Before Friday's practice, the second of training camp, Matt Maiocco of NBC Sports Bay Area joined San Francisco 49ers reporters Joe Fann and Keiana Martin during the team's live online broadcast and discussed second-year safety, Adrian Colbert.

The 49ers made Colbert a seventh-round draft pick last year. As such, there was no guarantee that the defensive back would even make the final 53-man roster. He did and went on to be the 49ers defense's starting safety during six of the team's last seven games.

"When Adrian Colbert comes in this year, there're no questions about him," Maiocco said. "A year ago, when I'm piecing together my projected roster, it's like, 'Is he on the 53-man? Probably not. Probably more of a practice squad guy.' There's a reason they kept him on the 53-man. It's because he had a better upside than -- who was it? Vinnie Sunseri or some of the other safeties he was going against last year.

"So you can see the confidence level in him. Having a guy like Richard Sherman (on the team) only helps him."

49ers wide receiver Marquise Goodwin, who is Colbert's cousin, believes the safety is slated for a big sophomore NFL season.

"I think he's done a great job," Goodwin told reporters on Friday. "Coming into his second year, he proved himself last year, and he will build on it this year. I'm sure of it because I know his character. I know the type of work he's put in, and I know how bad he wants it."



Pete Prisco of CBS Sports agrees. In May, the writer called Colbert the next great NFL safety.

"Colbert is a player that other coaches kept mentioning to me late last season as a potential big-time starter. He came on strong for the 49ers last season as a 2017 seventh-round pick," wrote Prisco. "Colbert's big-hitting ability showed up in the run game – his nickname is 'The Punisher' – but he also has the ability to play well in coverage. With Colbert's emergence after Jimmie Ward went down with an injury, the plan now is to give Ward some reps at corner this year. That speaks volumes about a seventh-round rookie. Keep an eye on this thumper out of the University of Miami."

Several safety-needy NFL teams may soon regret passing on the up-and-coming Colbert. He was asked on Thursday where he hypothetically thought he would be drafted this year based on his rookie performance.

"I played six games," Colbert responded. "Six games. I mean, I wouldn't draft me either."

Last year, the 49ers were trying to figure out where Colbert fit on the defense. The defensive back was moved around from cornerback to safety based on the team's needs at the time. Colbert is not being moved around this offseason after proving himself as a starting safety. Being focused on one position this offseason has been beneficial.

Said Colbert: "It's really given me time and the ability to hone in on my position and to watch other guys like Earl Thomas and (Jaquiski) Tartt and other safeties in the league like Kevin Byard, Jordan Poyer, those guys like that who play the middle safety. Just to get a feel for how I'm supposed to play and the way we're supposed to play."