What losing to the New York Jets means for the Houston Texans' 2022 draft position

Who is the top QB prospect in the 2022 NFL draft class? (1:24)

Mel Kiper Jr. and David Pollack assess the top quarterbacks on Mel's Big Board for the 2022 NFL draft. (1:24)

HOUSTON -- After the Houston Texans' 21-14 loss to the New York Jets, coach David Culley didn’t hesitate when asked whether he has thought about the 2022 NFL draft.

"No, not at all," Culley said.

Though, the Texans will go from only having one first-round pick in four years to the possibility of multiple, depending on whether general manager Nick Caserio trades quarterback Deshaun Watson before April.

“All I think about right now is just winning the next football game,” Culley said. “That’s Nick.”

But even if Culley isn’t thinking about it, the loss to the Jets (3-8) improved Houston’s average draft position by almost a point and a half, from 2.6 entering the game and 3.7 after.

Entering Week 13, the Texans (2-9) have a 12.8% chance to earn the No. 1 pick, according to ESPN’s FPI, something that seemed out of reach when the Texans beat the Tennessee Titans in Week 11.

FPI says Houston is almost a lock to earn a top-five pick -- 97.3% to be exact. That number went up from 84.5% before the loss on Sunday.

Because the Detroit Lions have a game and a half lead for the top pick (77.7% chance), Houston’s most important game remaining might be in Week 15 when they play at the Jacksonville Jaguars. The Jaguars have the same record as Houston and already lost to the Texans in Week 1.

Of the three worst teams right now (Lions, Texans and Jaguars), Houston has the easiest strength of schedule remaining (21st). The Lions have the sixth-hardest schedule remaining and the Jaguars have the 15th. Of Houston’s six games remaining, three teams are above .500, two are below and the Indianapolis Colts are 6-6.

Now that the Texans have a strong chance to have a top-5 pick, the question is whether Houston will use it on a quarterback in what does not appear to be a strong draft at the position.

Texans starting quarterback Tyrod Taylor is on a one-year deal, but Houston does have a rookie quarterback on its active roster. Davis Mills, a third-round pick, was inconsistent while playing in place of an injured Taylor earlier this season, completing 67% of his passes with seven touchdowns and eight interceptions.

On Monday, Culley was asked if he has seen enough from Mills to believe he could be his quarterback next season.

“I believe he could be a quarterback in this league for a long time,” Culley said.

But even if the Texans don’t take a quarterback this season, ESPN’s FPI projects Houston to have a 97% chance to earn a top-five pick in next year's draft.