49ers Select Safety Jimmie Ward – Northern Illinois at 30


The 49ers didn’t move up in the draft to select a wide receiver and didn’t trade out to gain more picks. Baalke stayed put at No. 30 and selected Safety Jimmie Ward out of Northern Illinois.

School: Northern Illinois Experience: Senior
Height: 5-11 Weight: 193
40 Time: 4.47
OverviewStrengthsWeaknessesCompares to
Has a child. Prepped in Alabama. As a true freshman in 2010, he logged 21 tackles, one pass breakup and zero interceptions with one forced fumble and a school-record three blocked punts. Returned a blocked punt 15 yards for a touchdown. Played in all 14 games, seeing extensive action as a backup free safety and on special teams. Registered 100-4-1 with 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack, one forced fumble and one blocked punt (against Army) in 14 games (12 starts at cornerback) in ’11. Led the Huskies in tackles in ’12 after posting 104-11-3 with one tackle for loss and one forced fumble in 13 starts at free safety. Missed the UMass game with sprained A/C joint in his right shoulder. In ’13, logged 95-10-7 with 2.5 tackles for loss, one sack and one forced fumble in 14 starts. Had a 62-yard touchdown return for a score against Purdue. Did not work out at the combine because of a foot injury (medical exclusion).
Intense, active and energetic. Zooms around the field and stands out on tape. Aggressive run supporter — triggers quickly, flies downhill and chops down ball carriers. Breaks on throws and shows short-area burst to close. Has quick hands to snatch interceptions. Confident and energetic. Experienced and productive. Has a 38-inch vertical jump.
Size is just adequate — lacks ideal bulk and is built more like a cornerback than a safety. Bench-pressed 225 pounds just nine times at the combine, second fewest among DBs. Gets snagged on blocks and struggles to disengage. Can be a tick late diagnosing pass, gaining depth and digesting route combos. Lacks elite top-end speed. Inconsistent downfield ball reactions with his back to the throw. Shows lower-body stiffness in space. Could rub some people the wrong way. Has some maturing to do and needs to learn what it means to prepare like a pro.
Glover Quin, Lions – Quin might not be the most popular player in the league but the six-year veteran out of New Mexico has quietly proven a quality starter despite marginal size (6-0, 205).

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