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Kelley L Cox-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmie Ward: ‘I kind of want to catch a pick at all three positions’

Apr 23, 2018 at 6:32 PM--

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Jimmie Ward has played numerous positions in the San Francisco 49ers defensive backfield. He'll be making yet another adjustment this offseason as the coaching staff looks to move him back to cornerback. Ward confirmed on Monday that he will begin OTAs as a cornerback after playing safety in 2017.

Ward learned of the move back in January. Beyond OTAs, he's not really sure what his permanent position will be. That could be decided based on how the team's draft turns out.

Ward played cornerback with the 49ers in 2016 under head coach Chip Kelly and defensive coordinator Jim O'Neil. Of course, the defensive scheme the 49ers have in place now is vastly different from his last go at the position.

"Totally different," Ward said. "Now, it's a zone scheme in this defense. I can read the quarterback a lot and compared to back then, it was more zero coverage, man free."

Ward isn't frustrated by constantly being moved from position to position. With the 49ers, he has played safety, outside corner, and the slot position.

"I kind of want to catch a pick at all three positions," Ward said. "I like it. I always dreamed coming in as a college kid, I was just a safety, and I played nickel. I never thought I was going to be playing corner in the NFL. Normally, you play corner when you're young, and if it doesn't work out, you move to safety. But I was able to move from safety to corner. There's not many guys that's doing that in the NFL."

Last month, 49ers general manager John Lynch discussed the decision to try Ward at cornerback.

"We went back and studied some of his outside corner film, and we feel like it's actually a pretty good fit," Lynch said. "Jimmie's versatility is often talked about [...] Part of the plan is to stick him over there at outside corner and see what we have there and, I think, to give him some time during the offseason.

"We know he can play safety. He has played nickel before, but I think it would be a tremendous boost to our depth if we found out Jimmie is actually is a really good fit for us."

Of course, Lynch added that the decision to test Ward at cornerback does not rule him out as a safety.

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