Day 1 of the 2014 NFL Draft is in the books, and the San Francisco 49ers stayed put at No. 30, which would be surprising if not for the fact that the 49ers being surprising is unsurprising. San Francisco made waves by selecting Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward.
Personally, I like the pick a lot. There's a couple things to take into consideration when you look at this pick, and I think one thing needs to be noted in particular: Ward was not a reach under any definition of the term. He was arguably the top safety in the draft and was routinely mocked at the back-end of the first round.
Secondly, Ward provides value now given that he can start at the nickel position. A wide receiver in the first or a corner early in the first has pressure to start at No. 1 or No. 2, and I don't see that with Ward. Meanwhile, the 49ers can get a wide receiver in the second round -- keep in mind this is the best wide receiver draft we've seen in YEARS. Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin were going to play a lot next season, and Tramaine Brock and Chris Culliver would have been difficult to unseat as starters.
Needless to say, I'm a fan of the pick. Onto your links for the day.
San Francisco 49ers take safety Jimmie Ward (N. Illinois) with 30th pick (BA Sports Guy)
Ward ready to compete for nickel spot with 49ers (Maiocco)
Baalke acknowledges 49ers' trade-up interest in LSU's Beckham (Branch)
What about the wideouts? Plenty remain under 49ers' consideration (Inman)
Some video looks at 49ers new safety Jimmie Ward (Lynch)
Baalke on Jimmie Ward: Don't mistake size for lack of toughness (Barrows)
49ers resist trade temptation, do not move up in Round 1 (Maiocco)
Harbaugh says Iupati 'as good as ever'; asks about Boise State pass-rusher (Branch)
Purdy: 49ers' top draft pick Jimmie Ward likes to hit (Purdy)
Suit alleges physical threats, racial slur by 49ers Chris Culliver in March hit-and-run episode (MercuryNews)
49ers Photo Collections: 2014 NFL Draft (49ers)
Cover 2: First Round Draft Recap (49ers)
Jimmie Ward Expects to be Cleared in 2-3 Weeks (49ers)
Jim Harbaugh: Jimmie Ward Is a 'Vicious' Tackler (49ers)
49ers Radio: Get to Know Jimmie Ward (49ers)