On the heels of Jimmie Ward breaking his collarbone, it only makes sense that we talk about San Francisco 49ers 2017 seventh-round draft pick Adrian Colbert. You never go into a season depending on a player drafted as late as Colbert. For the second year in a row, Colbert should see a significant amount of snaps. He played 320 in 2018. Depending on whether the 49ers make any moves, that number should double this year.
Colbert was a fan favorite last year, and that has continued this offseason. He’s a chill, low-key guy. Our own Rob Lowder was up late playing video games with Colbert a couple of weeks ago. Colbert is open and down to earth. He makes it easy to root for him.
Experience: Two accrued seasons
Weight: 205 lbs.
Colbert is in the third year of his rookie contract. His cap hit for 2019 is $645,000. If the 49ers were to cut Colbert, $42,400 of that would be dead money.
Why he might improve in 2019
Colbert has been inconsistent with his reads at free safety early in his career. There will be plays where he shows off his 4.4 speed and is getting to the ball to either break up the pass or intercept the ball. Then there will be plays where Colbert is taking the bait of an underneath route, only to let a deep receiver run free for a big play.
If Colbert is going to improve, he’s going to need to show better route recognition. He also needs to understand that if he is the last line of defense, Colbert has to be 100% sure when he jumps a route. I keep bringing this up, but with better pieces around you, you’re going to look better. The addition of Dee Ford and Nick Bosa might allow Colbert to be more aggressive. He’ll need to clean up his tackling as well. Colbert missed a tackle on 25% of his attempts last year in limited action. At free safety, that can’t happen.
Why he might regress in 2018
If Colbert is going to be the guy at free safety, the only way he takes a step back is if he hasn’t learned from his mistakes in the past two years. Whether that’s from a lack of preparation, or just playing too out of control and that leads to big plays. That can be in the run or the passing game. Health plays a factor here as well. Colbert can’t improve if he’s not on the field.
He’s making the roster. Now that Colbert has an opportunity, 2019 will tell us whether he’ll be a contributor moving forward or not.