Davis Mills, QB
School: Stanford | Conference: PAC-12
College Experience: RS-Junior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6’4” / 217 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Round 2-3
NFL Comparison: Kirk Cousins
When Mills came out of high school in Georgia, in 2017, he was the highest rated QB prospect in the country. Mills suffered a knee injury in his final high school game that he re-injured just as he was done rehabbing it his freshman year at Stanford. He sat out his second year, recovering, and was completely healthy going into his redshirt sophomore year. That season, he started six games, filling in for injured starter KJ Costello, and played fairly well, setting a school record by passing for over 500 yards against Washington State at one point.
In 2020, the starting role was delivered to Mills, as Costello transferred to Mississippi State, but the season began inauspiciously, as he missed the first game due to an error in COVID testing protocols. Mills, who has already graduated, played well his redshirt junior season, earning All PAC-12 honorable mention and completing among the most passes per game (25.8) in the FBS.
Had Mills decided to stay in school one more year, he surely would have boosted his draft capital. The question, at this point, is whether an NFL team is in a position to have the patience to continue developing him.
In fact, Mills received the most captain votes in [Stanford] team history. “I don’t know if that’s public knowledge,” Mills said. “I really worked my butt off to get into the position I was in after my injuries, so to gain that kind of respect from my teammates meant everything to me.”
- A decent chance that his best football is still ahead of him.
- Has good footwork, and well-suited for a play action offense.
- Mills has an NFL-caliber arm and prototypical size.
- Passes have good velocity and accuracy, particularly in the middle of the field.
- Not tremendously athletic, but can avoid pressure in the pocket.
- Will absolutely need at least a year on the bench, to continue developing.
- Only has 11 career starts.
- Has suffered multiple knee injuries in the past (same knee).
- Needs to take less chances throwing into tight coverage.
- Has to be more patient with allowing routes to develop.
Let’s See His Work
How He Would Fit
Normally, post-Day 1 quarterbacks would be a bit of an afterthought, with relatively low expectations for their eventual NFL role. In researching for the draft this year, however, Davis Mills bucks that trend a bit. From my perspective, he’s a fairly high - potential - upside option whose value has been suppressed by past injury issues and a lack of college playing time resulting from those injuries as well as COVID, in 2020.
Washington’s current QB situation is near ideal for a prospect in Mills’ situation. Ryan Fitzpatrick is one of the most experienced veterans in the league, and has evolved his game to address some of the same issues that Mills needs to work on. Having Fitz in place gives Mills - at least - a year to marinate on the bench and grow as a passer, with absolutely no pressure/expectation that he will play in 2021.
If Scott Turner and Ron Rivera are sold on Mills’ potential upside, it’s well worth a Day 2 gamble on the young QB. I can’t wait to see what they do.
Where would you draft Davis Mills?
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