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Who is Ian Book, why is he the Saints starting QB in Week 16?

The New Orleans Saints are down to their third-string quarterback with Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian on the reserve/COVID list.

Taysom Hill #7 and Ian Book #16 of the New Orleans Saints stand together on the field before a game against the Tennessee Titans at Nissan Stadium on November 14, 2021 in Nashville, Tennessee. The Titans defeated the Saints 23-21. Photo by Wesley Hitt/Getty Images

Third-string rookie QB Ian Book will get his first career start Monday night after Taysom Hill and Trevor Siemian landed on the reserve/COVID-19 list ahead of the Saints primetime matchup in Week 16. He’ll be the fourth quarterback to start for the team in the 2021 regular season since the Saints starter Jameis Winston suffered a season-ending ACL tear in Week 8.

Despite the fact that Book has yet to take an NFL snap, he’s luckily no stranger to the limelight. Book was selected by the Saints in the fourth round of the 2021 NFL Draft after three seasons as a starter with the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. He racked up 9,948 passing yards on 1,141 collegiate attempts, throwing a total of 72 touchdowns and 20 interceptions in his time in South Bend.

No rookie quarterback from the 2021 NFL Draft class had fewer pass attempts in the preseason than Book, who was an afterthought as Sean Payton juggled snaps between QBs Taysom Hill and Jameis Winston. In his limited preseason snaps, Book threw just 16 pass attempts, completing them at a 56% clip, while throwing for 126 passing yards, no touchdowns and one lone interception.

On a positive note, HC Sean Payton will make his return after missing Week 15 due to COVID-19. Payton will at the very least help to bring some familiarity to the quarterback as he makes his first career start.