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Is Taysom Hill carving a path for Jalen Hurts?

Offensive mastermind Sean Payton is having a blast with his Swiss Army knife.

NFL: New Orleans Saints at Baltimore Ravens Tommy Gilligan-USA TODAY Sports

Jalen Hurts has probably been the most scrutinized college football player in the country over the last couple of seasons, and criticism was amplified after Tua Tagovailoa became the passing equivalent of Bobby Boucher in the second half of the national title game. One of the hot topics surrounding Jalen has been the possibility of a position change, inspiring debate over which position would suit him best.

What if there was room on a NFL roster for a utility player, similar to baseball? Enter Saints new fan favorite, Taysom Hill.

Hill is a rare athletic specimen at 6-foot-2, 221 pounds, who reportedly ran the 40-yard dash in 4.4 seconds at BYU’s pro day in 2017. And teammates and coaches marvel at his weight room prowess. Apparently coaches in college told him he wasn’t allowed to squat more than 700 pounds. And Saints punter Thomas Morstead said when he squats 500 pounds, he looks like he’s just casually standing up out of a chair.

Talk about a clone: Hurts is listed at 6-foot-2, 218 pounds, reportedly ran a 4.48 at spring testing as a sophomore and is a former competitive powerlifter. On the season, Hill has thrown two passes, rushed 18 times, caught one pass, returned seven kickoffs and recorded seven tackles on special teams. Rather than pigeon-hole him into an argument over whether he can be a NFL quarterback, the Saints are using him for what he is: an outstanding, versatile football player, similar to Kordell Stewart in Pittsburgh some 20 years ago.

We have seen Jalen line up at slot receiver a few times already, and with a bye week followed by the toughest game of the season to date, this would be an ideal time to add a couple of those wrinkles that can turn into game changing plays and cause defensive coordinators to burn practice time. He may not have the skills to be a traditional NFL passer, but you can bet that Saban will do everything in his power to help him develop a career.

Since Hurts is the clear #2 QB this season, it’s implausible that he will be used to return kicks and certainly not as a gunner. Next season, with two more QBs on campus and Mac Jones another year older? Anything is possible.