The New Orleans Saints have one of the most talented, yet one of the most unusual tight end rooms in the league. Last year’s emergence of Juwan Johnson and the transition to tight end for Taysom Hill was integral to the offense and will be once again this season.
To add experienced insurance to the tight end room, the Saints signed Foster Moreau from Las Vegas. Moreau, a New Orleans native, recently announced that his cancer was in full remission and should be able to play a full season in 2023.
Christian D’Andrea from FortheWin.com ranked the Saints as the 14th-best tight end unit in the league, which was the sixth-best unit in the NFC. Was this seemingly low ranking warranted?
It’s certainly understandable as to why some might not recognize New Orleans as a top-tier tight-end unit - it’s a very unusual group of athletes.
Juwan Johnson transitioned from wide receiver to tight end just before the 2022 season. This is no easy task, and surprisingly, Johnson made it look easy. He hauled in 508 yards and seven touchdowns. He finished 2022 tied for the third-most receiving touchdowns amongst NFL tight ends, which is even more impressive considering that his quarterbacks were average at best.
Moreau is coming from a strange few years in Las Vegas. After being drafted in 2019, his career has consisted of frequent coaching turnover, playing behind the incredible Darren Waller, and a cancer diagnosis. Even with these three factors at hand, Moreau averaged 397 yards, 2.5 touchdowns, and 32 receptions per year over the past two seasons. He adds great value as both a receiver and blocker.
Tayson Hill is, well, Taysom Hill. He will never be a normal tight end, but regardless, Dennis Allen has made it clear that TE is his primary role on the team. Even alongside his running and passing roles, Taysom hauled in nine receptions for 77 yards and two receiving touchdowns last season.
One of the reasons why many would not consider the Saints’ tight end unit as excellent is because they lack a standout talent that carries the offensive production. NFC teams ranked ahead of the Saints all have one talented and reliable tight end, such as George Kittle (SF), Dallas Goedert (PHI), and TJ Hockenson (MIN).
As of now, the Saints do not have a veteran tight end that is a “show-stopping” offensive weapon. However, I would argue that the Saints do have the most diverse tight end room in the NFC and maybe the entire NFL.
You have Juwan Johnson, a very agile, receiving-focused tight end that is at the beginning of a long career as a receiving tight end. You also have Foster Moreau, a more traditional tight end that offers support as a receiver and blocker. And lastly, you have Taysom Hill, a veteran that can catch, run, block, throw, do your taxes, deliver the mail, and do the tango.
If Pete Carmichael can correctly use all three of his tight ends efficiently in a system that caters to their unique abilities, this could be the deepest and most talented tight end room in the NFC in 2023.
We know that Derek Carr already has a connection with Moreau. Hopefully, training camp will serve as a meshing period for Juwan Johnson and Taysom Hill, two tight ends who still have plenty to prove in this league.