Houston Texans Pick Their QB: But who is Tom Savage?

Houston Texans Pick Their Guy: Who is Tom Savage?

The NFL Draft is over and the Houston Texans have picked their prospects that they feel could help catapult the franchise back to their winning ways.  Many of the players are projected to make an immediate impact in terms of the level of talent this team currently has.

However, one of the most intriguing picks they made was for the towering, robust, able-bodied Tom Savage.  Picked in the 4th Round of the draft (35th, 135th overall) this was obviously a pick that bears Bill O’Brien‘s signature.  My best guess is that over time, O”Brien and Savage either crossed paths or he was impressed with his senior season in his collegiate career and was apparently rubbed the right way.

Savage, a native of the Keystone State, hails from the Springfield Township in Delaware County, a small but growing suburb nestled on the northwest side of Philadelphia.

Savage was a breakout high school All-American starring at Cardinal O’Hara High School where he started under center for three seasons.  He played for Dan Algeo, the school’s longtime coach that has garnered a respectable reputation with the many accolades his teams has earned over time.  Three of his players are now in the pros — Savage, the Cardinals’ Anthony Walters and the Panthers’ Corey Brown.

Nov 29, 2013; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; Pittsburgh Panthers quarterback Tom Savage (7) passes against the Miami Hurricanes during the second quarter at Heinz Field. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports
His success continued on to the college level at Rutgers where he did the unthinkable — he plucked the starting quarterback job as a true freshman and enjoyed tremendous success playing for the revered Greg Schiano.  In his first year, he led the Scarlet Knights to a 9-4 record, passed for more than 2,200 yards, 14 touchdowns, seven interceptions, and a postseason berth.  He achieved having the best touchdown-to-interception ratio of any true freshman QB in Big East history, back when Rutgers was a member of the now-defunct conference.

2010 was his sophomore year and it was marred with injury — he only appeared in six games, starting four, because of a broken hand.  He eventually lost his starting job to Chas Dodd and instead of trying to get it back, he left Rutgers to headed out west in search of an offense that best suited him.

He sat out the 2011 season because of NCAA eligibility requirements and after his chances were waning to make his mark in The Old Pueblo he headed back toward home to sign with Pitt.  Again, because of eligibility requirements, Savage sat out the 2012 season and was ready to rock-and-roll for the 2013 season.

And did he do so!  Savage’s senior season was the best of his career at Pitt — he threw for more than 2,900 yards, 21 touchdowns to nine interceptions likely running out hands to hold all of the hardware he seized!  Savage, also highly regarded academically, was named to the All-Academic Team for the Atlantic Coast Conference.

That season of his raised some brows and Savage decided to proclaim himself ready enough for the NFL.  And thus, there he was, still in fourth round ready to be taken and O”Brien decided to pull on the trigger.

Here’s what Greg Schiano, who now works for the NFL Network, had to say about Savage and how he can fit with the Texans shortly after he was drafted:

“I think Houston is a great fit. Billy O’Brien will do a tremendous job bringing Tom along,” Schiano said on the NFL Network. “Tom is the kind of guy that I think Billy is going to enjoy coaching. Tom is going to grind, he’s going to be there, he’s going to study, he’s going to do the things you want your quarterback to do. He’s a big quarterback and he’s a tough quarterback and he’s a smart quarterback. Those three things are going to give him a chance.”

The positives are his large frame, arm strength and his unconscious ability to make good decisions with the football.  Part of his weaknesses are that he struggles when the protection is not there and is not light on feet to get out of trouble.

His 4.97 40-yard dash time at the combine definitely didn’t set the world on fire.  But, for the most part, combine stats for QBs are virtually useless because the position is clearly more cerebral than physical.

Here’s NFL Network’s Mike Mayock‘s take shortly after he was drafted:

“I think this is a great fit for the Texans. He’s got a hose. His arm is any bit as good as Logan Thomas‘ or Zach Mettenberger‘s. He took a beating at Pitt, but he continued to stand in the pocket. He’s a natural thrower of the football. He’s got all the mechanics, so now it’s all about developing the kid’s ability.”

That is so true — although I honestly wasn’t expecting the Texans to draft him, his story of how he handled adversity during the many stops he had in college is quite inspiring.  I have no doubt that O’Brien will bring him along and give him the time needs to do so.

For this reason, I don’t expect him to be anywhere close to starting for the Houston Texans this season but he will either likely have a spot on the practice squad or the slight possibility he could be the No. 3 quarterback. This year’s training camp and preseason will likely decide where he starts the season.
Welcome to the Houston Texans Tom, I wish you the best of luck in your future growth and it should be fun watching you develop.

How do you think Tom Savage will be used this season?  Good draft choice?  Sound off!

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Neil S. Schwartz

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Jonathan Feinsod

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