Do the Saints Really Have Their Next QB After Drew Brees Retires?
Saints fans put New Orleans’ quarterback situation under a microscope in the 2019 NFL season. When Drew Brees got hurt early on, Teddy Bridgewater did a fantastic job backing him up. With Brees’s long-term future unknown and Bridgewater likely gone in free agency, a third-stringer, Taysom Hill, believes he has what it takes to be the Saints’ next QB.
Saints QB Taysom Hill and his rise
Hill may not be the first name people think of as Brees’ backup. But the QB has been with the Saints since 2017. He first made his name during a five-year stint at Brigham Young University. Hill began as a bench player but got the keys to the team in his sophomore season when he threw for 19 touchdowns and 14 interceptions.
After landing on the bench as a junior and redshirting his fourth year, Hill returned as BYU’s starter as a fifth-year senior in 2016. He didn’t have an overly impressive season — 12 touchdowns and 11 interceptions — but his unique skillset still got some NFL interest. Ultimately, Hill went undrafted. After a brief stint with the Packers, he found a home in New Orleans.
Taysom Hill’s unique skillset
For most backup quarterbacks, especially the third-string, the title means they’ll be lucky to see a handful of plays each year. Hill, however, offers a unique spin on the third-string quarterback.
Despite his listed position, he is a utility player who’s played on both ends of the ball with the Saints. Perhaps this is why he is a favorite of coach Sean Payton. During any given game, fans see Hill returning passes, calling signals, or working with the special teams.
The hard work required to have this diverse skillset does not go unnoticed. Although Hill will turn 30 this coming season, a late age for any player to become a starter, he has support from those who’ve worked with him.
Former Saints special teams coach Mike Westhoff believes Hill’s ability to play as a utility player is a testament to the kind of quarterback he can be. Westhoff took his praise a step further in an interview with CBS Sports Radio:
“Take a look at Baltimore,” Westhoff said according to TotalProSports.com. “It’s the same kind of guy. Taysom Hill does those same kind of things. I think he throws better.”
With this promise, one would think the Saints would be quick to bring Hill back into the fold, but they may not get the chance without a guarantee.
Will the Saints re-sign Taysom Hill?
Despite all the things working against him, Hill is confident he can prove himself if he gets the right opportunity. While making the rounds during Super Bowl week, Hill discussed this with the Associated Press.
“I definitely view myself as a franchise quarterback,” Hill said. “I think as you look at the other questions… Is it New Orleans? Is it somewhere else? As you go into free agency, this is time that you find out how people view you and we haven’t gotten into free agency long enough to know how these guys view me and we’ll just handle it as it comes.”
Whether it is with the Saints or another team, Hill is even willing to continue growing as a bench option under the right circumstances. He told ESPN he is not shutting the door on a possible return. Rather, he simply wants a chance to play quarterback as needed and learn under Brees, if he’s guaranteed in future plans.
With his limited run as a quarterback and position as a restricted free agent working against him, it’s hard to predict Hill’s place as a franchise quarterback. But with his continued dedication to his craft, the QB is doing everything he can to achieve his ultimate goal.
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