Every now and then you have an under the radar draft crush that you lock in on and visualize as the hidden gem of your team’s draft class. Without further ado, Niners Live brings you: Don’t sleep on 7th round pick Defensive Back Adrian Colbert.
Underway is the 2017 NFL Saga, one which finds the 49ers looking to repent their historically bad Defensive Performance from the year prior. Under a new head coach and general manager (Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch, respectively), the team has begun the implementation of a scheme derived from a successful tenure in Seattle. This scheme – operating out of a 4-3 Under Base formation – utilizes players of good size, quick speed and proper instincts to run zone or man coverage. In the 49ers’ search for players who fit this mold – most recently culminating in the Annual NFL Draft – the team used its final pick during the 7th round on Defensive Back Adrian Colbert from the University of Miami (via the team’s website).
Note: Todd McShay of ESPN called the selection of Adrian Colbert, S, of Miami in the (7th) round, the 49ers best draft pick.
Colbert, listed 6’2 and 200 lbs. by the University of Miami, brings the size and strength to play press coverage, but also flashes the vision and technique to play off man or zone out of any Defensive Back Position. Gaining much of his notoriety his redshirt senior season (2016), Colbert earned the reputation as a hard hitter at the bottom of a play who could hold his own in coverage at the top. His passion shines through on his game tape, and he will certainly wear a chip on his shoulder due to his final round draft pedigree. Shortly before San Francisco’s pick was officially in, Colbert sent a tweet stating, “Every team that passes on me will regret it….mark my words.” He’s not short on confidence.
But will Colbert make good on his promise to make all 31 other teams fear the new 49er?
While not primed to enter assumed competition for a starting role, Colbert is ascending into the position to possibly win the backup job at Free Safety. Many draft experts suggested the 49ers spend their first round draft pick on Ohio State Free Safety Malik Hooker to bring an immediate starter to the position. Hooker may have provided an elite option immediately. Wanting to spend the first pick on a different position and player, however, the 49ers committed to moving 2016 Cornerback Jimmie Ward to Free Safety, as he was determined to be a strong possibility given his experience in college at a like position, and his similarities to Seattle’s single high Safety prototype in Earl Thomas.
Colbert fits a similar stature, and has displayed great instincts. The 49ers would relish having two options of the like at the Free Safety Position if Colbert can prove himself to be of that mold, as well.
Important to note, speed kills: Colbert ran a 4.25 40-yard dash at his pro day.
Additionally, while the Cornerback crop on the team presents more depth, Colbert could be in play as a usable option down the chart at that position. The 49ers could view him right off the bat as a versatile defensive back similar to Ward at the start of his career, or could pick either position for him. The bulk of Colbert’s experience comes at corner, but he has shown enough prowess in off man and zone coverage to suggest a single high safety role may not be a terrible fit. His 4.25 40 yard dash speed also places him at the top of the elite end of the Range category.
I’ll simply close with this (Don’t Sleep):
Suffice it to say, Colbert may have to develop in camp, and as a backup, before the 49ers view him as NFL starter ready. In the meantime, he will fill some important speed/gunner for hire/hit man role on Special Teams while priming himself for a possibly standout career as a defensive back. If you’ve read my article so far as a new staff writer on Niners Live, one thing is clear: I didn’t sleep on Colbert and you shouldn’t either. Are your eyes now wide open? I hope so. Thank you for your time. Ooh, and if you didn’t already know, now you do. This is Niners Live.
I just wanna take a moment to thank GOD and the @49ers for blessing me with such a great opportunity. I won't let y'all down 🙏🏾🙏🏾
— Adrian Colbert (@AdrianColbert26) April 29, 2017
As always, keep your eyes wide open, 49er fans. Niners Live will be watching with you. #eyeswideopen and often imitated but never duplicated… Go Niners.
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All records, statistics, and accolades are courtesy of Pro-Football-Reference.com, Pro Football Focus, 49ers.com, ESPN.com, NFL.com unless otherwise indicated. Author, Josh Witt new Staff Writer at Niners Live, Co-Author, Editor Niners Live.