How good will Saints’ Taysom Hill be at tight end, really?
By Kristen Wong
Another year of writing about how Sean Payton’s overpaid puppet, Taysom Hill, will fit into the New Orleans Saints. How lovely.
In 2022, Hill’s role will reportedly transition into more of a tight end, which tells you more about the state of the Saints’ tight end room than anything else.
Payton just had to make sure Hill was well taken care of before he took his hiatus, giving him a four-year, $40 million dollar contract to the dismay of Saints fans everywhere. Dennis Allen recently assured fans that Hill would not serve a backup QB role (they now have Andy Dalton for that) but would instead assume a hybrid tight end position.
If that’s the case, Hill’s contract would currently make him the seventh highest paid tight end in the NFL alongside Bucs’ Cameron Brate and Patriots’ Hunter Henry. Now, does he deserve it….
New Orleans Saints shouldn’t expect much from Taysom Hill at tight end in 2022
The Saints’ rostered TE1 and TE2 are Adam Trautman and Juwan Johnson, respectively, and Trautman has the most to prove in 2022 after a pitiful performance last season.
NOLA will more than likely select a developmental prospect in the 2022 draft, but for now, this is who they have to work with. Of all positions, tight end probably fits Hill the best, and in years prior he has shown flashes of potential as a dynamic pass-catcher in the mid-field:
In fact, before Hill started playing quarterback on a more full-time basis, he ranked second among tight ends on the roster in receiving yards. In 2019, when Drees Brees still played under center, Hill recorded a career-high 234 receiving yards and six receiving touchdowns, with 149 of those yards coming after the catch.
Hill’s legs should also factor into his expected production level this season, as the dual-threat has posted 457 rushing yards and 374 rushing yards in the last two years.
In a F-back/ tight end role, Hill wouldn’t win many one-on-one matchups and possesses virtually zero blocking skills, but he can offer a viable check-down option with his surprising YAC ability. With a 72.3 percent career catch rate and with his explosive speed, Hill can thrive in short-yardage situations and, as always, on special teams, but he’s simply not refined enough to be a long-term TE1.
Hopefully, NOLA finds their tight end of the future in this year’s draft, and maybe Trautman will impress after all. Hill’s versatile skillset does make him a valuable offensive asset and he can make big plays from time to time, but the upside and consistent production may not be there for a 31-year-old who’s spent five years trying to figure out who he is and how he best fits into the Saints.
The only certain thing we can say about Hill in 2022: Thank god he’s not playing quarterback.