The NOLA Saints surprised people when they took Notre Dame quarterback Ian Book in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft. The Saints weren’t armed with many draft picks and many were under the impression that if the Saints were going to take a quarterback, it’d have been earlier on.
Still, Book was chosen in the fourth round and while it’s always exciting to have a new quarterback on the roster, Saints fans shouldn’t get too excited about seeing Book on the gridiron this year, unless something goes awry.
As Saints fans — and the rest of NFL fan bases know — the quarterback competition in New Orleans is between former No. 1 overall pick and Buccaneer, Jameis Winston, and Swiss army knife Taysom Hill. When Drew Brees went down with an injury last year, Hill got the nod over Winston in surprising fashion and went 3-1, however, Winston is the more traditional quarterback and was retained for a reason.
Where does Ian Book come into play for the NOLA Saints?
Perhaps Sean Payton plays things similar to last year by carrying three quarterbacks on the roster during the season. Brees was the starter, Winston the backup, and Hill was the offensive weapon who stepped into the game fairly often to perform some kind of magic wherever he was slotted in at.
Maybe Payton plans to carry three quarterbacks again this year, which could mean Book is active for most of the games this year. This would likely only work though if Winston is indeed the starter. If he were to go down, Book still wouldn’t get the nod, however. That’s why I said things would need to go awry for Book to get into a game, as the Saints have two viable options to start.
Book is also on the smaller side (6’0″ and 211 pounds) but we know Payton has had success with smaller quarterbacks. Kyle Crabbs of The Draft Network didn’t think much of Book at the NFL level in his draft profile write-up of the Fighting Irish quarterback:
"Trying to forecast Book into an NFL offense is a challenge; as he’s not shown the ability to consistently win and thrive within the structure of an offense. Because of this, he may get a look as a backup quarterback, where his unpredictability can be harnessed in small sample sizes to help keep the opposition guessing. Book’s best case NFL draft forecast feels similar to that of Trace McSorely out of Penn State a few years back; McSorley was a late-round pick and has been serving as QB3 for the Baltimore Ravens."
This seems pretty spot on for Book. He’s probably never going to be a starter for the Saints but a long-term backup role isn’t out of the question.
With two viable quarterbacks ahead of him on the depth chart, however, and Trevor Siemian also hanging around the roster, fans shouldn’t get too attached to the idea of Ian Book being a part of the Saints’ 2021 season.