In a surprising move, the New Orleans Saints have decided to start Taysom Hill at quarterback Sunday after Drew Brees was placed on injured reserve. The Saints elected to go with Hill over former No. 1 pick Jameis Winston. Winston, however, shouldn’t get too comfortable on the bench as Hill had a history of getting banged up. Hill suffered four season-ending injuries when he was playing quarterback at BYU.
Who is Taysom Hill?
Taysom Hill is in his fourth season in the NFL and he’s already 30 years old. Hill spent five years at quarterback at BYU. According to The Daily Advertiser, Hill was supposed to play for Jim Harbaugh at Stanford, but Hill embarked on a two-year church mission and later decided to attend BYU.
Hill is a freak of an athlete. At 6-foot-2, 221 pounds, Hill ran a 4.44 40-yard dash and had a vertical leap of 38.5 inches at BYU’s pro day. Despite his athleticism, he went undrafted. The Green Bay Packers signed him to a free-agent deal, but he was waived right before the season began.
The New Orleans Saints immediately secured Hill off waivers and he’s been with the team ever since. He made his mark initially on special teams, but has since come in on some gimmick plays, spelling Drew Brees at quarterback. In his four years with the Saints, Hill has rushed the ball 97 times and has racked up 538 yards and four touchdowns.
The Saints decide to start Hill over Jameis Winston at quarterback
When Drew Brees went down with a rib injury last week against the San Francisco 49ers, Jameis Winston came in as his replacement. Winston, a former No. 1 overall pick in the 2015 NFL draft, came over from the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in the offseason and was considered the backup quarterback. According to NFL Insider Adam Schefter, Hill will be starting Sunday against the Atlanta Falcons.
Saints coach Sean Payton wouldn’t say who his starter would be after Friday’s practice, according to ESPN. In fact, Payton seemed a bit testy when asked about the situation. “Someone has been named the starter, but we haven’t announced it. Is that all right?” Payton said. “We’ll do what’s best relative to how we play the quarterbacks and the situations and what we’re trying to accomplish to win this game.”
Winston helped preserve the Saints’ 27-13 victory over the San Francisco 49ers last week. He completed six of 10 passes for 63 yards. He wasn’t spectacular by any means, but he didn’t appear to do anything that would make one believe he should lose his backup job.
Hill’s college season ended with an injury in four different years
As a freshman at BYU in 2012, Taysom Hill saw action in six games at quarterback but suffered a season-ending knee injury in a game against Utah State. In 2013, he played his only full season with the Cougars, throwing for 2,938 yards and 19 touchdowns. He also rushed for 1,344 yards and 10 touchdowns.
In 2014, Hill played five games before fracturing his leg, also against Utah State. During those five games, Hill accounted for 15 touchdowns, seven passes, and eight rushing scores. In 2015, Hill was injured in the opener with a season-ending foot injury. Hill was granted a medical waiver and was allowed to come back for a fifth season.
In 2016, Hill played 12 games, throwing 12 touchdown passes and rushing for eight more touchdowns. In another game against Utah State, Hill suffered the fourth season-ending injury of his career. Hill went down with a hyperextended elbow and never returned.
All stats courtesy of Pro Football Reference.