The New Orleans Saints looked like they were done in the 2020 NFL Draft after trading away their entire day three’s worth of draft selections to take Dayton tight end Adam Trautman. But, in a move that has forever become New Orleans lore, they traded back into the seventh-round to steal Mississippi State (and formerly Penn State) quarterback Tommy Stevens.
Just a week ago, Stevens underwent a number and position change. From quarterback dawning the number one to tight end with number 85 on the Saints’ official roster. Since then, he has gotten similar attention to what New Orleans fans are accustomed to seeing from a regular season Taysom Hill.
Sainst head coach Sean Payton mentioned that Stevens was getting snaps at the Y-position while also giving him some work at the F. Essentially that means that Stevens is getting reps at both tight end and at fullback (see image in sidebar), with some nuances in between. Very much like a Taysom Hill role, which aligns with comments Payton made about him following the draft.
Looking at Taysom’s 2019, he lined up in-line (true-Y) 85 times and in the backfield 22 times. However, the F-position in Payton’s offense is in no way limited to the backfield. A “Float Right” alignment would take the F out wide on the weak side in an X-like fashion. Meanwhile, a Y could end up out wide, in the slot, or in the backfield as well as we’ve seen many times with Josh Hill in particular. Meaning versatility is key at both of these positions and Stevens certainly looks the part.
Payton complimented Stevens while acknowledging “he’s got a lot to learn.” Adding a vote of confidence that the effort necessary to get the offense down is there.
Drew Brees said it most plainly in his media availability, “I think the vision for him coming in was that obviously he’s a quarterback, but man we can put him in this Taysom Hill kind of role. He’s such a big, strong, good athlete that he could provide this dimension maybe at the tight end position or this F-position.” Adding that Stevens has “embraced that role” after adding a similar wrinkle at Penn State in particular. Stevens’ performance in this role will weigh far greater than that of quarterback play in deciding whether or not he makes the cut beyond Airline Drive.
Can Tommy Stevens do enough in his new role to earn a roster spot in September? Explain in the comments. Make sure you follow Canal Street Chronicles on Twitter at @SaintsCSC, “Like” us on Facebook at Canal Street Chronicles, and make sure you’re subscribed to our new YouTube channel. As always, you can follow me on Twitter @RossJacksonNOLA and subscribe to my daily Saints podcast, Locked On Saints.