SANTA CLARA — San Francisco 49ers first-round draft pick Jimmie Ward is tired of sitting out.
This was last week when Ward took to the practice field for the first time, making several solid plays in the process.
Ward’s ability to make play was evident during 7-on-7 drills, where he not only blanketed wide receiver Stevie Johnson to break up a deep pass, but also recorded an interception of quarterback Colin Kaepernick off a Chris Cook deflection while playing in the nickel role.
Photos by Godofredo Vasquez/SFBay
After being forced to sit out during the offseason programs due to a foot-injury Ward sustained before the combine, the 23-year old defensive back is looking to make a spark in training camp:
“If I keep making plays like that I’m gonna be seen, and hopefully I can get some playing time.”
Though his foot injury may have set him back while competing against veteran Perrish Cox and Daryl Morris for the nickel back role, Ward said preparation in the classroom during OTAs has paid off in training camp:
“Really I was just taking it in, being a sponge and trying to take in all that information, and I finally got to come out here. And now I’m trying to prove myself.”
Ward has looked quick on his feet so far, showing no obvious signs of discomfort from the fracture in his foot that required surgery in March. However, overcoming the mental aspect of his injury is just one more obstacle for the rookie.
“I just forget it. I just throw it in the back of my head. I try not to think about injuries, because when you think about it too much that’s when you feel it, that’s when you pay attention to it.”
Though Ward has been tough on some of the receivers on the field, the rookie likes what he sees from the revamped core of receivers the 49ers now feature:
“I feel like I’m gonna get better, I feel like they’re gonna make all the DBs get better, and I feel like we’re gonna make the wide receivers get better. Good core of wide receivers, you got fast, you got big you got strong. You just got a lot of different size guys.”
A week of solid practice does not equate to a starting job, but Ward’s start at camp should give 49ers fan a wave of optimism for his future.