Part 10: the safeties! One more to go! Previous parts are of course in the archives.
All stats accessed from Pro Football Reference.
Lets start with Mr. steady Adrian “smash” Amos. Of all four signings from 2019 he probably brings the most bang for your buck. He rarely makes mistakes. His numbers even have been pretty consistent. 70-80 tackles, 4-6 tackles for a loss, 1-2 sacks, 2 interceptions and 8-9 passes defensed. He also brings versatility in that he can play free, strong, or even some hybrid. He allowed 35 completions on 52 targets and two touchdowns. His missed tackle rate did double from 5% to 10%. You would like to see that go down a little. He is under contract for two more seasons. I wouldn’t be surprised to see him extended a couple years to bring his cap hit down a bit. He should continue to play at the same level for at least three more years.
On to Darnell Savage. The second year safety started the year slow and did not look seem like he had improved. People wondered if this would be an issue the whole season. About midseason, Pettine moved him into a robber role, similar to the role Charles Woodson played in Green Bay. It means he played closer to the line of scrimmage. It also means he gets moved around and used all over. He plays nickel, strong safety, free safety, etc. He was really able to show off his athleticism. Savage upped his interceptions from 2 his rookie season to 4 this past season. He also upped his tackles from 55 to 75. The rest of his coverage numbers are pretty much the same from his rookie year. Savage ian up and coming player. Keep an eye on him to see if he can make another jump in year 3.
Next would be Will Redmond. He was essentially the 3rd safety this past season. After Savage got moved to robber, Redmond became the deep safety. He does offers some versatility in that he can play some slot and also safety. The problem is that he is just not good enough. His missed tackle percentage was 20% — just not acceptable. He is a free agent and probably wont be back.
Raven Greene ended up on the IR again. He plays well when healthy. The obvious problem is he just can not stay healthy. He has only played in 20 games in his career, yet he is a 3 year veteran. Greene is a great nickel backer. He bulked up about 10 pounds after his rookie year to be able to handle the rigors of his position. His most productive season was this past season. He returned an interception 17 yards and had 1.5 sacks and had five passes defensed. He is a restricted free agent this offseason and may not be back. Maybe they give him another chance, but it’s hard to say.
7th round Vernon Scott was an unknown when he was drafted. Some scouting websites didn’t even have him rated. He was a one year starter in college. His interception that he returned for a touchdown against Jalen Hurts got him some notoriety. He played in 15 games. The safety out of TCU contributed a total of 13 tackles on the year with one sack. He showed he can play in the NFL. He brings some physicality to the game. Scott could be used in big nickel packages. He only played 89 total snaps on defense but 184 on special teams. He only missed one tackle on the year which is good. His coverage numbers while a small sample size were good as well. Having only allowed a QB rating of 72.9 and no touchdowns. He was only targeted six times. Four were completed.
Last but not least. Henry Black the undrafted safety out of Baylor. He started the season on the practice squad. But he was brought up week 7 and played in eight games. He played a lot of special teams. Black also had a forced fumble. He will get a chance to make the roster in ’21. Black played 112 snaps on special teams versus 27 on defense. In coverage, he allowed all three passes to be completed for 55 yards and 2 touchdowns. Very small sample size, but something to be looked at.
The Packers are set with their two starters. Amos is the steady veteran who gets everyone lined up and rarely makes a mistake. Savage is the freak athlete with supreme upside. He started to reach that this past season when Pettine moved him into a role similar to what he did at Maryland. If Joe Barry continues to use Savage in a similar role, which he should, they will probably need a 3rd safety. All the other safeties on the roster are more in the big nickel/strong safety role. They would need a guy who can play the deep/free safety role. With the cap being how it is, it is highly unlikely they sign a free agent. They will have to rely on the draft to fill that role. The safety class overall is not that great. The Packers might have to grab one in the middle rounds. Guys to watch for with the Packers would be James Wiggins from Cincinnati, Andre Cisco from Syracuse, Reed Blankenship from Middle Tennessee State, and Caden Sterns from Texas.
Thanks for reading and Go Pack Go!