The Taysom Hill hype train is starting to roll, but why does anyone think he can be an NFL starting quarterback?
Among the quarterback questions facing the New Orleans Saints this offseason, from Drew Brees’ future as yet unclear and Teddy Bridgewater set to hit free agency, is Taysom Hill. The team’s jack of all trades is a restricted free agent, and other teams may be willing to cede a high draft pick or at least raise the cost for the Saints to retain him.
Hill has himself said he views himself as a franchise quarterback, which is expected as he considers the future in New Orleans or perhaps elsewhere. Saints head coach Sean Payton told Peter King of NBC Sports he thinks a team will tender an offer to Hill, and willingly give up a first-round pick.
“Yeah, I think someone is going to make him an offer. But the first thing the fan has to understand is . . . if we tender Taysom as a one [meaning placing a first-round tag on him], the team that makes the offer on him and signs him to an offer understands they’re going to give up a first-round pick if we don’t match. That’s easier to do if you’re pick at 22, 23, 24, 25. We might very well see it if it’s a team in the second half of the [first round].”
Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk added to the hype.
Hill was the best player on the field for the Saints during a Wild Card Round loss to the Minnesota Vikings, accounting for 125 of their 324 total yards as a passer, runner and receiver.
But Hill last played quarterback full-time in 2016 at BYU. His religious mission at that school delayed his entry into the NFL, and he was undrafted by the way. Four of his five college seasons were also shortened by injury, some of which were of fairly serious variety-including a torn knee ligament, a broken leg and a LisFranc injury.
As For The Win’s Steven Ruiz cites, Hill’s preseason work offers a larger sample to analyze. But it’s not a good sample, with average net yards per attempt and touchdown, interception and sack rates that would have been toward the bottom of the league (22nd or worse) last year. Again that’s preseason work, when Hill was mostly (if not totally) playing against players who barely made 53-man rosters if they did at all.
Hill will turn 30 in August, with 13 regular-season NFL pass attempts on his resume. As a comparison Cam Newton, a former league MVP with future questions about his health but not his ability to play at a high level if he’s healthy, will turn 31 on May 11. Which guy will teams be more willing to take a chance on this offseason? It should be Newton, easily.
Hill has value, but it’s only has a Swiss Army knife/gadget player. Any team who thinks he can be a capable starting quarterback, including the Saints as they consider their plan for when Brees retires, will be left sorely disappointed.