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Thursday, May 8, 2014
49ers pick Jimmie Ward in 1st

By Bill Williamson

SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- The pick: Jimmie Ward, S, Northern Illinois.

My take: Stunned. Ward is a fine player, but considered by some as a second-round pick. The 49ers have now taken safeties in the first round of the past two drafts. They traded up to take Eric Reid last year. He made the Pro Bowl as a rookie. The 49ers signed Antoine Bethea to a four-year, $23 million deal in March after Donte Whitner left to join the Cleveland Browns. Ward could see some time in nickel packages as the 49ers are somewhat weak at cornerback.

No trade up: There was speculation the 49ers would trade up for a receiver such as LSU's Odell Beckham or Oregon State’s Brandin Cooks. But those deals never developed and the 49ers will have five of the 68 selections Friday.

What’s next: The 49ers have more picks than anyone in the second and third rounds. Expect the 49ers to make some trades Friday. They can grab a receiver and a cornerback in the second round. Those spots remain the 49ers’ biggest needs.