The San Francisco 49ers selected SS Jimmie Ward with the 30th overall pick in the 2014 NFL Draft. While there was speculation they could be trading down, they stood at their original position of 30th for the second time in the last three years.
Ward is a safety who is capable of playing as a nickel CB with quickness. At 5-11, 193 pounds, he brings the versatility that the 49ers would want on defense. While the 49ers signed Antoine Bethea to be the team's SS alongside Eric Reid, Ward could contribute in the secondary right away.
He is a physical cover defender who is aggressive with the ball and can handle the large receivers he will be facing. Ward isn't the tallest defender, but is great at taking angles in pursuit of the opposition.
As a true freshman in 2010, he logged 21 tackles, one pass breakup and zero interceptions with one forced fumble and a school-record three blocked punts. Returned a blocked punt 15 yards for a touchdown. Played in all 14 games, seeing extensive action as a backup free safety and on special teams. Registered 100-4-1 with 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble and one blocked punt (against Army) in 14 games (12 starts at cornerback) in '11. Led the Huskies in tackles in '12 after posting 104-11-3 with one tackle for loss and one forced fumble in 13 starts at free safety. Missed the UMass game with sprained A/C joint in his right shoulder. In '13, logged 95-10-7 with 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble in 14 starts. Had a 62-yard touchdown return for a score against Purdue. Did not work out at the combine because of a foot injury (medical exclusion).
The 49ers have five draft picks (two in the second round, three in the third round) for day two of the 2014 NFL Draft. This marks the second straight season the 49ers take a safety in the first round of the NFL Draft.