, it’s mock drafts, it’s combine events, it’s mock drafts, it’s Pro Days, it’s more mock drafts, it’s draft guides, it’s more mock drafts, it’s the draft itself, it’s the UDFA signing period, and then it’s draft grades.
This past weekend you voted, made your voice heard, and graded the Texans draft. Our official poll had the Texans with a B grade after the conclusion of this weekend. Now let’s look at what the experts, the professional football people had to say about the Texans 2021 NFL Draft Class.
Like the Packers’ class, this is another one that is tough to grade. The Texans didn’t have a first- or second-round pick because of the 2019 trade for star left tackle Laremy Tunsil, but they did have several Day 3 picks. They have a new coach (David Culley) and general manager (Nick Caserio) who are rebuilding in a unique way, signing a whole bunch of veterans in free agency and essentially starting from scratch at many positions. I also have to mention quarterback Deshaun Watson, who requested a trade out of Houston and is now facing serious sexual-assault allegations that put his future into question. This is a franchise in limbo.
That’s why it wasn’t surprising to see the Texans take quarterback Davis Mills (67) with their first pick. As Adam Schefter reported, they don’t know if Watson will play this season. Mills was a highly rated recruit out of high school who only made 11 starts at Stanford and had some knee injuries. But he also flashed a first-round arm and accuracy at times, including throwing for 428 yards in his final college game. For a rebuilding team, this is a pick I understand because if he reaches his ceiling he could be a top-15 NFL starter.
Caserio & Co. got a 6-foot-4 wide receiver in Nico Collins (89), who averaged 19.7 yards per catch in 2019. He high-points the ball to make contested catches and could be a red zone target. (They did have to give up a 2022 fourth-rounder and more in the trade to get him.) Brevin Jordan (147) is an undersized tight end who was extremely productive at Miami. Linebacker Garret Wallow (170) had more than 250 tackles over the past three seasons. He’ll be decent on special teams.
A class with only five picks — none in Round 1 — can’t get too high of a grade, but the Texans did OK with what they had.
Day 1: None.
Day 2: The Texans look toward the future at the quarterback position with their first selection in the 2021 NFL Draft. Mills is a former five-star recruit, has an NFL-caliber arm and got the ball out quickly while at Stanford with one of the fastest average times to throw in college football. He just doesn’t bring much mobility or experience. This is an interesting decision on Houston’s part considering that the team will likely be in a position to draft a quarterback early in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Collins was a big-time recruit who just never produced as a Wolverine. The Texans will hope that’s mostly due to the lack of quarterback talent feeding him the football in Ann Arbor. Collins is a big, physical receiver with some shiftiness who still wants to play physical football and get dirty. He also has just enough juice to run by defensive backs. Consistency needs to improve.
Day 3: Jordan isn’t someone who you’re going to ask to block inline, but he did profile as one of the more dynamic receiving threats at the position in this draft class. He has legitimate after-the-catch ability for someone his size and can be used as a weapon on crossers in Houston’s offense.
Analysis: Houston gave up its first- and second-round picks as part of the Laremy Tunsil trade. The total price was too rich, despite his Pro Bowl performance. Mills was a good value in the third round as, at minimum, insurance at the quarterback position. Grabbing a receiver in the third round was a needed move, but trading away two middle-round picks (one this year and one in 2022) to land Collins was a bit much — they needed those picks to rebuild their roster.
Jordan could have been picked in the third round because of his receiving skills so selecting him in the early fifth presented good value. They moved up for Wallow, a 4-3 linebacker for Lovie Smith’s system and a special teams contributor.
Davis Mills looks to be the future under center in Houston with Deshaun Watson’s ongoing legal issues, facing allegations of sexual assault and misconduct. With just five selections, it’s hard to give head coach David Culley anything higher than an average grade.
Mills is a developmental prospect with the tools to surprise some people in the pros; with Deshaun Watson’s future in limbo, the Stanford quarterback has an outside shot to become the Texans’ starter. Collins and Jordan also both offer intriguing traits and could become valuable pieces of this offense. Still, there doesn’t appear to be a day-one impact player in this class, as Houston didn’t have a pick before the third round. Their grade reflects that.
The new regime finishes paying off former coach Bill O’Brien’s Laremy Tunsil debt ... and then follows up an offseason marred by the Deshaun Watson soap opera and the organization’s own questionable handling of it by investing their top pick (67th overall) in developmental QB Davis Mills. TE Brevin Jordan might be a nice get in Round 5, and new GM Nick Caserio got a solid veteran tackle, Marcus Cannon, from New England for a song. But soup to nuts – starting with O’Brien – this looks pretty disastrous from 30,000 feet.
Overall, over the course of a wide variety of websites, the Texans have a GPA of 1.88, and have the worst grade of the entire NFL Draft.
2021 NFL Draft Team Grades— René Bugner (@RNBWCV) May 2, 2021
I combined 18 evaluations for GPA incl:
Doug Farrar & Mark Schofield
Mel Kiper Jr
Thanks guys pic.twitter.com/vM6OnVl4aK
The grades pretty much come down to how you feel about Davis Mills. If you think Mills is the best player in the second tier of quarterbacks, and could be a possible starting caliber quarterback, then the Texans had a fine draft. If you aren’t a believer in Mills, you are upset the Texans didn’t listen to Matt Schaub, and selected a quarterback with their first selection. All in all, and as expected, Texans fans feel better than the professional football do.