Davis Mills came to Stanford as one of the top prep quarterbacks in the country.
Four years later, he leaves for the NFL Draft after appearing in just 14 games with 11 starts. And he figures to be one of the more intriguing prospects worthy of an investment after the first round.
John Lynch, general manager of the 49ers, was among the NFL scouts, coaches and executives who attended Stanford’s pro day to watch Mills showcase his talents in the rain with a 53-throw workout.
“The most important traits I look at are my leadership ability and toughness,” Mills said Friday after his pro day workout on campus. “I put those over the tangible things that you can do as a player.
“But after those, (I’m) really somebody who’s going to bring that same type of energy every single day who’s going to work hard for the team and ultimately one of those guys who can be gritty and win big games.”
Mills' final season of high school star in Georgia was cut short due to a knee injury. He was injured throughout most of his first two years on campus in Palo Alto.
During his Stanford career, he completed 287 of 438 pass attempts (65.5 percent) for 3,468 yards with 18 touchdowns and eight interceptions. He set the single-game school record with 504 yards on career highs of 33 completions in 50 attempts at Washington State in November 2019.
The 49ers could be looking to add a quarterback to develop at some point in the draft, and Mills is a reasonable option. Mills is a pocket passer who can also make some plays with his athleticism.
“I’ve talked to someone from the 49ers, I believe,” said Mills, declining to identify with whom he has spoken.
Mills said he was often too busy during his college seasons to watch the 49ers closely. But he certainly knows about coach Kyle Shanahan's system.
“With what Shanahan’s been able to do, unfortunately (Jimmy) Garoppolo was injured and was not able to maximize that offense and get as much out of it as they were able to,” Mills said. “But they’re definitely doing some things at the next level that I can see myself fit into.”
Mills (6-foot-4, 225 pounds) is not often mentioned in the same breath as the projected top quarterbacks in the draft, a group that includes Trevor Lawrence, Zach Wilson, Mac Jones, Justin Fields and Trey Lance.
But Mills is not lacking for confidence. He identified what kind of demands from an NFL team would best fit his talents.
“Somebody that really spreads the ball around and puts a lot of demand on their quarterback to make pre-snap reads and pre-snap checks,” he said. “I’ve been used to doing that at Stanford — just going out there and being successful is something I can do.”