No. 4: Safety Adrian Colbert
Many of the 49ers’ second-year players regressed in 2018, and it’s impossible to leave safety Adrian Colbert off that list.
San Francisco 49ers
A season removed from Colbert’s impressive rookie debut in 2017 — one which helped him solidify the Niners’ starting free safety job entering last year — Colbert struggled mightily with improper coverage and tackling angles, eventually winding up as Pro Football Focus’ worst-graded starting safety, per KNBR 680’s Brad Almquist.
Colbert, of course, suffered a high-ankle sprain in Week 7 against the Los Angeles Rams, which landed him on injured reserve. It’s anyone’s guess whether or not Colbert would have improved his starting stock over the second half of 2018. But as things stand now, he has a long ways to go to ensure he returns to any starting job this season.
The Niners used seven different safeties over the course of the year, so this position is anything but guaranteed. If San Francisco makes a run at Seattle Seahawks pending free-agent safety Earl Thomas this offseason, Colbert’s prospects for starting grow extremely dim.
Still, that doesn’t mean he’ll be without a vital role in 2019.
He just needs to revert back to those impressive 2018 efforts.