Position Grade: B-
The Green Bay Packers, last season, had one of their best seasons from their safeties in quite a few years. Going into 2019, it was a position of serious weakness. The team remedied that by signing Adrian Amos away from the Chicago Bears and using their second first round draft pick on Darnell Savage. Both players met, and in some cases exceeded expectations, but the lack of depth at the position is concerning.
Strong Safety: Adrian Amos
Adrian Amos came to Green Bay last season via free agency. The New York Jets originally drafted Amos in the fifth round of the 2015 NFL Draft, but traded him to the Bears for Brandon Marshall. Amos started all 16 games for the Bears during his rookie season, deflecting two passes and amassing 67 tackles. He did not record his first career interception until his third season in 2017.
With the Packers, Amos had an immediate impact. In the very first game of the 2019 season, Amos intercepted former teammate Mitch Trubiksy and iced the game for the Packers against his previous team. Amos finished the season with two interceptions, eight pass deflections, a career-high 84 tackles, and one sack.
Free Safety: Darnell Savage
The Packers selected Rashan Gary with the 12th overall pick in the 2019 draft. Knowing the desperate situation of their defense, they traded their two fourth round picks in order to obtain the 21st overall pick as well. They used this second first round pick to select Darnell Savage from Maryland. In his last two college seasons, Savage recorded 111 tackles and seven interceptions.
Like Amos, Savage was immediately thrust into Green Bay’s starting lineup. Savage had an above-average rookie season, recording two interceptions and 55 tackles. In addition, he had five pass deflections and forced two fumbles. While the sample size is small, having just one season of experience, Savage displayed the tendencies of a ball-hawk and will be a force on the Packers’ defense for years to come.
Depth: The Concern
The Packers were fortunate last year to have two healthy starting safeties. Adrian Amos played all 16 games and Savage played in 14. The health of starting safeties is crucial to any team’s success. When Nick Collins injured his neck, forcing him to retire early, the Packers defense suffered mightily. The only current backup safety with NFL experience is Will Redmond, who was on the team last year. The Packers also have seventh round draft pick Vernon Scott slated as their backup strong safety behind Amos. Undrafted free agents Henry Black and Frankie Griffin round out the safety depth. If either Savage or Amos go down with an injury, the Packers defense could be in serious trouble.
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