NFL Draft Yearbook 2019 – Scouting Report
Safety Darnell Savage – Maryland
Frank Coyle/ Head scout
Here is our scouting report on one of the fastest rising defensive prospects in this class, safety Darnell Savage of Maryland. He is a prospect we have scouted since his sophomore season when he flashed impact in a few roles in the Terps’ secondary. He is a three down defender who has the ability to play the slot or centerfield positions. He performed well vs top ACC talent and had an outstanding postseason concluding with a very impressive showing at the NFL Combine. He is ranked as our #3 safety and a top 50 prospect. No other publication or web site ranked him in the top 10 safeties entering April.
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Draft Insiders’ – Yearbook Scouting Report
Darnell Savage #4 5-11 195 Maryland – Sp. 4.45
Player Comparison: Tyrann Mathieu Rating 88
Hard-hitting dynamo safety has been the leader of the Terps’ secondary for the past three seasons. Rangy versatile defender developed into a ball hawk, lining up at free safety and also dropping into the nickel defender where he also excelled. Earned first team Big Ten honors along with 2nd team All-American by DraftInsiders.com in 2018. Stepped in as a full-time starter in 2016 as a true sophomore after time as a nickel corner during his true freshman season. Strong compact athlete combines excellent speed, quickness and fluid athleticism with keen instincts to be a three-down defender. Displays the versatility to lineup at a few spots in the sub packages. At times, he seeks to deliver big stops, but is not a violent hitter and his marginal size is a concern related to holding up to the physicality of the game. More a drag down tackler, though reliable especially in the open field where he breaks down well in space. Displays an awesome closing burst, arriving with good pad level to maintain leverage and breakup passes. He has outstanding read-react ability and attacks with an aggressive manner with a motor that knows only one speed. Drives through his target upon contact and able to finish. Lined up in a variety of ways, usually the high safety and slot corner in different alignments. Very effective single-high safety with excellent range to make up ground and get to the ball. Often lined up over a slot receiver, and shows the quick footwork to mirror off the line well with the closing speed to break up passes. Highly versatile with the range and instincts to play free in the deep middle and at times the toughness and run stopping ability to be the eighth man in the box. He has fine instincts for man-coverage with dependable hands to hang on to his interception opportunities. Keeps his head on a swivel in coverage and reacts to the ball quickly. Attacks the throw at the catch point as if he was the receiver. Average height and excellent leaping ability allow him to win jump-ball throws. Plays all facets of the game with a strong sense of urgency. He does however, lack ideal size, especially for a heavy diet of playing in the box. In 2018, started 12 games and had 52 tackles, 5.5 TFL, no sacks, 4 picks and 2 PBU. Earned first team Big Ten honors. In 2017, started 12 games and made 59 tackles, 3 picks and 8 PBU. For his career, totaled 182 tackles with 9 TFL, 8 picks and 14 PBU. Best suited for playing single high scheme. Fine athleticism to be a three-down defender. At the NFL Combine, he came in just under 5’11” and 198 lbs. with 31” arms. He ran a 4.45 time, 11 reps, a 39.5” VL and a 10’6“ BJ with 4.14 shuttle and 7.03 three cone. Excellent positional drills to complete a well-rounded workout. Similar to safety Tyrann Mathieu in natural talent and versatility. Also, for the old draftniks, he is similar to safety Bob Sanders, one of the best defenders in the league during his time with the Colts. He has the speed, quickness and ball skills to be an early starter and compares to Mathieu in size, AA and versatility. Shows flexible hips and quick footwork with the instincts to continue to improve in coverage. Talent to be a difference maker if coupled with a good box safety. High quality athlete and football player with experience to compete for time in different packages and an excellent addition. Probable early starting ability and in addition he could win the nickel role in camp. Valuable versatility with fast developing talent and a three-down defender. Rising marginal top 40 selection with impact talent. Teams like the Giants, Redskins, Cowboys and Chiefs have him on their short list in the early 2nd round.
Draft Projection: 2nd Round
Frank Coyle is a long-time scout with nationwide ties with coaches, scouts and player agents. He is a long-time member of the FWAA and voter in College player awards – Heisman, Biletnikoff, Thorpe, Outland, Nagurski, Lombardi etc for the past 25 years. He writes College Football Mondays weekly during the season. He is a longtime scouting consultant for the Senior Bowl, the nation’s premier postseason All-star game. He does sports radio shows for ESPN, Fox Sports and Sporting News on a year-round basis related to College Football especially during the postseason team and All-star Bowl time. He has worked for CBS Sports, NBC Sports, Yahoo and Rivals sports publications and web sites