Starting Lineup Projections: Safety


The safety position has garnered many headlines during the Colts’ offseason, and good safety play will be key to team success in 2017.

Clayton Geathers injured his neck during the tenth game of last season against the Titans, which forced Darius Butler to move to safety.

Butler had played a majority of his eight-year NFL career at cornerback, but he made a seamless transition to safety in the second half of the year and performed very well.

The Colts were hoping to have Geathers back for 2017, but his recovery has suffered some setbacks. He has already been placed on the physically unable to perform (PUP) list for the regular season, which will keep him sidelined for at least the first six games.

Even if Geathers was going to be healthy, the Colts still needed to upgrade their free safety spot. They look to have done that by selecting Malik Hooker with the 15th pick in this year’s draft.

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Health concerns caused Hooker to slip down draft boards after he underwent multiple offseason surgeries. There was a bit of a scare when he tweaked his hamstring during the conditioning test to open training camp, but he recovered quickly and has stayed healthy thus far.

Hooker drew comparisons to Earl Thomas and Ed Reed heading into the draft, and his incredible range and playmaking ability could have an enormous effect on this defense.

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With Hooker and Butler as their starters, the back of this Colts secondary should be very solid.

If they can get some improved play from the cornerbacks in front of them, it should be easy to improve on their 26th-ranked pass defense from last season.

However, Butler and Hooker aren’t great in run support, and that’s where the loss of Geathers will hurt them the most.

Overall, the safety position looks pretty promising considering they’ll be forced to play a backup for the first six games of the year.