Let’s get this out of the way: Taysom Hill is not Steve Young. In listing Taysom Hill as the New Orleans Saints’ most overrated player in 2021, James Fragoza of PFF writes how “ridiculous” it was that Sean Payton called Hill a “Steve Young-type” quarterback a few years back.
If you need a quick refresher, here it is. These were Payton’s exact words in an interview he conducted with ESPN:
Take a look for yourselves.
"Well, if you look back at Steve’s career, and people don’t remember his time before he came into the NFL, you had a very athletic player that I think advanced when he got to San Francisco. And he always had great ability with his leg, so you’re trying to create visions for players, and I think that that’s the business we’re in, that was something that as you began to watch (Hill’s) skill set, you’re just trying to think of players that were similar at an early stage in their career."
At the time, Payton wasn’t saying that his versatile third-string jack of all trades quarterback would become a Hall of Famer, simply that there were “similarities” between Hill and Young’s early career that couldn’t be ignored.
After Payton’s comments, Hill’s stock soared and he seemed primed to become the New Orleans Saints’ post-Brees era franchise quarterback. Fast forward to the present, and Hill will likely lose the job to his rival Jameis Winston.
Yes, Hill is an undeniably gifted athlete. But his skills and talents don’t automatically transfer over to the quarterback position, and his passing is better filed under “trick plays” than your more traditional throwing schemes. Hill still adds value to the Saints’ offense, just not at the helm. He’s always been an unpredictable weapon that can exploit napping defenses, but in his four starts at quarterback last season he’s only proven that he can be “a” quarterback, not “the” quarterback for the Saints.
Taysom Hill is listed as the New Orleans Saints’ most overrated player for 2021.
When Drew Brees suffered a rib injury last season, Hill stepped up over Winston and threw for over 70 percent of his passes while averaging 209 passing yards. He ended his brief stint with a 3-1 record, but that record is exactly that. Brief. Going into the 2021 season, Hill is three years Winston’s senior but still has far less experience. A closer look at Hill’s quarterback performance in those four games tells enough.
Hill failed to unlock the New Orleans Saints’ rushing weapon in Alvin Kamara for the first three games as starting quarterback, targeting him just six times (three catches for seven yards). The fourth game against the Eagles yielded slightly better results, but most of Kamara’s looks came in the second half with the New Orleans Saints playing catch-up.
With the exception of the Denver game, Hill’s legitimate starts ended with a 74.4 pass completion percentage (73-of-98) for 756 yards (7.7 yards per attempt) and four touchdowns. Those aren’t bad numbers at all, but given the small sample size and Hill’s difficulty playing with Kamara, Hill just hasn’t done enough to warrant his new contract, much less the starting quarterback position.
No doubt Payton’s Steve Young comparison set a high bar for Hill, but lower it. New Orleans has yet to see if Hill is quarterback material at all.