Taysom Hill wants a shot at being a quarterback.
For now, he will have to make do with backing up the NFL’s all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns.
New Orleans Saints coach Sean Payton said Wednesday that he envisions Hill retaining his role as a special teams player, receiver and ball-carrier, with occasional cameo appearances at quarterback thrown in. The main difference will be that Hill will now be No. 2 on the depth chart behind veteran Drew Brees.
In 2019, Teddy Bridgewater was Brees’ top backup, and he led the team to a 5-0 record while filling in as the starter when Brees was out due to a thumb injury. Bridgewater left the Saints as a free agent last week, landing a three-year, $63 million deal with the Carolina Panthers.
“Taysom has earned this opportunity to be our (No.) 2, but he also has earned the opportunity to play and help us win football games as a 1,” Payton said Wednesday in an interview with WWL Radio. “What I mean by that, whether you call him a receiver, a tight end, a specialist (or) a quarterback, he’s going to play. He’s too good a football player. He’s one of our better football players.”
Last season, Hill completed 3 of 6 passes for 55 yards, and he added a 50-yard pass against the Vikings in the playoffs. He also caught a 20-yard TD pass in the overtime loss to Minnesota.
Hill carried the ball 27 times for 156 yards and a touchdown in 2019, and he caught 19 passes for 234 yards and six scores. He also appeared on 62 percent of the Saints’ special teams plays.
Hill’s versatility means the team must have a third quarterback on the roster, according to Payton.
“On any given play, Taysom could come over to the sideline and his right thumb or finger could be pointing east and west, and if that happens, you don’t have a backup quarterback,” Payton said. “But I would say coming into the season, he’s going to be our second-string quarterback and obviously going to play a number of snaps, not only at quarterback but a number of positions.”
Hill, 29, played quarterback at BYU before he went undrafted in 2017. He was in the Green Bay Packers’ camp that summer but was cut before the season opener. The Saints claimed him off waivers the next day, and he made his NFL debut on special teams in December 2017.