There has been a lot going on at San Francisco 49ers headquarters in the last few days so it’s no surprise that a few things that don’t have anything to do with the draft momentarily fell through the cracks. One matter of slightly lesser priority was making the decision to exercise the 5th year option for Jimmie Ward.
John Lynch admitted in the post draft press conference that when we asked him about it a few days ago, his focus was on the draft and he had no idea about the extension. (I have to admit that the transparency with the new regime is a breath of fresh air.) On Saturday, Lynch said it was looking like they would exercise his option.
The 49ers barely addressed the safety position in the draft. They drafted Adrian Colbert in the seventh round, and while he is listed as a cornerback by NFL.com, Lynch said he is expected to be able to move between corner and safety. Additionally, the 49ers are expected to sign UDFA Lorenzo Jerome from St. Francis (PA).
When Kyle Shanahan was asked about how Ward looked at safety during minicamp he expressed how excited he was.
Yeah, I was real excited what we saw from him in camp. It was the first time I’ve seen him at the safety position and I though he did a very good job. It was just two practices, unpadded but he definitely has the ability and the want to play there. Again that’s not why you go into a draft and say we’re not going to take that position I don’t think we did that with any position. But we’re very excited about him and the possibility of him being a very good safety.
John Lynch said that the final pick of the draft, Adrian Colbert, is a corner but could be a candidate to also play at safety.
We think he has corner versatility as well. He played corner, he did a graduate transfer year at Miami and played corner and played it well. He fits the profile that we’re looking for there but we know he can play safety. We’re going to give him a go, probably at corner first, I don’t want to speak for then coaches but this is what we were thinking when we drafted him and know the he has safety versatility and we believe going to be one heck of a special teams player as well. We’ve seen it as on film and so we were kind of crossing our fingers that he stayed up there and he did and we jumped.
It looks as though Jimmie Ward and Eric Reid’s jobs are relatively secure at this point but Shanahan emphasized the importance to compete:
All the guys we have here, we want here until you can get better.