The Big LeadThe Big Lead

Mike Florio: Taysom Hill is a Future Star in the NFL

Taysom Hill, Harrison Smith
Tayson Hill, future superstar? | Kevin C. Cox/Getty Images

On Monday morning, Pro Football Talk's Mike Florio tweeted out a story about Sean Payton's belief that someone will try to steal restricted free agent quarterback/do-it-all man Taysom Hill from New Orleans. In the process, Florio called Hill a future star. He received some criticism for that, leading to the following tweet doubling down on his claims:

Hill has managed to make a substantial impact for someone in his role. He's officially a backup quarterback, but plays on the punt team, returns kicks, and is brought in on offense to block, catch, and occasionally run. He scored seven total touchdowns this year in a variety of ways and is no doubt a talented football player.

But to call him a future star is quite a claim. Hill will be 30 at the beginning of next season. He's an excellent athlete but on the downside of his physical prime already. In the last two years, he's thrown a grand total of 13 passes and completed six. Payton can sing his praises until the end of days, but we outside the building have no evidence to suggest Hill will even be a moderately successful quarterback, much less a star.

Payton is one of the best offensive minds in the NFL, and I have no doubt he'd be able to engineer a dangerous attack around Hill's dual-threat skillset should Drew Brees hang up the cleats. But it's hard to imagine Hill being the star of that offense. Michael Thomas is a star. Alvin Kamara is a star. Hill is a good football player, and could develop into a very good one if given the opportunity.

For the sake of argument, let's say Payton's prediction came true and another team swooped in to sign Hill. Freed from his backup role, could Hill succeed and ascend to star level in a different city? I'd bet not. It's hard to upgrade from Payton when it comes to putting players in the best position to succeed. New England is probably the only place that would theoretically have both an opening at quarterback and a coach on Payton's level. Hill could be a good player up there, but from what we've seen, expecting production on par with other star quarterbacks is a one-way trip to disappointment.

A very good Hill season would probably result in something in the range of 2,500-3,000 yards passing, 500-700 yards rushing, and maybe 25 total touchdowns. Not bad at all if everything broke right. Josh Allen, a solid young quarterback but by no means a star, threw for 3,089 yards and 20 touchdowns while rushing for 510 yards and nine touchdowns last year.

A season even close to those numbers would be outstanding for a guy who has never been a full-time quarterback at this level. But he needs a lot more to approach the echelon of stardom, much less eclipse it. Hill can be a good player. But a bonafide star? That would take more than Hill has in the tank at this point in his career.