The San Francisco 49ers will look to address their needs at safety this offseason, and 2019 NFL Draft prospect, Nasir Adderley out of Delaware, might be a nice find if he slips into Round 2.
There’s a strong chance the San Francisco 49ers will try hard to address their needs at safety in 2019 via free agency, possibly landing someone like pending free-agent free safety Earl Thomas, who earned six Pro Bowl nods during his tenure with the Seattle Seahawks.
But what if the Niners are unable to lure in Thomas this offseason?
Free agency is still an option. Yet after experimenting with seven different safeties over the course of 2018, it’s pretty clear the 49ers want to make this a priority somehow. And the 2019 NFL Draft could be a feasible means to do so, particularly after all the second-year struggles Adrian Colbert suffered in his first full year as a starter.
And here is where Delaware safety Nasir Adderley comes into play.
Adderley is one of those prospects flirting with first-round consideration in April’s draft. The general consensus is Alabama safety Deionte Thompson will be the first at his position taken off the draft board. After that, though, Adderley could be a name to watch.
Especially if the 49ers aren’t able to land a free agent like Thomas.
So, if Adderley winds up slipping into Round 2 this April, what would the Niners be looking at? Let’s take a look.
Nasir Adderley’s Strengths
At 5-foot-11 and 200 pounds, Adderley looks the part of a deep safety and has a lot of the skills to suggest he can be a good one at the NFL level.
At Delaware, Adderley managed 11 interceptions, which included nine over the last two seasons. This paints a picture of Adderley being an instinctual center fielder, capable of reacting to the play in front of him.
Those efforts show up on tape, too:
Adderley also has very good sideline-to-sideline coverage abilities, and it’s important to note he has doubled as a cornerback. This has helped him diagnose routes without losing track of his man, when he’s in on man coverage.
On top of that, he’s also more than capable against the run. His tackling is tough and violent, yet he doesn’t overrun his pursuit and is rarely out of position.
There is always going to be question marks surrounding small-school prospects going early in the NFL Draft, and Adderley will be no different.
Plus, one shouldn’t automatically assume he’d handle cornerback duties perfectly, as he spent the majority of his last two seasons at safety.
These are essentially the only real drawbacks to Adderley’s game, as he looks to be a complete player. He’s solid in coverage, performs well against the run and doesn’t have a lot of shortcomings.
Potential Fit with the 49ers
A strong NFL Scouting Combine could push Adderley out of the running for the 49ers’ top pick in Round 2 of the draft. But as far as a reserve option, in case the Niners aren’t able to lure in Thomas through free agency, Adderley is about as close a prospect there could be in this year’s draft class.
One important thing to note is Delaware ran a similar single-high safety scheme as San Francisco. Adderley thrived in this kind of role, showcasing the ranginess and reaction skills Thomas made famous during his time in Seattle.
Plus, Adderley was able to showcase some of his skills to 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, who had to call plays against the defensive back and the North squad during the 2019 Senior Bowl in Mobile, Alabama.
Adderley seemed to impress there, too, according to reports.
A potential Adderley-to-Niners scenario likely only plays out if Thomas signs elsewhere. So, if the 49ers don’t bring Thomas aboard, look for Adderley to rise up the team’s big board this April.