It is funny the way Clayton Geathers can change his persona – much like Clark Kent and Superman. He’s a mild-mannered, respectful former high school running back who instantly changes into the tackle-eating, opponent-devouring warrior once he puts on the team uniform. He not only etched his name into the school career record books as the Knights’ all-time third-leading tackler (383), but he also showed solid pass coverage skills, placing fifth in UCF annals with 30 pass deflections.
Geathers has a well-developed frame that is built for power and has room to add more bulk without any loss in quickness. He shows good overall muscle tone with broad shoulders, a thick chest and good arm length (76 5/8-inch wingspan) that he uses with great effectiveness going up to compete for jump balls.
Geathers is more quick than his timed speed indicates, showing that second gear and burst, along with the loose hips to recover when receivers happen to get behind him. He demonstrates good acceleration closing on plays in front of him, along with the strength to impact when attacking ball carriers in run support (made 43 plays vs. the run last year). He has adequate hands for the interception, but compensates with good leaping ability and timing going up to deflect the pass.
Geathers is an instinctive player who is rarely caught out of position. It is his ability to quickly react to the run or pass that might see him use his power and size better as a strong safety/Cover-2 linebacker at the next level. He just has a good understanding for the game, evident by his ability to hold opposing receivers to just 3.29 yards per pass attempt (59 targeted passes) as a senior.
The Knights senior has proven to be very effective handling man coverage assignments. He shows the foot quickness and body control to make smooth and quick adjustments on the move and with his acceleration he is quick to close on plays in front of him.
He might lack the blazing speed to run stride-for-stride with the quicker receivers one-on-one, but he shows good hand usage to prevent the route progression of most of his opponents. Working in the intermediate area or over the middle of the field, his ability to make good angles lets him mirror the slot receivers with great ease.
Geathers is very alert to action in front of him and has a very good feel for playing in the deep zone. He keeps good relationship with the receivers entering his territory and shows the ball anticipation skills to read the quarterback and get a good jump on the pass in flight. He is fluid opening his hips to make the switch-off and has no problems (won’t false step) when he has to recover and adjust to receivers when on the move.
Geathers is equally effective as a wrap-up or drag-down type of tackler. He flashes good power behind his hits and to put it into perspective - he is simply a physical, “in-your-face” type of defender who will strike, jolt and try to dislodge the ball from his man. He has above average athletic ability, especially when moving laterally, as he can clear trash and makes the play in crowded areas. The thing you see on film is his ability to not only collision with the opponent, but to maintain his balance and make the tackle when working in space.
Geathers is a tenacious hitter with a lot of “linebacker blood” coursing through his veins. He hits with good authority and likes to get through blocking schemes to attack ball carriers. He is good slipping through blocks and does a nice job of containing the ball carrier in run force. He looks natural closing on the ball in front of him and is explosive stepping up to deliver his hits. He plays under control, yet is very aggressive and knows how to take proper angles to attack the runner.
Clayton Geathers Scouting Combine measurables
6-2/218 (4.55 forty)
31 5/8-inch arm length
9 1/8-inch hands
37-inch vertical jump
120-inch broad jump
7.21 3 cone drill
4.27 20 yard shuttle
12.57 60 yard shuttle
Dave-Te’ Thomas is a sports writer, talent evaluator and scouting personnel consultant for a majority of teams in the National Football League. Thomas runs a scouting information service called NFL Scouting Services and produces THE NFL Draft Report, a publication provided by league headquarters to the media in preparation for the NFL Draft.
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