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Quarterback prospect Tom Savage visits Packers

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By Tom Silverstein, Milwaukee Journal Sentinel
April 29, 2014

GREEN BAY—There's always a danger in reading too much into pre-draft visits, but when a team like the Green Bay Packers hosts an up-and-coming quarterback prospect like Pittsburgh's Tom Savage, it makes for some interesting discussion.

According to an NFL source, the Packers were one of the many teams that Savage has visited in the past couple of weeks. He has reportedly shot up draft boards as teams start to find out more about him.

The draft is still 10 days away, but there's lots of buzz about player visits. The Packers typically only bring in late-round and free agent prospects, but they are probably in the market for a young quarterback and there are a number of reasons to investigate Savage.

Though the Packers have three quarterbacks—Aaron Rodgers, Matt Flynn and Scott Tolzien—coach Mike McCarthy has indicated he would like to bring a fourth to camp. The problem is that Savage, who was once considered a late-round pick, might be taken as high as the second round.

The 6-4, 229-pound senior transferred twice in college, starting out at Rutgers, then moving to Arizona and finally winding up at Pitt. He missed the 2011 and '12 seasons due to transferring and then had a decent season season despite being sacked 41 times.

McCarthy was born in Pittsburgh and coached at Pitt, so he has connections to the school, including a relationship with Panthers coach Paul Chryst, the former Wisconsin offensive coordinator. He has probably gotten a lot of good inside information on Savage.

Though he probably has the strongest arm among quarterbacks in the draft, Savage didn't show much mobility and often looked like someone who hadn't played a ton of college football. Since the end of the season, however, more scouts are seeing the potential he has.

Chryst told the Pittsburgh Post-Gazette that he's not surprised Savage is moving up the draft boards.

“I think a lot of the buzz that comes before he wasn't as much a part of because he hadn't played for two years,” Chryst said. “I think what he did in the season, the combine, individual workouts, it's been great to see. Hopefully everyone is right and his stock is rising.”

It's hard to imagine the Packers using a second-round pick to take Savage, but they do have two third-round picks, including a compensatory selection at the end of the round that they could consider using if Savage is still around. They can't bank on Flynn being around much past this year and the jury is still out on whether Tolzien has what it takes to play in the NFL.

The Packers found out last year how difficult it can get if you don't have a decent backup. So don't be surprised if they take a quarterback somewhere in the draft. For now, it's interesting they are one of the teams taking a look at Savage.



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