Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Eric Hartline-USA TODAY Sports

Jimmie Ward, Kyle Juszczyk first 49ers revealed in NFL Top 100 Players of 2022

Aug 14, 2022 at 10:10 PM--

Teammates and fans often name Jimmie Ward as one of the most underrated San Francisco 49ers players. In his eight NFL seasons, the talented safety has never been selected to a Pro Bowl or named an All-Pro. However, he is being recognized by his peers as he enters his ninth season. Ward has been named to the NFL Top 100 players of 2022, his first time on the annual list. The defender came in at No. 96.

"After eight seasons in the league, the underrated Ward makes his debut in the Top 100," wrote "The veteran defensive back did not allow any receiver to reach 50 yards in a game against him last season. The Northern Illinois product also had a career-high 77 tackles. Ward is a strong tackler, reliable run-defender, extremely versatile and is elite in coverage. He is one of the top players at his position, even if he doesn't get the recognition that he deserves."

NFL Network is revealing its Top 100 players of 2022, announcing Nos. 91-100 on Sunday. Players vote on the list. It is based on performance during the previous year and predicted performance during the upcoming season. This year's list is the league's 12th.

San Francisco drafted Ward (5-11, 195) out of Northern Illinois with the No. 30 overall pick in 2014. Per Pro Football Reference, he registered 77 tackles, a tackle for a loss, six passes defensed, two interceptions, and a touchdown through 16 starts with the 49ers last season.

The safety has long acknowledged that he doesn't get the respect he feels he deserves.

"When I look at the news, when I look at ESPN and all the posts, I see people talking about ... they give the credit to Derwin James (Chargers safety)," Ward said last week. "'Oh, Derwin James, he can cover this guy, this guy, and that guy.' But I'm like, 'Man, I've only seen Derwin James covering Keenan Allen.

"... Derwin James, he's a great safety. Don't get me wrong on that. But I don't see him guarding more than just Keenan Allen, from what I've seen. ... You check my resume; it's not too many people getting me in coverage, whether it's a wide receiver or tight end."

Kyle Juszczyk also made the Top 100 list, landing at No. 100, a three-spot drop compared to 2021. Last and this year are the only times the 49ers fullback ranked in the top 100.

"Selected to his sixth straight Pro Bowl following another stellar campaign, Juszczyk continues to display exactly why the fullback position can be of great value in a league with fast defenses," wrote "The 31-year-old signed a five-year extension last year to become the highest-paid player (again) at the position. Arguably the league's top fullback, San Francisco will hope to continue exploiting the defenses of the NFC West using Juszczyk's versatility."

The Baltimore Ravens made Juszczyk (6-1, 235) a fourth-round selection (No. 130 overall) out of Harvard in 2013. He has been named to six consecutive Pro Bowl rosters.

The NFL has already announced the players ranked at Nos. 51-100, with the remainder of the list to be announced through August 28. Ward and Juszczyk are the only players representing the 49ers thus far.

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