As mentioned in an article I produced earlier today, the Packers are building a ferocious defence. They added Za’Darius Smith, Preston Smith and Adrian Amos in the offseason, whilst they selected Rashan Gary out of Michigan University with their twelfth overall selection last night. One may have thought adding an offensive weapon like D.K. Metcalf to Aaron Rodgers’ disposal might’ve been a perfect selection, however, the Packers elected to take Maryland’s Darnell Savage Jr. instead.
The Packers’ decision to move up from #30 to #21 caught us all off guard. They had to give up two fourth round selections, but I don’t think they’ll stand to regret that decision.
Whilst the addition of Adrian Amos provides hard-hitting ability and veteran leadership at the safety position, he simply cannot cover as much ground as Darnell Savage Jr.
A four-year starter as a Maryland Terrapin, Savage has produced constant progression both statistically and in his performance on the field year upon year. In his senior campaign, he amassed 52 combined tackles, 5.5 for a loss and 2 pass deflections. Furthermore, he displayed the ability to produce game-altering plays, as he notched 4 interceptions on the season, 1 of which he returned for a touchdown.
Aside from his statistical production, what skills does Savage possess? First and foremost, elite versatility. If there were a heat map to depict his activity on the defensive side of the ball it’d be all over the place. Pro Football Focus concluded that across the 2018 campaign, he lined up in six different defensive positions, whilst he recorded 677 snaps in totality.
He is explosively quick, as evidenced by his 4.36 40-yard dash time. In addition to that speed, he provides unreal athletic prowess and immense football IQ which allows him to grasp the understanding of plays very well. He can play both in the box, in single high, man or zone coverage, which speaks volumes regarding his versatility as a prospect. Most of all however, he’s got that constant work ethic that every franchise adores. It’s for these attributes, that I project Savage to become a perennial Pro Bowler at the next level.
Many “arm-chair” GM’s, as I like to call them, were not fans of the trade. I believe this reaction came from having to trade down, and not the selection itself. For me, two fourth round selections are not all that much, especially for the return that the Packers will receive on their selection.
NFL.com writer Daniel Jeremiah had the following to say prior to the Draft regarding Savage’s talents.
“There’s no player that’s got more steam and momentum right now in this draft than Darnell Savage,” Jeremiah said. “Teams love him, love him to the point where I would not be surprised if he found his way into the first round. The only thing he’s lacking is just kind of ideal size, a little bit undersized, but he ran 4.3, he plays to that 4.3.”
Adrian Amos took to Twitter to welcome Savage to the Packers too. The former Terrapin replied with, “Ready to learn big bro💪”
Image Credits: Our very own Alex Chinery (@iamalexchinery on Twitter).