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49ers sign two, including first-round pick Ward

Published: Thursday, May. 22, 2014 - 5:23 pm

On the eve of their rookie minicamp, the 49ers signed two more draft picks, including first-round selection Jimmie Ward. Ward, a safety at Northern Illinois, will compete to be team’s nickel cornerback and he likely will back up starter Eric Reid at free safety. Ward, however, is recovering from a foot injury and may not be available until training camp.

The 49ers also signed linebacker Chris Borland, the second of their three third-round selections. Borland was named the Big 10 Defensive Player of the Year last season and will compete for a starting role at inside linebacker while NaVorro Bowman recovers from an ACL tear suffered in January. Veterans Michael Wilhoite and Nick Moody, along with undrafted rookie Shayne Skov, will compete for the position.

Only three members of the 49ers league-high 12-man draft class remain unsigned. They are the other two third-round picks, Marcus Martin and Brandon Thomas, and fourth-round pick Bruce Ellington. In addition to Ward, Thomas, cornerback Keith Reaser and fullback Trey Millard are not expected to take part in the camp due to injuries suffered last year or this spring.

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Matt was born in Blacksburg, Va., and attended the University of Virginia. He graduated in 1995, went to Northwestern for a journalism degree a year later, and got his first job at a South Carolina daily in 1997. He joined The Bee as a Metro reporter in 1999 and started covering the 49ers in 2003. His favorite player of all time is Darrell Green.

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