Photo of Jimmie Ward
Drafted By: 49ers
  • Round 1
  • Pick 30
  • Overall 30

Combine Results

Grade
5.44 ?
  • 9 REPS
    Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"He's a true free safety. The concern is frame (5-foot-11, 193 pounds) and durability is an issue. He can play strong safety, but I worry about his frame over a 16-game season. This is a kid who's a natural center fielder, but he'll move up to make a play (against the run)." -- Mike Mayock

  • 5'11" Height
  • 31" Arm Length
  • 193LBS. Weight
  • 9 3/8" Hands

Overview

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).

Analysis

Strengths

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.

Weaknesses

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.

Draft Projection

Rounds 2-3

Bottom Line

Wiry, active, aggressive strong safety at his best playing downhill and reacting to plays in front him, yet possesses the cover skill to range over the top or lock down defenders in the slot. Ability to stay healthy in the future given lack of size and durability is the biggest concern. A very talented football player who could slide a round or two based on size, medical evaluations and attitude. Can contribute immediately at any safety position and positively affect the game if healthy and focused.
-Nolan Nawrocki
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-8.99 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.50-6.99 Chance to become Pro Bowl-caliber player
6.00-6.49 Should become instant starter
5.50-5.99 Chance to become NFL starter
5.20-5.49 NFL backup or special teams potential
5.01-5.19 Better-than-average chance to make NFL roster
5.00 50-50 Chance to make NFL roster
4.75-4.99 Should be in an NFL training camp
4.50-4.74 Chance to be in an NFL training camp
No Grade Likely needs time in developmental league.

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