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Darnell Savage Is A Ball-Hawking, Physical Safety Who Can Solidify The Redskins Secondary

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Hogs Haven takes a look at 2019 NFL Draft prospects that could contribute to the Redskins

Maryland v Texas Photo by Tim Warner/Getty Images

Darnell Savage, S
College: Maryland | Conference: BIG 10
College Experience: Senior | Age: 21?
Height / Weight: 5-11 / 199 lbs
Projected Draft Status: 2nd Round
NFL Comparison: Terrence Brooks

College Statistics

Player Overview

Darnell Savage was used on both sides of the ball during his high school career. He played wide receiver, running back, and in the secondary. After sustaining a lower leg injury Savage had to rehab to get back into playing shape. He was graded as a 3-star recruit from Delaware and got noticed by the Terps. Savage became a starter his sophomore season and has been one of the best safeties in the ACC ever since. His former teammates D.J. Moore and Jermaine Carter think he’s the best safety in the country. He’s been praised by his coaches at Maryland for being a vocal leader and his leadership was needed this year as Maryland’s football program experienced tragedy and navigated controversy. He’s also praised for his football IQ. His teammates describe him as a ‘gifted athlete’ with ‘natural instinct to the ball’. Savage made a great impression at the Senior Bowl winning an award for defensive practice player of the week. Some even think that Savage could be the first safety drafted in April. Savage will have appeal as a box safety and as a nickel corner and who knows if he tests well maybe the idea of him being the first safety selected isn’t so crazy after all.

Strengths

  • Smart, physical, aggressive player who make plays all over the field. Converts speed to power well and has some pop in his hits. Plays bigger than he is and tackles with good technique.
  • Excellent vision, instincts, speed, and angles make him a force coming down and playing the run the in the box. Too quick for a lot of blockers and slips through gaps easy to make stops. Same qualities make him dangerous to QBs as he can quickly close and disrupt passing lanes.
  • Moves well in space and can cover a lot of ground quickly will be pegged as a box safety because of his physicality, or a nickel because of his size, but I wouldn’t rule out some time at FS for him.
  • Praised for his leadership and work ethic.
  • Natural hands, known as a ball hawk, posted the best interception totals of his career this past season.

Weaknesses

  • Comes in barely under the “threshold” for “ideal” height/weight for a safety especially one that plays in the box but still looks a bit thin. Is it my eyes?
  • Aggressive player so with that comes over aggressive tendencies, can overplay angles, misplay the ball in the air while trying to make a play.
  • I think he’s a pretty good player in zone coverage I think he needs work in man. Has nothing to do with athleticism and everything to do with technique. With his style he needs to be measured in man coverage and learn how to leverage his receiver.

Let’s see his work:

More Darnell Savage videos

How He Would Fit On The Redskins

I would love it if Savage got drafted by the Redskins. Not only does he play with the physicality and tackling technique the Redskins sorely need but he is also a fine player in zone coverage who can create turnovers. Savage, in my opinion, is ready to play day one as a box safety but as I mentioned earlier I think he is capable of playing free safety as well because of his athleticism and abilities in zone. Some may think Savage can also play nickel corner as well and I think he can. I also think he has more work to do as far as improving his technique to really stake a claim for staying at that position. NFL coaching will be good for him as he continues to find the balance between his aggressive style and being more disciplined on the field in certain situations. For the Redskins I think he offers the most value at safety. He is unafraid on the field and he could quickly become one of the more productive young leaders on the team wherever he’s drafted.