Cleveland Browns: 3 safety options at pick No. 49 in the 2019 NFL Draft
A three-year starter for Maryland, Darnell Savage has started to climb up boards the more he gets looked at. In his three seasons, Savage played well enough to earn All-Big 10 honors and was highly regarded for his ability to cover plenty of ground due to his great speed and instincts.
Although slightly undersized, Savage is the kind of player who has never been afraid of contact. During his time with the Terps, he excelled in coverage — even handling slot duties at times — and had two pick-sixes in his career.
Career Tackles: 182
Career Interceptions: 8
40-Yard Dash: 4.36
Bench Press: 11 Reps
What the Scouts Say
Even with his frame, scouts don’t seem concerned with Savage. They also rave about his IQ and closing speed.
"“He sports a compact frame with a muscular build, but lacks desired height for downfield challenges and size for volume tackling. However, his sticky cover skills and ability to close on throws from all areas of the field are valuable commodities that should not be undervalued. Savage could be targeted as a hybrid defender offering two-high zone or slot cover talent.” — Lance Zierlein, NFL.com"
Is he a fit in Cleveland?
The negative about Savage is the fact that he’s arguably more of a free safety. That being said, defensive coordinator Steve Wilks was with the Arizona Cardinals last season and used Tre Boston at strong safety, even though he’s more of a single-high player historically.
Whether or not he’s a fit will rely on what Wilks wants to emphasize. If he’s worried more about his safeties focusing on the pass, Savage could be his guy. One thing is for sure, he would be well worth the investment at this point in the draft.