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Jimmie Ward Helps Prepare Bruce Ellington for NFL

Posted Aug 22, 2014

Practice? Yes, we're talking about practice. It's help made the San Francisco 49ers rookie wideout more prepared for the games.

We have talked almost ad nauseam about the strength and depth of the 12 individuals who comprise the San Francisco 49ers 2014 NFL Draft class.

But what about the effect they can have on one another?

In practice, running back Carlos Hyde (second-round pick) may find himself helping center Marcus Martin (third round) in pass-protection against linebacker Chris Borland (third round).

Look to Bruce Ellington as another example.

The fourth-round pick from South Carolina has the luxury of facing first-round pick Jimmie Ward during team drills.

"I go against him almost every day," Ellington said on Friday, his 23rd birthday, before the team's afternoon session. "He's real quick, he's long for his size, and he makes plays, which is what you need in that position... He's a play-maker. He has a knack for the ball, and he attacks it. He's a dog out there.

"I get to go against somebody who plays that position who is good at it, so that helps me out."

Ellington is competing to join a band of wideouts is led by veterans Michael Crabtree, Anquan Boldin, Stevie Johnson and Brandon Lloyd.

He could carve out a role as the team's slot receiver, given his sneaky size and basketball-like quickness. Ward, of course, is an ideal match because he's hoping to be the 49ers nickel cornerback, the player that is routinely challenged to cover smaller, speedier pass-catchers like the Denver Broncos' Wes Welker.

Ellington, for his part, has excelled through two preseason games entering a third, on Sunday against the visiting San Diego Chargers.

"I came in here ready to run routes," Ellington said. Wideouts coach "Johnny (Morton) has been doing a great job of teaching."

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