One of the more surprising developments of OTAs for the Colts was the emergence of Matthias Farley, who saw a lot of first team reps and impressed in doing so.
With Malik Hooker and Clayton Geathers both missing the offseason program due to injuries, Farley has recently been getting the first team reps at safety over T.J. Green, with Darius Butler working at the other spot. That is significant enough in itself, since it means that he looks to be ahead of last year’s second round pick on the depth chart. But he’s been impressing with his production and earning those increased reps.
“I don’t think any of us that are in the building daily with Matthias are surprised,” defensive coordinator Ted Monachino said this week. “He’s very, very sharp. He’s athletic enough. He’s a run-and-hit guy in the run game. He can get guys aligned. The good news is when he’s in there with Darius he doesn’t have to do all of those things. So he’s able to just kind of let it go and play, which is nice because Darius tends to run the show back there when he’s in there. When Matthias is in there with one of our other safeties, T.J. or any of the young guys, then he takes over that role. There are plenty of places in our league that are playing with safeties just like Matthias Farley, so we are really glad we have him, first of all, with our safety situation. With Malik and Clayton right now, we needed it. So we’ve been able to operate at a pretty high level with Matthias towards the top of the depth chart. So yeah, we’re not surprised, but we sure are excited to have him.”
Farley went undrafted out of Notre Dame last offseason but was signed by the Arizona Cardinals. He was with Arizona during the offseason program, training camp, and preseason, but was ultimately waived during final roster cuts. The Colts claimed him off of waivers and kept him on their roster all season, as the rookie played in all 16 games and recorded eleven tackles, mostly in special teams work. It looks as though he might be viewed as more than just a special teams contributor, however, as he’s earning more first team reps this offseason.
The biggest variable in this discussion about the safeties is of course the injuries. Hooker is recovering from a hip injury and Geathers is recovering from a neck injury, and at least Hooker is expected to be back for the start of training camp (Geathers’ return timeline is unknown). It’s expected that the first round pick will take over one of the starting spots, and its possible that Butler would be at the other (though both Hooker and Butler are more coverage safeties).
So the most significant portion of the discussion relating to Farley is this: he seems to be ahead of Green on the depth chart and has been catching the eye of the coaching staff. He’ll need to translate that into production when the pads come on and the hitting is live, but so far he’s made a good impression.