I help coach the softball team at the school I teach at. Some of my kids have previous baseball experience and know what they’re doing out there on the field. Others, bless their hearts, try their best and I’m never ever disappointed in the effort they show, but...it’s just not happening.
Josh Hill fits into that latter category.
Josh Hill, by no means, should ever be your number one tight end option, but that’s the position he found himself in the final quarter of the 2017 season. With Coby Fleener lost for the later part of 2017 with a concussion, Hill had to step in and be more than just a blocking tight end. For the most part he...sort of (?) did.
Hill caught 16 passes but was only targeted 22 times, giving him a career best 73% catch percent; seven of those 16 receptions came over the Saints’ final five games and he gained 63 yards over that stretch. In the playoffs, he caught six passes for 103 yards and scored a touchdown against Carolina in the Wild Card round.
They say availability is a person’s best ability and Hill was, if nothing else, there for New Orleans. Hill played in all 16 games, starting 11, and was on the field for nearly 60 percent of New Orleans’ offensive snaps.
The fact that the tight end position was so underwhelming last season is alarming considering we’re still living in the Sean Payton-Drew Brees era. Josh Hill will never be peak-Jimmy Graham, but not being able to be a Jeremy Shockey or Ben Watson is cause for concern. Maybe Hill’s just a blocking tight end through and through. When it comes to catching the ball maybe, to quote Austin Powers, “This sort of thing ain’t my bag, baby.”
The Saints definitely need to upgrade the tight end position. Be it through free agency (Jimmy Graham perhaps?) or through the draft, as the Saints can’t have another season like the one Hill, Fleener and others combined to have. Whatever direction the Saints go, Hill has shown value to the team as a blocker and a decent-ish pass catcher.