Post Draft Packers Position Analysis: Safeties

The Packers have both starters returning at safety, but there are depth questions at this position and room for improvement.

The Green Bay Packers enter 2020 with stability at the safety position. Both starters from a year ago, Adrian Amos and Darnell Savage are back and should maintain their positions barring injury. The team did add one safety late in the draft and added some depth at the position with some undrafted free agents.

Defensive coordinator Mike Pettine often utilized three safety formations by using a hybrid safety/ILB as one of those three on many obvious passing downs last season. Look for that practice to continue in 2020.

Here’s a look at the Packers depth chart at safety as of now and the strengths and weaknesses of each player and the position as a whole:

1. Adrian Amos

Amos had a solid first season in Green Bay after spending his first four NFL seasons with the Bears. He played in all 16 games and made two interceptions and a career-high 84 total tackles and one sack.

His most memorable moment last year was the game-clinching interception of Mitch Trubisky in the end zone in Week 1 in Chicago which preserved the Packers 10-3 season-opening victory.

Amos is positionally sound and a good tackler. The Penn State alum knows the game and is rarely caught out of position like his predecessor, Ha Ha Clinton-Dix often was.

The Packers get leadership and a reliable player in Amos who will return as the Packers free safety in 2020.

2. Darnell Savage, Jr.

Savage was named to the NFL’s All-Rookie Team last season after the Packers made him their second selection in the first round of last year’s draft. Savage played 14 games, making a pair of interceptions and 55 total tackles.

Savage is not afraid to hit opponents and he can step into the box to help stop the run when called upon. The former Maryland star had some rookie moments and is at times a little too eager to come up and make big hits which is something he’ll need to do to improve his play.

The potential is there for Savage to take a step up this season and take his game to the next level. He’ll only be 23 once the season gets under way and he is still learning the NFL game.

Savage was a strong addition to the Packers last season. If he makes a second-year leap, the Packers secondary could improve as a result.

3. Raven Greene

Greene is entering his third season with the Packers after signing with the team as an undrafted free agent out of James Madison. Greene has been Pettine’s top choice for the hybrid S/ILB position he favors in obvious passing situations.

Unfortunately, ankle injuries prematurely ended each of Greene’s two seasons in Green Bay. He was injured in Week 2 last season and missed the rest of the regular season. He was activated from the IR prior to the NFC Championship Game last year but did not play.

In two games in 2019, Greene made seven total tackles and broke up one pass.

The Packers would love to see Greene healthy and available for duty in 2020. He gives the defense versatility. He’s capable of stepping into the box to stop the run or covering slot receivers when called upon. He can also blitz the quarterback and recorded a sack in 2018.

A healthy Greene would allow Pettine to run his full defense. He will be the favorite to occupy the hybrid S/ILB position as training camp opens.

4. Will Redmond

Redmond is also entering his third season with the Packers. The former Mississippi State star was originally a third-round pick of the 49ers, but he spent two seasons on the IR before San Francisco let him go.

Last year, Redmond played in 13 games, starting four. He made a career high 36 tackles and broke up one pass. He played 26 percent of the team’s snaps on defense while being a standout on special teams.

Redmond filled in at the hybrid S/ILB position after Greene was injured last season. Redmond’s value to the team is raised because he is a key component of the Packers’ special teams coverage units. He will fight for a roster spot again this season as a depth defensive back and special teams player.

5. Vernon Scott

The Packers drafted Scott in the seventh round of this year’s draft with the 236th overall pick. At 6’2” and 202 pounds, Scott has good size for a safety.

Scott made 44 tackles his senior year at TCU and stepped up with a big 98-yard pick six against Oklahoma.

He will likely figure into the competition for the hybrid ILB/S position in training camp and will have to show the ability to contribute on special teams to stay on the roster or the practice squad this season.

6. Henry Black

The Packers signed Black as an undrafted free agent just after the conclusion of the 2020 NFL Draft. The former Baylor star is also a candidate for the hybrid position as he played both safety and linebacker in college. Last season, Black started 14 games and was in on 62 tackles while making two interceptions.

Black likes to hit and was a leader on the Baylor team last season. He was given a single-digit jersey number by his teammates, an honor given to only the most respected players on the team.

He will fight for a roster spot as a depth defensive back and special teams player.

7. Frankie Griffin

The Packers signed Griffin as an undrafted free agent out of Texas State. He also played both linebacker and safety in college but is likely to be a hybrid ILB/S or safety in the NFL. Griffin also showed the ability to rush the quarterback in college, making 7.5 sacks during his three seasons as a starter. He is a good hitter as well, forcing seven fumbles and recovering three.

Griffin made 67 tackles last season and was tied for third on the team with six tackles for loss. He was All-Sun Belt Conference twice during his college career.

Griffin will fight for a depth position in the secondary during training camp and will need to show his value on special teams in order to make the team.

Summary:

The Packers have both starters returning and should be solid at this position. Amos is a steady starter and the Packers are hoping Savage will take a step forward in his second season and raise the level of play.

Greene’s ability to stay healthy remains a question and there are opportunities for new players to win the third and fourth safety positions. Being able to excel on special teams and to fill the hybrid S/ILB position will help determine who makes the cut.

Depth is a question as the Packers would be thin at this position if either Amos or Savage were lost for a significant time.

 

You can follow Gil Martin on Twitter @GilPackers

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6 points

Comments (33)

Fan-Friendly This filter will hide comments which have ratio of 5 to 1 down-vote to up-vote.
stockholder's picture

May 02, 2020 at 12:53 pm

Beyond Savage and Amos. Push the Reject button. Nothing Compares to Nick Collins anyways. But hopefully Savage shows us more this year. I really think Delpit would of helped us more then Love. Delpit loves playing that hybrid ILB/ S. Close to the Line like Charles Woodson. And with Vernon Scott being drafted later. This draft will be a question mark for years. So yes I'm keeping my Fingers crossed we don't have use the depth at Safety.

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GilMartin's picture

May 02, 2020 at 07:28 pm

Nick Collins was a great player and I can only think about what he would have accomplished if his career didn't end prematurely. We shall see what the depth does this season if it's called upon. Thanks for commenting.

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Coldworld's picture

May 03, 2020 at 08:48 am

Woodson was pretty good too. Neither would be playing now though. We have to hope Savage can be the next one and that Amos can be spared playing hybrid as a result of improved depth.

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Archie's picture

May 02, 2020 at 01:18 pm

If Savage doesn't upgrade his play over last year, then Gute wasted both R4 picks he used to trade up 8 slots in R1 to take Savage. I still have much faith in Savage and feel his rookie year was hurt by the ankle injury. Our secondary should be quite good to start 2020 season. A healthy Raven Greene will be a big deal too.

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GilMartin's picture

May 02, 2020 at 07:29 pm

I agree Savage being healthy will help. I hope he makes that second year jump. Greene is like a toy that Pettine loves to have in his arsenal. Thanks for commenting.

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murf7777's picture

May 02, 2020 at 01:21 pm

Name the person that was picked after Love who does well in 2020 and your quote will be “should’ve taken_______before Love”. Sorry, for the snide remark, and don’t mean to pick on you, but it’s hard to read things like that with hindsight to your advantage.

Now, if you take one person at this moment in the first round and one person when they would’ve of picked in the 4th round and keep to that, you will build credibility. Too many state after next season or during it who they should’ve taken with the benefit of hindsight and act like they know it all. That is annoying and time wasters to many on here.

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zeke's picture

May 02, 2020 at 05:11 pm

I’d take it a step further and make a more apples-to-apples comparison. No one knows whether Love will turn out and the majority of the criticism is that they didn’t provide immediate help or give Rodgers a WR (that he wouldn’t throw the ball to for three years anyway, but I digress). Go back to when Rodgers was drafted (and when the arguments were much the same) when they could have drafted Heath Miller, Frank Gore, or Darren Sproles, for example. It’s certainly true that any of those three would have provided Favre with more immediate help, but there’s more to building a team than that. IMO there will be still another draft before the next NFL game is played, which will pretty substantially change how this draft is viewed. I hope I’m wrong.

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Tabin's picture

May 02, 2020 at 05:34 pm

The situation does not compare to 2005 that much. 1. Favre said multiple times that he was thinking on retirement, Rogers wants to play until he is 40 or so he says. 2. Rogers was consider for the 1st pick over all in the 2005 drraft, Love was never caonsider even close to the best 3 QB of the 2020 draft. 3 In 2005 the rookie contracts were not fixed like now and picking a QB was pretty expensive since day one. 4. Rogers fell to the Packers and Gute trade up for Love. I hope that we have NFL season, the NFL seems very sure of it . I agree with you nobody knows how Love is going to turn out but 20TD/17int is not the best presentation card he could have. I don´t like the pick for two reasons 1. The miss oportunity to have drafted a very needen ILB like Patrick Queen and the lost of the 4th round 2. Many successfull teams in the NFL are based in rookie QB contracts, and Love at least is going to be sitting behind Rogers 2 seasons what let us with only 2 seasons of cheap contract because the 5th year option woud be 22-24M at the time.

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Coldworld's picture

May 02, 2020 at 05:44 pm

The Tractor Watch is being overstated. The real question was old Father Time. It’s true it played a role but it doesn’t change the inevitability and the fact that Rodgers dropped. That’s why TT took him, not Favre’s shenanigans.

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zeke's picture

May 02, 2020 at 06:16 pm

I'll disagree a bit on a couple points, but mostly on how scouts assessed Love (some examples below). To be sure, I'm not saying that Love is any more likely to be Patrick Mahomes than he is to be Mitch Trubisky because I have absolutely no idea, but Gute obviously thinks so and has likely bet his career on it. There are plenty of scouts that were as critical of Love that as the ones below are positive, but that's true of pretty much everyone (including Patrick Queen).

AFC scout: “If he doesn’t go first round it’s because of character. He has the skill set to go first round. … It’s more stupid, immaturity shit. He’s not a brain surgeon when it comes to football. He’s not super dumb. But he’s not Tom Brady or Peyton Manning or anything approaching that level.”
NFC scout: “First round for sure. I have him No. 2 behind Tua (Tagovailoa). Super talented, moxie, excellent feel. He throws the ball from all the angles: on the move, under pressure. Has vision. Had a lot of picks: ‘I’m just going to throw this ball in there.’ He’s under siege just about every time he drops back because his offensive line is not good. He’s got nowhere close to NFL receivers; they can’t get open and drop balls. He has to elevate his game on every play and elevate the whole team on every play. One of the best plays you’ll see was in the LSU game when he escapes the pocket and he’s out on the move and throws the ball across his body and it hits (the receiver) in the chest and he drops the ball. That’s just kind of him in a nutshell. I’d prefer it if he goes somewhere where he doesn’t have to play next year.”
AFC scout: “Talented. A lot of upside. He has starter talent. With the coaching change and the lack of talent he had around him, it hurt him. If he can sit behind an established veteran for a couple of years and learns how to be a pro. … “
NFC scout: “He has the most physical upside of any of these guys. The great ones make it look easy. He makes it look easy. He’s an effortless thrower. He played with nobody around him. This year he was just out there winging it trying to make plays to win games. Did he develop some bad habits? Yeah, of course, he did. But you can rein that in. It’s (easier) to get guys that like to play it safe and check down and be chain-movers. It’s hard to get those guys that push the ball down the field. He’s the only quarterback I ever scouted who will throw into bigger windows as a pro than he did in college. Those guys did not get open for him. If he ends up outside the top 10 we could be saying, ‘How the heck did Jordan Love last that long?’ He’s just got that play-making ability. … He played with nobody around him. Lost an NFL tight end (Dax Raymond), lost an NFL running back (Darwin Thompson). People knock his decision-making. He was 32-6 (touchdown to interception ratio) in 2018 and 21-17 this year. That’s not decision-making. That’s a guy trying to make plays to win games. … He’s really cool. He’s got a nice calm about him. If anyone says he didn’t play well against LSU, lose credibility for that person. He played well against LSU, and his guys let him down. He put the ball on the money and guys were dropping balls on him. The talent discrepancy on that field that day was enormous.”

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GilMartin's picture

May 02, 2020 at 07:35 pm

The draft is done and we won't know for a few years if Gute made the right move. I agree with your differences between 2005 and 2020 especially the rookie cap which will hurt the Packers because they will lose most of Love's entry level contract for cap purposes. Thanks for the comment.

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GilMartin's picture

May 02, 2020 at 07:31 pm

You always need a minimum of three years to determine how a draft really went. With Love, it may take even longer than that. We shall see what he becomes and what the Packers could have selected etc. Thanks for the comment.

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GilMartin's picture

May 02, 2020 at 07:36 pm

Well said, Zeke. We won't know about this draft for sure for at least 3 years. Thanks for the comment.

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GilMartin's picture

May 02, 2020 at 07:32 pm

Well said, murf777. Hindsight is 20/20. It will take a few years before we really know what the value of Love and the other players drafted will be.

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Coldworld's picture

May 02, 2020 at 02:22 pm

Redmond really didn’t take over from Greene, he went deep and Amos moved up. I think Amos did ok in that role but it wasted his real value. Redmond was in his first season as a safety, really his first on the field after a horrid series of Injuries. I expect some upside there. As an ex CB and smaller, there is as a back up at true safety.

We really need support at cover backer and hybrid. Hopefully we get lucky, we have a lot of box types and cover backer type UDFAs as well as a draft pick.

What about Dequoy? I know that they have him listed as a CB, but He probably projects to a box safety and is perhaps the true wild card pick up: phenomenal athlete. He played defensive halfback in Montreal:

“The defensive halfback lines up inside covering the slotback. They are usually slightly larger than the cornerback to assist the linebackers in stopping the run. They can also be seen backing off the line early, to counter the forward motion of a slotback, which is allowed before the snap in the CFL.“

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Thegreatreynoldo's picture

May 02, 2020 at 03:28 pm

Lately, we can't agree on anything, even facts. LOL.

Redmond tried to replace Greene at Hybrid and was pretty bad at it. Redmond moved back to FS in weeks 5, 6, and 7 when Savage went down for 2+ games. He was okay there. When Campbell got back on the field in week 10, there were no more snaps left for Redmond with Savage, Amos and Campbell all healthy. Redmond got just 5 defensive snaps between week 10 and 16, though he played STs in weeks 10, 14-16.

Sadly, Campbell was nowhere near as good as a hybrid in 2019 and he had been in 2018. Amos did have to play up closer to the line, and we agree that's a waste of his talent. Well, at least some agreement there. And more agreement, as Dequoy is intriguing and has the size to play in the box, although his measurables are good enough for CB. BTW, Begelton got the advantage of having forward motion quite a bit, IIRC, so we will have to see how he translates to the NFL, but he is intriguing as well.

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Coldworld's picture

May 02, 2020 at 06:27 pm

I accept your point on the 2 games. It wasn’t a good idea. He is a convert from corner and sized that way. We had no one and it was worth a try but we were ludicrously thin. Tough on a player with very few games as well. Our draft pick and UDFA safeties seem mostly bigger box types. Good.

I was surprised they list Dequoy as a CB, I thought he signed to play safety. As a Defensive Halfback, he approximated to a box S with some deeper use. “ The Carabins moved Dequoy to field cornerback, but found he was too far removed from most plays, before shifting him to halfback on the same side, where he’d be somewhat closer.” Nationalpost.com. Essentially they moved him inside into a role covering the slot from being a perimeter type.

Boy is he athletic if he can play. Hope he can be a gunner on ST. He apparently is a willing tackler.

As to the rest, we will agree more when you come to terms with why we picked an HBack as opposed to a TE and perhaps the best human battering ram as opposed to the most rounded back. Changing paradigm requires altered assumptions. We can then debate the wisdom of the moves as opposed to why Gutes apple is an orange :)

Bagelton can catch, he seems to run routes well, but to be honest it’s the CFL and I’m no expert. He isn’t a burner and he did most away from the slot. He goes up for balls well. He had a 39.5 inch vertical ( would have been top 10 at that year’s combine) and ran the 40 in 4.53 at a 6ft 1 something and 200 and a bit pounds at his pro day. Can’t find any shuttle type drills. Hard to judge how the standing start will affect him. Not too worried about the reduced space.

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GilMartin's picture

May 02, 2020 at 07:39 pm

Will be interesting to see what happens with Dequoy and if Greene gets a lot of snaps if he's healthy. Begelton will have a lot of adjustments to make once he's playing 11 man football and as you said, cannot go in motion before the snap. Thanks for commenting.

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dobber's picture

May 02, 2020 at 03:53 pm

"We really need support at cover backer and hybrid. "

I will be curious to see if Curtis Bolton is ready at the start of camp.

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GilMartin's picture

May 04, 2020 at 04:22 pm

Hope he will be. He showed some promise in camp last year.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 02, 2020 at 03:35 pm

Our starting safeties are good enough, I would certainly expect Savage to be improved this year, and we have several veterans competing for the backup time, including Greene and Redmond, who clearly have an inside track. But if somebody beats them out....great,

I’m wondering if they might take a look at Jackson as a safety. Although many posters here want to just write him off as useless, he was a pretty good player in college and was generally given a first or second round rating. He has the physical ability and is reportedly a bright enough guy.....

The corners ahead of him stayed healthy and played well. That’s a good thing. I had hoped he would beat out Tramon for the #3 spot but instead Sullivan passed him and made him our #5 guy. Most of his snaps were on special teams and right now I don’t think he’s any higher than our #4 CB.

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Coldworld's picture

May 02, 2020 at 05:41 pm

We need more than Greene at hybrid. We only have Redmond now as deep cover. I see Jackson as being able to find a role as a DB playing that central field role. Williams has been replaced by Sullivan it seems and someone needs to move in. Ento and Hollman are perimeter projects.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 02, 2020 at 08:41 pm

We only suit up 9 DBs for games. Four starters. We’re OK. It does look like Sullivan is the front runner for nickel and that guy is on the field for quite a few snaps. Jackson is probably better than the rest.

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wildbill's picture

May 02, 2020 at 06:14 pm

I also wondered why they don’t look at Jackson for a safety position. If I remember correctly his 40 time was slow and he played zone in college, made me wonder what they saw in him to make him a NFL CB.
I know he had a number of interceptions but they seem easier to get laying in a zone and attacking the ball in the air. I don’t want to give up on him but why draft a square peg and try to force it in a round hole

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MarkinMadison's picture

May 02, 2020 at 07:26 pm

I agree about Jackson. I made a similar argument last year. Iowa CBs play zone. Jackson needs to be given a look at FS.

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GilMartin's picture

May 02, 2020 at 07:37 pm

I've heard a few people talk about Jackson as a safety. His lack of speed may make him better suited there. But he would have to make that adjustment. We shall see if the Packers try him there. Thanks for the comment.

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Leatherhead's picture

May 03, 2020 at 09:25 am

His 40 time at the combine is the same as Richard Sherman. Speed is nice, but quick minds will always be quicker than quick feet.

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Tabin's picture

May 02, 2020 at 03:48 pm

They should give a look at Jackson at FS, the guy can not play man coverage less play press but he was a ballhawks in college, I think he would be much better player as FS. Savage could play slot corner better than Jackson. IF they don´t do that they shoud try to trade Jackson. The little I watched last year about Green looked very good, the question is can the guy stay healthy?. Redmon has a low cealing from what we saw last year in defense. Hopefully the rookies show enough in camp to beat him.

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GilMartin's picture

May 02, 2020 at 07:49 pm

I think the Packers would love to trade Jackson if they could. He was clearly not in the team's plans at CB last season and fell behind Sullivan an undrafted FA on the depth chart. Thanks for commenting.

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Tabin's picture

May 03, 2020 at 02:43 am

Right now the options are very limited, only teams with zone defense could be interested and to be a CB 2 or CB slot. I don´t see the Packers getting more than a 5th for him.
Thanks for your answer it is important to me to see that a writer takes time to read the comments

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Roadrunner23's picture

May 02, 2020 at 05:39 pm

Black used to be a LB and really likes to put the hit on some mo fo’s .......I’m in.

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GilMartin's picture

May 02, 2020 at 07:52 pm

Will be interesting to see what he does in camp. Hope he can make the transition to safety and make his mark. Thanks for commenting.

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PatrickGB's picture

May 03, 2020 at 12:28 pm

Henry Black has potential. But he is listed on some sites at six foot and 197lbs. Which is a bit small for a safety much less a linebacker. He does have heart but not the size to match.

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