New Orleans Saints TE Josh Hill has a big fan in Sean Payton


Many topics were brought to light at the annual NFL owners meeting that continued through Wednesday.  New Orleans Saints tight end Josh Hill became the subject of discussion during media interviews with head coach Sean Payton.

As of now, Hill is the leading candidate to replace tight end Jimmy Graham after the All-Pro was traded away to the Seattle Seahawks in exchange for center Max Unger and a first-round pick in the upcoming 2015 NFL Draft.

Boy, did Payton talk Hill up.

“Josh Hill is another player I love, I love. When you look at his runs, jumps, height, weight, speed, you look at his measurables, and he didn’t go to the combine. Thank God,” Payton said in relief.

“We were doing this study last year with the draft class and they were talking about some of the top picks at tight end.  The scout would see the free agent tight end and kind of say ‘well he’ll come in year one and probably beat out Josh Hill.’

“I said well let’s throw the numbers up on the board with their measurables. He’s going against the comparable of one of the top tight ends in the draft a year ago.  In every category this guy (Hill) is better.

“There’s this perception, and we’re the same way as coaches, if we acquire someone as a free agent after the draft, but if you really look at the film and watch him (Hill), you’re like hey, if I told you this was our third-round draft pick you’d be excited right now. We just gotta get that little jersey off his back right now that says I came here as a free agent. I think we feel he has a bright future.”

Well, I guess Sean Payton loves his Josh Hill.  It’s no surprise — Hill has showed flashes of greatness in just very limited time on the field.  His athletic abilities, hands and willingness to block are everything you want from a tight end, specifically one that may be expected to fill Jimmy Graham’s shoes.

The 6-foot-5 Hill saw 293 snaps in 2014 with the majority of them as a blocker.  In 83 total snaps as a potential target for Drew Brees, Josh Hill reeled in almost 17 percent of those pass plays.  He had 14 receptions to be exact with five going for touchdowns, taking away scores from Graham.

The Idaho State product looks to be the starter in front of Benjamin Watson for now.  Could Hill be that next diamond in the ruff the Saints have been so good at finding in the past?  The team certainly seems comfortable moving forward with him at the moment.

Next: Saints TE Josh Hill ready for starting role

More from Who Dat Dish