San Francisco 49ers starting free safety Adrian Colbert has had a lot of doubters throughout his football career. There were points in his life when nearly everything was going against him, literally. From his father being involved in gangs and drugs to being in a coma after a bike versus car accident at age nine, the odds seem to have always been heavily stacked against him.
Colbert transferred to Miami after three years at Texas and a less than pleasant experience with a coach. He only started 22 games in his college career getting some work on special teams as well as on defense. Here is what was on his NFL.com draft profile:
Impressed scouts with two 4.40-second 40-yard dashes at his pro day. Good combination of size and speed. May get a shot as a cornerback on the next level due to his physical traits. Was a core special teams talent while at University of Texas previously and has plenty of special teams tackles to his name.
Might not offer enough value as a defensive back to warrant a roster spot. Has registered very few starts at either Texas or Miami. When hes 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.
Issues as a tackler could plague his attempt to make the pros as a core special teams talent. Has the size and speed to interest defensive backs coaches, but his lack of starting experience and production may foreshadow his inability to contribute in coverage if he were to be called on. Colbert will have to make a roster based on his ability to shine on special teams.
Since being selected as the 229th overall pick in the 2017 draft, Colbert has worked constantly getting ready for an opportunity to show what he is capable of. Midway through the season, both Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt were placed on injured reserve and Colbert got his shot. What had been predicted as a possibility to make the roster as a special teamer turned out quite differently. Not only did Colbert showcase his improved ability, he exemplified toughness playing just one week after he broke his thumb.
In 14 games Colbert totaled 34 solo tackles, 3 combined. He forced two fumbles, recovered one and managed five pass break ups. In one season he has won over his teammates including long time veteran Joe Staley. Here’s what some of his teammates had to say about him:
A dude playing possessed. He’s just just bringing it. He’s been doing a good job ever since he got the opportunity. Looking forward just to seeing what he can do in the spring. Hopefully get to compete and get each other better.
The whole defense started to gel a lot better and esp topping the run. we had a lot of injuries along the way but we he a lot of young guys like AC stepping up and playing at a high level.
I like to use Adrian Colbert as a prime example of the draft class as a whole. The guy was drafted seventh round, coming into the offseason not really a whole lot is expected from a seventh round pick. He came in every single day, was the first guy in and the last guy out. It’s a cliche but it really was true with him. He really was. I mean every single day I’d get here and he was already here for an hour just working on anything he could do.
Then his opportunity came to play and he really just stepped up and took advantage of it. This whole entire draft class is filled with guys like that. [They] just really love football and love working. It’s really exciting to see that base being built here with guys like that.
Colbert is clearly on his way to carving out a nice career in the NFL but it looks like he will not be satisfied until he is one of the best (and maybe not even then). 49ers faithful should be very excited about the Mt. Everest size chip on his shoulder. Just make sure you don’t call him the next Dashon Goldson or the 2.0 version. If you accidentally do, dinner from Panda Express may get him to forgive you.