Bucs, Chargers, Ravens looking for next Taysom Hill

Print

Forget finding the next Drew Brees. NFL teams are now trying to recreate a new version of another Sean Payton signal-caller: Taysom Hill.

At least three teams exited last week's NFL draft, and subsequent undrafted-free-agent period, believing they might have stumbled into their own version of Hill.

Exhibit A: Trace McSorley, Baltimore Ravens, a sixth-round pick

"You saw what the Saints have done down there with their third quarterback," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said, via ESPN. "That's something we'll have a chance to do, too, with Trace. He's going to be able to play special teams as well. The more you can do. You want players with roles, and he's a guy that has a chance to have a big role for us."

Exhibit B: Nick Fitzgerald, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, undrafted

"If you can find a backup quarterback who can play on a lot of your special teams units and come in and play a role on offense, you're utilizing 46 guys on your roster on game day," Bucs GM Jason Licht said, per The Athletic. "It's something that's talked about a lot. It's finding a guy that's the tough part."

Exhibit C: Easton Stick, Los Angeles Chargers, fifth-round pick

"You never know (if Chargers could use Stick like Hill). He has some of those same qualities," Chargers GM Tom Telesco said Tuesday on NFL Network's Up To The Minute Live. "I think Taysom Hill is a little bit bigger size-wise, but Easton is over 220-pounds, so he does have some bulk too. But we possibly could. He has those type of qualities. (Coach) Anthony Lynn and (offensive coordinator) Ken Whisenhunt, they have creative minds. But also with that, that would involve taking Philip Rivers off the field, so you kind of have to balance both of those and see where we are. But (Stick) has a lot of those qualities that Taysom Hill has as far as his toughness, being able to run with the football."

Aspiring to recreate Hill's Swiss-Army-knife success is easier said than done. The man Saints receiver Michael Thomas dubbed a "created player" has a rare combination of size, speed and throwing ability.

In 2018, Hill rushed 37 times for 196 yards (5.3 average) with two TDs, completed 3-of-7 pass attempts for 64 yards and an INT, caught three passes, returned 14 kicks (including one for 40 yards), fielded one punt and made six total tackles. His ability to always fall forward when running makes Hill a fourth-down weapon and stresses defenses with his read-option ability.

The Saints getting value out of their No. 3 quarterback, particularly on special teams, instantly raises the significance of utilizing all 46 players dressed each Sunday. While most teams now won't dress three QBs, getting mileage out of Hill puts Payton and the Saints at an advantage.

Replicating the success will be difficult. The fact that other teams are viewing young players as potential Hill-type assets, however, underscores that the Saints hit on a sensation others want to copy, even if it turns out to be a poor facsimile. Imitation, after all, is the sincerest form of flattery.

Print