by National Football Post
April 28, 02014
This past February, our latest "Introduction to Scouting" class was taught by Greg Gabriel. Over the next few weeks, we'll be featuring the best scouting reports from the graduates. If you would like to join the next session, it begins May 19th, and runs for six weeks. You'll learn a high level of scouting knowledge from one of the most seasoned vets of the industry, Greg Gabriel, whose scouting career spanned 29 seasons. Register at nfpscout.com.
Tom Savage, QB, Pittsburgh (6'4", 228 lbs)
Strengths: Big-Arm with ability to make all of the “Pro” throws at the next level. Competitive, nature and works to allow plays to develop. Works to get extra yards when forced to run and flushed from the pocket. Patience in the pocket and will still deliver the ball under pressure. Throws a tight ball that effortlessly cuts throw the wind even on inclement days. Due to arm-strength can fit ball into tight windows. Has a good feel for the game and is efficient in understanding of offense. Equally adept under center and in shotgun formations
Weaknesses: Due to nature of his arm, doesn’t drive the ball or shift is his weight consistently which leaves his passes either high or in a poor location for adequate run after the catch. Tends to float on roll-outs or comebacks where he should be closing the distance and attacking his target. Footwork although consistent in his drops leaves something to be desired at times which is leads into his ball placement. Better emphasis on footwork and consistent hip snap weight change would help accuracy. Delivery has a hitch in where he drops the ball down before actually getting the ball away. Average athleticism at best in terms of escape ability and making plays with his feet. Inconsistent in his reads and where to go with the football. Saw several occasions where he looked down a receiver and while another receiver was open and thereby delivered the ball late. Does not throw his receivers open or always see the next step in the route . Ball Security under pressure seemed to be an issue when trying to escape. Didn’t always protect the ball when trying to elude the rush.
Conclusion: Incredibly strong arm and can make every throw, but his accuracy and inconsistent ball placement leaves a lot of yards on the table. His tendency to stay on his first progression gets him into trouble which can leads to late throws, incompletions, and interceptions. Has the physical tools to play the position, but not everything comes together consistently enough to say he has the “IT” factor.
Grade: 5.8 by Jeremy Cross, @CoachJC_6
Strengths: Excellent size and strength, spins the ball well with velocity, good arm strength, competitive spirit
Weaknesses: Struggles with accuracy, trouble avoiding rush, has long release
Overview: While Savage possesses a strong arm with ability to make all the NFL throws, he is lacking in consistency and accuracy. Ball placement skills must be enhanced as well. On several occasions, receivers had to adjust their body and route, just to make an attempt on the ball. Some of the errant throws resulted in lost yardage on screens, and also prevented what could have been large gains if the ball had been placed correctly on downfield routes.
Footwork is adequate and about as expected for his size, but his long throwing motion allows defenders to track his intended target to a greater degree. The ball comes out strong, with good spin and velocity, but he tends to favor the short routes, thus negating one of his positive attributes….arm strength. Also has trouble handling the rush, notably from the middle. For a guy his size, you would like to see him step up, make the throw and take the lick. More often than not, he gets antsy in the pocket and just tries to get rid of the ball. Even in designed roll-outs, he struggles to make an accurate throw on the run.
Because he has a strong arm, he will lose sight of technique and correct mechanics, such as throwing off of his back foot, and also try to fit the ball in locations that are just not there. At the NFL level, the window is even smaller and if these issues are not corrected, turnovers will be a problem.
Playing in a pro-style offense at Pitt and accustomed to being under center will give him some value to a team needing to add depth to the position, but Savage is a raw prospect (with NFL size and strength) that will take time to develop.
Grade: 5.9 by Todd Turner
Strengths: Ideal size for the position. Has played extensively under center and has excellent mechanics on takeaway raising ball above the waist quickly with a smooth crossover step keeping eyes downfield. Establishes good balanced position at top of his drop. Holds ball high and delivers with a quick, compact three quarters release. Excellent spin on the ball. Arm strength is above average and is able to make throws to all parts of the field as exhibited on opposite sideline throws on out patterns at Mia 5:16 and UNC 0:01. Shows awareness for pocket pressure and keeps eyes downfield. Knows his escape lanes. Tries to buy time with his feet using slide-step and spin move. Does make an occasional play with his feet although not a gifted runner. Trusted with multiple set offense and able to find the open receiver much of the time. Shows good presnap recognition as the pre-determined throws come out quickly. Tries to stay with progressions and game play suggests he has a good understanding of offense. Has played in multiple offensive systems that are pro-style. Appears to be a tough in-game competitor and doesn’t give up on the play (ND 1:40, Mia 6:20). Has played through injury (Syracuse 2013 with broken ribs). Respected by his teammates (Devin Street, NFL Radio Predraft Interview).
Weaknesses: While he will make occasional well-placed throw (Mia 5:50) he is extremely inaccurate at all levels. Has poor ball placement and a 56% career completion percentage. The inaccuracy is more pronounced as throws become deeper. Slow to process post-snap information and frequently late with the football causing a throw that requires adjustment, slows receiver down or leads them into contact. Does not throw receivers open. While he does try to stay with his progressions, he tends to stare down primary target frequently. Mostly half-field reads in this offense. Will drop hips on occasion causing a lower release point (batted ball vs UNC 1:10). Does not consistently reset his feet and relies on upper body strength when he is under pressure. Does not consistently stride forward into the rush and will throw off balance or falling backward. Velocity drops off significantly with movement or off-balance throws. Limited mobility and athleticism and has trouble reaching escape lanes at times especially with A-gap pressure. Holds ball low when scrambling and is susceptible to fumbling from that posture. Jeopardizes the football when being sacked and by forcing it into coverage. Injury history a concern with at least two documented concussions (with one at least a grade II), a throwing hand injury and rib fracture with kidney injury (perinephric hematoma and gross hematuria, which should not be limiting). Character concerns as he transferred after losing the starting job at Rutgers and then again with the coaching change at Arizona. This does not suggest a “team player”.
Summary: Strong-armed prospect with good mechanics, competitiveness and toughness. Will struggle to overcome inaccuracy, athleticism, injury and character concerns.
Grade: 5.8 by Michael Moustakakis, @rodofdisaster