INDIANAPOLIS – You can pencil the name "Clayton Geathers" into your starting defensive 11 when the Colts being their offseason program on April 18.
With Dwight Lowery joining San Diego as a free agent this offseason, Geathers will now occupy the safety position next to Mike Adams.
"The guy is a talented guy, smart guy and he loves the game," Chuck Pagano says of the 6-2, 215-pound Geathers.
"Obviously, it's a great opportunity for him being the guy now that steps in that role."
Pagano believes Geathers should have plenty of confidence now sliding into the starting lineup.
That belief comes from significant playing time as a rookie, including two starts for Geathers.
When Adams was injured last season, Geathers started against Atlanta and Tampa Bay, two November wins for the Colts.
"Look back at the Atlanta game and what he did in that game, the numbers he produced…" Pagano says pointing to the nine-tackle (several of the impactful variety) game Geathers had against the Falcons.
When the Colts drafted Geathers in the fourth round last year, the Central Florida product labeled himself as a "tone setter."
His family pedigree in the NFL (Geathers is the sixth member of his family to play in the NFL), spoke for itself.
Multiple factors led to the Colts feeling more than comfortable tossing Geathers into action last season.
Inserting the then rookie Geathers into their dime package has led to the chance on the horizon in 2016.
After recent years with uncertainty at the backend of the defense, the Colts believe Geathers can be a fixture of the future at the safety position.
"(Geathers) can play deep and he's a force in the box," Pagano says.
"I'm excited for his future."