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2021 NFL Draft: Battle Red Blog Draft Grades

It was your turn, it was their turn, and now it’s our turn.

Stanford Cardinal defeated the UCLA Bruins 48-47 in overtime during a NCAA Football game at the Rose Bow. Photo by Keith Birmingham/MediaNews Group/Pasadena Star-News via Getty Images

The Texans added quarterback Davis Mills, wide receiver Nico Collins, tight end Brevin Jordan, linebacker Garrett Wallow, and defensive tackle Roy Lopez. The current consensus is that Texans fans kind of like it, and the professional football writers abhor it. Now it’s our turn. It’s our grades for the Texans 2021 NFL Draft class, and our favorite draft pick the Texans made.


Overall: D

It’s almost like a cut & paste answer from last season. To summarize: what a total disappointment.

Never thought I’d say I miss Rick Smith, but I don’t think he ever had a run of such underwhelming drafts as Houston has seen over the last four seasons.

To break it down:

Round One - no pick thanks to Bill O’Brien and Jack Easterby - Grade F

Bill O’Brien and Jack Easterby, the gift that keeps on taking...

Round Two - “ “ ” “ - Grade F

Round Three - Davis Mills, quarterback- Grade D

Houston seriously spent it’s very first pick on a project quarterback with very little experience and a history of knee injuries. His connection with quarterback coach Pep Hamilton allegedly informed this pick, but this kid is one illegal hit away from a coaching career of his own. There are certainly better ways to fill the coaching staff...

Round Three - Nico Collins. wide receiver - Grade B

Collins is potentially a nice compliment to Brandin Cooks. He’s a big, fast receiver who should make a great target in the middle of the field. While he won’t replace the likes of DeAndre Hopkins or Andre Johnson, he could turn into a very solid WR3, maybe even a 2...

Round Four - No pick - no grade

Round Five - Brevin Jordan, tight end (aka Khale Warring Pt Deux) - Grade F

This seems like another totally wasted pick. The Texans have Jordan Akins, Pharaoh Brown, Warring, Ryan Izzo, Paul Quessenberry and Antony Auclair on the roster already.

Round Five - Garret Wallow, linebacker - Grade B

A linebacker with a big upside to join a lot of others of similar potential already on the roster, either a home run in the fifth or too little too late.

Round Six - Roy Lopez, defensive tackle - Grade D

Labeled a “depth pick” by many. But, the Texans don’t have a solid set of defensive line starters who need depth. Should have addressed the line with the first pick, not the last.

Round Seven - No pick - no grade

All that averages out to a big fat D grade. Again.

If Nico Collins and Garret Wallow live up to their potential, and the Texans get two solid starters out of this draft class, that would be great. But, based on recent history, Houston’s complete inability to develop any young player who wasn’t already a home run and Jack Easterby’s continued involvement, this draft was just the latest in a very, very long line of utterly disappointing moves by the people running our beloved team. It’s always darkest before the dawn, and from the looks of it, we haven’t seen the darkest this can get yet...


Overall: N/A

For draft picks, immediate grades are kinda pointless. You probably have to wait about three years to know if a pick was good or bad for the team, and even then, it is far from an exact science. That being said, the Texans’ actions during the draft did little to dispel my view that 2021 will be a lost season for the franchise. I can understand some of the picks (drafting a quarterback given the unexpected uncertainty at the position, taking best pick available with Miami tight end Brevin Jordan in round five), but some of the other moves (the strange moves for the later round picks [and apparently not getting the player they wanted anyway], the number of picks sacrificed to draft Nico Collins) are head-scratching to say the least. Throw in a grand total of four UDFAs for the team after the draft (as of this writing), and the chances for success for 2021 is between slim and none, and both of them are out of the building and deep into the parking lot.

If there is any small sliver of hope in the Pandora’s box that is the 2021 Houston Texans, the coaching staff will now have a chance to show its chops for player development. Among many of the indictments of the previous full-time regime, player development (i.e. a player gets better once they start playing for the Texans) was severely lacking.

Perhaps, just perhaps, there is a chance that the new coaching staff can coach up this hodge-podge of bargain-basement free agents and draft picks into a somewhat coherent/competent group of players. However, that is a very optimistic course of action. I’ll hold off on an official grade for the 2021 class for now, but on initial glance, this draft does not inspire a great deal of immediate confidence. One can only hope that this group of players actually gets to see the field, and that the 2020 class will join them. They may not be any good, but with 2021 not slated to be the year of the Texans, may as well see what you have going forward. The endgame should be to set up for 2022 and beyond, when the team can really start to rebuild.


Overall: C-

Overall, I’d give this draft class a C-. In the groupthink prior to the draft, I mentioned that the odds were slim of a QB being taken and that if one was, it would be more fun.

It is in fact, not more fun.

Davis Mills is going to be thrown out to the wolves once the bones of Tyrod Taylor are grounded into dust. To believe that he’ll walk in and be a franchise savior is insane at best.

Nico Collins was an interesting pick, he’ll be one to watch in camp for sure. Brevin Jordan is supposedly a great athlete and a “steal” where we got him, but we have a mountain of tight ends right now. CHAD Warring had better watch his back. I have never heard of a Garrett Wallow but I hope to learn what it is. Roy Lopez is a Gears of War NPC.

Next year’s draft has to be more entertaining, because this one set an impossibly low bar to clear.


Overall: C-

This was the ultimate homer draft again this year. Maybe it’s the best draft in NFL history!

Does anybody out there still like the Laremy Tunsil trade? Because, ouch, not having premium picks the past couple of years really hurt.

Looking, at the draft, I’ll go with C-. It’s clear they were going with BPA, which is generally fine, but two positions we didn’t need bodies at were wide receiver and tight end.

Mills: 11 career starts. He looks like Colt McCoy or Case Keenum to me. Lots of OK-ness, nothing that pops, but the sample size is super small. You can simultaneously see that he’s a lot of mediocrity and believe that Pep Hamilton can work some magic with him. I think the former is more likely, especially with his limited experience.

The Texans entered the draft with possibly the worst defense on paper in the NFL. Wallow and Lopez are not going to make a difference in the NFL, and they aren’t going to get to the quarterback.

Somehow, after all these moves this off-season and post draft, the Houston Texans are basically the same team. Simply amazing.


Overall: N/A

Definition of Doldrums by Merriam-Webster

doldrums \DOHL-drumz\ plural noun. 1 : a spell of listlessness or despondency. 2 often capitalized Doldrums : a part of the ocean near the equator abounding in calms, squalls, and light shifting winds. 3 : a state or period of inactivity, stagnation, or slump.

Over the last couple of years, Jack Easterby has been empowered with a spyglass in one hand with the other firmly in control of the rudder. The result? He has masterfully delivered the Texans franchise into the center of the NFL Doldrums and dropped anchor. Of course, one not need drop anchor when the surrounding conditions ensure a state of despondency and listlessness, but Jack wouldn’t know that since he lacks the actual experience of running an NFL franchise. One doesn’t typically leap from driving a flat-bottomed jon boat—ironically called “jack boats” in years past—to being immediately in command of a nuclear aircraft carrier, but if you are able to slide into Cal McNair’s peculiar circle of trust, you can bypass the requisite steps needed to control one of thirty two NFL franchises.

In the same way sailboat crews can’t magically generate wind to propel themselves out of a calm dead zone in the middle of the ocean, the Texans drifted aimlessly through the 2021 NFL Draft with no picks in the first two rounds and no real means to obtain that much needed fuel to begin to really rebuild the roster. If only they had they traded Deshaun Watson before he was embroiled with 22 lawsuits, it’s quite possible they could have rolled into this year’s Draft with one of the top three picks and more. But I digress.

As a result, I lacked any real interest in this year’s draft overall. The apathy for my once beloved Texans is well in place until the franchise is completely overhauled at the top and/or perhaps transitioned to new ownership. That being said, there are a couple of interesting points to consider. The selection of Davis Mills may be an indication that the Texans are truly ready to part ways with Watson once he resolves his legal matters and other NFL teams return to the trade negotiations. Of course, there’s no rush now that the Draft is over, and they can likely get a better offer once the regular season begins and a rising contender needs a QB, or a team flush with 2022 draft picks is ready to put it all on the table for a sure-thing NFL franchise quarterback.

I heard a good interview on the radio with David Shaw of Stanford, who praised Mills and said he had talked with the Texans about the QB several times pre-Draft. Shaw felt that had Mills remained at Stanford and played into the 2021 season he would be a top-15 selection in the 2022 NFL Draft. I guess we’ll see how things pan out in that regard if he gets playing time ahead of Tyrod Taylor. The other thing that interview had me considering is that David Shaw might be a really good future head coach for the Houston Texans. Someday, when the franchise is sold or properly and completely overhauled with Easterby unceremoniously plunged into the depths from the edge of a plank while bound and blindfolded. Someday, when the wind returns and the Texans escape their current languorous state. Someday, when star players are on the roster and who fans can connect with and cheer on during highlight moments in games that matter. Someday indeed.