Both Nick Caserio and DeMeco Ryans have said the same thing as it pertains to quarterbacks. They keep telling us that they have only one quarterback in the QB room and both refuse to say his name. The jokes tell themselves at this point. Some have suggested for Davis Mills to wear a t-shit that says, “Hey, Nick and DeMeco: Say my name!” The more serious implication is that Mills is not really in the team’s plans moving forward. He could stick as a third quarterback.
That means that both the starter job and backup job are up for grabs. The veteran QB market seems easy enough as a fallback option, but what were to happen if the Houston Texans selected two quarterbacks in the draft? It has been done before. The Washington football team famously drafted Kirk Cousins in the same draft as Robert Griffin III. They were thankful that they did.
Other teams have done it as well. If the goal is finding someone with more upside than Mills then it really shouldn’t be that difficult. However, before we get to the potential backups we should take a look at the quarterback list after the combine and look at their NFL.com grades, PFF scores, and quarterback rating for their college career.
The Top Four Guys
Bryce Young— 91.5 PFF, 6.82 NFL.com, 165.0 QBR
Not much changed for Young as he only sat for interviews and got measured. He came in a shade over 5’10” and at 204 pounds. If we move beyond the silliness of the drama we can compare him historically to Kyler Murray (NFL.com 6.80) and Deshaun Watson (NFL.com 6.80). The key is the gap between him and the second best quarterback. Trading up might be a good idea.
C.J. Stroud— 84.1 PFF, 6.46 NFL.com, 182.4 QBR
The good news is that guys like Justin Herbert and Patrick Mahomes got similar grades when they went through the combine. However, there is a noticeable drop from Young to Stroud and there isn’t much separation from here on out. The guy produced the best QBR of any prospect in the draft, so if college production is important to you then he’s your guy. If traits are important to you then maybe not so much.
Anthony Richardson— 79.8 PFF, 6.35 NFL.com, 133.6 QBR
One college quarterback coming out had a lower QBR. Vertical leaps and standing broad jumps are nice. 4.43 speed is really nice at a guy his size. His 60 MPH fastball is the second best in history. I’m just not sure how applicable any of this in a real football setting. When was the last time you saw a QB jump from a standing position? Are we perfecting some sort of jump pass? The histrionics just seem silly at this point.
Will Levis— 68.6 PFF, 6.30 NFL.com, 145.6 QBR
In the movie “Moneyball”, Billy Beane asks one of the scouts why a hitter doesn’t hit. The scout gave some mumbo jumbo about if you gave the guy 500 at bats he would produce. Sure. That’s Will Levis. Everyone says he is most gifted quarterback in the draft in terms of arm talent, but that has to translate to something eventually. Maybe it will someday. We just haven’t seen it yet.
Potential Day Three Selections
Hendon Hooker— 90.8 PFF, 6.23 NFL.com, 172.2 QBR
Hooker could go as soon as the second round or as late as the fourth round. As things stand now, the Texans have multiple third round picks. Taking Hooker with the later pick could be an interesting move. He isn’t likely to be healthy at the start of the season, but this more of a long-term gamble and Hooker definitely looks to be better than Mills.
Stetson Bennett— 90.1 PFF, 6.00 NFL.com, 160.7 QBR
We have to be honest here. Way too much is made about guys being winners. Yes, he has won two championship games. We know the defense has a lot more to do with it than him or the offense. Still, the numbers are pretty good and if you threw a fourth or fifth round selection his way you could be getting a good backup.
Jaren Hall— 86.3 PFF, 5.90 NFL.com, 158.2 QBR
Okay, we’ve seen BYU quarterbacks fail before, so maybe people could be gun shy here. However, we aren’t talking about the Mormon Mahomes here. We are looking at a fairly good dual threat quarterback. Having another weapon on the sidelines for certain packages makes a lot of sense. Taysom Hill is certainly making a killing in New Orleans with limited actual passing skills.
Dorian Thompson Robinson— 74.8 PFF, 5.80 NFL.com, 145.6 QBR
Again, this is more about application than generic long-term prognosis. Mills had a better grade coming out of Stanford, but he really isn’t a threat in the running game. He was a five year starter at UCLA and while the numbers aren’t great, he could be a dual threat option to spell whoever the first round quarterback is.
Max Duggan— 83.0 PFF, 5.82 NFL.com, 141.4 QBR
I will always have a soft spot for Max. Every year at TCU the Horned Frog faithful kept hoping someone better would come along. Every year he kept beating the other guys out for the job. He is limited much the way that guys like Case Keenum were, but he has some athleticism and was second in the Heisman voting. He should probably fall to the fifth or sixth round at least, so you could get him with one of your last selections.