Will quarterback be a position of need for the New Orleans Saints next year? Maybe. There’s a lot of pressure on Jameis Winston to play at a high level and get them back to the playoffs, and his short-term contract with the team keeps the door open for change should he fall short of expectations. If Winston flops, odds are slim that the Saints will find a future at quarterback on their roster between Andy Dalton (who is here on a one-year rental), Ian Book (who hasn’t inspired much confidence), and Taysom Hill (who is attending meetings in the tight ends room these days).
One name to remember is BYU quarterback Jaren Hall, who was linked to the Saints in a recent two-round 2023 mock draft from Luke Easterling over at Draft Wire. Hall, listed at 6-foot-1 and 205 pounds, has performed well on a small sample sizer as a passer (completing 220 of 342 career pass attempts for 3,003 yards, with 21 touchdown passes against 5 interceptions) and brings some mobility as a runner (with 95 carries for 450 rushing yards and 6 touchdown runs), but he’s missed a lot of time with injuries. He was limited to 7 games in 2019, missed the 2020 season with a medical redshirt, and was held out of BYU’s bowl game with an ankle injury in 2021. A smaller frame and an injury history aren’t a great combo.
Still, we’ve seen more undersized quarterbacks stand out in the NFL than in the past — largely thanks to the Hall of Fame-worthy career that Drew Brees accomplished in a Saints uniform. High-profile passers who don’t meet conventional weigh-in prototypes like Russell Wilson and Kyler Murray are helming Super Bowl contenders. If Hall can stay healthy this season and meet his potential, he could be in the conversation to be drafted quickly in 2023.
He’s off to a good start. Hall was recently named to the Davey O’Brien Award watch list, which is given to the nation’s best quarterback — previous winners include past No. 1 NFL draft picks Jameis Winston (2013), Joe Burrow (2019), and Peyton Manning (1997). Winning that recognition wouldn’t guarantee pro success, but it’s still interesting to see Hall in the mix at this early stage.
But what’s most clear is that there isn’t much consensus about which position New Orleans could be targeting in the 2023 draft, which makes sense given there’s an entire season to play out before the Saints start to evaluate that problem themselves. So let’s add Hall to our own draft watch list, along with other players who have been linked to New Orleans in never-too-early mock drafts like Ole Miss running back Zach Evans and South Carolina defensive tackle Zacch Pickens.