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Jimmie Ward talks about his versatility and why he's playing multiple positions

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The San Francisco 49ers 2014 1st round pick spoke to the media about how he's currently used and what the plans are for him going forward. We've got a transcript, and you can watch the full interview here.

A couple weeks ago Trent Baalke said you were going to move to safety. You're going to see a lot more action at safety. Has that come about or are you a cornerback?

I'm a versatile player. Being drafted, I was drafted as DB so it's about them on how I'm value to them as a player.

In working with the first team at the right corner spot in base, is that something that's kind of in the experimental stages right now or is it a switch that's maybe getting serious?

It's new coaches and so they were wanting to see everything I can do. The more you can do the better off you are. Basically I'm getting reps everywhere, but I'm working more with the corners and the footwork really to get me right in pressing and man techniques.

Does it matter to you? Where you're at?

No, as long as I'm on the field, I'm good.

Does that change your vision, your way of thinking and looking at the field when you're in that right cornerback as opposed to that safety position?

Oh yes, it changes a lot. There's more communication with Safety and nickel I want to say and less thinking with corner.

Expand on that.

You listen for the call, there's only a few calls the cornerback has to call.  But really it's just a lot of running, a lot of running and technique. When you get tired you can't lose technique.

So more instinct?

Yes, more instinct. I'm an instinctive player.

What did last season do for you in terms of boosting your confidence, not that it was lacking, but to play at an elite level?

Just being able to play elite wide receivers and being successful in some of those games. Really builds confidence up. Coming off a rookie year being hurt and all that you kinda lose confidence, but I worked real hard, stayed in the film room and tried to build that back up.

Have you played outside on an island before? Did you do it in college at all?

Uh like three games? Well I'm an instinctive player so I get moved to safety because they wanted me to move around the field. But I still play nickel so, basically I can do all three.

When you play that nickel like you were saying, there's so much thinking and you almost have to be like a linebacker too. So you just want to get the regular reps so you don't lost that focus.

Yeah, that's what I was doing today. When I was at minicamp I was running safety and I was running nickel. Now they switched me and I'm running corner and I'm running nickel. So probably next week I might be running safety and I might be running nickel so I feel the coaches are doing a real good job. Whatever positions I'm going to play during training camp to during gametime, I think they are doing a real good job giving me those reps now.

And adding depth to the roster?


You ever played on the defensive line?

Actually I did when I first started playing ball. That was my first position was defensive line.

Were you healthy during the NFL Combine?

That's actually I found out my foot was fractured.

So you didn't run a 40?

Not until my pro day.

If you were going to run one today, what time would you run?

Hopefully 4-40, hopefully faster. I don't know, because I ended up gaining weight around, I want to say the pro day. I put on six, seven, pounds. Coming of Exos, I was running a 4-4 flat, so there's no telling.

You have the speed to be an outside cornerback if need be?

A huh?

That's what I'm asking.

Oh? Yes.

To run with a Torrey Smith or something like that?

Oh yes, I can run with Torrey Smith, Quinton Patton, a lot of guys in the slot. Quick and fast guys. Tavon Austin? He's no slouch.  He's one of the best, I'd say.

So whether you're a safety, in the slot, outside corner. You're going to stay with the same body composition? Same weight? That kind of thing?

I'll probably end up hitting 5 pounds on, but only if I'm comfortable with it. If I don't, I'll lose it and go back to around 192, 193(lbs).

What strikes you the most about Chip Kelly and what he's instilled this offseason?

Basically it's just how fast paced and how we don't have any brakes. You hear the previous coaches say we were going fast but now we really are going fast. Those special teams, everything fast. I really like it because when it comes time for a game, we're going to be so rested and everything is going to move slow.

Nickel plays on the field 65% of the time. Is this moving around and playing all these position an opportunity for you to be one of those guys who plays 100 percent of the snaps?

I think that's exactly why I'm doing it; to get me more reps. More reps on the field and different types of packages we may run.