Judging by the pre-draft hype he received, many expected Pitt quarterback Tom Savage to be well off the board before the end of the fourth round.
The Houston Texans are glad he wasn’t.
Badly in need of a quarterback, the Texans got good value by selecting Savage with the No. 135 overall pick. In the process, Savage became the highest drafted Panthers’ quarterback since Dan Marino in 1983.
Savage is going into a good situation in Houston with new coach Bill O’Brien in search of a quarterback.
Thanks to his very strong arm, Savage saw his draft stock skyrocket and as a result could be in a position to be the Texans’ quarterback of the future, although that future likely wouldn’t be for a season or two.
Savage took a strange path to the NFL.
After being a highly thought of recruit at Rutgers, Savage made a brief stop at Arizona before eventually landing at Pitt. In the process he went over 1,000 days in between starts.
Savage got off to a slow start last season at Pitt, but finished the year throwing for 2,958 yards, completing 238-of-389 attempts with 21 touchdowns.
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.
However Savage can make every throw on the passing tree if he can remain standing.
Savage’s stock was high coming into the draft and at the end of the day the Texans may have found themselves a pretty good quarterback for the future.