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49ers secondary tops PFF grades for Broncos game

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It raises some questions about the position, but I’d call them good questions.

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The San Francisco 49ers may not have Jimmie Ward playing safety for the time being, but the team’s duo back there is doing a pretty solid job. Eric Reid and Lorenzo Jerome graded out at Pro Football Focus as the top two players on the 49ers in an ugly preseason loss to the Denver Broncos.

Reid graded out at 87.2, and PFF had this to say: “Reid showed his potential as he was all over the field during his 22 snaps. He recorded three stops and only allowed 11 yards receiving on three receptions.”

Jerome graded out at 86.5, and PFF had this to say: “UDFA safety Lorenzo Jerome made the most of his opportunity against the Broncos. His 86.5 coverage grade was tops on the team, allowing only one reception which was limited to three yards while recording a pass break up.”

The 49ers are in a rather interesting position. Jimmie Ward remains on the PUP list, and Kyle Shanahan has said he hopes the team gets him back this week. He went through conditioning drills on Monday, will go through some more on Tuesday, and the plan is to check him out Wednesday.

Jerome has had a solid camp thus far, but when Ward is back, how will the depth chart shake out? He’ll be making the roster, but one option is to use him in conjunction with Jaquiski Tartt in some of the sub-packages. The other option is moving Ward back to cornerback. Media have discussed it, and Kyle Shanahan was asked if there was any plan to move Ward back to corner. He said, “We’re just trying to get Jimmie back healthy to see if he can play safety right now.”

On the other side of the safety position, Reid is settling in at strong safety, and appears as comfortable as anybody on the roster. He is better as a box safety than playing deep, and we’re seeing how much more comfortable he could be in that role. He is in the final year of his contract, playing out his fifth year option, and he seems in position to have some serious success this year. If he can take advantage of it, maybe we see a contract extension sooner rather than later.