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The Pittsburgh Steelers, in recent years, have placed a major emphasis on finding the eventual replacement for Ben Roethlisberger, and also a guy who could fill in, in big Ben just so happens to get injured. I think the Steelers need to take a long hard look at QB, Tom Savage in this years draft.
Tom Savage is graduating from the University of Pittsburgh. He is currently projected to be either drafted in the 7th round or go undrafted. This gives Pittsburgh an interesting opportunity to snag a decent player at a very cheap price.
I’m not a firm believer in either two back up quarterbacks right now in Pittsburgh. Pittsburgh currently has Bruce Gradkowski as big Ben’s backup, with Landry Jones at third string, and more of a developmental guy.
I like Landry Jones as a quarterback, and I think he will be a solid football player given the time to develop, but I just don’t think he’s a very good fit for Pittsburgh. The Pittsburgh Steelers offensive line is far from dominant, and one of Landry Jones’s biggest weaknesses is his inability to perform well under pressure. I think for a quarterback to be a good fit to be the Ben replacement, he will have to thrive under pressure, just as Ben does.
That being said, Landry Jones does have a lot of potential, and I think a lot of teams will realize that. I also think come draft time, that if the Steelers put him up on the block, a team will come calling and give them a pick in the later rounds for Jones.
Now, onto our discussion on Tom Savage. This guy did not put up incredible numbers at Pitt. His numbers were decent, and he picked up more consistent play towards the end of the season. First, I think the easy thing people will point out, is that they are both from Pittsburgh, is this logical, not really, is it still somewhat interesting? Certainly!
Next is the measureables. Ben Roethlisberger currently comes in at about 6’5 240 pounds, while Savage comes in at around 6’5 230 pounds. Keep in mind, Big Ben also was a bit smaller earlier in his career, but added size as strength as he progressed, so it should be relatively easy for Savage to put a few more pounds of muscle on.
Also, they are very similar in pocket presence and stature. In the film I’ve watched Savage seems to have a knack to escape pocket pressure, and run while on the move. He has that “keep the play alive” capability. With that capability, it makes it easier to replace Ben, because that is what has seemingly made the Steelers offense, and Ben specifically so successful over his career. Ben has had an uncanny knack to be able to escape pressure, despite how weak his line is, and still deliver a nice football. I think Tom Savage, with his size, can do the same. Also, similarly, Savage, when pressure not only can evade it and throw, but he can also evade the pressure and make plays with his feet. At such a large size for a quarterback, it would usually be unlikely to have as much movement as he does, but he definitely has it.
Tom Savage is also very good in the pocket, and draws some comparison to Ben, schematically in the passing game. Ben and him both are very good on short to intermediate passing routes. These kind of routes have become essential to the success of the Steelers offense in recent years, especially with Todd Haley becoming the new head coach.
On top of being able to hit the short routes effectively, Savage has a strong arm, with the ability to hit the receivers deep, when the defense becomes anxious to stop the run and defend short routes. Watching some of Tom Savage’s tape throwing the deep ball, with big Ben in mind, it makes me think slightly of Ben’s connections with old receiver Mike Wallace.
If you want to find a good way to replace a solid quarterback, you have to find a new quarterback with a similar skill set that will replace the quarterback with not a whole lot of problems. Now, Ben probably will still be quarterbacking this team for a while more, but it’s never bad to start building for the future, and I think some years under Ben, with a similar skill set, will really benefit Tom Savage, and could really help to groom him to become a very good NFL quarterback, and the eventual replacement for the great Ben Roethlisberger.
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