Tight end Josh Hill has been with the New Orleans Saints for all eight of his NFL seasons after entering the league as an undrafted rookie from Idaho St. Often an afterthought in the passing game, the 30-Yr old Hill achieved career-highs in receptions (25) and receiving yardage (226) in 2019 while catching 3 touchdowns.
Despite modest receiving production throughout his career, Hill is still a valuable part of the New Orleans offense. Today we have a closer look at his contributions in 2020 in our Year-in-Review spotlight.
Hill was targeted just three times in the team's first three games, catching one pass for 16 yards. After that he had a catch in each of the next five contests through the first half of the year, including his only touchdown reception of the season in a Week 9 rout of Tampa Bay. He had 7 catches for 45 yards and a score over the year's first eight games, but had just one reception for a yard in the second half of the season.
Hill's most valuable contributions to the Saints offense has always been as a blocker. One of the NFL's best blockers at the position, Hill is an extension of the team’s elite offensive line. He expertly seals off the edge for the New Orleans running backs to get off-tackle and played a vital part of the Saints sixth ranked rushing attack.
When Hill is used as a receiver, it’s typically as a check-down option or a misdirection play in the flat in short yardage situations. His 8 receptions for 46 yards this season was his lowest output since his rookie year.
He is entering the last year of his contract, but will count $3.3 million against the salary cap. The Saints would save over $2.5 million in cap space if they moved on from Hill, but with veteran TE Jared Cook leaving in free agency, it seems more likely that the Saints will keep Hill to maintain continuity at the position.
Even with the emergence of rookie TE Adam Trautman, Josh Hill has the trust of his coaches and remains an underrated contributor for the New Orleans offense.