The on-again, off-again Tom Savage hype came full circle in Round 4 of the 2014 NFL draft, when he landed with the Houston Texans -- the team rumored to be interested in him as high up as No. 33 overall.
Savage's stock allegedly skyrocketed in the weeks leading up to the draft, only to settle again as the league headed to Radio City Music Hall. The two-time college transfer (Savage played at Pittsburgh, Rutgers and spent time at Arizona) always looked from the outside like a prospect who better fit somewhere in Round 3, as a speculative talent, as opposed to a spot where he might be expected to step in and start.
Of course, he still may take down the starting job in Houston before all is said and done. For now, he'll join Case Keenum, Ryan Fitzpatrick and T.J. Yates in a crowded but very unsettled QB depth chart for the Texans.
There were rumors on Thursday, too, that the Texans were in talks with the Patriots over a possible trade for Ryan Mallett. New England then selected Eastern Illinois QB Jimmy Garoppolo in Round 3, furthering the thought that Mallett may be on the move. New Texans head coach Bill O'Brien did say prior to the draft that his team may add two QBs during the process, so a trade for Mallett -- and subsequent Mallett-Savage-Fitzpatrick battle for the starting job -- may be in the cards eventually.
Regardless of who else is on the roster, the big-armed Savage will get a crack to earn playing time. His performance at Pittsburgh never fit that of a high-Round 2 pick, though his offensive line was to blame for many of the issues. Deep in Round 4, he could hold value.
"I definitely want to bring toughness," Savage said. "You have to be that guy who can take a couple of hits and keep your eyes down the field and still make the big-time throws you need to make. Everyone here has big arms. You have to be accurate. You have to be a poised quarterback and be able to handle the pressure."
Savage fits the mold of the tall, pocket passer that O'Brien was believed to want -- better so than the likes of AJ McCarron or Aaron Murray, who were available at this pick. His lack of mobility, however, showed up repeatedly because of the pressure allowed by his Pittsburgh line. Without a sudden and unexpected boost in speed, Savage will have to improve rather dramatically with how quickly he makes decisions; NFL defenses tend to eat alive indecisive, rather immobile QBs.
There are NFL traits in Savage's game, even if the surprising and sudden love for Savage as a Day 2 pick never came to fruition.
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