Colts address safety with Clayton Geathers

Central Florida star selected in the fourth round Saturday to become sixth Geathers family member to make it to the NFL.

An NFL draft that has shifted toward defensive players continued Saturday for the Indianapolis Colts, who selected Central Florida safety Clayton Geathers in the fourth round.

The Colts are thin at the position — they released underwhelming LaRon Landry, re-signed Mike Adams and added Dwight Lowery in free agency. Adams just made his first Pro Bowl, but is 34 and entering his 12th NFL season.

That should mean opportunity for Geathers, who continues a family tradition of making it to the NFL. He’s the sixth family member to play professionally. That includes former Colts defensive lineman Clifton Geathers.

The 6-1 1/2, 218-pound safety was taken with the 109th overall pick, acquired from Tampa Bay Friday in exchange for a choice 19 slots later in the fourth round.

After selecting Miami wide receiver Phillip Dorsett in Thursday’s opening round, the Colts have gone defense with the last three picks, adding Florida Atlantic cornerback D’Joun Smith and Stanford defensive end Henry Anderson in Friday’s third round.

“I was anxious and ready to go,” Geathers said in a conference call. “When I got that phone call, it was just a blessing. You never know how the draft is going to go. We sat down and had a good meeting at the combine, at pro day. I felt good. It was a great experience. I’m blessed to be in this situation, I was blessed to get the call and I’m happy to be a Colt.”

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Geathers is known as a big hitter, hence his nickname “porcupine” because nobody in the yard could touch his hair.

“Versatile, physical, a tone-setter,” he said. “Just a ‘we’ guy.”

He said the Geathers family legacy helped prepare him for this day.

“Seeing my uncles and cousins, I wanted that same thing,” he said. “Just work hard. Just to have them around to give me advice, go to games and see how everything works. It was just an honor.”

Upon request, he listed the Geathers: Jumpy, Robert Sr., Robert Jr., Kwame and Clifton. And he doesn’t make an argument for being the best in the family at family get-togethers.

“I’m the littlest of the bunch,” he said.

Geathers can play either safety spot, although he was strong safety at UCF. His 383 career tackles were third in program history. He had 97 stops, 6.5 for loss, with one sack, one forced fumble, one fumble recovery, one interception and nine pass break-ups as a senior.

“Continue working, never get comfortable, keep working hard,” he said of what he’s learned from his relatives.

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Phillip B. Wilson can be found on Twitter (@pwilson24), Facebook and Google+.

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