Patriots Sign Hard-Hitting Safety, Nicknamed ‘The Punisher’

Getty Adrian Colbert

It seems pretty straightforward; the New England Patriots are looking to place a hard-hitting, physical team on the field in 2021. They recently signed a safety who should fit in nicely.

The Patriots inked 27-year-old Adrian Colbert to a deal, but the team did not disclose the terms of the agreement. 

Colbert has played in four NFL seasons with the San Francisco 49ers, Miami Dolphins, and the New York Giants. The latter two teams have former Patriots assistants as head coaches, so he should be familiar with the system. 

At 6-foot-2 205 pounds, Colbert has good size for his position. While he is unlikely to leapfrog the likes of Kyle Dugger, Adrian Phillips, or the newly signed Jalen Mills, the Texas native seems to fit the mold of physical safeties the Patriots like for the role the unofficially retired Patrick Chung once played.

Colbert was selected in the seventh round of the 2017 NFL Draft out of Miami by the 49ers. He has bounced between the teams mentioned above throughout his career without ever making his mark and landing a deal with some long-term stability. 

He has played in 33 games, having started 19 of them, so he has seen some valuable on-field time, and perhaps most importantly for his ability to stick with the Patriots, Colbert has on special teams as well.

Colbert earned the nickname “The Punisher” because of his aggressiveness and penchant for lowering the boom on receivers in his zone. Take a look at some of the bone-jarring hits and forced fumbles he’s had in his career.


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The Patriots’ Depth at Safety is Solid

ESPN lists Colbert as a free safety, and he’s currently third on their Patriots depth chart behind Devin McCourty and Mills, but in front of Joejuan Williams.

There is a chance Colbert could play strong safety, but according to ESPN’s depth chart, Phillips is first, followed by Dugger, Brandon King, and rookie Joshuah Bledsoe. All of this could change or may be inaccurate, considering it’s just a projection based on the players who are currently on the roster.

In any case, there is no shortage of bodies, experience, and players who have the desired mental and physical makeup. Expect a nice jump in on-field production from Dugger. He’s headed into his second season in the NFL.

He showed flashes of being a playmaker as a rookie, and that came with no real training camp. As he heads into his second season, with an even better cast of players around him, Dugger might be set for stardom.


Can Adrian Colbert Make the Week 1 Roster?

With McCourty entrenched at free safety, Dugger presumably getting more snaps, Mills battling Phillips for the Chung role, Colbert’s realistic chances of making the roster will be on special teams.

If he shines there, ala King, he’ll have a better chance of sticking. Even then, he seems more like a fit for the practice squad than the main roster. Injuries can change everything, especially ones that occur in training camp or the preseason.

If one of the guys ahead of him goes down, we might see Colbert get more of a look than he would otherwise..

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