With all of the hype surrounding future NFL quarterbacks Johnny Manziel, Teddy Bridgewater and Blake Bortles, perhaps no future NFL signal caller is attracting more interest at the moment than Pitt’s Tom Savage.
That’s right. That Tom Savage.
Savage has been the hottest name lately among NFL scouts and is quickly climbing up many draft boards, to the point that ESPN’s Todd McShay had Savage going with the first pick in the second round to the Houston Texans in his most recent mock draft.
McShay isn’t the only one drinking the Kool-Aid when it comes to Savage.
Peter King of Sports Illustrated called Savage the most surprising player leading up to the draft and NFL draft analyst Gil Brandt has called him “The hottest guy in the draft.”
NFL teams are so anxious to get a look at Savage, who may have the strongest arm in the draft, that his agent had to turn two teams away as Savage doesn’t have the time to meet with everyone that wants to see him.
After watching Savage at Pitt, where he threw for 2,958 yards, completing 238-of-389 attempts with 21 touchdowns, some Panthers’ fans may be scratching their heads over the amount of interest in Savage.
There’s no doubting that Savage has the overall skills to warrant being selected in the 2014 NFL Draft, but very few would have projected that he could go off the board in the late first or early second rounds.
But Savage has many attributes that NFL teams covet, the first of which is he stands 6’5″.
In addition, his stock started to rise late in the season when he showed the ability to take care of the ball after a shaky start. Savage proved to be a good decision maker, throwing only three INTs in his final nine games.
Then there is the fact that he played in a Pro-Style offense under Paul Chryst at Pitt, which should make the transition a bit easier.
Savage bears a striking resemblance to Philadelphia Eagles quarterback Nick Foles, whose stock is very high in the league right now. Like Foles, Savage has the size and arm strength, and also like Foles took a peculiar college path to eventually wind up where he is.
But as much as there is for NFL teams to like about Savage, there are also tons of questions, most notably the fact that he has only one full year of football under his belt since 2009.
He’s also not very athletic as he struggles to throw on the run.
Then there is the arm strength thing. While it is a necessity, NFL GM’s fall in love with it almost to a fault as plenty of guys with big arms (think JaMarcus Russell) went high in the draft but couldn’t play a lick.
However Savage can make every throw on the passing tree if he can remain standing.
That alone is intriguing enough to potentially make some teams that could consider a signal caller early in the draft pass on one and target a guy like Savage early in the second round.
As Savage continues to meet with teams prior to May’s draft, one can only assume his stock will continue to rise.
Where he will end up is anyone’s guess at this point, but one thing is for sure. We will hear Savage’s name called, probably a lot earlier than anyone anticipated.