If there’s a time to take risks in the NFL, it’s during the draft. The Green Bay Packers took one last year when they traded up to select Darnell Savage 21st overall. It was a big risk, especially for a team known for having somewhat of a bad track record for selecting defensive backs early on. Savage, however, could be one they got right.

The moment Savage was drafted, he was expected to be a starter. It’s a lot to ask of a rookie to be immediately forced into a starting role. Accompany that with the added pressure of playing for a defense that was desperately trying to sort out their secondary.

Like Green Bay expected, Savage handled it well. He started 14 out of 14 games, picking off two passes while adding 55 total tackles and two forced fumbles. Of course, this was only after one year, but the Packers may have a future playmaker in Savage, and now they hope for even bigger returns in year two.

“I think the sky’s the limit for Darnell,” said defensive coordinator Mike Pettine.

This kind of praise from his coach was well deserved after Savage earned All-Rookie honors for his play last season. It might be difficult to top in only his second season, but Savage’s partner on the backend, Adrian Amos, likes what the future has in store for his fellow safety.

“The playbook, knowing what to expect to the following season. Being around your team and your situation, coming into Year 2, we have the same secondary, he knows where I’m going to be, who the corners are. He can make a big jump in that way,” Amos said during a recent conference call.

Savage still has a lot of work left on the table, but these votes of confidence are certainly encouraging. At just 22 years of age, Savage already showed great flashes in 2019 and he should only get better. One day he could become a real problem for opposing offenses.


Brandon Carwile was a Cheesehead at birth. His dad grew up attending games at Lambeau and passed on the legacy. He has covered the Packers for over five years and currently works with packerstalk.com. Find him on twitter at @PackerScribe.