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Old 05-06-2014, 09:55 AM  
NIUhuskies NIUhuskies is offline
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Prisco: 2014 NFL Draft: Jimmie Ward headlines my Better-Than Team

Prisco specifically mentions him as an excellent ft in KC next to Berry. (the video of him talking about it is in the link) I agree, but the only way we get him is most likely if we trade down just a little but or they go for him at 23. Love Ward's game


Pete Prisco
Senior NFL Columnist
2014 NFL Draft: Jimmie Ward headlines my Better-Than Team
May 6, 2014 8:49 am ET

More Draft coverage: Mock Drafts | Prospect Rankings | Big Board | News

The value of the rangy safety in the NFL has gone up like a good tech stock on Wall Street in recent years.

And now with the Seahawks winning a Super Bowl because of their defense, which is keyed by free safety Earl Thomas, the league of copycats is now putting even more of a premium on cover safeties.

For years, I've thought the free safety would be the bigger corner moving inside and the strong safety would be the free safety moving over, which is what we are seeing in some situations. Teams are also interchanging their safeties more than in the past.

Seattle still plays the old strong safety and free safety looks, with strong safety Kam Chancellor playing more like a linebacker and Thomas taking on the role of center fielder with the responsibility of covering a ton of ground.

Now comes the hard part for teams looking to replicate that style, which is finding a player who can cover that type of ground.

I think I found one.

It's Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward, who is this year's captain of my annual Better-Than team, which is a group of players I think are better than the scouts think they are right now -- and moving forward.

Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward plays much bigger than he's listed. (USATSI) Northern Illinois safety Jimmie Ward plays much bigger than he's listed. (USATSI)

Ward is a 5-10, 193-pound safety who plays much bigger than he's listed. He is a willing tackler in the run game, and played up near the line a lot at NIU. But he's more than capable of playing deep.

He is a smooth player in coverage, who turns and runs like a corner when he's asked to do so. I watched several of Ward's games, and really thought he competed on every play, which is something I like to see.

While he didn't spend a ton of time playing deep, when he did, he made the most of it with his instincts and his range. He might not be a burner, but he plays fast enough.

Revisit: 2013's Better-Than Team

Half the battle of playing the single-high safety is reading and then reacting to the ball. You can have all the speed in the world, but if you lack recognition skills, you'll still struggle in the deep middle.

I think Ward will be able to play up near the line and in the deep middle on the next level. In fact, even though he throws his body around when up near the line of scrimmage, I think his best football will come playing deep.

Ward did have some foot issues that could be a concern for teams, and they limited him at the combine, but if healthy he's worth a late first-round pick, which is where I think he will go.

That's why he's the headliner of my annual Better-Than Team, which is a spot that has featured players like Tampa Bay Buccaneers linebacker Lavonte David and New York Giants defensive end Jason Pierre-Paul in the past.

And to balance it out, it's also a spot that featured Minnesota Vikings quarterback Christian Ponder and former Cowboys quarterback Stephen McGee, who is now in Canada. Oops.

Last year's captain was LSU defensive tackle Bennie Logan, who went on to start in the middle of the Eagles defense as a rookie last season.

As usual, there are hits and misses, and this year's group will be no different.

http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/writer/...-defenses-need

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Old 05-06-2014, 12:39 PM   #2
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I would LOVE Jimmie Ward. Im torn between him and Brandin Cooks
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:31 PM   #3
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Jimmie Ward would go a long way towards improving our defense. At the very least he won't be the reason for surrendering a 28 point lead in a single half.
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Old 05-06-2014, 02:44 PM   #4
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Aside from Beckham Jr, Jimmie Ward is my favorite option at #23.
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Old 05-06-2014, 03:30 PM   #5
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That highlight video would be better and shorter if they didn't show every play 3 times. The music is horrible as well.
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Old 05-07-2014, 07:06 AM   #6
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The two players who would do more to impact this team positively more than any others that the Chiefs could take at 23 are Jimmy Ward and Kyle Van Noy.
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