Hours before the first round of the 2014 NFL Draft got underway, there was a report that the Patriots would trade backup quarterback Ryan Mallett to the Texans. The deal never materialized but that doesn't mean New England isn't in the market for a young passer: Mallett is in the last year of his rookie deal, and Tom Brady will be 37 when the 2014 season begins.
This all leads us to Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage.
Can't help but wonder if Tom Savage ends up w/the Pats, with his former coach at Rutgers, Greg Schiano, very close with Belichick...— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) May 9, 2014
If the Pats take a QB, obviously we'd hear even more about Mallett to the Texans. Bengals could be landing spot for Savage as well— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) May 9, 2014
The Patriots have had mixed success drafting backups behind Brady; Matt Cassel was a seventh-round gem in 2005, but Kevin O'Connell, taken in the third round two years later, didn't pan out. Savage, meanwhile, skyrocketed up draft boards in recent weeks, and there were even murmurs that he could sneak into the first round.
According to NFLDraftScout.com senior analyst Rob Rang, "Savage is in the mold of strong-armed old school style passers like Drew Bledsoe with a pro-style skill-set and experience ... (who) has plus arm strength, but is too confident in his arm and will force throws and test small windows often."
But Savage's scouting report isn't all unicorns and rainbows; he also struggles with consistency and accuracy, and he's entering the league as a 24-year-old rookie. That said, NFLDraftScout.com analyst Dane Brugler calls Savage "Tough as nails and durable, brushing off contact and playing through pain," adding that he's, "Intelligent, mature and grounded with good leadership traits."
And let's not forget: It's not like Brady came into the league with a glowing scouting report. It's important to remember that this process is still more art than science.