The San Francisco 49ers are considering moving Jimmie Ward to safety after spending most of his first three seasons in the NFL as a cornerback.
New 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said on Wednesday that they are considering moving Ward back to the position he played as a rookie with San Francisco in 2015.
“I’m not sure yet,” Shanahan said, via Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee. “But that’s definitely the subject of discussion. Because I know he’s capable of doing both.”
The 49ers intend on adopting the same Cover 3 defense employed by the Atlanta Falcons and Seattle Seahawks. Putting Ward at free safety could fill a crucial role in that scheme. To truly work at a high level, the defense requires a rangy free safety that can handle center field duties and alleviate the burden on the cornerbacks on the outside.
Ward did serve as a backup at safety at times but has primary played in the slot and as an outside cornerback in his three years with the 49ers. He’s appeared in 35 games over that span with 18 starts.