The 49ers announced that they have signed first-round pick Jimmie Ward, according to Aaron Wilson of the Baltimore Sun (on Twitter). The cornerback/safety was taken with the 30th overall pick.
Ward, a 5’11”, 193 pound athlete out of Northern Illinois, finished his collegiate career with 320 tackles, 26 passes defensed, 11 interceptions, four forced fumbles, two sacks, one fumble recovery and four blocked kicks. He was also a three-time All-Mid-American Conference selection and two-time All-American. As a senior, Ward started all 14 games at safety, and recorded a team-high 95 tackles, while adding one sack, 2.5 tackles for loss, a conference-best 10 passes defensed and seven interceptions.
Ward may be undersized, but the 49ers aren’t concerned about how he’ll make the transition to the NFL. “Don’t mistake lack of size for lack of toughness, because it’s not the case,” 49ers GM Trent Baalke said on draft night, according to Daniel Brown of the Mercury News. “He’s a highly competitive young man that’s beat the odds his whole career.”