After 15 years of future Pro Football Hall of Famer Drew Brees under center, the Saints will have a new starting QB in 2021. Whether it’s Winston or Hill, they will have massive shoes to fill now that Brees has retired.
Brees led the Saints to their first Super Bowl victory over Peyton Manning and the Indianapolis Colts at Super Bowl XLIV in 2010. He also helped the Saints make the NFL playoffs in nine of his 15 seasons in New Orleans.
Saints head coach Sean Payton has not had another starting quarterback during his time in charge, so he has a big decision in front of him. So far this preseason, neither Winston nor Hill have stood out, and it looks like Payton won’t name his Week 1 starter for some time.
On that note, here's a closer look at who should be Drew Brees' replacement in New Orleans.
Jameis Winston vs Taysom Hill
If we start with NFL experience, Jameis Winston comes out on top. The 27-year-old has played six seasons in the NFL, most of them as a starting quarterback. Winston was drafted as the number one overall pick by the Tampa Bay Buccaneers in 2015, and has played 76 NFL games.
Taysom Hill, meanwhile, has been in the league for four seasons after being signed as an undrafted free agent by the Saints in 2017. Hill has started just eight games at quarterback in the NFL, but has featured in 53 games across his pro football career.
The most important part of a starting quarterback's role is the passing game. It’s where Drew Brees made a name for himself with his uber-accurate throws and smart decision-making.
This is a tough category to separate Jameis Winston and Taysom Hill. Winston has by far more throws in his NFL career than Hill, and his passing stats dwarf Hill’s.
However, Jameis Winston’s history as a starting quarterback is a tale of two factors. One being the fact that he is a touchdown throwing machine. He has thrown 121 TDs in his NFL career, and he led the NFL in passing yards in 2019.
At the same time, he led the league in interceptions in 2019, with 30. Winston’s erratic throws and poor decision-making is why he is no longer the starting QB in Tampa Bay. He hasn’t had an opportunity to show improvement in New Orleans yet, but he did throw a 56-yard touchdown pass against the Bucs in the NFL playoffs last season.
Meanwhile, Taysom Hill started eight games for the Saints last season when Brees was injured. He had a good passer rating of 98.8, but he really threw the ball downfield. Hill threw four touchdowns and two interceptions in his time as the Saints starter.
Like Winston, he has one NFL playoff completion in 2019, a 50-yard bomb. Winston probably gets the slight nod here, due to his wealth of NFL passing experience.
When it comes to scrambling and the running game, Taysom Hill easily outperforms Jameis Winston.
Hill had eight rushing TDs last season alone while racking up 457 yards on the ground. The 31-year-old is a triple-threat on the gridiron, and has the ability to pass, run or catch the ball. This X-factor is why he is even in the conversation to be the Saints’ next starting quarterback.
Winston is not known for his running abilities; he does have ten rushing TDs during his career, but most of them came in his rookie season.
What does Sean Payton want?
The decision on who will be Drew Brees' replacement for the New Orleans Saints will solely come down to what Sean Payton wants in his QB.
Last season, he chose to start Taysom Hill when Brees was injured, but now he doesn't have the option of Brees coming back. If he wants a more traditional NFL QB, like Drew Brees, he should go with Jameis Winston.
We'll just have to wait for the NFL preseason to play out before we learn who will be stepping into Drew Brees' shoes in New Orleans.