The New Orleans Saints have a bit of a question mark at the tight end position.
Sure, they have some guys who made plays at various points last season. Juwan Johnson has been a solid receiving tight end when healthy and while Adam Trautman got off to a horrid start last year, even he showed a couple of flashes. And Nick Vannett is a solid blocker.
But they don’t have anyone resembling a sure thing at the position… or do they?
Could the Swiss Army Knife himself, Taysom Hill, be the Saints’ answer at tight end in 2022?
Before he started playing quarterback on a more full-time basis, Taysom was second among tight ends on the Saints roster in receiving yards.
In 2019, Hill recorded 259 receiving yards and 7 touchdown catches. He grabbed 21 of 24 targets, with only one drop, and averaged 12.3 yards a catch. And over half of his yards came after the catch.
While he wasn’t a guy who you’re going to throw fades to or who would win many one-on-one matchups, he was a good check-down option because he’s dangerous with the ball in his hands after the catch. He also has the pure speed to fly by guys who are out of position in zone coverage, or if he gets matched up with a slower linebacker.
His blocking ability is only okay at best, but considering he’s only been a part-time tight end, that is to be expected.
Over the past two seasons, Taysom hasn’t put up much in the way of receiving stats as he’s had to spend time either as a starting QB or the direct backup.
However, with head coach Dennis Allen’s recent comments, it looks like he won’t be doing much of that next year.
At the NFL’s Annual League Meeting, Allen said the plan is for Hill to focus on tight end.
“If Jameis is out there playing quarterback, I don’t like Taysom standing next to me on the sideline,” Allen said, per The Athletic’s Katherine Terrell. “I think you’ll see him more in that type of role.”
In the small sample we’ve seen from Hill at TE, he’s shown the ability to make some plays and force the defense to have to be accountable for him.
And if he knows going into this offseason that’s the role he’s going to be playing full-time, he can better prepare his body and skills to succeed there.
The question still remains though: Can we really rely on him to be the first-string tight end?
My answer would probably be: preferably not.
I like Taysom in the role of F-back/tight end and I think the best use of him is there, on special teams and in some short-yardage/wildcat situations on rare occasions. But I would still like the Saints to either sign or draft a more long-term answer at the position.
Even if they don’t, the good news is they at least have some options with versatile skill sets to use in different situations.
And I am very excited to see how Taysom is used, nonetheless.