With the 30th pick in the 2014 NFL Draft, the San Francisco 49ers selected Northern Illinois defensive back
Ward may have been a surprise pick to some NFL Draft fans, but not to the front office of the 49ers.
General manager Trent Baalke raved about Ward’s versatile game film and lauded the 5-foot-10, 193-pound defender as a valuable future piece for San Francisco’s defensive unit.
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After fielding calls from teams looking to move into the 49ers first-round slot at pick No. 30, Baalke elected to keep the selection and take Ward, a standout college safety who recorded 95 tackles and seven interceptions in 2013.
In total, Ward was the eighth of a league-record nine defensive backs selected in the first round of the draft.
Jim Harbaugh was also pleased to see Ward’s name on the board when San Francisco made its selection.
“Jimmie Ward was definitely one of the players that if he was available for us at 30, that’s a big if, and he was there, so we were excited,” the 49ers coach said moments after the pick was made.
"What a wonderful life-changing day this is for him and his family," Harbaugh said.
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