Fooch's Update: 1. Jim Harbaugh talked about how Ward will handle nickel work early on; 2. Ward had foot surgery, but it shouldn't be a huge deal.
After months of speculation, the San Francisco 49ers did not make the move up many expected. The 49ers drafted Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward without pulling the trigger on a deal to move up the draft board. There were a lot of rumors regarding a potential move into the top 10, and it reached a fevered pitch when the Oakland Raiders came on the clock.
This is certainly an interesting pick, and a little bit of a head-scratcher. The 49ers signed Antoine Bethea to pair with Eric Reid, but Ward would seem to be a potential long-term option at the safety. My guess is maybe they think he'll do some nickel work. He was a safety, but I'm reading that he was a decent man-to-man guy at times. I have to think that's the role we see.
49ers Remaining Draft Picks
1. First round: Jimmie Ward, DB, Northern Illinois
2. Second round: Chiefs (Alex Smith trade) - No. 24 (No. 56 overall)
3. Second round: own - No. 29 (No. 61 overall)
4. Third round: Titans (2013 draft trade) - No. 13 (No. 77 overall)
5. Third round: own - No. 30 (No. 94 overall)
6. Third round: Comp for Dashon Goldson FA departure - No. 36 (No. 100 overall)
7. Fourth round: own - No. 29 (No. 129 overall)
8. Fifth round: own - No. 30 (No. 170 overall)
9. Seventh round: Saints (Parys Haralson trade) - No. 27 (No. 242 overall)
10. Seventh round: Panthers (Colin Jones trade) - No. 28 (No. 243 overall)
11. Seventh round: own - No. 30 - (No. 245 overall)