Starters: Mike Adams, Clayton Geathers
Backups: T.J. Green, Winston Guy, Stefan McClure, Dezmen Southward, Andrew Williamson
This safety group is led by a 12-year veteran, Mike Adams, who has spent the past two seasons as a Colt and has two Pro Bowls to his name in that span. The Colts have gotten tremendous value for the $4.12 million they’ve spent on Adams so far. Not only is Adams a great veteran presence for the Colts defense, but he has been a ball hawk with five interceptions in each of his seasons as a Colt. Even though Adams might be one of the oldest starting safeties in the league at 35, his play hasn’t seemed to decline with his age. Adams will be critical in the performance of the secondary, but also in the upbringing of the Colts future safeties.
Clayton Geathers was a fourth round pick in the 2015 draft. His strength lies in his big-hitting ability. This was on display when he knocked fantasy rising star, Devonta Freeman, out of the week 11 game. The Colts knew Geathers would be a project because he has suspect coverage ability and inconsistent tackling that stems from him trying to deliver big hits instead of wrapping up. Geathers is projected to start next to the interception-machine, Adams, this season so that he can focus more on playing in the box and cleaning up in the run game instead of being a rangy coverage safety.
T.J. Green is a second round pick in this year’s draft. He started for the championship runner-up team, Clemson University. Green is an elite athlete, who ran a 4.34 40-yard dash and broad jumped 10’9″. He also stands 6’2″ 210lbs, so he has the size to play in the NFL right away. Green’s athleticism has allowed him to play wide receiver, cornerback, kick returner, and safety, which is where head coach, Chuck Pagano will keep him. Combine his blazing speed with his ferocious hits, and it’s easy to see why many people had him as high as the first round. However, PFF gave Green the worst coverage grade in the nation for safeties, so his track speed does not necessarily translate into game speed. Green’s poor coverage skills could be attributed to the fact that last season was only his second in the secondary. Green will probably not start this season, but figures to see some playing time. Pagano is a defensive back specialist and rejuvenated the careers of Vontae Davis and Mike Adams, who saw their first Pro Bowl appearances under his guidance. Hopefully, Pagano can turn Green from an extraordinary athlete to an extraordinary talent in the NFL.
Winston Guy has stuck with the Colts for a couple of years because of his special teams contributions. Dezmen Southward spent the parts of the last two seasons on the Falcons before getting cut and then signed to the Colts practice squad. Once good enough talent to warrant a third round selection, Southward’s career and production has headed south, no pun intended. Andrew Williamson is an UDFA from Vanderbilt University.Stefan McClure is an UDFA from the University of California, Berkeley. McClure’s production did not truly define his impact for his team. He is the only player in Cal’s history to be a team captain for three years.
At this point, the two starters seem set for the safety spots. Mike Adams will be the free safety, and Clayton Geathers will be the strong safety. T.J. Green will back up both of these guys as he turns his athleticism into football ability. Winston Guy is in the lead for the fourth safety spot because he can play on special teams. The best way to win the fourth and fifth spots, should the Colts choose to carry that many, will be through special teams. Southward, Williamson, and McClure would really have to impress the coaches this summer in order to claim a final roster spot.