A long-time college football player, Pitt’s quarterback prospect Tom Savage has come out of nowhere as a favorite among scouts. It seems like teams are enamored with Savage’s arm strength and physical tools, using his awful offensive line at Pitt to justify his issues under pressure, awful footwork, and erratic accuracy. He has all the tools to be an interesting project, but the 23-year-old never looked like a star in college. The NFL Network’s Daniel Jeremiah reports that the recent buzz around Savage is “legitimate” and that he consistently hears Savage’s name when talking to those in league circles. The Tom Savage buzz is legitimate," he wrote. ESPN's Todd McShay said on this week's "First Draft" podcast that Savage isn't getting out of Day 2 (the third round, in other words). Savage is simultaneously one the draft's most polarizing and fastest rising prospects. McShay calls him the draft's biggest QB sleeper, Smart Football's Chris Brown says he's "fool's gold for scouts," and Scout Inc.'s Kevin Weidl believes he's "one of the most underrated quarterbacks in this class." Savage's bazooka arm makes it easy to dream on him.
ESPN's Mel Kiper also thinks Savage will be picked. Not only that, but he expects Savage to leap off the board earlier than most. The buzz around Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage continues to grow, with one scout telling NFL.com that he might have the strongest arm in the draft. In his latest Big Board, Kiper has Tom Savage selected at No. 88 in the third round going to the Cincinnati Bengals: "Savage has starting upside, and he's among the strongest arms in the draft," Kiper wrote. "He was beaten up behind bad blocking at Pitt, but is the kind of upside this roster could use behind Andy Dalton." Kiper isn't overstating the hits Savage took last season. According to ESPN Stats & Info, Savage was under duress on 28 percent of his dropbacks, the highest percentage of any QB prospect. As a result, Savage was sacked an FBS-high 43 times last season.
Tom Savage is accelerating up the draft board http://www.behindthesteelcurtain.com/2014-nfl-draft/2014/4/18/5627368/2014-nfl-draft-quarterbacks-tom-savage-scouting-report-pittsburgh
There is no doubt that Savage is a hot name at the moment, and once you reach the latter rounds where he is projected to be taken, there is no drafting for need. That means any team could take a flyer on him and hope they can coach him into a viable starter or backup. An ideal place would be somewhere with no thoughts of starting him for a year or two while he learns from the coaching staff and a veteran in front of him. Savage is good enough that he could really turn out to be a steal and a good value pick.
Tom Savage measured 6'4", 228 pounds at the combine. He's got the ideal height and frame as Blake Bortles does and what nearly every other quarterback prospect in the 2014 class lacks. The first thing that pops off Savage's draft breakdown is his footwork. His drop, either from the shotgun or under center, is strong, quick, smooth and balanced. He sets his feet well, transfers weight well, and gives his upper body a strong base. He uses a full setup and release on each throw, which helps his consistency. The former University of Pittsburgh star is projected as a prototypical NFL quarterback and could go to a team. His frame is big, his hands are big, and his arm is big. He was a top recruit coming out of high school and he stayed in school for five years. Savage, though, has had a very unconventional career. The knocks against him have caused his perceived value to sink below his talent level, so Savage could be a great steal in the mid-to-late rounds of the NFL draft.
One of the knocks on Savage coming into the NFL is that he does not have a wealth of experience. Although he is a fifth year senior, Savage was only in uniform for three seasons, and only started two full years due to an injury in 2010. His 31 career games played are far below the 54 played by AJ McCarron, and even less than juniors Teddy Bridgewater, who has played 39 games, and Blake Bortles, who has played 37 games. So although Savage will be 24 before the NFL draft, he is a raw prospect, a big bag of tools waiting to be put in the hands of professional coaching. Watching Savage, the most prominent attribute he has is the ability to make any throw. Quarterbacks like him are desirable because they allow coaches to utilize the entire field. Savage can throw the ball long, he can fit passes into tight windows over the middle, and he can throw deep outs. Savage is a strong player, with the ability to escape the rush and even break some tackles. He keeps his eyes down field well, and has the arm strength to throw on the run with ease. He is not particularly fast, but he can move around to throw when he has to.