The San Francisco 49ers cleaned up in the 2014 NFL Draft after enjoying three consecutive seasons of success, 2 of which ended in NFC Championship Game appearances while the third ended in a Super Bowl loss to the Baltimore Ravens. Going into the draft the 49ers suffered from weaknesses in the cornerback, defensive line and wide receiver positions.
Drafting Jimmie Ward in the first round as the 30th overall pick, the Niners filled the gap in the corner back position, but left many fans confused. Ward was considered a safety; a position the team drafted Pro-Bowler Eric Reid for in last year’s draft. What stands out and probably figured into the team’s decision is Ward’s versatility and ability to play in the nickel defense and line up against the slot receiver. His tackling skills, willingness to step up and smash any running back coming out the back field, and 4.43 speed enabling him to play center field doesn’t hurt either.