The New Orleans Saints may have unknowingly blazed a new trail with how they’ve decided to use versatile weapon Taysom Hill since claiming him off waivers from the Packers just a few short seasons ago.
Hill is a former BYU quarterback who enjoyed a nice career in Provo in between his Mormon mission and while battling injuries. Since being waived by the Packers after going undrafted, Hill has creatively found a way to earn his roster spot in New Orleans, where he started off as a third-string quarterback before he quickly started to not only appear, but also make plays, on special teams. Over the last two seasons the Saints staff has started to use Hill as a Swiss-Army knife of sorts, having him do everything from return kicks, to block punts as well as throw passes on fake punts, to getting the ball as a runner while on offense in a variety of ways.
Now he’s in the NFL as a multi-purpose weapon that defensive coordinators and special teams coordinators need to have a plan for. That’s where the next offensive trend lies, Bleacher Report lays out in a recent piece.
The NFL being a copy-cat league isn’t a secret, and if organizations can find college quarterbacks that are versatile enough to do more than simply hold a clipboard or help signal in plays or personnel’s on game day you better bet they’re going to explore every available option.
The Ravens made the move to Lamar Jackson at quarterback last year after trying to use him in a variety of roles on offense last year, and then drafted mobile Penn State quarterback Trace McSorely late with the goal of him being able to contribute on special teams as well.
Using a college quarterback in a variety of other roles in the NFL isn’t something that is new in the league, and when the Jaguars drafted Denard Robinson out of Michigan I remember they designated him with the first ever roster designation in the NFL as a “offensive weapon.” And new Oklahoma State offensive coordinator Sean Gleeson has found some creative ways to get two quarterbacks on the field while serving as the offensive coordinator at Princeton the past few seasons.
The difference between those and the Saints lies in how Sean Payton and his staff seem to be using Taysom Hill effectively in such a variety of ways, and that might just be the next offensive evolution for the NFL.
That also means that if more NFL teams are going to start trying their hands at it, it’s going to spread to college and high school pretty quickly. Better be safe and have a plan.