To be honest, I’m not quite sure who or what Josh Hill, and that might be true for a long while. Well, I mean, I know he’s human, and that he’s also an American Football player, those seem pretty safe bets. But beyond that, I have no idea what his stock will be come opening week. He could very well be overrated by that time, perhaps underrated depending on the draft or any other transactions that may develop, or he just might remain a sleeper. In fact, I omitted him from my 2015 Way-Too-Early Rankings for the very fact that I have no idea what to do. Much like in life. I can say there are some things in his favor (mainly Drew Brees) and there are some things that may not be in his favor. Let’s discuss!
By trading Jimmy Graham to the Seahawks, the Saints have an interesting replacement ready in Josh Hill. From Idaho State, Hill was drafted almost three years ago, and as a two-year starter in the program, he was awarded all-Conference honers and named to several all-America teams during that time. In the draft, he was noted as being athletic, having good possession skills, above-average hands, and the mobility and size that is highly sought after at the position of tight end. Coincidentally enough, my ex listed those same exact same traits as something she also sought out as well. His negatives consisted of average blocking strength and a thin build. Blocking strength in a tight end? What is this, the 90’s? So, I mainly delved into this language because it’s an awfully similar way to describe Jimmy Graham, is it not? (Just nod your head.)
As the above stat totals suggest, he was used sparingly, but that happens when you have arguably the best player at your position (depending on Gronk’s hospital attendance record) in front of you on the depth chart. But even with just 20 targets, he was able to net 5 touchdowns, making him a vulture extraordinaire. Not just that, but it shows an already established level of trust with Drew Brees. True, Brees is happy to sling it to anyone in the vicinity, even to the other team’s defensive backs if there’s no one else open, but the numbers are still impressive.
At the moment, the Saints only other tight ends are Orson Charles (yawn) and Ben Watson (nap time!), so if there’s a guy that stands out, it’s obviously Josh Hill at this point. Here’s what Micky Loomis, the Saints general manager had to say:
“And we have a young guy named Josh Hill that we think highly of. Obviously we’ll be looking for another guy. Whether that comes in the draft or in free agency, we’ll have to wait and see.”
And there’s the rub. Mmm, rubbing. As mentioned above, there are still many things that can happen from this point on, including the draft, but as of now, we’re talking about an offense that relies funneling offense through the tight end position, and we have a tight end that may just pick off where Jimmy Graham left off. Now, he’s no Graham, obviously, but just by occupying the space left to him, there’s certainly enough production to warrant sleeper status. And if the depth chart stays the same, well, let’s just say I might have to change the title…