While the 49ers Faithful might have mixed feelings in regards to the team's 2014 first round pick, that is certainly not the case with 49ers defensive backs coach Jeff Hafley. Jimmie Ward, a versatile defensive back who can play both cornerback and safety, has been in and out of the lineup throughout his career with various injuries. The promise is certainly there with 162 career tackles and two interceptions--but he has also been on injured reserve several times in his young career.

As reported by Matt Maiocco, Hafley was recently featured on the 49ers Insider Podcast and was in full support of Ward.

"I couldn't disagree more with anybody who has any negativity about Jimmie. If you ever had a chance to meet him, I think you'd see that. If you ever had a chance to coach him or see how hard he practices and how hard he plays and how he puts his body on the line and gives you everything he has, I think you'd immediately respect him." Hafley said.

As mentioned earlier, Ward has certainly been the swiss army knife for the 49ers' young secondary. Ward has been featured all over the backfield, playing as nickel back, cornerback, and free safety as the team has always valued his versatility. Having said that, Ward is guaranteed $8.526 million this season as the 49ers last year picked up his fifth-year option and will have to make a decision on his future thereafter.

"Now, all that being said, you know he can be a starting NFL nickel. We've seen it; he's proved it. And we know he can be a starting NFL free safety. . . I think it's going to play out in training camp. I really do."

Where is Ward slated to play this year? With the arrival of cornerback Richard Sherman and the ascension of free safety Adrian Colbert, his role remains to be seen; right now Ward is slated to be top utility defensive back for the secondary. Perhaps we won't know about Ward until the 49ers get closer to kickoff but at least Hafley is in his corner.