Texans rookie quarterback Davis Mills sharply upgraded his performance Monday on the heels of a rough outing Saturday when he uncorked a handful of interceptions while running the first-team offense with Tyrod Taylor excused for personal reasons.
The strong-armed third-round draft pick from Stanford was much more accurate and delivered a series of spirals Monday. That included connecting deep with rookie wide receiver Nico Collins for a touchdown pass.
Texans coach David Culley was encouraged by how Mills handled a difficult experience and applied that toward Monday's training camp practice.
"I thought he bounced back really well today, he did a nice job," Culley said. "What that tells me about him is that he's not going to get rattled. That's the demeanor that he has. He's that kind of guy. We knew that when we drafted him He's a solid guy. Pressure doesn't bother him. For him to do what he did today was excellent. We expected that."
The Texans are intrigued by Mills' potential. They like what they’ve seen from his approach to practice and meetings and how he’s thrown the football.
Mills’ arm strength, size and classic throwing mechanics are rare and intriguing enough that several NFL general managers and scouts have stated privately he would have likely been a high first-round draft pick next year if he had remained at Stanford for his senior year.
Signed to a four contract worth $5.22 million that includes a $1.157 million signing bonus, Mills had just 11 starts in college due to a knee injury. Playing in just five games last season, he was an honorable-mention All-Pac-12 selection who passed for 1,508 yards, seven touchdowns and three interceptions. He set a single-game school record with a 504-yard performance against Washington State. As a sophomore, he passed for 1,960 yards, 11 touchdowns and five interceptions.
"t's good to show him how tough it is to play in the NFL,” Texans linebacker Christian Kirksey said Saturday. “We have all the confidence in him. It's training camp, everybody's trying to get better. I think he's going to be a great quarterback. You can tell from his mechanics, how sharp he is.”
Over the summer, Mills (6-foot-4, 235 pounds) said he’s encouraged by his initial steps into the NFL.
“I feel like I’ve done pretty well so far,” Mills said during a TriStar Productions autograph show at NRG Arena. “Obviously, it’s a new experience for me. Being in Houston, meeting all of the new teammates and coaches, I’ve definitely learned a lot so far. They’ve kind of thrown a lot at us pretty fast, so I’ve had to pick it up fast, at least what I could.
“We all kind of know this is the period where we’re all getting back into shape and really getting the feel of our teammates and route timing and the feel of the offense. It’s been great so far.”
Aaron Wilson has covered the NFL for 20 years and has previously written for The Houston Chronicle and The Baltimore Sun. He’s on Twitter: @AaronWilson_NFL and Instagram: @aaronwilson7128