Darnell Savage

NFC North Notes: Diggs, Lions, Packers

There’s been a lot of drama with the Vikings this season, as their offense has once again been a disappointment. Minnesota bounced back with a big win over the Giants in Week 5, but it’s unclear if that will be enough to smooth things over. Adam Thielen publicly called out Kirk Cousins, and Stefon Diggs has made it clear he hasn’t been happy with his role. There’s been plenty of trade speculation surrounding Diggs, but it appears it’s little more than just speculation. Speaking recently on a WEEI radio appearance, Peter King of NBC Sports said he’s been told it’s “highly unlikely,” that Diggs gets dealt.

Just earlier today we heard that the Patriots were hoping to pry Diggs away, but it sounds like they’ll have to look elsewhere for receiver help. Diggs is still only 25, under contract through the 2023 season, and the Vikings don’t have any clear replacement for him on the roster, so it makes sense why they’re insistent on keeping him. Minnesota is attempting to establish a run-first identity in 2019, and Diggs has grown frustrated with his usage. The Maryland product has only topped three catches once this season, and he only has put up more than 50 yards on one occasion as well.

Here’s more from around the NFC North:

  • The Lions have been doing something pretty unusual with their offensive line this year. Instead of sticking with their five-man unit at all times for chemistry purposes, Detroit has been rotating three guards in all of their games. Graham Glasgow has been starting at right guard, Joe Dahl has been starting at left guard, and Kenny Wiggins has been mixing in for series’ here and there at both positions. The system was the idea of offensive line coach Jeff Davidson, according to Dave Birkett of the Detroit Free Press. “There came a time, obviously in that first week (of the season that) I’m sitting here trying to agonize over who’s winning the starting job and all that stuff there,” Davidson said. “To me, it was clear who owned the starting jobs, but I also believed that Kenny Wiggins earned the right to be on the field and it’s just a way to be able to get that done also.” As Birkett points out both Glasgow and Dahl have received strong marks from Pro Football Focus, but the team doesn’t plan on changing things anytime soon. The Lions have gotten off to a better start than just about anybody expected, so it’s understandable why.
  • The Packers will be playing Detroit on Monday Night Football in a pivotal divisional game, and they’ll be a little shorthanded. We already know they’ll be without top receiver Davante Adams, but they also just ruled out starting safety Darnell Savage, who picked up an ankle injury in their win over the Cowboys. The rookie first-round pick from Maryland has been an every-down player for Green Bay, so it’s a big loss. Fortunately for them, starting center Corey Linsley has cleared the concussion protocol and will play here after leaving the Dallas game early.
  • Speaking of Monday Night Football injuries, Lions defensive tackle Mike Daniels will have to wait a bit longer for his revenge. The longtime Packer was released in July and signed with Detroit shortly after, but he’s going to miss his second straight game with a foot injury. Daniels signed a one-year, $9.1MM deal with the Lions just two days after getting cut.

Injury Notes: Winston, Rams, Cowboys, Pack

Here is the latest from the injury front at the midweek point, beginning with another NFC South quarterback encountering injury trouble.

  • Jameis Winston is now battling a foot injury. The Buccaneers quarterback, who is in a contract year, appears on the team’s first Week 3 injury report with this issue. Winston joins Drew Brees and Cam Newton as injured NFC South quarterbacks, but his malady doesn’t appear to be nearly as severe. Winston practiced fully on Wednesday and appears in line to face the Giants.
  • Austin Blythe needed a cart to leave the field Sunday at Los Angeles Coliseum, but the Rams‘ starting right guard looks to have dodged significant trouble. The fourth-year blocker said (via ESPN.com’s Lindsey Thiry, on Twitter) he suffered a low ankle sprain. Blythe is not certain how much time he will miss, but considering how he left the field, this may have been the best possible outcome. If he cannot return for Sunday’s game in Cleveland, 2018 sixth-rounder Jamil Demby would be in line to start.
  • Cowboys defensive tackle Antwaun Woods suffered an MCL sprain in Week 2, per Todd Archer of ESPN.com. Second-round pick Trysten Hill stands to be called to action if Woods is out against the Dolphins on Sunday. Hill has yet to be active this season. Woods started 15 games as Dallas’ nose tackle last season and has reprised that role this year.
  • Darnell Savage left Sunday’s Packers-Vikings game in a walking boot, but the rookie safety looks to have received good news. Savage shed the walking boot, per The Athletic’s Matt Schneiderman (on Twitter), and has been diagnosed with a shin injury. It looks like he will be good to go for Week 3’s game against the Broncos.

Packers Sign Darnell Savage Jr.

The Packers have already signed first-round draft pick Darnell Savage Jr. to his rookie contract, as NFL Insider Adam Caplan tweets. Savage is the first 2019 first-round choice to put pen to paper.

Savage was Green Bay’s second choice in the first round, and the Packers traded two fourth-round selections to move up nine spots to land the Maryland product with the No. 21 overall pick. Savage, a safety, has a great chance to become an instant starter alongside free agent acquisition Adrian Amos and should help solidify the Packers’ defensive backfield. He represents yet another example of the Packers’ attempts to shore up their defense this offseason.

Savage’s stock rose pretty dramatically in the weeks leading up to the draft. He put himself on the map as a junior with 59 tackles, eight pass breakups, and three interceptions, and he delivered yet again last year with four picks, two pass breakups, and 52 tackles (5.5 tackles for loss). He really impressed in workouts, however, and evaluators began to see him in a whole new light.

At 5’11 and 198 pounds, Savage lacks ideal size for the next level. However, the Packers feel that his athleticism, combined with his football IQ and his instincts, will make him a success story in the NFL.

Savage’s contract will be a standard four-year pact with a fifth-year option, and he will earn $12.5MM over the first four years of the deal.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.

Seahawks Trade No. 21 To Packers

The Packers are moving up. ESPN’s Field Yates tweets that Green Bay has acquired pick No. 21 from the Seahawks. In exchange, Seattle will receive No. 30, No. 114, and No. 118.

The Packers will use their new pick to select Maryland safety Darnell Savage. The defensive back was a three-year starter with the Terrapins, including a 2018 campaign where he compiled 38 tackles and four interceptions. Savage also has limited experience returning punts.

Standing at 5-foot-11, Savage is a bit undersized for safety. However, the prospect makes up for his lack of size with blistering speed and an ability to read receivers. In passing situations, Savage should use his ball-hawking ability to break up passes. In running situations, the safety has shown the ability to smother the ball carrier.

Savage will join a young defensive backs corps that includes a pair of 2018 picks in cornerbacks Jaire Alexander and Josh Jackson. The rookie should start immediately alongside free agent addition Adrian Amos.

Darnell Savage To Be First-Round Pick?

Maryland safety Darnell Savage, a virtual unknown just weeks ago, has emerged as a possible first rounder, Ian Rapoport of NFL.com (on Twitter) hears. He’s visited the Panthers, Seahawks, Rams, Steelers, Eagles, and six other clubs, and at least one of those clubs has him in consideration for the Top 32.

Savage put himself on the map as a junior with 59 tackles, eight pass breakups, and three interceptions. He delivered yet again last year with four picks, two pass breakups, and 52 tackles (5.5 tackles for loss). He really impressed in workouts, however, and evaluators now see him in a whole different light.

At 5’11 and 198 pounds, Savage lacks ideal size for the next level. However, he has some scouts thinking that his football IQ and innate instincts will make him a success story in the NFL. Lance Zierlein of NFL.com has heard comparisons between Savage and Raiders safety Lamarcus Joyner, which is pretty high praise for the Maryland product.

Photo courtesy of USA Today Sports Images.