Darnell Savage Jr. can help the Green Bay Packers defense force more turnovers in 2019.
The Green Bay Packers‘ decision to trade two fourth-round picks to move up and select Darnell Savage Jr. shows just how talented they think he is.
Savage can be a difference maker in Mike Pettine’s defense early in his career, and he has the potential to have one of the best rookie seasons in the entire league this year.
In his final season at Maryland, Savage played in 12 games, making 52 tackles, two passes defended and four interceptions.
Odds of making roster: 100 percent
Unless Savage struggles at training camp, he should be in the Week 1 starting lineup next to Adrian Amos.
What to expect in 2019?
Without Damarious Randall and Ha Ha Clinton-Dix, who combined for 45 percent of the Packers’ interceptions between 2015 and 2017, the Packers defense has lacked interceptions. Green Bay finished with only seven interceptions last season, and four were by Clinton-Dix, who was traded to the Washington Redskins around midseason.
Savage can help change that. He made seven interceptions over the past two years, and playing with Amos, Savage should have the opportunity to be a ballhawk in the defensive backfield.
A lot of focus was on fixing the pass rush and safety position this offseason, but the team’s lack of takeaways last season has been overlooked.
Great defenses create turnovers. The Chicago Bears forced a league-leading 36 turnovers last season — 27 interceptions and nine fumbles. Compare that to just seven picks and eight fumbles for the Packers, who ranked 29th in the NFL with just 15 takeaways.
That’s what makes the addition of Savage so important. He can be the difference maker in the secondary who can make key interceptions and set the offense up in a great situation.
With an improved pass rush, more opportunities will be there to take the ball away. But you need the players on defense who can make those key plays and give the team a huge advantage. That’s exactly what Savage can do, and also why he could enter the race for NFL Defensive Rookie of the Year.
The potential of this defense is exciting, and Savage will be an important part of it.