Texans to start rookie QB C.J. Stroud in first preseason game

HOUSTON -- The Houston Texans will start rookie quarterback C.J. Stroud in their first preseason game against the New England Patriots on Thursday.

Texans coach DeMeco Ryans told NFL Network that the No. 2 pick would start over quarterback Davis Mills. Stroud and Mills are in a quarterback competition, and they split first-team reps throughout most of training camp. But recently, Ryans gave Stroud all the first-team reps for three straight practices.

On Thursday against the Patriots, the Texans' starting offense is expected not to play that many snaps.

"Right now, as I see it, guys going out, hopefully getting a couple of series depending on how it goes," Ryans said. "[Stroud] will go out there as well. Most of our guys will get work."

Stroud starting the first preseason game might reveal that he has a lead in the quarterback competition over Mills and could perhaps earn the starting job by performing well against the Patriots. He always had an advantage in the competition because he was a high draft pick. Since the 2011 NFL collective bargaining agreement, among the 17 quarterbacks selected in the top five, 11 have started in Week 1.