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Clemson's T.J. Green Has Opportunity to Compete in Indianapolis

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Jim Dedmon-USA TODAY Sports
With the vast network of team specific sites on SB Nation, we decided to reach out to some of the teams that now former Clemson players will be playing for in the NFL. Today we had a chance to talk with Josh from Stampede Blue, the SB Nation site for all things Indianapolis Colts related. He answered a few questions for us about T.J. Green

STS: What was your reaction when hearing the Colts took TJ Green?


SB: There was no surprise for me that the Colts took a safety at some point in the draft, though coming into the weekend I would have thought it would be slightly later than the second round and I wouldn't have guessed it would be T.J. Green.  But I wasn't surprised to see the Colts add a safety, considering one of their starting safeties is 35 years old and the other has started just a handful of games in the NFL.

STS: What has been the reaction of the fanbase to Green being drafted by the Colts?


SB: I think the reaction has been overall positive, though there have been mixed reviews.  The main negative that some Colts fans have focused on is the issue of taking a player who is viewed as a project so high in the draft, but there are others who say that it was a good value pick for a player with Green's talent.  There hasn't been a strong consensus either way on the pick, but I think overall it is viewed as a solid pick.

STS: How does Green seem to fit into the Colts plans for 2016 and beyond?


SB: The ideal plan for T.J. Green is to be brought along slowly as a developmental player.  In 2016, that would mean playing a lot on special teams and as a depth safety instead of having to start right away.  The Colts did a similar thing last year with a safety they drafted (Clayton Geathers) and only had him start a few games last year as an injury replacement.  This year, Geathers is the starting safety after taking over for Dwight Lowery, a veteran who the team let walk in free agency offseason.  With Green, I expect a similar story.  Geathers obviously is a young and talented safety, but at the other safety spot is 35-year old Mike Adams.  He has made the Pro Bowl in each of the past two years, yet the Colts are already thinking about his eventual replacement due to his age.  It's very possible, then, that after the season the Colts could let Adams walk and allow Green to take over as the starter.  That would be the best case scenario for the Colts, and that's what they are hoping for this year: to allow Green to contribute on special teams and develop as a safety before taking over as a starter in a year or two.

STS: Is there any talk of Green being deployed as a CB for the Colts? Or will he stay as a safety?


SB: He will stay at safety.  Colts head coach Chuck Pagano was asked after the draft about Green's position and whether he might switch to cornerback and he responded that Green is a safety.  I suppose that always could change based on injuries and depth as the season approaches, but for now it seems the Colts are intent at working with him at safety rather than cornerback.

STS: For you what are the big concerns about Green that will determine his success with Indianapolis?


SB: I think the biggest thing for Green in Indy will be realizing his athletic potential.  His athleticism and skills are obvious, yet he's not the most natural safety (in terms of instincts, etc.) or the best tackler.  In other words, I think it's clear to see the talent that he does have, but I think he needs to continue to develop and continue to reach that talent while with the Colts in order to make sure that he lives up to his status as a high draft pick.  He has only been playing safety for a few years and is a young player, so there's plenty of reason to think that he will continue to improve and continue to become a more natural safety, but I think that's what he must do if he hopes to success with the Colts.

STS: Our initial thought was that Green made a mistake leaving Clemson early for the NFL. From what you've seen do you think he's ready or should he have stayed in school?


SB: Like I've said throughout, I still think that Green needs to continue to develop, and in some ways he could be seen as a bit of a project player.  In that regard, I think it could have helped him to stay at Clemson for another year and get more experience playing safety and developing his skills there, which could have paid off.  With that said, however, he was still drafted in the second round, so it's hard to say that he should have stayed in school.  Ultimately, I think that NFL teams - like the Colts - saw the potential that Green has and graded him accordingly, so I think it's hard to blame him for leaving early.