Photo: Ezra Shaw, Getty Images
It appears former NFL safety John Lynch might have hit on the first safety he drafted.
Just ask Lynch, the 49ers rookie general manager who was a nine-time Pro Bowl selection in his 15-year career.
On Tuesday, Lynch raved about rookie Adrian Colbert’s performance in his first NFL start at free safety in a 31-21 win over the Giants on Nov. 12. The seventh-round pick had four tackles and displayed impressive sideline-to-sideline speed on his two pass breakups.
“I know he’s a rookie and I don’t want him to get (a big head),” Lycnh said. “But I’m comfortable saying this because I know the type of person Adrian is: That was a really, really good football game. He displayed some things in that game that are characteristic of a starter and a big-time starter.”
In fact, Lynch suggested Colbert could make the 49ers reconsider their stated desire to keep Jimmie Ward at free safety after he played cornerback his first three seasons.
“Shoot, (Colbert) keeps playing like he did last week, you consider a lot of things,” Lynch said. “… We really think highly of Jimmie Ward but if Adrian keeps playing like that, you keep putting efforts out like that, you find your way (into the lineup).”
Lynch also noted Colbert played against New York with a broken thumb that he sustained early in the first quarter and he admired his ability to play through the injury, which required surgery. He termed Colbert a “longshot” to play Sunday against Seattle, but he’s clearly eager for him to play more in 2017.
In addition to Ward, who could address a need at cornerback, the 49ers also have strong safety Jaqusiki Tartt under contract for 2018. Eric Reid is in the final year of his contract.
“We always tell our guys to force us to make some decisions by just going out there and controlling what you can control. (Colbert) got himself prepared so that when he had an opportunity, he shined,” Lynch said. “Now you’ve got to continue to show that you can do that week after week. That’s the challenge. People in this league can flash, but the guys that really become players are the ones who can stack games like that week in, week out.”