The Saints Put Taysom Hill in Too Many Dangerous Situations for Him to Be Their QB of the Future

Brian Giuffra
Taysom Hill.
Taysom Hill. / Jonathan Bachman/Getty Images
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Throughout this offseason, the Saints have steadfastly maintained that Taysom Hill is their quarterback of the future. Jay Glazer has reported it based on inside sources and Sean Payton has said as much twice, including this quote to Aditi Kinkhabwala:

"“When that time comes — and that’ll be probably at some point sooner than later — and Drew decides to retire, I see Taysom being a guy that has a great chance to come in there and become that quarterback.""

While this is nice fodder for the talking heads, the reality is everything the Saints have done over the last couple of years suggests Hill is not their quarterback of the future. Most obviously, they haven't treated him like that, putting him in dangerous situations throughout his career and giving other quarterbacks opportunities over Hill.

According to Pro Football Focus, Hill played 572 total snaps last year with only 41 coming at quarterback. That's 7.2%. Not exactly a high usage, especially considering Drew Brees missed five games last season due to injury. But instead of giving Hill a chance to prove himself, the Saints went with more-traditional quarterback Teddy Bridgewater. This offseason, they added Jameis Winston to the quarterback room. Those moves don't scream "Taysom Hill is our quarterback of the future" to me.

Even more interesting, Hill played 67 snaps on punt coverage (11.7%), 51 on the punt return team (8.9%), 77 on kickoff coverage (13.5%) and 65 on kick return (11.4%). That's 260 snaps (45.5% of his total) playing special teams, arguably the most dangerous job in football. Even knowing the NFL has instituted a lot of rules to make special teams safer, name another future franchise quarterback who's doing that. You can't because in the history of modern football, it hasn't happened.

On offense, Hill played the majority of his snaps as a wide receiver (116) or tight end (85). He did play more snaps at quarterback (41) than at running back or full back (22), but that's the only position he played less than quarterback. Yes, he even lined up for more extra point and field goal block attempts (48) than he did as a quarterback.

While Payton has also mentioned the fact that it takes time to develop quarterbacks, Hill will be 30 when next season begins (his birthday is in August). He's been with the Saints for three seasons and has thrown the ball 13 total times, many on gimmick plays. He's proven his value to the team and clearly has a role in the NFL. That role, however, isn't as a quarterback-of-the-future, but rather a jack-of-all-trades.

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