In what was a surprise to many, the Green Bay Packers traded up to select safety Darnell Savage from Maryland.
The Green Bay Packers and General Manager Brian Gutekunst were very aggressive this offseason by making four big free agent signings, one of which included a safety. However, even with the acquisition of Adrian Amos, many expected the Packers to address safety early on in the draft.
But what many may not have anticipated was the move up from pick 30, all the way to pick 21. In order to do so, Green Bay had to give up both of their fourth-round picks in addition to their 30th overall pick to the Seattle Seahawks.
To put it simply, I love the aggressiveness from Gutekunst. For the most part, fourth-rounders are developmental prospects and what Green Bay needs right now is playmakers, and they got just that in Darnell Savage.
Every year at Maryland we saw Savage haul in more interceptions than the previous season. His route recognition accompanied by his range and the angles that he takes allows him to get into position to make a play on the ball.
Continuing with the aggressive theme, that is the kind of player that Savage is and more times than not, it works out in his favor. During his time at Maryland, Savage would haul in eight interceptions, two of which went for scores and he added 13 pass break-ups as well.
In recent years this Green Bay Packers’ secondary has lacked consistent playmaking ability, and Savage is a player who can give them just that.
Savage is also going to be a versatile chess piece that defensive coordinator Mike Pettine is going to love having at his disposal. He can play down in the box as well as fill the gaps as a run defender and has solid coverage skills as well. His range allows him to help cornerbacks on plays over the middle and his elite closing speed makes him helpful to linebackers on short to intermediate routes.
With the Green Bay Packers, Savage is going to be an ideal running mate for current safety Adrian Amos. Savage has often compared himself to Eddie Jackson of the Chicago Bears, Amos’ former teammate and for good reasons. Hopefully we can see the same results from these two in Green Bay.
With Josh Jones continued struggles in coverage, as well as Raven Greene being an unknown at this point, Savage can come in and start for this Packers team from day one. While he has the ability to play just about anywhere, given Green Bay’s need for a free safety, he will likely start by playing in deep coverage early on.
As I said above, this was an aggressive move for the Green Bay Packers, but if you love a player and think he can be a playmaker, which Savage has been and can continue to be, that’s what you have to do in the draft. Being passive gets you no where.