The Charger’s Defensive Backfield & Possible Draft Choices
Sep 28, 2013; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Northern Illinois Huskies safety Jimmie Ward (15) during the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross Ade Stadium. Northern Illinois Huskies won 55-24. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports
Jimmie Ward, Northern Illinois – SS – 2nd Round:
Apparently, it depends on which pinky-toe is tingling when draft analysts wake up that day, to decide which safety they rank higher. One minute it’s Bucannon, and the next it’s Ward. It only takes them a few minutes to decide that they should be switched. So, I will put Ward on here, because I have always thought Bucannon was the best strong safety of the two, and the better fit for us. Perhaps the “experts” have inside information, and will stop waffling on draft day. It wouldn’t surprise me, as guys like Mayock suddenly pulled Fluker out of their rears (that must have hurt), just hours before we picked.. “TA-DA”!!! See.. Mayock knew it the whole time! Basically, all that matters is that San Diego is interested in both players.
Ward is smaller, and lighter than Bucannon. At 5’11” / 193, he isn’t short, or fragile.. just compact. Ward has been trained to play any position in the backfield. He might be a better cornerback candidate, than a safety. He lead his team in 2013, racking up 92 tackles… 62 solo. Ward also ball-hawked seven interceptions, some against bigger receivers. He is very physical, and doesn’t shy away from these bigger players. But, he sometimes has trouble wrapping them up.
He is extremely productive, which is a trait that Telesco is looking for, and can drop down to cover the slot. He is a bit immature, and needs to understand what it means to be an NFL player. Ward has the skills to play either safety position, and can cover the slot. However, his style of play isn’t forgiving for his frame, and there are durability concerns. He has also had foot surgery. He lacks zone-awareness, which is not a plus, either. If he is still there in the bottom of the second round, I would consider him to be a value pick, solely on his tackling & ball-hawking skills.. something the Chargers could really use. We need a cornerback, and a strong safety. Most teams are looking for one, or the other. He might be a solution to either problem.