Strong Safety: Eric Reid
Free Safety: Jimmie Ward
While not quite as glaring, the safety position is another one of intrigue for the Niners this training camp.
San Francisco has two established veterans — Eric Reid and Jimmie Ward — playing the strong and free safety positions, respectively. Yet the challenge is both are changing positions from what they did last year.
Reid bumps down from the free safety spot to strong safety, which should allow him to use his 6-foot-1, 213-pound frame more adequately against the run. Meanwhile, Ward shifts from cornerback to a true center-fielder at the back end of the defense.
“He loves it,” Niners defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley said, via Nick Wagoner of ESPN. “I think you can put Jimmie anywhere, and I think he’d embrace it. That’s just the type of kid and person he is. Great attitude, great work ethic. All he wants to do is win. He just wants to go out there and play and make plays. When we talked about it, he was, ‘Coach, whatever you need.’ That’s the type of guys you want on the team.”
It’s important to note Ward played free safety in college, so this shouldn’t be too unfamiliar.
But both Ward and Reid have dealt with injuries over their respective pro careers — including a camp hamstring injury for Ward — which means a player like undrafted free-agent, Lorenzo Jerome, should be a player to watch in camp.