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Jimmie Ward: ‘I kind of wanna catch a pick at all three positions’

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The 49ers defensive back will get opportunities all around the secondary.

Jimmie Ward now describes himself as a DB and he is not at all unhappy about playing all three positions. His goal is interceptions at every spot.

Posted by Niners Nation: A San Francisco 49ers Blog on Monday, April 23, 2018

The San Francisco 49ers are moving defensive back Jimmie Ward from safety back to cornerback this offseason, and it sounds like Ward is comfortable with the change. Ward was one of the players available to the media on Monday, and he took some time to talk about the change. You can watch his media session in the video above, or click here.

When asked what position he is playing, Ward said defensive back. He confirmed the move to cornerback, but he also expects to get work at cornerback, nickel back, and safety. He recognizes that injuries happen, and having that kind of versatility can be huge. He pointed to last year’s game against the Indianapolis Colts, saying he played all three positions in that game.

“This one game I had to play nickel, corner, and safety. Two guys went down at corner. KK [K’Waun Williams] kinda got a little banged up and he stayed at slot — and I had to go to corner, nickel, then back to safety. Rashard [Robinson] came back in the game. So right now they’re just really preparing me, just in case. The season is long and guys get banged up. It’s the NFL. So I’m happy to be doing what I’m doing right now.”

Ward has moved all around the 49ers secondary through the first four seasons of his career. His first two seasons, he played nickel back. His third season, he played cornerback. Last season, he moved to free safety. As he prepares for his fifth year, he is excited about the opportunity to play all three positions, going so far as to state a goal related to that.

“I kind of wanna catch a pick at all three positions. I like it. I always dreamed coming in as a college kid, I was just a safety, and I played nickel. I never thought I was going to be playing corner in the NFL. Normally, you play corner when you’re young, and if it doesn’t work out, you move to safety. But I was able to move from safety to corner. There’s not many guys that’s doing that in the NFL.”

Ward has always been the proverbial good soldier with the team, and it is playing out again in his final year. He will be a free agent next spring, and while the 49ers could use the franchise tag on him, odds seem pretty good that won’t happen. I imagine either we see Ward extended, or he walks in free agency. His versatility in a continually growing passing league could help him on the open market. But for now, he’s ready to go to work in Santa Clara.