Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage is visiting the Oakland Raiders on Friday according to ESPN's Paul Gutierrez.
Savage's stock has significantly risen the past two months and he is now projected to be drafted between the third and fifth round. Gil Brandt, the former Vice President of player personnel for the Dallas Cowboys compared Savage to Troy Aikman. Brandt also wrote that "I'm not saying this is a first-round guy, but he will show well in the draft process, and I can guarantee he'll show up at the NFL Scouting Combine and impress."
NFL Network's Mike Mayock is another fan of Tom Savage calling him the "wild card" in the draft. "The other kind of wild card I would say is (quarterback) Tom Savage that nobody talks about from University of Pittsburgh," Mayock said. "He's a big, strong kid that can throw also." Mayock considers Savage a wild card because he bounced around so many colleges preventing him from learning under a single offensive system.
In 2009 as a true freshman, Savage won the starting job at Rutgers. After throwing for 2,211 yards and 14 touchdowns, he was named a Freshman All-American by Football Writers Association of America (FWAA). Savage finished the season with the most passing yards and touchdowns by a true freshman in Big East history. But despite his success, Savage was benched his sophomore year in favor of Chas Dodd. Savage transferred the following year to Arizona after starting only four games in 2010.
Savage sat out his junior season in 2011 due to NCAA transfer rules. But later in the season, Arizona hired Rich Rodriguez as their new head coach. Rodriguez installed a spread offense. Savage did not feel comfortable in the system and attempted to transfer back to Rutgers the next year. But the NCAA denied his request to play immediately and Savage ended up at Pittsburgh instead.
NCAA transfer rules forced Savage to sit out in 2012. After sitting on the sidelines for two seasons, Savage finally was given the chance to play when Pittsburgh named him the starting quarterback last season. As a fifth-year senior, Savage impressed throwing for 2,958 yards and 21 touchdowns.
Savage has all the physical tools to succeed in the NFL. Listed at 6'4", 228 lbs, Savage has great size for a quarterback. While his 4.97 40-yd dash is slow, he is a pocket passer and does not run often. He has one of the strongest arms in the draft and can make difficult throws look easy. CBS Sport's Derek Stephens argued that Savage "Could have the strongest arm in the 2014 class." The two knocks on Savage are that he has bad habit of staring receivers down, and that he panics when the pocket collapses.
With the addition of Matt Schaub, the Raiders have a quarterback capable of winning games. But at age 32, Schaub is a short term solution with the draft in mind for long term at quarterback.