NEW YORK -- Former Rutgers coach Greg Schiano joined "NFL Total Access' NFL Draft Preview" on Tuesday and provided a unique perspective on one of the draft's most intriguing prospects in Pittsburgh quarterback Tom Savage. Having sat out two full seasons while transferring from Rutgers to Arizona to Pittsburgh, Savage has more stickers on his suitcase than a traveling salesman.
But he's also got the fearlessness in the pocket required of a good NFL quarterback, according to Schiano, who coached him at Rutgers.
"He's big, he's strong, and the biggest thing is he's tough. He stands in there and takes a hit. And that's what it is in that league. You're going to stand in there, and you're going to get it off just in the nick of time, then you're going to get hit," Schiano said. "He showed that as a freshman. I think he's got all the tools. He did sit out awhile. But I like that as a head coach. I say 'He's got a lot of improving to do, but he's a pretty darned good quarterback right now.'"
Savage's place in the NFL draft, like all the quarterbacks, remains something of a muddy picture. But NFL Media analyst Charles Davis suggested he might get his call in the first round on Thursday.
Savage's vagabond journey through college football is one that no doubt had NFL scouts scratching their heads. But once he settled in as the Panthers' starting quarterback last year, he delivered 2,958 passing yards and 21 touchdowns. Schiano said he was the most sought-after recruit the Scarlet Knights signed in Schiano's 11-year run as head coach. And even though Savage's commitment to the school only lasted a couple of years, Schiano is sold on his commitment to the game.
"The thing I loved most about him is he loves the game of football. He's going to live it," Schiano said. "He's going to be in your building, he's going to be studying, grinding, that's the kind of guy I wanted leading our football team."
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