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49ers roster breakdowns, 90-in-90: DB Adrian Colbert

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Breaking down the 90 players on the 49ers offseason roster in 90 posts (over 90 or so days). Today: DB Adrian Colbert

NCAA Football: Florida A&M at Miami Jasen Vinlove-USA TODAY Sports

Each year, we run a series of post called "90-in-90" here at Niners Nation. The idea is that we'll take a look at every single player on the roster, from the very bottom to the top and break them down a few different ways. This is to help give everyone a basic understanding of a roster. Of course, this roster will change, and some days we'll have more than one so it's not strictly one per day but you get the idea.

Miami cornerback Adrian Colbert was the 49ers last draft pick this year, a big (6’2”, 205) thumper who played as a single-high safety at Texas for 3 years and transferred last year under the graduate exemption. According to NinersWire, GM John Lynch said after the draft that

“We’re going to give him a go, probably at corner first. I don’t want to speak for the coaches but this is what we were thinking when we drafted him and know the he has safety versatility and we believe going to be one heck of a special teams player as well.”

While drastically overhauling the Niners roster, Lynch seems to be looking for players with pre-existing connections, say as teammates in the NFL (former Ravens Juszczyk, Zuttah and Dumerville) or college (Georgia Southern grads Matt Breida and B.J. Johnson). This is a natural way to maintain some cohesion amid rapid change.

Colbert has a different type of connection; WR Marquise Goodwin is his cousin. It will be interesting to see the two very fast players face each other in training camp, though Colbert admits flat out that Goodwin is faster, and 40-yard dash times confirm that. While Colbert won the Texas 400 meter track title as a high school junior, he was not invited to the Combine and his Pro Day speed was clocked with a wild range of differences, from a blazing (hand-timed) 4.25 to a much less special 4.49 — all describing the exact same runs. Goodwin, on the other hand, ran a rock-solid, electronically-timed 4.27 40 at the Combine.

Sportswriters are all rooting for him to make the team because he gives a lot of colorful interviews, telling stories about his rough childhood apart from his mother, his dad being in a gang until he was 10, or getting hit by a car while riding his bike as a 9-year old and being in a coma for a week. When the Niners staff asked him which super power he’d choose, Colbert came up with an unusual and shrewd answer — the ability to mimic other super powers. He’s also, forthright, direct, honest and humble.

Basic info

Age: 23 (turns 24 on October 6, 2017)
Experience: Rookie
Height: 6’0” - 6’2”
Weight: 200
40-yard dash: 4.25 - 4.49 (Pro Day)
3-Cone drill: 7.24
225 lb bench press reps: 10
20-yard shuttle: 4.31
Vertical jump: 33.5”
Long jump: 9’09”

Salary Cap Info

Salary: $465,000
Guarantees: $84,800

Scouting reports

Was selected by the 49ers in the seventh round (229th overall) of this year’s draft out of Miami. In his collegiate career, played in 46 games (6 starts) and registered 48 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, 2 INTs and 4 PDs. Began his collegiate career at Texas (2012-15) and was a graduate transfer to Miami in 2016. As a senior, played in 8 games (2 starts) for the Hurricanes, registering 22 tackles, 2.5 TFLs, 1 INT and 3 PDs. In 2015, played in 12 games for the Longhorns. As a sophomore, played in 13 games (4 starts) and registered 20 tackles, 1 INT and 1 PD. In 2013, played in 13 games and registered 6 tackles. Redshirted in 2012. A 23-year old native of Mineral Wells, TX, he attended Mineral Wells High School. ...

Mike Mayock noted on Twitter during his pre-draft preparations that Colbert was an underrated prospect in this class. "You can never question his ‘big hit’ ability, though," added Russell Brown of Fox Sports. "Time and time again, he will come down and demolish anyone in his way."

Why he might succeed in the NFL

Colbert was a four core special teams player in college and that will be his ticket in the pros. If he makes it on teams, then he’ll have time to develop either his cornerback or safety skills to add a depth role in the secondary. His speed is solid at best, arguably special, and he’s at least six feet tall and versatile.

Why he might not

Colbert had injuries last year that limited him to 8 games, and he did not actually excel or even start that many games during college. He transferred after being phased out of the rotation his third year at Texas

Lance Zeierlein at NFL.com has harsh things to say about one key aspect of his game:

When he’s played, has an alarming amount of missed tackles because he fails to gather his weight and center his targets. Needs to improve his overall strength. BOTTOM LINE: Issues as a tackler could plague his attempt to make the pros as a core special teams talent.

Odds of making the roster

It’s all about special teams. Can he carve out a role, perhaps as the team’s gunner by mixing his speed with hard hits? Then he’ll be a 49er. Otherwise, not, because there’s not a chance he’ll beat out any cornerbacks or safeties for a role as a purely defensive player.