49ers: 5 players who will have bigger roles in 2018

SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 24: Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers congratulates Jimmy Garoppolo #10 after a one-yard touchdown run against the Jacksonville Jaguars during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - DECEMBER 24: Head coach Kyle Shanahan of the San Francisco 49ers congratulates Jimmy Garoppolo #10 after a one-yard touchdown run against the Jacksonville Jaguars during their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on December 24, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images) /
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SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 12: Adrian Colbert #38 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts after a play against the New York Giants during their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium on November 12, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA – NOVEMBER 12: Adrian Colbert #38 of the San Francisco 49ers reacts after a play against the New York Giants during their NFL game at Levi’s Stadium on November 12, 2017 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images) /

No. 4: S Adrian Colbert

To be honest, I did not expect much out of Adrian Colbert when he was drafted. Who gets that excited about a seventh-round safety? There are a plethora of defensive backs selected in the draft, and the ones who fall all the way down to the last round of the draft usually do not possess a lot of talent.

Adrian Colbert was looking to prove NFL GM’s and other doubters, like myself, wrong, and he let it be known after he got drafted with this tweet:

https://twitter.com/AdrianColbert25/status/858447682020552705

And I am proud to say that he proved us all wrong.

When safeties Jimmie Ward and Jaquiski Tartt got hurt, Colbert slid into the starting lineup against the New York Giants and immediately impressed, earning four tackles and two pass breakups, including one where he absolutely lit up the intended target. The rookie has done nothing but impress since then, and now he is Pro Football Focus‘ No. 4 graded rookie safety.

Fans are labeling him as a steal, and he deserves every bit of praise that he gets. Colbert brings an aggressive mentality to the defensive unit, and looks like a leader already.

With Eric Reid looking to find his way out of San Francisco this offseason, the 49ers should trade or put Jimmie Ward at cornerback and start Colbert at safety next season, with Jaquiski Tartt, who has impressed this year, alongside him.