Darnell Savage rose up draft boards quickly throughout the pre-draft process and ended up being the No. 21 overall pick for the Green Bay Packers. The team liked him so much that they traded up nine spots from No. 30 in order to get him. Now, they are hoping that he can be a big part of their defensive rebuild.
Looking ahead at the upcoming season, defensive coordinator Mike Pettine has to be excited about his new defense. In addition to Savage, the Packers also signed fellow safety Adrian Amos, pass rushers Za’Darius and Preston Smith, as well as drafting pass rusher Rashan Gary in the first round.
Last season with the Maryland Terrapins, Savage ended up compiling 52 total tackles, four interceptions, two defended passes, and a defensive touchdown. Those numbers show the ability that Savage has to make plays, which is exactly what the Packers’ defense needed. He could use some work in coverage, but that will come with more experience and NFL coaching.
Green Bay has missed the playoffs each of the last two seasons. It is clear with the Packers’ aggressive approach this offseason that they are not willing to continue losing and want to make a hard push in the NFC in 2019.
Let’s go ahead and dive in to take a look at three bold predictions for Savage in his rookie season with the Packers.
Amos and Savage are going to be a massive upgrade starting at the safety positions for the Packers. It has been a long time since they had two safeties capable of making big plays and being leaders for the secondary.
Green Bay traded up to get Savage for a reason. He is going to be an immediate starter opposite of Amos. The Packers are obviously confident that he can come in and handle a huge role immediately.
The Packers are hoping that their secondary can create more turnovers than they did last year. Ha Ha Clinton-Dix was the best playmaker they had in the secondary, although Jaire Alexander came on strong at the end of the year. Savage will step up immediately and help improve one of Green Bay’s biggest flaws.
Savage will intercept at least three passes throughout the season and will also come through with 60 tackles. Those numbers are exactly what the Packers need from their rookie safety.
Finally, Savage is going to play well enough this season that he is in the conversation for the Defensive Rookie of the Year Award. Going up against talents like Nick Bosa and Devin White won’t be easy, but Savage is more than capable of rising up to the challenge. He certainly will be put in a top-notch situation.
Pettine has always had success with ball hawk defensive backs and that is exactly what Savage is going to be. He may not end up winning the award when everything is said and done, but simply being in the conversation will prove why the Packers traded up so aggressively to get him.