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First-round pick Jimmie Ward is expected to enter the competition to be the 49ers’ nickel cornerback.

49ers' first-round pick Jimmie Ward ready for action

Published: Friday, Jul. 18, 2014 - 6:57 am
Last Modified: Friday, Jul. 18, 2014 - 7:06 am

The 49ers on Thursday placed eight players on various injury lists, including seven members of this year's 12-man draft class. One name that was notably absent, however, was first-round pick Jimmie Ward.

Ward sat out all of the spring practices as he recovered from a foot injury, but he is healthy now, and the plan is for him to be on the field for the first training camp practice on Thursday.

He also promises to be part of one of the more interesting battles of training camp and the preseason -- replacing veteran Carlos Rogers at the increasingly critical nickel cornerback position. During spring practices, the nickel repetitions essentially were split between cornerbacks Perrish Cox, who has experience there, and second-year player Darryl Morris, who is learning the position. Morris showed promise in May and June and got positive reviews from his coaches.

Ward, meanwhile, is listed as a safety. But he played some cornerback and some nickel back at Northern Illinois. The 49ers are eying him for the nickel spot because of his coverage skills and -- this is where he could distinguish himself from Cox and Morris -- his strength as a tackler.

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As reported yesterday, draft picks Marcus Martin, a center and guard, and Bruce Ellington, a wide receiver, landed on the the non-football injury list. Neither injury, however, is believed to be serious. Both practiced in full during the spring


Read Matt Barrows’ blogs and archives at www.sacbee.com/sf49ers.

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MATTHEW BARROWS

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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