Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

49ers 1st Round Analysis


Jamie Ward played safety in college, but is built more like a cornerback and could feasibly make that transition. The 49ers have a much greater need at cornerback than safety, currently, but Ward provides depth at both. Let’s take a look at some of the aspects surrounding this pick.

The good:

Ward fills a need, big time. He has great innate ball skills and is not afraid to come up and hit someone over the middle. His physical style of play matches well with the NFC West opponents. His 38″ jump should help with his lack of height.

The Problems:

He is pretty slight. At only 5-11 (generously) and 193 pounds, Ward will not be striking fear into anyone with his size as a safety–which is why it seems more likely that he will end up as a corner. Even 49ers.com talks about Jamie Ward as a “Defensive Back” and not a safety.

The Confusing:

Bradley Roby was still available when the 49ers drafted him, and went the next pick to the Broncos. Reminiscent of two years ago, the 49ers went with a seemingly lesser player at a position in need, according to the majority of draft pundits, and frustrated a lot of the fan base. How each player will pan out is yet to be determined, but something must have stood out to them about Jamie Ward that was enough to convince them to draft him relatively high.

What about a trade?

The 49ers never had a good opportunity for a trade. Neither Justin Gilbert nor Odell Beckham Jr fell to a spot that the 49ers could reasonably get to without mortgaging their entire draft. Thus, the 49ers sat put.

The 49ers seemingly could have traded down, though, as the Seahawks did. The compensation the Seahawks got, though, was pretty pitiful (an extra fourth-round pick) and thus not worthwhile. The 49ers made a good decision staying where they were. As for Jamie Ward, time will tell, but I kind of like the pick. I think his demeanor and style of play will help a secondary that has now lost its two biggest hitters and strongest personalities. Ward will bring that swagger back–just hopefully in a way that does not get a bunch of penalties.

Tags: Jamie Ward NFL Draft San Francisco 49ers

  • Hoosgow

    I’ve been to Northern Ill U and believe me it’s nothing like Ohio State. I really think this is another AJ Jenkins pick. I think Baalke wil be looking for a job in a year or two.

    • Douglas Totten

      Well, Jenkins was from a Big Ten school, albeit also in Illinois.
      The other thing about this pick is that Ward actually was expected to go late first, early second. He just had not had the same hype as some of the other players going in this range.
      You are right, it is nothing like Ohio State. Then again, very few programs are. That being said, Khalil Mack is from Buffalo, Joe Staley is from Central Michigan, Colin Kaepernick is from Nevada. . . Point is, your school does not have to be great for you to turn into a great player.

    • Ronald Rupert

      Hey dude, Baalke will not get fired over one bad pick, he didn’t with that AJJ pick, so why should he
      get fired over this pick, the draft is a crap shoot any way, no GM picks perfect all the time.