11 college QBs Houston Texans fans should keep an eye on

OU's Spencer Rattler tops the list. Photo by Tom Pennington/Getty Images.

The Houston Texans more than likely will be looking for a quarterback in the 2021 NFL Draft. Here is a watch list to give Texans fans an idea of which signal callers the Texans should be considering. SportsMap will update the list over the course of the season.

Spencer Rattler - Oklahoma

The quarterback who has spent the most amount of time with Lincoln Riley should be set to showcase the best the Sooners have to offer. Rattler is certainly in a position to follow in the steps of Baker Mayfield and Kyler Murray and be the top pick in the NFL Draft. Rattler has been gritty in some close games and has made light work of most of the competition he faces. It will be tough to knock him from the top of most people's watch lists.

Sam Howell - North Carolina

Mack Brown trusted Howell from the start at North Carolina and it has paid off for both of them. 68 touchdowns and 14 interceptions later, the Tar Heels have a quarterback to fear each week. The tough part for Howell heading into this season is he loses the dynamic rushing attack from last year as well as his top pass catcher. If Howell can replicate the success of last season with this year's group, he could easily see himself in competition for the top draft spot.

Malik Willis - Liberty

You might never have heard of Malik Willis before. That's fine. You will see his highlights weekly this year. Auburn's loss, Willis transferred from the Tigers, has been Hugh Freeze and Liberty's gain. The best dual-threat quarterback in this upcoming draft by a wide margin. He totaled 37 touchdowns and rushed for over 1,100 yards. Willis plays the least impressive schedule this season, as Ole Miss and Syracuse are the lone Power 5 opponents for Liberty. He will be dynamic against everyone each week though, and he has a huge arm. Someone will fall in love with him. Will it be you?

Desmond Ridder - Cincinnati

The numbers certainly won't blow you away, but Ridder continues to get love heading into this season. He will be one of the most experienced players coming out, and his Bearkats are set to be the best non-Power 5 team in the nation. Are all the tools there? Maybe. Does he showcase them regularly? No. Are the intangibles excellent to the point where someone might fall in love with him? You bet. Ridder is tough as nails and should be a tough out for the Hoosiers and Fighting Irish this season.

Kedon Slovis - USC

This isn't the best USC quarterback prospect ever, but he's solid. Slovis has had some big game success and a couple of failures against Oregon. Last season he only played in a handful of games, as did most of the Pac-12. He could really go about establishing himself this season with some solid performances. Oregon won't show up unless the Trojans play them in the conference championship, but showdowns with Notre Dame and Arizona State will have plenty of eyeballs on Slovis.

Matt Corral - Ole Miss
Corral has some juice to his game and with a second year of coaching from Lane Kiffin he should dazzle. There's some mobility to Corral's game, but let's see if he has remedied some of the inconsistencies in his game. Corral had 11 interceptions against Arkansas and LSU alone last year.

Carson Strong - Nevada

Strong almost feels like what the Texans wanted Davis Mills to be. He loves taking shots down the field and drops the ball into the basket. While Strong likes to take risks, he doesn't throw a ton of interceptions. The competition isn't elite, and he's probably got better weapons than most at his level, but the willingness to take smart shots is attractive.

Phil Jurkovec - Boston College

The former 4-star recruit at Notre Dame transferred to Boston College and has a chance in 2021 to make some noise for himself. Jurkovec is big, hard to bring down, and extends plays despite not being much of a rushing threat. He doesn't have amazing stats, but he has tools.

J.T. Daniels - Georgia

The former USC quarterback who took a while to get healthy and play for the Bulldogs. Daniels is the most likely player to replicate the recent Heisman Trophy path which is to say they come almost from out of nowhere to wow.

Dillon Gabriel - Central Florida

Stop me if you have heard about a left-handed quarterback from Hawaii lighting up the scoreboard. Gabriel led the nation in yards per game in 2020 and he can really sling it. The completion level won't suit some, but he can wow with his passing abilities. He's higher on our list than some.

Brock Purdy - Iowa State

Purdy was better statistically in 2019 than in 2020, but he can really establish himself with success this season. If the Cyclones can make noise in the Big 12 and maybe even upset the Sooners for the Big 12 title, Purdy will improve his stock a ton.

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Here's why the Texans will make the playoffs under Lovie Smith

1. The Houston Texans had a mentally tough practice Saturday. The team has worked a lot in pads and Lovie Smith noted the days starting to build up on them during this practice. The head coach said this is a good practice because it is like the fourth quarter of the games the team will end up playing.

2. Davis Mills threw one of the best passes he has thrown all camp on Saturday. In a red zone drill, he dropped back and whipped a pass between two defenders into the tightest window he has had all camp. Nico Collins hauled in the threaded pass for a score.

3. A few reps later Davis Mills struck again. With traffic from linebackers and defensive backs, he found Chris Conley for a score. It wasn’t as tight of a window as the first one, but Mills snapped it off nonetheless.

4. Pharaoh Brown made something hard look very easy on Saturday. With Mills rolling out and tossing the ball to Brown in the back corner Brown hauled in a one-handed catch and had both feet down. Touchdown. Brown then acted like it was no big deal.

5. Pharaoh Brown has had a wonderful camp. Lovie Smith named him the starting tight end. The thing that really jumped out to me today is he makes his work look easy. He isn’t straining to excel in his opportunities. The good ones always make it look easy and it has looked easy for Brown so far.

6. Rookie linebacker Christian Harris is on the shelf for a few days. He joins fellow rookie Kenyon Green as players who are injured. Max Scharping played left guard with Green down. Wide receiver Phillip Dorset practiced while veteran wideout Chester Rodgers did not.

7. Roy Lopez flashed again today. While Friday was about the rushing attack and Lopez made his presence felt at defensive tackle, he got into the pass rush Saturday. Lopez would have had a bone-crushing sack in a live rep.

8. Ross Blacklock hasn’t been consistent. A statement like that is good and evil. There are some plays where Blacklock looks like he isn’t a factor. I watched one today. A play later he had what would have been a sack on the play. He’s a player to watch in the preseason games closely.

9. Don’t expect to see Derek Stingley in the preseason opener next Saturday. Lovie Smith wouldn’t commit to the rookie cornerback playing in the preseason. Smith did say Stingley is on track to play week one in the regular season.

10. Brevin Jordan has had a nice camp and should be an important piece for the team. Jordan had a bad drop in 7-on-7 drills that he was beating himself up over for a few minutes. That was out of the norm. He’s been used a lot and will be on the field a bit it seems for the Texans.

11. Brevin Jordan also rattled off a few contenders for the quote of the day. He exclaimed he had taken care of himself this offseason and he finally had abs. He also revealed he’s quite the fisherman and once caught a 125-pound tuna. When asked what he did with the tuna Jordan laughed and said “RIP tuna!”

Listen to Cody Stoots weekdays afternoons 3-7pm on his show "The Wheelhouse" live on ESPN 97.5 + 92.5 FM or anytime on demand at the podcast here.

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