Defensive back Jimmie Ward has been working exclusively at cornerback during the San Francisco 49ers' offseason program. In fact, he has been the team's starting outside cornerback across from second-year player Ahkello Witherspoon. Of course, things will likely change once the 49ers medically clear Richard Sherman to practice.

Ward is used to being moved around on defense. He last played cornerback in 2016 when Jim O'Neil was the defensive coordinator. During his time with the 49ers, Ward has played at the safety, outside cornerback, and slot positions. He seems happy doing whatever the team asks of him.

"I kind of want to catch a pick at all three positions," Ward said last month. "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 week, head coach Kyle Shanahan acknowledged that Ward could open the 2018 season as the top backup at each position within the secondary.

"If Jimmie doesn't earn a starting role, there's also a good chance he's the first backup at every single position," Shanahan said. "Strong safety, free safety, nickel, corner, because he's capable of being a starter at all of those positions."

Ward's $8.526 million guaranteed in 2018 would make him a very expensive backup. Defensive coordinator Robert Saleh was asked on Wednesday what the plan is for Ward when Sherman can practice.

"Jimmie is in a competition," Saleh said. "There's no promises. The plan is status quo. He's going to play corner, and he's going to get reps. He's going to compete and I know it sounds like coachspeak but the two best corners will play corner.

"Do I doubt Sherm will return to form? No. I don't doubt it at all. I think he's going to come back and he's going to play great. It's going to be a really good competition.

"There's Ahkello on the other side who is competing. There's nothing set in stone for that spot, and it's good that the group that John (Lynch), Kyle (Shanahan), Martin (Mayhew), and Adam Peters have put together is a really good group of guys that can all compete."

Could Ward receive reps at safety once training camp rolls around? Saleh has not ruled out anything but hopes to see Ward continue his work at cornerback.

"Jimmie is a very, very talented football player and he's doing a lot of great things, but there's an adjustment period," Saleh continued. "He's got to relearn a position. We want to make sure that we give him every opportunity to do that."