Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill will be battling for the starting quarterback job with the New Orleans Saints this summer. Head coach Sean Payton added a third quarterback to the mix when New Orleans selected Ian Book in the fourth round of the NFL Draft.
Book isn't expected to compete for the starting job, but that doesn't rule him out of the competition. At this stage of his NFL career, the Saints would prefer to develop the rookie and actually see what they have in Winston and Hill. Book does possess a lot of similar qualities to Hill, particularly the athleticism he possesses under center.
But Payton says it's unfair to compare the two.
"I can't say that. It's in fairness to Ian (Book) it's hard to say that, you know, because to appreciate Taysom is really to be here and he's a 238-pound player that does things that are unique," Payton said on a conference call with reporters. "So I think that would be a hard jump or leap, if you will. In fact, I know it would be. So that wasn't the vision when we selected the player.
"But we saw someone who was accurate, who threw the ball on time, who led his team to a lot of wins. He's been successful. We saw someone who was very competitive and so those were some important things that we valued. But it wasn't the vision that maybe what has become some of the things that Taysom does."
A three-year starter at Notre Dame, Book completed 63.8% of his passes and threw for 8,948 yards with 72 touchdowns to 20 interceptions in his college career. In his senior season, Book completed 64.6% of his passes for 2,830 yards with 15 touchdowns to three interceptions. He rushed for 485 yards and nine touchdowns in 2020, drawing the comparisons to Hill.
The game is shifting toward more athletic quarterbacks like Hill, which factored in the decision for the Saints to draft Book -- just the second quarterback picked in the fourth round or higher in the Payton era (Garrett Grayson was a third-round pick in 2015).
"I think the attributes that we're looking for, relative to that position having and so it helps if they can process information, it helps if they've got some of those intangibles that you look for and then also the physical traits. Are they accurate? Are they competitive? Do you feel like they take care of the football?" Payton said. "So I think that over the last 15 years, the game to some degree has changed in how we see college players playing.
"But you're still applying what are key things to each position, key traits that you that you must have. And so those types of things went into this decision."