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Houston Texans Value of Things: What the Data Says about Davis Mills

Which tier of quarterbacks does Davis Mills fit in?

Houston Texans v Jacksonville Jaguars Photo by Courtney Culbreath/Getty Images

The Houston Texans quarterback situation is a complex one. On the one hand, you have Davis Mills. What stack of quarterbacks would we put him in? On the other hand you have the future. Which team has the best quarterbacking situation beyond 2022? Are the Texans on the bottom or are there teams in worse situations than the Texans?

The first thing we must do is define our terms. There are probably a hundred different ways to do this, so my method might seem as arbitrary as any. However, I have divided quarterbacks into three piles. The first pile are for those teams that think they have their quarterback for now and the future. That could be because of contract situations or simply that does teams have put their faith in that guy.

That doesn’t mean every guy is performing like that guy. Simply, we are taking the list from the beginning of the season and projecting forward. Name Redacted 2.0 and Dak Prescott were removed because of injury/suspension, so we have 12 quarterbacks in that pile. Again, some may or may not be franchise guys according to anyone specific definition. They are simply permanent starters.

The second group of quarterbacks are guys that may or may not be a long-term solution. Those teams weren’t sure coming into the season. This is an important distinction as early season performances would likely throw these guys one way or another. There were ten such quarterbacks on that list.

The final group are the stopgaps. They are career backups or simply someone to fill the void until that team can find someone better. There were eight such quarterbacks on that list. You will notice that totals 30 quarterbacks. We are removing Davis Mills from the conversation for now and New England has had multiple quarterbacks due to injury, so we left them out of the conversation. So, for each category we will see the mean (numerical average) and median (midpoint) for passing yards, completion percentage, touchdowns, interceptions, rushing yards, touchdowns, QBR, and ESPN QBR.

The Numbers

Entrenched Starters

Mean: 1,554 yards, 65.3%, 10/4 TD/INT, 115 Rushing, 1 TD, 92.7 QBR, 54.4 ESPN

Median: 1,539 yards, 66.0%, 9/4 TD/INT, 83 Rushing, 1 TD, 93.2 QBR, 52.0 ESPN

Again, these are the guys from the beginning of the season on. Obviously, players like Russell Wilson and Aaron Rodgers haven’t looked elite so far. Passing yards is a bit deceiving because some of these guys have played six games and others now five. Pay attention to the other numbers. In particular, the quarterback ratings are probably the most telling as we move on.

Possible Starters

Mean: 1,193 yards, 62.2%, 7/4 TD/INT, 85 Rushing, 1 TD, 87.6 QBR, 47.0 ESPN

Median: 1,195 yards, 63.6%, 8/4 TD/INT, 80 Rushing, 1 TD, 89.1 QBR, 46.9 ESPN

There’s a reason why we do these in groups. For one, there are guys some people think should be on the higher list or some on the lower list. Remember, this list is based on what the thinking was before the season. So, guys like Baker Mayfield will likely move down from here, but the Panthers hoped he would be a long-term solution at the beginning of the season. Jalen Hurts might be going the other way. The key is that these things usually even themselves out.

Replacement Starters

Mean: 1,057 yards, 63.4%, 6/3 TD/INT, 92 Rushing, 1 TD, 88.8 QBR, 54.8 ESPN

Median: 1,038 yards, 62.2%, 6/3 TD/INT, 77 Rushing, 1 TD, 89.2 QBR, 56.5 ESPN

We are only talking about eight quarterbacks here. This includes Geno Smith, Jimmy Garrapolo, and Daniel Jones. Some other quarterbacks like Cooper Rush fall here. We are constantly reshuffling guys and this list will change by the end of the season. Carson Wentz has gone down for four to six weeks. Mitchell Trubisky may or may not continue as a starter. Andy Dalton might also lose his job again to Jameis Winston. So, the key is taking everything as a whole.

Davis Mills: 1,048 yards, 62.7%, 5/4 TD/INT, 2 Rushing, 0 TD, 80.6 QBR, 31.1 ESPN

So, if you want to put Mills in a pile you would put him either in the replacement starter pile or the questionable pile. A different way to look at it is to look at QBR and ESPN QBR. Out of the 31 quarterbacks profiled, Mills ranks in front of five quarterbacks in QBR and one quarterback (Baker Mayfield) in ESPN QBR. We can offer excuses and massage the numbers any way we want. They are what they are.

The Second Question

The second question is whether the Texans have the worst quarterbacking situation in the NFL. Here we need to set a couple of parameters. You could argue that Mills is one of the worst five starting quarterbacks in the NFL. Does that make the Texans a bottom five quarterbacking situation? The obvious answer is no. If you know he is a bottom tier quarterback then you know he won’t be your quarterback in 2023.

The worst situations are when you are paying a guy a kitten ton of money to suck. So, we are talking about the Denver Broncos, Green Bay Packers, and then some borderline teams like the Arizona Cardinals and Dallas Cowboys. After all, Kyler Murray and Dak Prescott have been paid like franchise guys. Are they franchise guys? Would you rather have Bryce Young or C.J. Stroud on rookie deals or would you rather have those guys at 40+ million a season?

The second worst situation to be in is when you have a guy that you aren’t sure about. So, the Detroit Lions, Chicago Bears, Miami Dolphins, Tennessee Titans, and Indianapolis Colts all fit in this pile. Matt Ryan is getting older. How many more seasons can he give you? Will Ryan Tannehill ever win a big game? Can Jared Goff put big games or seasons back to back? Can Tua stay healthy? Will Justin Fields ever develop as a passer?

These situations aren’t as bad because at least you aren’t investing huge dollars in these guys. Yet, they are frustrating because these guys often show just enough for you to want to see more, but not enough for you to feel comfortable calling them your guy. You could definitely argue that the possibility of Stroud and Young being franchise guys is superior to what those teams are going through right now.

That leaves the other teams in the same boat as the Texans. Which one of those teams will have the draft capital to compete with the Texans? Right now, we would have the fourth and sixth pick in the draft. We could easily move up to select just about anyone. That leaves the Carolina Panthers as the only team in our current situation that is sitting in a better draft position. They may not win another game this year. Otherwise, we should have our pick of the litter.