As Deshaun Watson's future as a Houston Texan remains in question, the club unsurprisingly invested its first pick of the 2021 NFL Draft in the game's most important position.
The Texans selected Stanford quarterback Davis Mills in the third round at No. 67 overall.
Houston's first- and second-round selections were lost in a trade to acquire offensive tackle Laremy Tunsil.
Watson is currently facing 22 civil lawsuits alleging sexual assault and misconduct. The Houston Police Department opened an investigation on April 2 following a complaint being issued against Watson and the NFL is also investigating the allegations.
"We're respectful of the legal process and where that is," Texans general manager Nick Caserio said in the team's pre-draft news conference on April 16. "We're focused on today and we're focused on getting ready for the offseason program and getting ready for the draft, so that's where our focus is."
Prior to Watson's legal trouble, his relationship with the club had soured and he requested a trade.
Should the Texans move on from Watson, Mills could be their QB of the future and will now join free-agent addition Tyrod Taylor.
"It's just part of the team-building process," Caserio said Friday of the Mills selection. "I wouldn't say there was any one specific factor, or any one particular thing that goes into it. ... When it came time to pick at 67, we felt like that was the best decision for our team at the time. It doesn't impact anybody. Again, our whole philosophy has been to create as much competition as possible and we'll continue to do that."
Mills (6-foot-4, 217 pounds) comes from limited college experience -- eight games in 2019 and five in a COVID-19-shortened 2020 -- but flashed an impressive arm both at Stanford and at his pro day workout in the spring. Still, Mills' career TD-INT ratio (18-8) is pedestrian for the wide-open college game. He's outstanding in the play-action passing game, but lacks athleticism. In his most extensive action in 2019, he completed 158 of 241 passes for 1,960 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions. Last year, he was named a team captain and was named All-Pac-12 honorable mention.
Houston later moved up in the third round to draft Michigan wide receiver Nico Collins, selecting Collins with the 89th pick of the draft. To grab the former Wolverine, the Texans sent picks No. 109 (fourth round) and 158 (fifth) and a 2022 fourth-round pick to the Panthers. The Texans, who traded away DeAndre Hopkins before the 2020 season and let Will Fuller go in free agency this offseason, get a 6-foot-4 wideout in Collins who shines in bringing down contested catches and had 37 catches for 729 yards and seven scores in 2019. Collins opted out in 2020.