2021 NFL Draft Scouting Report: Stanford QB Davis Mills

Brian Lamb
Brian Lamb is the owner of NFL Draft Lounge and has covered the NFL Draft since 2011. Brian is also the owner of the Infinity Sports Network, which NFL Draft Lounge belongs to.

Stanford University is known for producing two big-time quarterbacks, John Elway and Andrew Luck. Head coach David Shaw, a four-time Pac-12 Coach of the Year, has been mentioned as a candidate for high-profile coaching positions. Davis Mills, the quarterback of the Stanford Cardinals, looks the part on the field. With KJ Costello transferring to Mississippi State, the door was wide open for Davis Mills to establish himself as a top NFL Draft prospect, as we’ll explain in this scouting report.

In our Davis Mills NFL Draft scouting report, we’ll take a look at Mills’ background, turn on some film to breakdown his mechanics, and then finish up by examining his draft stock and predicting his future in the NFL.

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Background

Davis Mills was a five-star recruiting prospect, according to 247 Sports and Rivals, out of the state of Georgia. Prior to his commitment to Stanford University, Davis Mills had offers from Alabama, USC, Georgia, and Michigan. In February of 2017, Mills signed his letter of intent with Stanford. In June of 2017, Mills officially enrolled.

Mills did not see any action during his freshman season, and only a brief appearance in his sophomore season. However, KJ Costello, the team’s starting quarterback, battled injuries throughout most of the 2019 season, which opened the door for Davis Mills to start. In eight games, Mills threw for 1,960 yards, along with 11 touchdowns and 5 interceptions. Additionally, his completion percentage was an impressive 65.6%. In the offseason, Costello transferred to Mississippi State, giving way for Davis Mills to become the team’s full-time starting quarterback.

Due to Covid-19, the Pac-12 football conference played a delayed, and brief, football season. Davis Mills appeared in five of the six games played for Stanford in 2020, passing for 1,508 yards, a 7 to 3 touchdown to interception ratio, and a 66.2 completion percentage.

Next up in our Davis Mills NFL Draft scouting report, we’ll turn on the film and breakdown his mechanics.

 

What I Like About Davis Mills

In this 2021 NFL Draft scouting report, we’ve taken a look at Davis Mills’ background. Below, let’s turn on the game film and examine what makes Mills a sought after NFL Draft prospect. For the first game, we’ll take a look at Stanford’s 2019 game against Notre Dame.

 

Accurate Throws Outside The Numbers

First off, I really like this throw from Davis Mills. While this is an incredible route from the tight end, it’s an equally impressive throw from the quarterback. As you can see, Mills places this ball where only his target can make a play on the ball. These types of throws are what keeps the quarterback on the field on Sundays.

 

Contact Balance and Quickness

Davis Mills has no chance on this play as the left guard whiffs on a block. With pressure in his face, Mils is somehow able to remain upright, showing off some nice contact balance. Once he’s able to escape the tackle, Mills accelerates out of the pocket for a pickup of 15 yards, as well as a first down.

 

Accurate Throws Outside The Pocket

This game, a 2020 matchup against Cal, really shows off Davis Mills’ pocket instincts and vision. With the defensive end working outside the right tackle, this opens up the pocket for Mills. Rather than sit in the pocket to make his throw, Mills steps up and avoids any upcoming pressure. While he’s on the run, Mills is able to create enough torque to build velocity on an accurate throw on this comeback route. Furthermore, this throw is made with solid anticipation as he hits the receiver as soon as he gets out of his break.

 

What I Dislike About Davis Mills

As with all of our scouting reports, we like to include game films of the good, as well as the bad, for each prospect. Down below, I’ve included three clips that spotlight areas in which Davis Mills needs to improve. For the first clip, we’re once again looking at a 2019 game against Notre Dame.

 

Inaccurate Throws Under Pressure

 

 

Inaccuracy On Short Yardage Throws

This throw, a simple pitch-and-catch type of throw from Davis Mills, is not only off-target, but it’s also a bit late. This play is a pick that’s designed to create space between the inside receiver and the defensive back. However, even if this throw was put in the hands of the receiver, it’s likely not going very far as the defender begins to close in on the slot receiver.

 

Deep Throw Accuracy

In this close game against Cal in 2020, Davis Mills had an opportunity to break this game open with a pass downfield. His receiver is able to create space throughout the route, which opens up the field for the quarterback. However, with space towards the numbers, on the outside shoulder of the receiver, this ball is underthrown, which results in an interception. Quite frankly, this ball is placed in the only spot where it shouldn’t be placed.

 

Davis Mills NFL Draft Scouting Report

 

Pros
  • Throws with good anticipation
  • Quickness and acceleration to escape pressure in the pocket
  • Accuracy on short and intermediate throws

 

Cons
  • Accuracy on throws from the bootleg
  • Calmness in the pocket with interior pressure
  • accuracy on throws downfield between the hash marks

 

The Verdict

While top quarterbacks, such as Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, and Justin Fields are all well-known in this draft class, there are other prospects available. Stanford’s Davis Mills comes from a pro-style offense and possesses many traits that NFL franchises are looking for. As we’ve shown in this 2021 NFL Draft scouting report, Davis Mills isn’t a perfect prospect, as there are several areas in which he must improve.

However, if teams are looking for a mid-round option at quarterback, Davis Mills is a solid option. More importantly, it could pay off down the road. While he comes from a pro-style offense, he doesn’t appear to be a pro-ready prospect to start the 2021 NFL season. Despite this, Mills could be added to a roster to sit behind a seasoned veteran with the intention of starting in 2-3 years.

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