I guess I wrote this post a little too early. Not too long after moving wide receiver Quinton Patton to injured reserve, the 49ers have moved cornerback Jimmie Ward to injured reserve. The team promoted Prince Charles Iworah from the practice squad to fill his spot, and signed cornerback Duke Thomas to the practice squad.
Ward suffered a shoulder injury in Week 15, and while we don’t know the full extent of the injury, it is enough to set him down for the final two games. Ward had emerged as a strong presence in the secondary, but injuries were again an issue. He missed three games in the middle of the season with a quadricep injury. These two games will mean a total of five missed games this season. He missed the final eight games of his rookie season with a foot injury, but did play all 16 last season.
Iworah is a raw cornerback drafted in the seventh round this year. Here is what NFL.com had to say in his scouting report.
Iworah's tape is a little inconsistent at this time and his inability to mirror and match targets with consistency is troubling as a man-cover cornerback. While I see the explosive athleticism, his actual cover skills need enough fine-tuning that he may have to spend a year stashed on a practice squad.
I’m curious to see if he gets at least some special teams work either or both of these next two weeks. Rashard Robinson will likely take over as starter opposite Tramaine Brock. Keith Reaser will likely be the team’s nickel back. Dontae Johnson could get time as well, although he missed practice today. JaCorey Shepherd has been exclusively a special teams player, but has cornerback experience as well.