Green Bay Packers Off-Season Positional Review: Safety

In my off-season review series we’re taking a look at positional strengths and weaknesses, starters and depth. Last week we covered the Green Bay Packers inside linebacker room which solidified itself with the re-signing of De’Vondre Campbell.

In the safety room the Packers return two familiar faces at the top in Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage. Barring some surprise off-season maneuvering, those two should reprise their roles as the starting safety tandem in Green Bay’s outfield.

Neither player is officially under contract for the 2023 season, and if we know one thing about Brian Gutekunst it’s that he’s been thinking about the future all along…will it include Amos or Savage?

Sep 5, 2019; Chicago, IL, USA; Green Bay Packers strong safety Adrian Amos (31) intercepts the football in the fourth quarter against Chicago Bears wide receiver Allen Robinson (12) at Soldier Field. Mandatory Credit: Quinn Harris-USA TODAY Sports

Adrian Amos:

Adrian Amos was part of Brian Gutekunst’s massive 2019 free agent spending spree to help bridge some gaps created through some less than stellar drafts in Ted Thompson’s late career (RIP).

That same off-season Bears fans famously took to twitter to let the Packers-sphere know that their recent acquisition of former Packers Safety Ha Ha Clinton-Dix would be a steal, and that the Adrian Amos was terrible over-pay.

The Packers on/off-field dominance of the Bears continues to this day.

Amos has brought workman-like efficiency to the field since day 1.

Not a flashy player, but a cerebral guy who puts himself in position to make plays with great mechanics while forcing the occasional turnover.

He’s now the elder statesmen of a young and dynamic secondary at nearly 29 years old.

As Amos enters a contract year, my hope is that he can remain healthy and add a few more splash plays as an anchor in the secondary and continue to use his veteran leadership to bring the larger group of defensive backs to its greatest heights yet.

If Brian Gutekunst’s track record is any indicator, it’s likely that the Packers will allow Amos to find his next contract elsewhere next off-season. This would create a big hole on-and-off the field for the Packers, but a likely scenario for the cash strapped Pack.

Green Bay Packers safety Darnell Savage (26) during practice at rookie minicamp at the Don Hutson Center on Friday, May 3, 2019 in Ashwaubenon, Wis. Adam Wesley/USA TODAY NETWORK-Wis Gpg Packers Rookie Camp 050319 Abw528

Darnell Savage:

Darnell Savage has been a really intriguing player for the Packers.

The former 21st overall pick of the 2019 draft out of Maryland, Savage’s signature coming out of college was his elite speed and explosiveness (4.36 combine 40 yd dash) and his ballhawking ability (8 interceptions over parts of 4 seasons).

The Packers were banking heavily on the upside when they selected Savage in the first round, when many draft prognosticators had a mid/late 2nd round grade on him.

Taylor Rapp, Nasir Adderly & Juan Thornhill are all starting caliber NFL safeties that went in the late 2nd round in 2019 and all have similar or better career statistics than Darnell Savage.

Savage has not been a draft miss by any stretch, but he’s only shown flashes of the tantalizing physical tools and playmaking ability that Packers fans and executives alike expected to see more of.

He’s a nice asset, but not a game changer.

Savage enters the 2022 regular season at just 25 years old with room to grow.

He’s not currently under contract for 2023, but I fully expect the Packers to exercise his fifth year option at $7.9 million.

If there is a cautionary tale in this, it’s that Savage fifth year will be his age 26 season. The same age season when the Packers allowed Micah Hyde and Casey Hayward to walk.

Let’s be sure we’ve seen the best Savage has to offer before letting him reach his ceiling in another NFL organization this time around.

Depth:

Vernon Scott — In a surprising move, the Packers chose not to tender safety Henry Black indicating that Vernon Scott will be in the mix for his snaps as the third safety. Scott was only active for three games last season and saw action solely on the Special Teams unit.

Shawn Davis — Davis is an interesting prospect who was a 2020 fifth round pick by the Indianapolis Colts and then landed on the Packers practice squad. Davis played in college at the University of Florida where he tallied 124 tackles, 5.5 TFLs, 5 INTs and 1 FF in just 16 starts.

Innnis Gaines — Gaines famously worked as a delivery driver for DoorDash after going undrafted in 2020. He played his college ball at TCU and the Packers front office apparently has seen something they like after carrying him on the practice squad and signing him to a reserve/future contract for 2022.

Summary:

Much like the other position groups on the Packers roster the safety group has a couple of high quality starters that may or may not be around in 2023 and then a bunch of question marks & lottery tickets behind them.

While certainly not as glaring a need as the wide receiver position, and not as potentially impactful as the need for a third edge rusher, the Packers need to re-stock the depth chart at safety.

I think a player like Lewis Cine out of Georgia could be in play for the Packers with one of their first round picks, or perhaps if he’s available in the second round, Brian Gutekunst uses some of his draft ammo to move up and nab him.

Adding another quality safety to the room allows you to move Darnell Savage around and perhaps utilize his coverage ability in the slot, or hide him around the line of scrimmage waiting for an errant throw to come his way.

The safety group could be considered a “champagne problem”, but Brian Gutekunst knows that the room is going to need a makeover before long and could strike if the board falls in Green Bay’s favor.

You can follow Adam on twitter at @adamjcarlson28.

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