49ers choose safety Ward in first round of NFL draft

Here is my news story on the 49ers’ first round selection, Jimmie Ward.

SANTA CLARA — The 49ers had clear needs at cornerback and wide receiver coming into the draft. The 49ers chose to address strong safety in Round 1.

With the 30th pick, the 49ers drafted Jimmie Ward, a 5-foot-11, 193-pound strong safety from Northern Illinois University. But he most likely will not play strong safety for the 49ers next season. The 49ers signed 29-year-old strong safety Antoine Bethea to a four-year, $21 million contract on the first day of free agency.

Ward still could play a crucial role as a rookie on the 49ers’ defense.

The 49ers lost their former nickel cornerback, Carlos Rogers, during free agency. He signed with the Oakland Raiders. Ward said he played nickel back about 40 percent of the time at Northern Illinois.

“That is something that we felt he would be really good at, would excel at,” Jim Harbaugh said in the 49ers’ defensive meeting room after Round 1 of the draft. “(Ward) has an instinct for reacting to plays before anybody else sees it. Just a step ahead of the rest of the defense. Covers a lot of ground. Covers up a lot of holes. Has ball skills.”

“Ball skills” means Ward can locate the ball when it’s in the air, and he can catch it once he’s located it. He intercepted seven passes last season. The 49ers’ former strong safety — Donte Whitner — and former nickel back — Rogers — were not known for their “ball skills.” Whitner was a hitter who couldn’t cover. Rogers was a cover man who couldn’t hit or catch.

“We’re very confident in Ward’s cover ability,” said Trent Baalke, “yet very impressed by the way he plays the game physically. He’s a very physical football player. Don’t mistake his size for a lack of toughness. That’s not the case.He’s energetic, he’s got a short memory and he’s a highly competitive man.”

Nickel backs tend to be small and quick, because they cover slot receivers who are small and quick. So nickel backs tend to be poor tacklers. Rogers was a poor tackler. Not Ward. He’s a tackling machine. He had 319 tackles in his four-year college career.

“Those guys need to be able to tackle,” said Baalke, referring to nickel backs. “They need to be able to blitz. They need to be able to hold up in the box. (Ward) has been able to hold up physically. He plays a physical style of football. He also has the rare traits to be able to cover. There is just a lot of versatility to his game. The fact that he can play it physically and play it mentally is extremely important.”

Draft gurus considered Jason Verrett from TCU to be the best nickel back in the draft. The San Diego Chargers took him with the 25th pick. But Verrett is smaller than Ward and had trouble holding up physically in college. That’s a deal-breaker for the Niners. They want a strong, dependable nickel back, like Ward.

“The last two years, our Nickel has been on the field over 60 percent of the time,” Baalke said. “That’s a starter in our opinion. That’s a guy that’s going to get a lot of playing time. He’s going to get an opportunity to compete for that spot.”

Ward suffered a fractured foot bone last season. He can’t compete for any position until doctors clear his surgically repaired foot. “They put a screw in the metatarsal,” Ward said on a conference call with Bay Area reporters. “They took some bone marrow out of my hip and inserted into the crack to help speed up the process.”

Ward says he expects doctors to clear him in the next two or three weeks. Baalke said he expects Ward to be cleared by the start of training camp in late July. As long as he’s cleared before the season starts, he will fill a big need for the 49ers.

This article has 303 Comments

  1. Don’t remember you mentioning he was the 2nd best slot corner option before tonight.

    1. Which leads me to all the TV Programming that leads up to the Draft. The Media spends wayyyy too much time on the Manziels & Clowney’s of the world & not enough on the rest of the Prospects. Especially this Draft where it was known to be the Deepest in years.

      The Draft has become 1 of the Biggest Nights on TV & the Media needs to do a better job of scouting more Prospects.

  2. at times opponents were able to run on the Niners in their Nickel package. Ward should be an upgrade for the Nickel run defense as sort of a “big nickel” back. and maybe allow them to mix in some various blitzes that include the nickel back.

    1. Good Point allforfunnplay . Seattle loved to go Three Wideouts and then crash Marshon up the middle against a nickel defense.

  3. It’s weird how many people on this blog really wanted Mathieu last year and are now mad at the Ward pick. Ward is bigger, faster, and doesn’t have the off field issues that Mathieu has. The best part is that there are still a ton of wide receivers in this draft that they can take in the second either by trading up or waiting. 1/1 for Baalke.

    1. The reactions are understandable. They’ve been hearing for months how the 49ers are going to be agressive in this draft and then on day 1 they sit at 30. Folks wanted a SPLASH! They wanted to win day 1 of the draft and hear about their team on SportsCenter.

      1. I was actually hoping Baalke would stay put, but I didn’t think he would…..

      2. Jack,

        I agree. For some it’s about the splash and name. This was a really good pick for the Niners and as I hoped, it appears they will use most of their picks in the first 3 rounds unless they find somebody willing to give a better pick for next year.

        1. I know! I was hoping they’d move up 20 spots and take Manziel at 10!
          We’d be all over Sportscentre.
          Oh well…..the silver lining is we’re not destroying the franchise, and we’re setting up to consistently challenge for championships. Boring, I know!

  4. So we spent our first round pick for a nickel back? We need a starting corner. Unless they feel Culliver is the answer

    1. I think they feel that protecting the interior against tight ends and slot receivers and defending the run is a higher importance than an outside Corner.

  5. So let me get this straight… With ALL those picks to play with the 9ers stay put and draft a guy who played safety in college but we expect the guy to play nickel corner in the NFL. One reason we draft the guy is because of his durability but he has a broken foot with a pin in it. WTF? I HATE this pick. The kid can’t even spell his own name right.

    1. Actually, you didn’t get it straight.

      He played less than fifty percent of the snaps at safety.
      So it is a bit misleading to say he played safety in college.

      Yes, he did. But he also played slot corner and outside corner.

    2. You’re probably one of the clowns that hated the Aldon Smith pick also. Ward played nickel nearly 50% of the time in college. Why give up multiple picks in a “deep draft” to move up for 1 player, that may or may not turn out? I’m sure they would’ve liked to trade up, but it would’ve just cost too much. With a draft as deep as this one, the value is in having multiple picks in the first 3 rounds, not lumping them all together to move up and get ONE guy.

  6. Is Trent Baalke a one man missionary trying to save college athletes from Illinois by drafting them way too high and moving them to California?

    1. He’s more like a one man middle finger to all the “experts”, pre-draft mock drafters and trade-up scenario spinners.

      It sounds like Ward is just the guy the Niners need.

        1. In the way that he potentially fills their biggest immediate need in the slot while also giving them an eventual replacement for Bethea in a couple years.

          1. Not to mention, if Reid were to go down again, nobody, and I mean nobody wants to see Dahl running out to replace him again….

          2. I didn’t ask you Jack but since you responded let me ask you a question. This guy played in the MAC as a SS and the 9ers are going to use him as a slot cover guy in the NFL. This guy just had bone marrow taken out of his hip and inserted into a broken bone in his foot along with a permanent pin in the same bone. The biggest schools he faced last year were Purdue and Iowa who ranked 84th and 87th in the nation in passing offense. Draft experts list his weaknesses as, “Good but less-than-ideal speed to recover if beaten initially. Gets too grabby once he’s turned around. Leaves his feet to tackle, creating some impressive collisions but occasionally failing to wrap up securely. Misses tackles against the bigger, stronger athletes.” Not sure about you but tackling issues and “less than ideal speed” for a slot cover guy sound like problems to me. The Browns traded #26 for #22 and gave up a 3rd rounder to move up to take Manziel. If the 9ers make that exact move, Darqueze Dennard AND Jason Verrett (who actually did play CB in college) were still available at that point. The 9ers could have offered a much better deal than the Browns and still had tons of picks in the top 3 rounds.

            So given all that, you still think this is a good pick?

            1. Yes. Their need wasn’t for a big outside corner (Dennard) and Verrett is also coming off a surgery. in his case it is a shoulder.

              The description of the player is what it is. For me I like watching film and making my own judgements. I am also a big strength of competition guy, and he did a very good job making plays against Florida State in the Orange Bowl at the end of the 2012 season.

              The only guy I had rated above Ward for the slot was Fuller, and I liked both because they have the potential to fill two roles on the defense.

              1. I understand Ward had 14 tackles and played a decent game against a good opponent. His team gave up almost 300 yards passing and 250 yards rushing in that game. Not sure I want to spend a 1st round pick on a guy coming off a foot surgery who played in the 2nd tier of college football with a plan to move him to a position that he’s never played. Seems more like wishful thinking than talent evaluation.

              2. Houston 9er – if you’re argument against Ward is that he didn’t play CB, then you clearly have not paid attention to Bruce Miller’s career.

                You also, apparently, missed Ward’s conference call in which he estimated that he played slot corner 40% of the time.

              3. Bruce Miller was drafted in the 7th round and he plays FB. The 9ers had opportunities to move up to take players who actually played CB in college 100% of the time. It’s a bad pick.

              4. “with a plan to move him to a position that he’s never played.”

                Houston, this shows how little you know about the player.

              5. “The 9ers had opportunities to move up to take players who actually played CB in college 100% of the time.”

                Fuller and Verrett were the only two players taken before Ward who could play the slot.

                The trade up to get Fuller ended up being too costly as Baalke/Harbaugh mentioned in their presser. Fuller is also a guy who had some injury concerns coming out of Va Tech.

                Verrett was within range for a trade up, but apparently they didn’t value him like others did. And don’t forget, he too is recovering from an offseason surgery.

                Quick question, who did you want them to trade up for?

              6. Oh Really Jack? So Northern Illinois listed him as a Strong Safety in their program. The NFL has “SS” under his name on their Draft Tracker. Wow, Northern Illinois and the NFL should have come to you before they listed him as a Safety since you are apparently omniscient. I know the kid lined up in slot at times at NIU. I also know Julian Peterson lined up at safety and even CB a few times in the NFL. That didn’t make Peterson a DB.

                Ward may make a good slot cover guy. I don’t like the pick where it happened and I don’t like the fact that there were trade opportunities not exercised where the 9ers could have potentially had top end CB’s who’s game would more easily translate to slot cover guy in the NFL. That’s my opinion.

              7. Again, you’re talking without actually knowing what they had the kid do.

              8. I wanted Dennard but not for slot. I wanted a different solution for slot but for Dennard to play straight up CB. Right now the top end for CB on the 9ers roster is Brock, Cook, Cox, Culliver, Wright. I don’t like that mix at all. I’d rather get a guy like Dennard to come in to take the CB spot and then have a position battle for the slot cover guy out of the rest.

              9. “I wanted Dennard”

                No wonder you don’t like the pick. Dennard could be a very good player too. Unfortunately that isn’t the area they had identified as their biggest need.

              10. I don’t like the pick where it happened and I don’t like the fact that there were trade opportunities not exercised where the 9ers could have potentially had top end CB’s who’s game would more easily translate to slot cover guy in the NFL. That’s my opinion.

                It would be nice if that opinion had any basis in fact. You might want to do some research on a player before forming your opinion. What trade opportunities did the 49ers not exercise?

              11. I know exactly what they had the kid do Jack. He played STRONG SAFETY and occassionally dropped down to cover the inside receiver on some spread formations. It’s exactly how the Seahawks use Earl Thomas and the Chiefs use Eric Berry. The difference is that the 9ers apparently are looking at Ward as a pure slot cover guy. You know Jack, you are wrong on this.

              12. I listed out all the reasons above Clawed. Why don’t you try reading before removing all doubt.

              13. C Balls – Great post…….Ward probably would’ve been available for Niners in 2nd round at #56 or even at #61.

              14. Oops, never mind C Balls. I misread your post. I agree with Houston9er. Sorry

              15. So Jack, do you agree that the 9ers biggest need is slot cover guy? If so, who do you project as the 9ers starting CB’s?

              16. Yeah, there’s pressure on Culliver but isn’t that always the case. I mentioned to you before that they know where he is better than we do because the practices and workouts have been closed off.

                From your reports last season prior to the injury it seemed as though he had made some strides in fixing some of the holes in his game.

                And we are talking about only the first pick. They still could very likely grab a guy who will be able to compete for that outside spot.

              17. “If so, who do you project as the 9ers starting CB’s?”

                Brock and Culliver

              18. “The difference is that the 9ers apparently are looking at Ward as a pure slot cover guy.”

                Not quite. Ward potentialy fills the immediate need at slot, with a move to safety to replace Bethea eventually. He needs to put on some weight and get stronger before he can do that.

              19. Do you think Brock and Culliver as your starting CB’s is a good solution for this team?

              20. I know exactly what they had the kid do Jack. He played STRONG SAFETY and occassionally dropped down to cover the inside receiver on some spread formations

                Apparently, you have a unique definition of “occasionally.”

                Ward is expected to enter games when opponents line up three or more wide receivers, a role that veteran Carlos Rogers, now a member of the Raiders, had for the past three seasons. Ward said it was a position he played more than 50 percent of the time at Northern Illinois


              21. “Do you think Brock and Culliver as your starting CB’s is a good solution for this team?”

                Since I’ve already stated a number of times that their biggest need was slot corner the answer should be self explanatory.

              22. So Clawed, you’re saying 50% of the time he played Strong Safety instead of slot cover cb. Wow, this kid will really need to be coached up if he’s moving.

              23. Well Jack, I don’t have your posts memorized. So you’re saying you believe

                Brock -CB
                Ward – Slot CB
                Culliver – CB

                is better than

                Brock – CB
                Culliver/Cox/Wright – Slot CB
                Dennard – CB

                Does that sum it up? I disagree.

              24. I listed out all the reasons above Clawed

                Yes, but you’re either wrong on on the facts or you just made them up to support your hastily formed conclusion.

              25. Wow, this kid will really need to be coached up if he’s moving.

                Yeah, he’s “moving” to a position that he played more than 50% of the time in college.

                Do you always make up your own definitions for words or is it just when you’re scrambling to defend an uninformed opinion?

              26. You didn’t need to memorize my comments. I had typed it to you twice in this thread alone.

                And we are only through day 1 of 3. I don’t think they are completely out of the market for a corner.

              27. Not only are they not out of the CB business but it’s entirely possible that our 2nd or 3rd picks made today is for one.

              28. Jack,

                I read your posts as what the 9ers consider to be their top priority. I was asking about what YOU considered to be the teams top priority. I really dislike the current mix of CB’s on this team. I think, as a tandem, the solution is average to below average at best. Ward may be good as a slot cover guy and he may transition to make a very good safety eventually. I liked Dennard better. I think he is the type of player who can cover man to man and can be taught zone coverages. Man to man skills are much harder to come by in my opinion. I believe Dennard would immediately be a big upgrade over anyone currently on the 9ers roster. I also think Culliver, Cox, or Wright could make a good to very good slot cover guy. I think any one of those guys will end up being a better option at slot in the near term than a rookie who played mostly safety in college.

              29. We’ve got 5 picks today. I’m hoping one of those picks is a solid CB who can compete immediately for playing time.

              30. Clawed, I didn’t make anything up. If he played slot 50% of the time where did he play the other 50%? Look at my post at 7:10AM that explains my reasoning. Why don’t you tell me which of those “facts” I got wrong. This is typical clawed. Jump in to criticize without ever offering your own opinion on what the 9ers should have done. Your an armchair poster without the guts to have an original thought. Why don’t you have a coke and a smile…

              31. Houston:

                Since you asked, your 7:10 am comment displayed an ignorance of Ward’s substantial time playing slot corner. You also emphasized an injury that no one believes will impact his ability to play this season. You focused on a single analyst’s view of Ward’s alleged weaknesses while completely ignoring the numerous reports of Ward’s strengths, strengths that the 49ers can use. It would appear that you hadn’t watched any tape on Ward prior to writing your comment. Finally, you state as fact that Philadelphia would have preferred the 30th pick and the 49ers’ 3rd round pick over the 26th pick and the Browns’ 3rd round pick when you have no idea how the Eagles would have valued such a hypothetical offer.

                As for my being an “armchair poster,” that’s pretty funny coming from a guy who, despite his ignorance of the relevant facts and lack of experience in the business, is absolutely certain that he knows better than one of the most successful GMs in the league.

                I apologize for not valuing uninformed and poorly-reasoned “original thoughts” the same way you do.

                As for smiling, I am. The 49ers’ draft appears to be in capable hands. They added a talented player who appears capable of filling one of their biggest needs and have the ammo to do some real damage in the sweet spot of this draft.

              32. Houston,

                Keep in mind that the Niners had Terrell Brown as a starting CB for the past 3 years. He was a 5th round pick, who was 5″10 and not overly fast. I don’t think the team is as concerned about the CB depth as any of us are. Having said that, they have 5 picks coming today and I would be shocked if one of them isn’t a CB.

                You liked Dennard, I did too, but they got a player they felt fit their scheme and can fill a huge hole immediately. It was a good pick. They will come away with another CB to add to the mix don’t worry.

              33. Clawed, a mental giant you are not. The guy played safety in college. He was used to cover slot receivers in spread formations from the MAC which is not the same as the NFL. He’s not very strong and he has a broken foot. I did not go around watching film of all the players in the draft but after the 9ers selected him I did go watch film and read multiple scouting reports. He may be a good slot cover guy but he went against sub par competition and I think the 9ers would have been better served going after a pure CB. I did not state as fact that Philadelphia would have preferred the 9ers 30 pick and a 3rd rounder. I said, “The 9ers could have offered a much better deal than the Browns and still had tons of picks in the top 3 rounds.” So I realize reading comprehension has been an issue for you for many years but you’ll be better served if you abide by the second part of the smile saying by shutting the …. up.

            2. This guy played in the MAC as a SS and the 9ers are going to use him as a slot cover guy in the NFL…..The biggest schools he faced last year were Purdue and Iowa who ranked 84th and 87th in the nation in passing offense.

              Eased concerns that his stellar play was due in part to questionable competition at the Senior Bowl…Dropped down to cover slot receivers with solid man-to-man skills to handle a similar role in the NFL. -nfldraftscout.com

              Verret and Dennard do not provide run support in the Nickel as well as Ward.

              What separates Ward from other undersized prospects is his versatile skill set and training to play any position in the defensive backfield. His versatility should be highly appealing to NFL teams and may even draw higher grades for Ward than expected. Link nfldraftscout.com

            3. Many of the things you mentioned can be improved with better coaching. And I wouldn’t doubt his speed, ran a 4.4 even with a foot injury. You have to take scouting reports with a grain of salt. You’re going to find weaknesses listed for nearly every single player in the draft, that will turn you off to them.

              And not sure how you don’t see him as a need. He’s probably our starting nickel CB from day one, taking over for Rogers. Nickel CB plays nearly 50% of the snaps, making him essentially a starter. He’s likely an upgrade over Wright and Cox, which are the only other CBs that can play the slot. AND, he probably beats out Dahl and Spillman as the 3rd safety for now. And he can take over for Bethea in 2 years at SS, as he’ll be turning 30 this year. This kid has a lot of versatility, and is an upgrade over Rogers at nickel IMO.

              I mean, it wasn’t like there were obvious alternatives sitting there at #30. I was surprised by the pick at first. But after reading about him and seeing his tape, I can definitely see why Harbaalke liked him.

              1. Yep. He played on special teams at Northern Illinois so replacing Dahl or Spillman is a definite possibility.

          3. AND he has played corner a fair amount and could take over for either Brock or Cullver should that be needed.

        2. Nickel corner. Unlike the guy he’ll be replacing, he can actually make a play for the ball if it’s anywhere near him. Unlike some of our other corners, it sounds like he also knows how to tackle. If he doesn’t just *look at* the receiver catching the ball fall down, get up and waltz into the end zone (looking at you Cullie), he’ll be an immediate upgrade to our back end.

  7. Well it seems like both Harbaugh and Baalke were on the same page with Ward’ selection. I like Ward as well but did not have him going that high.

    Unless the 49ers have their eyes set on a speed WR and quality CB on day two of the draft that can really make a contribution this coming season I would have to give them a C+ on Ward’ selection given the fact that they a lot of cards to deal with to obtain a top 12-20 pick.

  8. Some of you guys above are dumber than a snake in a drain. Blowhard, non-thinkers with really poor reading skills… guy hits hard, loves to ball and is exactly who the Niners need. You dimbulbs would have boo’d the Jerry rice pick.


    1. Agreed.

      Plus, if this truly is one of the deepest drafts ever! why not get players that would be first and second rounders in any other year with your 2nd and 3rd this year.

    2. Ghost,
      Try a little more cream in your coffee (lol).
      I never said that I didn’t like Ward (I do like him), I said that with so many cards on the table (picks) I felt that the 49ers could have traded into the 12-20 picks and picked up a very WR.

      The positive about Ward (which I mentioned) is that both Harbaugh and Baalke really like him.
      Again, I think he could have been picked later but that’s neither here or there now.
      I hope he turns out to be a good player for us.

      For today, I do see the 49ers wheelin’ and dealin’ to get their WR, CB, C, and Return Specialist.
      All good Friday!

        1. I got that Rib, hence my ‘more cream in coffee’ lighthearted comment.
          All good.

      1. AES, although Ghost was replying on your comment, I think his response was directed in general to the armchair naysayers.

        1. I guess that I’m all in for the Ward pick; in that I’ve been bellyaching about the lack of attention paid to ‘small college’ athletes. The lack of name recognition in the draft is due to too many magazine slicks on too few players. HERE is where the rubber hits the road…OK, Mr. Baalke, do your magic…the excitement begins now….

      2. AES,

        The trading up idea has gotten out of hand. A lot of talking heads were basing their belief on the Niners trading up on the fact they had too many picks which is a ridiculous notion to begin with. You never have too many picks, and this year especially is a draft where the 2nd and 3rd round picks have a good chance of netting quality starting caliber players.

        It would have been great to get Kyle Fuller or Odell Beckham, but the cost to do so was prohibitive for the value. Both of these guys are good players, but if you are going to give up valuable picks, then they should be guys you consider to be great players and obviously the Niners didn’t think the asking price equaled the return.

    3. He may turn into a good or great player but the doesn’t change the fact that we overpaid.

    4. @ ghost

      That was Frickin’ Funny!

      Way to lower the Hammer on some of these Numbskulls.

  9. Horrible pick. Not in terms of the qualities of this guy.
    But because we could have picked him later on.
    On top, we should have used some of our picks to trade up.
    I live in Italy and it was very disappointing waking up this morning, eager to find out who’s our pick, hoping it was Dennard or Lee or even Latimore, and discover instead it was a SS with metallic metatarsus, and questionable size that needs to be reconvertede, position-wise.
    I foresee headaches for us, watching our secondary.

    PS: sorry for my unpolished English

    1. I totally agree with you Jone. This guy might be a good player but the 9ers could have traded out of the first round and still had this guy. I don’t like the pick because of the opportunity cost. Also, not a fan of picking a DB in the first round who just had a pin inserted to his foot to fix a broken bone. That has recurring injury written all over it.

      1. @ Houston,

        How about this for some logic before you take your ball & go home…..

        Why don’t we hold judgment until we actually see this guy in action during Pre-Season?

        If Ward falls on his face then we can all come back to this Post & say…

        “You know Houston was right!”

        1. Folsom… You are TOTALLY missing the point of watching the draft at all. Why even televise the thing or pay attention to the picks at all if you can’t be ecstatic or, in my case, pissed off about the picks. In fact, why are you even posting or paying attention if your only going to “hold judgment until we actually see this guy in action.” I fully admit I could be totally wrong but my initial reaction is I hate the pick because of the other possibilities and because the 9ers expended a 1st round pick on a guy that won’t even play his college position in the NFL.

          1. The problem is that you don’t know what the other opportunities were, or how things would’ve played out. You don’t know IF we even could trade up for Dennard, and even if we could’ve, how much would it have cost? Is Dennard worth an extra 2nd round pick – because a 3rd may not have been enough. Without knowing all the variables, it’s hard to say “we should’ve done this instead”.

            And if Ward was the top player on their board at 30, there’s no guarantee that he would’ve been there if we traded back to 37 or whatever. Some mocks had him going in the early 30’s. I just think that he was kind’ve an under-the-radar type of guy, and didn’t have the name recognition because Mike Mayock didn’t cover him as much prior to the draft.

            Beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Each time is looking for different characteristics or traits from every position on their team. I firmly believe they tried to trade up, but it just wasn’t worth the cost. If they like Ward enough at 30, to not risk trading back, then I think they should get the benefit of the doubt. We don’t know what trade-back offers they turned down, or what the steep cost would’ve been to move up. Or who knows – maybe they just wanted a big bodied CB like Stanley Jean-Baptise or Pierre Desir, and knew they could’ve waited until round 2.

            So I think it’s dump to complain and say we should’ve traded up or traded down, because as fans – we have absolutely no idea if there was an opportunity available, and how much it would’ve even cost. I like the fact that we still have all our 2nd and 3rd rounders, and now can make a big move up in the 2nd round if we like someone.

            1. Dan,

              Everything you wrote is true. BUT we can judge the woulda, coulda, shoulda, by what actually did happen. Cleveland traded up 4 spots and gave up a 3rd to do it. If that was available to Cleveland, the 9ers in my opinion could have offered an even better deal for that pick and had Dennard who I consider to be a better player.

          2. Houston, you seem to be in a tizzy that the entertainment value of the Draft’s 1’st round let you down…maybe you spent too much on lubriderm and kleenex….

            1. I’ll give you credit for a good line Jimmie. But all the good will is immediately wiped away by you misspelling your name…. Unless of course, you’re a chick.

    2. Many souts had him rated top 35 he was not going to be there when we drafted in the second round.

      1. Many scouts had M.Lee as 2-3 best WR in the draft and now he’s slipped into the second day.

        Scouts, smouts :)
        You just never know until the player gets on the field.
        I like Lee a lot, and hope the 49ers feel the same.

      2. maybe they should have made another pick at 30 and traded up in the 2nd to get Ward?

    3. Jone,
      Italy is on my bucket list to visit one day. Love it’s natural beauty and culture.
      But back to football.

      It wouldn’t surprise me to see the 49ers deal (like they did for Kap) to move up for Lee or Latimore.
      Other good WR’ on the board: Jordan Matthews, Paul Richardson, Allen Robertson, Matavis Bryant just to name some 2-3 tier WR’s.

    4. How does anybody know they could have had Ward later? We must have some Clairvoyant fans on here.

      If you guys actually take the time to read the reactions to the pick, you will see that the majority feel it was not only a great pick, but that Ward could become the best player of the Safety class in general. He is not just a S though and that is where he becomes even more valuable. He is an excellent Slot cover guy and that is exactly where they will play him this season. Instead of getting upset that a name you liked didn’t get called, do some research on the player you don’t know and see what others are saying about him.

    5. ‘I live in Italy and it was very disappointing waking up this morning, eager to find out who’s our pick, hoping it was Dennard or Lee or even Latimore.’
      Wow! The timezone difference between Italy and the United States must be huge!
      We drafted Lattimore like 54 weeks ago…

  10. Baalke has proven he can evaluate and draft defensive players. So if they really liked ward then maybe he’ll work out. Still a head scratcher to me. Let’s shoot for Lee or Matthews today.

    1. Watch some film Adam, this kid is good! I have watched several games now and he has not had one bad game, I have a feeling he will be a corner in the nfl but he was so tough and fast niu coaches used him like another lb that could Rome all over the place. I personally hated the aldon smith pick talking pure talent but he makes a difference when he is on the field, this kid from niu has no off field problems I can see.

  11. The only other DB they could have taken at pick 30 was Bradley Roby, but with his off field issues, the Niners would have been blasted about the pick. This guy is a “football player” and should be a very solid long term answer for them at both slot and safety when Bethea is gone.

    1. This kid is better then roby, roby slips and gets pushed around. This kid does not.

  12. I don’t see what the big deal is. The kid is a gamer and if I remember correctly he is the same player cully is but with better ball skill. Everyone forgets that cully was a free safety in college also but was able to play every position in the backfield. You just know that they are going to use him in similar fashion. So kudos on this pick cause u don’t wait on a player who could have a major impact on your team. Can we now cut Dahl.

  13. As the saying goes, act like and listen to the fans, you’ll soon be sitting with the fans.

    1. Tell that to the owner of the Browns… Lol. Sal Pal told a story this morning about how the owner of the browns said he was convinced to pick Manziel by a hobo. Good luck Cleveland.

  14. I complained last season with moving up to get Reed, was dead wrong with that pick, this kid looks like a winner Mel Kiper and Gruden both love the kid and also two scouts who are not employed by the Niners. I like the pick.

  15. Grant I’m confused I woke up early this morn and bought the Press Democrat. I read your dad’s column. Then I got on line to read your reaction to the 9ers pick. I expected you to agree lock step with your dad [you do that far too much, sometimes it seems you don’t develop your own opinions] To my surprise your post was close to identical to your dad’s column. Who wrote this post you or your dad? Grant you need to pull away from your dad professionally, that doesn’t mean don’t listen to his advice but on a day to day basis write your posts without even knowing his opinion on the subject. I mean no offense here, I was just shocked this morn.

  16. Grant,
    Great job on your write up!

    Houston, I was stunned when Goodell called Ward’s name. I knew Ward was a strong safety, and I knew we had just signed a very good strong safety to a 4 year deal to replace Donte Whitner, so I too was thinking, WTF? I was really hoping the Niners were going to pull off a trade with the Ravens, or another team picking after #17, to move up and pick Darqueze Dennard and I was really surprised he was still on the board at #24. I wish the Niners had swung a trade to land Dennard, but I assume the trade costs were just too high. Once I realized we were going to stay put at # 30 I hoped we would pick Cody Latimer or Marquise Lee. I knew alot of football sites had Ward ranked as the 3rd best safety in the draft, but again I thought WTF? We don’t need another safety! But I spent a couple hours researching Wards career and I now think the Niners made a sound choice for their position at 30. I think Ward’s going to be a really good nickel corner for the Niners, but I worry about him getting injured. I hope he puts on another 15 pounds of muscle in the Niners weight room. I hope Baalke uses some of his draft capital to move up tonight and get Stanley Jean Baptiste and Cody Latimer! Go Niners!

    1. See my post above. Browns traded the #26 pick for the #22 pick and gave up a 3rd rounder for Manziel. The 9ers could have made a better offer to swap their #30 pick and a 3rd or even 2nd rounder and moved up to take Dennard or Verrett. Opportunity lost as far as I’m concerned.

      1. Houston, who knows if the eagles were willing to accept #30 and a 3rd rounder for #22? Its more likely they were not, and I’m going to give Baalke the benefit of doubt that he tried to trade and the cost was prohibitive. Remember, we’ve had some pretty good 3rd rounders on Baalkes watch, ie; Navarro Bowman. Don’t discount the value of three 3rd round picks too easily!

      2. I like Dennard, but I don’t think Verrett is a fit at all. He’s like 5’8 and would get bullied around in the NFC West. Couldn’t imagine him trying to tackle Marshawn Lynch on 3rd down, once we’re in the nickel package. And a trade up for Verrett? NO THANKS!

        Perhaps, just perhaps, the 49ers didn’t think Dennard + a 2nd round pick was better value than Jimmie Ward. IMO, I’d rather keep that 2nd rounder and use it to get our WR or even a bigger CB such as Baptiste. And who knows – maybe the team is high on Culliver as a potential long-term starter at #2 CB. I could understand your frustration if Dennard was there at 30, but I think many of us would’ve been upset if we would’ve had to use a 2nd to move up 5 picks or whatever to get Dennard.

        1. It probably would have cost the 49ers their first and fourth round pick to move up to No.23.

      3. Any couch fan can follow the media and their pre-draft projections and believe that this qualifies them to know whether or not to love or “hate the pick.” But unfortunately, that’s merely the lowest common denominator in this situation. And if you enjoy doing this, by all means, throw darts blindfolded for all I care. But you are going to look awfully foolish when this guy puts the pads on.

    2. Jimmy Ward is a solid pick, my hope is we are more aggressive tonight. Further I admit disappointment at the pass on Marqise at that slot but I am not as expert as the guys paid to be GM’s obviously.If Seattle takes Marqise Lee next round I will be officially b**t hurt in true fan style however.

  17. So what, you want Grant to write a post and not be honest about it because he is in agreement with his dad? Don’t we always complain about Grant writing to stir the pot and not writing in reality? I’m sorry but your post above is just dumb. Grant shouldn’t change his opinion because he agrees with his dad. He should write how he feels and not what those around him feel. If he doesn’t he may turn into Skip Bayless.

    1. Dude i do’nt want Grant to change his opinion, I want him to HAVE an opinion. Read L.C. column this morn and you might understand where i’m coming from.

  18. Ward is a good player who I’ve had my eye on since January. So what’s the problem with him? Nothing. IMO the complaints aren’t about him but where Baalke drafted him, and that’s based on expectations of readers of commercial media. Yes, early on I saw lots who had him rated 50-65 overall, but is that written in stone? Does that mean Baalke or other GMs agreed? Then by last week there was quite a buzz building with Kiper and McShay and others suggesting around 35. At that point I figured SF would have to trade up in the second to get him. So Trent grabs him at 30.
    The medical issues were researched I’m sure. Some fans are still flinching from the Jenkins fail.

    1. That’s it Brotha. If the 49ers don’t get a guy that was a consensus top 15 to 20 pick according to media outlets then it is deemed a failure. Craziness. A lot of draft gurus had this kid rated highly, many saying that with his skills people should not be surprised to see him go in round 1. And yet…

  19. Think of the NFL draft as the inverse of the stock market. You try to buy as high as possible. Ill bet we could have drafted this guy at 56, 61 or perhaps 77. I think we would be in a better position if we drafted M Lee yesterday and Ward at some point today.

    1. There’s been speculation that Seattle, who also need a nickel corner, would have grabbed Ward at 32 if the Niners passed on him. It makes sense too, since they bailed out of the round shortly after our pick. So no, I don’t think Ward would be available at 56.

      1. Seattle was going to trade out of the first regardless. Ill bet their first 3 picks are WR, TE, DL/DT and not slot corner. Show me a mock with Ward taken before pick 75.

        Baalke overpaid like last year with Vance Macdonald or the year before with AJJ .

            1. Rollo:

              Actually, the site is run by Rob Rang.

              The 4 draft analysts at cbssports (Rang, Brugler, Prisco, Kirwan) predicted that Ward would be drafted 30th, 17th, 37th and 17th, respectively.

              I know you only asked for one, but that’s four mocks on one site showing Ward drafted before 40, let alone before 75. I’m sure if you bothered to do the work to inform yourself of relevant facts, you’d find more.

              Congratulations, you have reached the Houston 9er level of uninformed strong opinions. You must be proud.

              1. My mistake. i still think it would have been wiser to take a wr at 30 and then ward later or better yet trade up for dennard /verrett and wr today.

                We’ll see how things shake out.

              2. Rollo:

                Sorry for overreacting. I tend to get annoyed when laypeople hold themselves out as knowing more than successful professionals who do this for a living. The simple fact is that we’re not as plugged in as Baalke is, and I think he has demonstrated an ability to accurately target where a player can be drafted.

              3. @CB

                Baalke has made some great picks and a few blunders. The guy is not fool proof.

        1. Show me a mock where eric hebron goes in the top 10? Mock shmock the price of being wrong is too high. If they wanted him and tried to be too cute and trade back he might not have been there (and why would they trade back they dont need any more extra picks) Ward was the last person with a 1st rd grade left on the 9ers board so rather than trade back they took him

            1. Rolo
              It was, Where AJJ was picked wasn’t the problem AJJ sucking was the problem. Our distaste for AJJ stems from our ability to have chosen hill or randle with that pick instead not that we drafted AJJ too early i wouldnt want AJJ in the 6th 8th or the 42 rd he plain sucks. No one here is saying that ward sucks simply that we picked him 7-10 spots too high

              1. That was my initial point. We could have drafted ward later in the 2nd and addressed other needs with 1:30.

              2. Rollo
                My point was that “we could have drafted ward later in the 2nd” is not a concrete statement. We Could have or just as likely he Could have been gone, and if we targeted him as the best player on the board its not worth the risk (of loosing him to another team) just to get an extra 3rd or 4th rd pick (of which we already have plenty of) just so you can feel a little more content that the 36th best player was drafted in slot 36 and not slot 30

                To recap: IMO the certainty of getting the player you want is worth more than drafting that player in a comprable draft slot. Id rather draft a guy 10 spots too soon than loose him to someone else

  20. “Ward showed he had the mental toughness for the NFL when he ran for scouts with a broken foot, which is expected to be completely healed by training camp. Ward posted a 4.48 40-time on a bad wheel. That made Baalke smile.” ESPN

  21. I hope the niners pick up one more corner in the next two rounds. This would allow them to potentially field a defense with 2 safeties that can cover a lot of ground. With some decent cover corners and that front seven, they could make it really hard on third and long situations.

    With Bowman out we could also use some help on the back end covering the TE’s.

  22. Man, you guys crack me up. Draft a starter instead of a backup safety? He’s going to start on special teams and nickel. The nickel is on the field 60% of the time! that’s a starter.
    We needed a corner? He played all over, including starting at corner in his college career.
    This foot injury is fine, crabs had no recurring problem
    My only concern is strength. 9 reps. Looooowwww. I can do that.

  23. Earl Thomas had at least 20 reps on the bench, as opposed to 8? for Ward…..He’s going to need to listen to Mr. Uyeyama and work extremely hard to double that upper body strength.

    1. That’s for sure. Good job of being on this guy ahead of everyone else.

  24. Ward was just fine where the Niners picked him. If they really wanted Verrett, they would have traded up, above San Diego to get him. They have plenty of ammo and Baalke has shown in the past that he isn’t squeamish about giving up picks to move up. I don’t think they were that high on Verrett. Roby was to be avoided at all costs.

    If they had traded down and they really wanted to get him, it would have been a gamble, because what if they did, got an extra pick and he wasn’t there when they could pick him?

    They targeted their guy and got him.

    He’s a need/value pick and teams don’t often get to choose that kind of pick.

    Well done.

  25. I may have overreacted a bit last night saying Ward sucks. He does not suck but picking him in the first round sucked. On the film I’ve seen, Ward has his back turned to the ball too often. Elite QB’s will pick him apart unless he improves in that area. He tackles a little high at times also. Face reality people, if Jimmie hits Marshawn Lynch high, he’s gonna get knocked the _ _ _ _ out!…. We’re trying to beat Seattle….It’s all about Seattle.

    Ward may have dropped to Niners in the 3rd round.
    With 11 draft picks and maybe 5-6 roster spots available, not moving up to grab an immediate (full time) starter was a failure. Maybe Baalke will redeem himself today and package some picks for another 2nd round pick.

    1. I sincerely doubt Ward would have lasted until the 3rd. Before we drafted him, I honestly thought he would be a high/mid 2nd at worst.

      1. Nolan Nawrocki (Pro Football Weekly, NFL.com) had Ward being selected in the fourth or fifth round.

        1. Now you know to disregard Nolan. The lowest most folks rated him was late second.

        2. I see that Nawrocki upgraded Jimmie Ward’s projection from a 4-5 round pick to a 2-3 round pick in his latest NFL.com projections……I feel so much better about Jimmie now.

        3. Wait people actually read Nawrocki non-ironically? Who knew. Sad you trust Nawrocki over a guy like Baalke who has quite the success record with defensive backs.

    2. Oh, and he’ll have a MUCH better/longer career than Roby. I guarantee it. 49er fans don’t realize how big of a bullet we dodged there. I’m so happy that Baalke and the guys knew better than to draft that bum.

        1. no but if he tried he would probably slip on the sheets while getting in to bed. he got torched by crappy big 10 receivers and the only reason he was this high a pick is because of the underwear olympics. his film sucked

            1. Razor
              While faaaaar from a draftnick i’m a buckeyes fan and happened to see the last two years of his. coming off a dynamite sophomore year he was vastly underwhelming and had it not been for his impressive measurables his film alone didnt merrit a 1st rd selection IMO

    3. Crabs
      I disagree, my friend. Ward doesn’t get past 40. Matt M wrote that Baalke wasn’t that enamored with any of the 1st round CBs. I don’t know what his hesitation was with Dennard, but he fell further than predicted. With Verrett it was likely Trent’s Short People bias. Also, we don’t know what other teams were asking nor whether or not they wanted to trade down. Maybe Baltimore & Philly liked the choices of staying pat. SD wasn’t going trade back.

  26. After initially being against the pick i slept on it and am now coming around (or being influenced by the positive press surounding this choice, depending how you look at it). We could have taken the 6th best receiver or the 5th best corner but we instead opted for the 4th best safety. The fact that he plays nickel will allow this to be both a now (nickel cb) pick and a latter (eventual replacement at S) pick.
    Not going to lie when Denard was still there at 24 I wanted them to move up and try to draft him but that would not have solved out nickel issues. Drafting Roby was the only other choice (if we didnt move up) and im glad that we didnt. between his off field issues and his inconsistency on it i think ward is a safer pick if not necesarily as high an upside. I think it sucks that 12 of the 29 picks before our were at our positions of need (5wr 4 cb 3s) but in a deep draft such as this we can hope to get any of the 6 highly rated WR in the 2nd rd
    Now that we are here I actually like what we have going. by having 5 picks today (and another 5 we can package) we can move around in the 2nd and 3rd and target the players we want like Lattimer or Mathews.
    If we can grab breeland or jean baptiste or even desir in the 2nd its BPA rest of the way

    1. BOS 49er

      I am in total agreement with you….some of the candy is gone, but there’s still a lot left. Some players in the 7th round will be starting next year

      1. Oregon
        The more I think about it the more I like our predicament. The consensus was that after watkins and evans the next bunch of WR were clumped in to one big group with their ratings so a guy who went 12 OBJ is rated similarly (in the eye of the beholder) to guys still left on the board like mathews, lee and lattimer. Once the top 2 were gone it was stupid to move up just to get a player you could have later (and since ur not tasrgeting a specific player like ward u dont have to worry about him being gone as the next guy up is probably just as good). So now the 9ers can pick which one of the WR left they like the best and move the 10-15 spots (or whatever number is necesary) using their 4th-7th picks as curency. and they can do the same thing with CB. swap their 2nd to move up to grab a guy they want whether that be desir mcgill, baptiste or breland and end up with 3 of the top 60 players in the entire draft.
        Moving around in the 1st rd is too costly but in the 2nd and 3rd its much more affordable and the calliber of player (especially in this deep draft) is almost the same

  27. Lol, the poll question needed an “other” option for anyone to get it right. But that about spells out TB’s recent draft pick history. There were 16 names up there and none of them were right.

  28. Like Ward. However the opportunity cost is high. I think they could have moved up to grab Denard AND still had Ward in the second. Then target your WRers in the 2nd/3rd. What will really piss me off is if they hold all their picks.

  29. On a side note, im glad that we didnt go with OBJ. He might be dynamic and i wish him all the best but I saw the 8 reps of 225 and thought AJJ all over again.

  30. Report: Texans fielding calls for No. 33 pick…..

    ESPN’s Adam Schefter reports the Texans are fielding calls and are willing to trade the No. 33 overall pick.

    The Texans are back on the clock and just like they were with the No. 1 overall pick, they’re willing to deal down and pick up extra selections. Houston may be eyeing a quarterback on Friday, but if they feel one isn’t worthy of the top pick in the second round they could move back. Notre Dame NT Louis Nix is Rotoworld draft guru Josh Norris’ best player available and could even be a fit in Houston with Jerrell Powe atop the depth chart at nose tackle. A team interested in WR Marqise Lee could also move up to 33.


  31. Great pick! Fills biggest need, great tape, led nation in INT’s, tackling machine, quick twitch and loose hips (smooth), ran a 4.47 on a bad wheel, and dominated his level of competition (same conference as Staley played in). Everyone criticized Reid pick and he just ended up making Pro Bowl. Baalke is a step ahead of the pack.

  32. What will Baalke do this evening? Surely he’ll make some moves with the capital he has remaining……

    1. In that order?

      Latimer/Breeland/Attaochu would make me a happy man…..

        1. Lee will be gone before they pick. Matthews/Robinson aren’t my guys but they certainly are capable…..

          1. I’m loving the thought of getting Breeland and Attaochu…do you think they would have to move up to get them?

            They now have a lot more capital to move up anywhere in the 2nd and 3rd….I’m thinking there’s no way they stay with the current picks. I’m really hoping for Lee, but they would likely have to trade up to top 5 to get him.

            I also see us trading quite a bit for future picks.

      1. I wasn’t listing order but if so I’d swap the LB, CB pick. You know why ;)

  33. Out of 16 players in Grant’s poll question (Who should the 49ers draft with their first pick?), I don’t see Jimmie Ward’s name…..That’s all I need to know.

    1. Love ya man but you’re really starting to sound like you’re throwing a tantrum. Let it go already and move on. There is nothing you can do to change it so stop letting it eat you up inside.

      1. CFC – For YOU only…..Just YOU, I’ll turn the page on my Jim Ward disappointment.

        1. I was just about to come here and tell you to not listen to me because I still haven’t stopped harping on Kaepernick choking so I’m the last person that should be telling others to relax on being critical.

          With that said, you are one of the sunny and funnies around here and I need your positive attitude and sense of humor to offset by black cold cynicism.

          1. Closer – It’s all good…..I do think of you every time my wife wears the Kap jersey I bought her for Christmas. :) …..Damn chicks look so sexy in those Niner jerseys……actually any NFL jersey.

    2. I hear you Crabs…I think we all just got hyped up believing we were going to be making a big move in the 1st, but it didn’t happen. And I’m with you, Ward is a very good solid pick for the 30th, but he’s not what we all expected.

      Maybe that will teach us to buy into the hype.

  34. I think the Bills paid to much for Watkins and will ultimately regret it. They are not a team that can afford to be giving away first round picks and even if Watkins is a pro bowler he still wont fix the other glaring holes the team has. Browns would have been foolish to have not taken the deal.

    1. CFC – I agree…….Hey what’s your opinion of Jerry Jones drafting an offensive tackle rather than trying to improve his horrific defense? With no DeMarcus Ware now.

      1. The draft is weak on DL and 4-3 OLB’s so they needed to grab one or they need to move up early today and grab one. I was shocked to see Shazier not only go that early but go to a 3-4 team, I think he’ll fail there.

        I think it’s totally possible that the Cowgirls were going to draft Shazier themselves but had him snatched away at the last second. I think that could explain why they took the whole clock to draft a tackle, they were scrambling a little bit after losing their player the pick before.

        I have to think it’s sign of progression that the Cowboys have use their past two first round picks on offensive lineman even if both ultimately are questioned when made.

        1. Coffee,

          do you remember our conversation earlier yesterday when I speculated that Shazier might work for a classic 2 gap front line 3-4 team like the Steelers who have a recent history of undersized OLBs? I was totally spit balling…but I guess I something I said made some sense.

          1. I remember also disagreeing and thinking he’s still better suited for a 4-3. Neither of our opinions have changed it seems ;)

            1. he’d work in some 4-3’s just fine. the key is that he has to be protected. teams that have gap eating defensive linemen would work for him. 2 gap 3-4 team and certain 4-3 under schemes (which have space a space eating DT and End like the Seahawks).

        2. I think there is still some good defensive talent that the Cowboys could go after in rounds 2-3. Nix, Kony Ealy or DeMarcus Lawrence could add a lot to the Cowboy’s defense.

          Jerry Jones going with the safe and sound lineman pick and not the splash pick along with building his lines…..Jones playing patient and prudent is something new and could work.

  35. I know I keep hearing Carlos Rogers’ replacement when talking Ward. Does anyone think he has the potential to stay on the field and moves to the outside against regular 2 receiver sets like Rogers did? Or is he strictly only for nickel use?

    I’m still concerned about our outside corner opposite Brock. I’m hoping its addressed tomorrow with a McGill or Breeland. But if we can trade up Lee, I will be a happy camper.

    1. He might have the potential but he doesn’t have the physique.

    2. it’s an interesting question that is linked to the defensive scheme. there is some speculation that the Niners may utilize more press coverage which I think would fit Ward better if he played Corner. He can play deep zone but not off man.

    3. Leo,

      I see no reason why not. He’s actually a good size for a CB at 5″11 193lbs. Personally I think they will use him as the slot guy and eventually move him to an Earl Thomas type role down the line.

      Some are focusing too much on the SS designation next to his name. NIU actually moved him around all over the secondary and his biggest strength is coverage. He could become a CB full time if they want to go that direction.

  36. From everything i’ve heard last night and today Ward would’nt have lasted past pick #35 so the 9ers were very limited in any trade back senarios. So if he was Baalke\Harbaughs chioce i think they had to go for it. His ability to support in the run game out of the slot corner i believe is the reason they chose him over my draft crush Verrett.

    1. Got to have a guy who can cover and take on the run when you’re playing around the line of scrimmage…..

  37. Watched a lot of TV and their Mocks. Looked at a lot of online Mock sites. Looked at Fan Sites with their Mocks. At #30, after seeing at least 20-30 possibilties strewn about for this pick, not once did I see, Jimmie Ward for this 49er pick. Just Mocking.

  38. Over/Under: Chris Culliver plays 12.5 regular season games next season.

            1. Very. Although the commisioner could issue a suspension prior to the case being resolved he almost never has.

              1. Alfonso Denard had a felony A+B PO and served 30 days in jail and i dont believe the league disciplined him yet

      1. Given the CB’s on our team I’ll repeat my answer, anything less then 19 games is a problem because who would we replace them with?

    1. I’d say over. The charges likely won’t be heard for months, and Culliver has had a clean record up until now so no reason for the league to suspend him. If he’s healthy he’ll play the whole season imo.

  39. Looking over the 1st Round I see plenty of picks that could have been too high for a player; in my opinion. I’m pretty sure those GMs aren’t losing any sleep over my views. Here’s choices that I think we’re too high or a bit too high:

    1. Ebron to the Lions made a lot of sense to me. They were rumored to be coveting Evans and Ebron gives them a similar athlete.

      1. yeah but many wondered why they didn’t help fortify their defense? was their not a defensive pick at a position of need available to them or did they just want to turn up their already potent offense even more. ie…help your defense by scoring more points?

    2. Tuna – Bottles?…..You have happy hour on your mind, don’t you? :) …You carry that man card proudly pal. TGIF!!!

    3. i mostly agree with your list. i think Jacksonville probably wanted to trade down and still get Bortles, my guess would be in 8-10 range but didn’t get what they were asking and may have been scared that Oakland might have snatched him at 5.

      Barr I thought was a big reach by the Vikings. I think he’s too undersized to be nothing more than a pass rush specialist at this point (and may develop more), which is too high for that pick. I think Barr is closer to Bruce Irvin than Aldon Smith. Irvin had to move to SAM linebacker in the base defense because he couldn’t handle being an everydown End.

  40. Grant do you still have your original grades for the 2011 draft?

  41. The #9 to #4 pick is a 450 point swing but the Bills gave up a #1(The lowest round one point value is 590) plus a 4th rounder which we’ll just asses at about 65 points. So they gave up 655 points for a 450 point move.

    They gave up 200 points more then they should have which is equivalent to a second round pick. So another way of looking at it is to say that Buffalo gave up a 1st a 2nd and a 4th to move 5 spots.

    Bad bad move Buffalo.

    1. I forgot to add that I only gave the lowest possible value for that first round pick. If the Bills end up with a similar record next year as this then that first round pick they gave up will be worth 1300 points instead of 590.

      Might be one of the worst value trades I’ve seen in awhile.

  42. We could move from #56 to #33 with our #77 maybe alone or coupled with a 5th or 6th rounder.

  43. Her’s a blast from the past for all yee nay sayers;
    CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco: “Passing on Blaine Gabbert and then trading up to get Colin Kaepernick (was a questionable move). They will now be linked together in 49ers draft history… They better hope… Kaepernick is better than the QBs taken ahead of him. That was risky passing on a quarterback at No. 7.”

    1. Dee,
      I read that comment not long ago. It’s ironic that now Gabbert is Keap’ back-up.

      This type of analysis could certainly disprove that the football talking heads know it all.

  44. I get the feeling teams will demand a big price to trade into 33-39. There’s lots of first round talent to be had. Just a hunch. Maybe the big surprise of this draft is the 49ers using all six picks in rounds 1-3.

    1. I think the key will be Carr and the Texans. The Texans need a QB for the future and Carr is the next QB on most boards. But could the Texans take David Carr’s brother (which would be funny!) or will other teams try to aggressively trade up if the Texans don’t take him?

      You might see some action for Lee too.

      1. Far and away the most accurate and cognizant thing that Marshall Faulk said on the broadcast last night is when laughed at Eisen for suggesting that the Texans would take Carr. I don’t think the front office in Houston is willing or ready for the back lash they would receive if they drafted Carr.

        It would be like the 49ers drafting Alex Smith’s little brother, how well do you think that would go over?

        1. it’d go over better than Carr being drafted by the Texans. At least Alex left as a successful (if not overly conservative) quarterback for the Niners. Funny, I can’t remember which former executive or coach of the Texans recently said that they acknowledge how wrong it was to force David Carr into the starting line up of the expansion team Texans from the beginning of his career. you could see and hear the guilt and regret on his face.

          Still, should the GM bend to public/fan opinion or stick to his board (which probably has Carr as the highest rated QB available)?

          1. it’d go over better than Carr being drafted by the Texans.

            1. i don’t think anyone (except maybe Grant) has him rated above Carr.

              here’s an interesting article about Bill O’Brien and his offense and QBs in the draft. the most important skills for him in a QB are accuracy and intelligence…though he may have been spoiled by having Tom Brady.

              Number one, and don’t laugh, they’ve got to be able to throw the ball accurately. In my opinion they don’t have to be the greatest athletes in the world. If they are, that’s fantastic, there’s a really great example of guys that are great athletes that are really good quarterbacks in the National Football League right now – Kaepernick, Russell Wilson, RG3. Those three guys can throw the football. Remember that first, they’re accurate passers. So they have to be able to throw.

              He has to have a great football IQ. And if he doesn’t, if he can’t learn it, then he should play another position. I’m telling you, because nowadays that guy once he’s out on the field has got to be like a coach on the field. He has to understand what you want, how you want to attack the defense, and he’s got to understand football. In order to do it, he’s got to put work in.”

              “When you break the huddle at quarterback, you have to think high to low. You can’t think low to high. I don’t care if it’s a run or a pass. Train your quarterback [when he breaks the huddle] to say ‘Where are the safeties?’ Find the safeties. I always tell the kid to find the weak safety, find the strong safety. Just train the kid to find the safeties.

              Corners, you guys all know the corners on your team. They’re the sneaky dudes, man. They’re the guys, they got a lot of bravado, and they’re confident, and they’re the ones that can lie to you. Them safeties, those are the guys that direct the show back there. They can lie to you too, don’t get me wrong, but you’ve got to locate them because whether it’s pre-snap or post-snap, they’re going to tell you about what the defense is doing.

              So here’s what we say. I’m just talking about two high right now, but if the safeties are twelve yards deep and they’re somewhat off the hash, more than likely they’re playing cover two. If they’re eight to ten yards deep and they’re over your number two receivers, more than likely they’re playing cover four. If they’re under eight yards, those two safeties, and maybe the weak safety is cheating to number three or maybe he’s over number two weak. If they’re under eight yards or they’re hovering in that shallow area, something’s up…it’s blitz zero – especially if it’s empty.”

              “[If] we put the running back out there as the widest receiver and the corner just bumps out, well, you know it’s zone coverage. If you get empty and you put the back out there on one side or the other as the widest receiver and a linebacker goes out there with him, it’s some type of man coverage. If a safety goes out there with him, it’s some type of man coverage and it’s probably blitz so that they leave the linebackers in the box because they’re going to blitz him. ”

              “Whether it’s high school, college, or even the pros, you have to make sure that you have like five or six base concepts, and in those five or six base concepts you’ve got to be able to move people around. So you have to have different personnel groups in my opinion. So your backs, who are your best pass receiving backs? Who are your best pass receiving tight ends? Who are your quicker receivers?

              But we’ve got to have about five or six concepts where the guys can move around within the concept and know what to do. Don’t worry about figuring out how we call routes, just know that we call a route at Penn State from the strength of the formation to the weak side of the formation.”

              The Bill O’Brien Prototype: What Houston’s New Head Honcho Expects From His Quarterback

  45. So the 9ers have 6 picks in the first 2 days of the draft. How many of those guys don’t make the team?

    1. They’ll all make the team Houston. The guys who may not make it are those taken in the 7th round which is always the case with many teams.

    1. I don’t see the league suspending Culliver. He has no prior history of problems as far as I know.

  46. Grant did you pick up any good rumors last night about today?

  47. At least five regular season games vs fast slot WRs. 2 vs Harvin
    2 vs Tavon Austin, 1 vs Welker. Then the playoffs. Perhaps Denver or the Pats in the Super Bowl.

    Ward also provides depth at Safety. If I remember correctly, the final two years of Antoine Bethea’s contract has little or no guaranteed money.

  48. The one guy I’m a little surprised is still on the board is Hageman. I wouldn’t be suprised if he is taken 1 or 2 in the 2nd round.

    I also wonder how much Roby’s off field issues affected the Ward pick. It would have taken some cantalopes for Baalke to pick Roby.

    Finally, it will be interesting to see if Seattle’s trade out was pre-planned or if they wanted someone who was selected just prior to them. My guess would be Roby, but I wouldn’t rule out either Ward or Easley.

  49. It’s funny, before the Bethea signing, I was hoping the 49ers would draft Ward. I thought he’d be a good fit. But with SS taken care of, he was off my radar. I never thought of bringing him in at corner.

    Was completely shocked when his name was read. I was expecting Lee. My initial reaction was “He’s a good player, but…why?”

    Having now had the chance to hear more about the teams plans and to sleep on it, and I’m excited about the pick. I think he’ll do well. May he win over the rest of the fans with his play.

  50. My two cents on Jimmy Ward . . .

    As a former football coach and a long time and absolute nut for the NFL draft, I rely solely on watching film to form my opinions of incoming prospects. I remember arguing with a friend back when P Willis was drafted who thought the Niner’s had blown the pick because their biggest need at the time was a defensive lineman and they would regret passing on Adam Carriker (sp?) for a generation. The two defensive players in that draft I loved the most: Willis and Revis. I thought both would be perennial pro bowlers. For what it’s worth, I also really liked Aldon Smith when he came out, and I wasn’t at all surprised when the Niners took him that high. However, almost everybody I talked to was up in arms over it simply because the media hadn’t built up the expectation and therefore people felt like they were cheated. One of the fallacies that arises when the draft rolls around is that the uneducated fan forms his opinion solely on media projections. This equates to an often uneducated media saying jump and fans asking how high. The media is NOT an NFL front office and in most cases, the individuals aren’t professional scouts or even former scouts. So the reality of thinking that the Niners should have traded up for a prospect like Dennard or Verret–who the media declared first round corners, while projecting Jimmy Ward as a second round pick–is asinine. Dennard may end up being a fine player, however, if you watch the tape, he rarely went a play without grabbing a receiver’s jersey–not to mention the list of other issues I have with his technique. In fact, I would have been disappointed had they chose any of the media’s first round corners aside from Verrett; but due to his size and our division, I think it was the right move to pass on him. Sure, Ward played at a small school. But so did Jerry Rice. And when Ward had the eyes of the NFL decision makers on him at the senior bowl, he freakin’ delivered. In fact he delivered in every challenge he faced since and after arriving at N Illinios. Dude ran a 4.47 at his proday and that was with a broken foot. If you watch the tape, Ward has an unusually high football IQ and is as sticky in coverage as Verret but bigger sized and an even better tackler. Pure and simple, the man is a gamer and will be at least a solid player for the Niners. I was fist pumping when New England didn’t take him. He was the most talented player left on the board well before the Niners picked.

    Any couch fan can follow the media and their pre-draft projections and believe that this qualifies them to know whether or not to love or “hate the pick.” But unfortunately, that’s merely the lowest common denominator in this situation. And if you enjoy doing this, by all means, throw darts blindfolded for all I care. But you are going to look awfully foolish when this guy puts the pads on.

    1. Reality Check, thanks very much for your insight. Can I ask you a few questions about some other players/positions?

      1. Any other corners you really like for us who are still on the board?

      2. How about wide receiver?

      3. What are your thoughts about other needs you think we have and players you like for them?

    2. Very well said… I wish this could be posted for all to see…before posting here or anywhere for that matter

    3. Reality Check,
      I appreciate your well thought out post.
      While there are a few here that don’t like Ward most here (like myself) feel that given all the bullets the team had that we could have covered our WR/CB issue with a trade up in the first and still have enough ammo to pick up Ward on day two if he was such a priority.

      I think Ward is a good player and will be a good find for us, but again, I think we could have picked on day two.
      Nevertheless, I’m happy with the pick.

    4. Great stuff Reality Check. I definitely agree with trusting my own eyes rather than just those of the draft gurus and media, though I readily admit I am just a fan with no experience in this arena. But at the end of the day what you see on film is far more telling than a short summary write up from an ‘expert’ and their grades based on which players had the most hype during the season.

      I very much agree Ward looks an excellent player. I’ve been high on him since the Senior Bowl when I first noticed him, and as soon as I watched his game film I was a fan. I think as a SS he isn’t always as dominating a force in the run game as you’d like, but as a coverage safety/ slot CB he is excellent – the best safety in this draft in terms of coverage and instincts. And with his extensive experience in the slot he is a very good pick up by the 49ers to play that role initially.

      Very happy with the pick.

  51. Ward wasn’t the pick I expected at #30, but thought he was a possibility as a trade-up option in the 2nd round so I can’t say I am disappointed. Today is the day I think we’re going to see some trade-ups and some quality players drafted.

    1. Agree on all points Space. Two more thoughts to share:
      1/ Im glad the RayDuhs (or SF God forbid!) didn’t take Manziel. Just having him in the Bay Area would be too much commotion. As it is we’re swamped with him.
      2/ As we speculated this off season and there was talk of moving up for a CB in the 1st Round I was having these nagging doubts about how much HarBaalke valued them in the 1st. When Fangio came in he took the same guys, used them a little differently and got a lot more out of them. Yes, Aldon brought more heat to help them, but an excellent D got a lot out of some decent but not great talent.Sure, a Revis type guy allows more flexibility, but isn’t necessary for a D to play well.

  52. Trying to figure the chance of them taking my boy tonight, 33%? 25%? 10%?

  53. I was a little confused initially, but after watching some tape and doing some reading, I can see how Jimmie Ward will fit. He absolutely fills an immediate need covering the slot and that appears to be something he excels at. I think Ward is a solid player at that draft position and has an opportunity to contribute right away. The 49ers still have 5 picks tonight, so keep it in perspective – they have a chance to bolster the team considerably.

  54. Ward reminds me of Eric Weddle.
    Needs to get stronger though…
    I like this pick!

    1. Im surprised they couldn’t strike a deal with the Giants. I can see the Titans not wanting to risk missing out on Lewan but were the Giants so enamored with Beckham that they didn’t feel like they could trade back and still get good talent or even move back up a little and do the same?

      1. I’m surprised they didn’t trade up for Dennard. Wouldn’t have been an expensive trade. Dennard would have played 100 percent of the snaps next season. Ward will play 60 percent.

        I like Ward, but I prefer Dennard. It will be interesting to track their careers.

        1. I had Dennard rated higher too, but who would trade with SF? Maybe Philly, but got outbid by Browns, who were bidding for a QB they needed and thus willing to pay more.

  55. Plus side to Manziel going to the Browns is that when Gabbert washes out we can pick up Hoyer.

  56. lol love the Onion!

    St. Louis Rams: OT Greg Robinson. Although easily the most talented player available at this pick, his ability to explode out of his stance and control the line of scrimmage may make him an odd fit in the Rams’ offensive scheme

    Onion Sports 2014 Mock Draft

  57. Regarding trading up or down, I think the price ultimately became too high for Baalke. The two trades up that happened in his vicinity basically became 3rd rounders (in the 80s I think) for 7 spots or 4 spots in the late first round. In order to get Dennard the Niners would have had to part with at least #77 and posibly #129 or #170. Also consider that Arizona was unlikely to trade with the Niners and Cleveland was very likely to outbid the Niners for #22.

    Seattle then took a 4th #108 to move back 8 spots from #32 to #40. That seems low especially considering the talent in this draft.

    Now we will see how the top picks in the 2nd round are valued. I think #94 is in play for the Niners, how high will #56 plus #94 get you? It should be more than the 8 spots Minnesota got for #108.

  58. Mock drafts are fun but useless when it comes to figuring out what Baalke/Harbaugh have in mind. As with the past few years they choose someone no one either mentions or hardly mentions. When I saw all the mocks here and other places I knew who the Niners were not picking. When it comes to the Niners draft, expect the unexpected.

  59. Another interesting question is who (if anyone) does the Ward pick remove from the Niners board? My first thoughts are guys like Joyner, J Watkins, R Reynolds are off the board. Now what if the Niners end up with D Johnson as their developmental “big corner”? Would the blogoshpere explode if the Niners drafted two college safeties to play corner?

    1. I think you are right Greg. Probably erases any other small CB’s from the board if they were on there to begin with.

      I think they will grab at least one CB today. As for the blogosphere exploding…that will happen no matter who they select today.

    2. I for one would be extremely happy if they took Dontae Johnson. He’s not really a safety – he was a hybrid player for NC State. Played mostly safety this past season, but before that played mostly CB. He’d be a perfect fit for the big, athletic CB the 49ers appear to want.

  60. Adam Schefter ‏@AdamSchefter 29s
    Filed to ESPN: 49ers trading a conditional 2015 4th-round pick to Buffalo for WR Stevie Johnson, per sources. Pick can become a 3rd.

      1. Rotoworld:
        Stevie Johnson – WR – 49ers
        49ers acquired WR Stevie Johnson from the Bills in exchange for a 2015 fourth-round pick.
        Per ESPN’s Adam Schefter, the pick can improve to a third-round pick, likely based on Johnson’s 2014 performance. Buffalo did well to acquire a fairly valuable future pick in exchange for a receiver entering year three of a five-year, $37 million contract. Johnson, 28 in July, finished 2013 with 52 catches for 597 yards and three touchdowns, playing in 12 games. He’s a short to intermediate slot-receiver type, with a somewhat similar skill set to both Michael Crabtree and Anquan Boldin. San Francisco still needs a true vertical stretcher in the wideout corps, and we suspect they’ll draft one tonight or tomorrow. Johnson’s fantasy value won’t be resuscitated as a role player with the Niners, but it’s a productive move for their offense.

    1. That would be huge but we would still need to draft a speed or big bodied Wr later in the draft. S Johnson is 6’1 210 i think

    1. a commentor over at ninernation said that Stevie Johnson gave both Richard Sherman and Darrelle Revis problems because of his route running style. I don’t know how much this is true but if so, it’s very interesting.

      1. Yeah Stevie is one of the only WRs to have success against Revis. He is a great slot option.

  61. Stevie Freakin Johnson!!!!! That is a great trade, i told a buddy of mine last night after Buff drafted Watkins that the 9ers should trade for Johnson. Finally i got something right. I do’nt see the 9ers drafting another WR untill after the 4th rd now. CB’s, RB’s, ILB and OLB’s

    1. Old Coach,

      I agree. This is a big time acquisition. This is a guy who had 3 1000 yard seasons in Buffalo and is still in his prime. Incredible move not just to get him but for a Conditional 3rd or 4th next year? Wow.

  62. Steve Johnson blog doesn’t take comments at least not right now. They probably had this trade in the works when they were drawing up their final draft board. Guy can play and the price is right. Baalke and company are about three light years ahead of some of you people who actually think you know WTF you are talking about… never in a good mood when the old blind dog poops on the dining room rug.

  63. Maybe this will put an oomph in his step. He’s from San Francisco, and his mother died last year.

  64. Oh, by the way, in the interest of personal accountability, in the last 3 weeks I recall making the definitive statement that SF would not take a Safety in the first round this year.

  65. Plus he’s tall and he’s from Frisco so he might want to stick around even if there’s more $$$ elsewhere.

  66. Great move for sure. My question is this, why next years pick, we have a boat load of picks this year that could of been used. Makes me think something else is in the fire. You all can fault Baalke/Harbaugh you want but they are doing just fine in my book.

  67. We just got Steve Johnson from Bills for a 4th rd pick. Isn’t he a 1000 yard wr?? You would think he would of been worth more than 4th rd pick. Boldin Crabtree Johnson Lloyd. Not bad

  68. A side note not draft related. Montana expounds on his Kap comments:

    On Kaepernick, and whether Montana’s goal for him is to become a better pocket passer:

    “No, and I talked to Colin about this: when somebody asked me a question, ‘If there was an area that he would have to improve in … ’, I’d say only in the pocket, because he didn’t grow up in the pocket. He’s from the read-option. That would be like asking me to run the read option. Or even say someone like Steve Young, who was a pocket guy but could still run. Could he get it done? Yeah. Would he get better at it? Probably. Just saying that with Colin, I think Colin is an excellent quarterback. But they didn’t print all of that stuff. They just printed the first part. I had this conversation with Colin. He’s an excellent player. His future is ahead of him. I think there’s great things to come, not only for him but the 49ers, and I’m looking forward to watching him.”

  69. Scooter: you know Johnson’s not really a safety and I know he’s not really a safety….but considering the response to Ward, would an internet meltdown be out of the question? : )

    I read that Baalke said that Ward ran step for step with Dri Archer on game film. Now lets see him run with all the smaller slot guys on the schedule – Harvin Austin Welker Cooks Cruz possibly DJax or Andre Roberts, etc.. Ward is also the kind of hybrid guy with high football IQ that will be useful dealing with read-option type stuff and the hurry up that Chip Kelley uses.

    1. I think the internet meltdown would occur if they picked him in the 3rd round. Because when fans read about Johnson they’ll see some draft grades as low as the 6th round. But he’s much better than that in my opinion. I think a late 3rd rounder on him is not out of the question.

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