Thursday, July 24, 2014
49ers camp report: Jimmie Ward shines
By Bill Williamson
SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Jimmie Ward didn't waste any time making his presence felt as a San Francisco 49er.
The 49ers' first-round pick intercepted a pass from standout quarterback Colin Kaepernick on the third play of 7-on-7 scrimmage in the team's first practice Thursday. Ward took a tipped ball easily into his hands.
"If I keep making plays like that I will be seen (by the coaches,)" Ward said after practice.
He already has been. Earlier Thursday, 49ers' coach Jim Harbaugh said this of Ward: "Good player, good football player. Lots of things that we saw on tape."
One of the reasons why the 49ers took Ward with the No. 30 overall pick was his playmaking ability. It had to be encouraging to the coaches and front office that the kid was in the right place so early in his first practice.
Ward's strong first impression is also important because he missed much of the offseason work with a broken foot he suffered while preparing for the draft. Ward seems like a humble kid, who is hungry to learn. He seems like a player who knows he belongs where he is. Thursday's events didn't hurt his confidence.
In other notes from the 49ers' first day of training camp:
- The 49ers want to see strides from second-year tight end Vance McDonald. Thursday was a good sign. He made a nice sideline catch on a deep ball. The 2013 second-round pick had trouble catching the ball at times as a rookie. If he makes improvements there, it will bode well for the 49ers now and in the future.
- Defensive lineman Justin Smith and offensive tackle Anthony Davis didn't practice. They are coming back from offseason shoulder surgeries. It doesn't appear either player will miss much time. Newly acquired Jonathan Martin worked at right tackle for Davis.
- Cornerback Chris Culliver looked fluid in his first practice since tearing his ACL last August. Culliver is expected to start this season.
- In addition to Ward, linebacker Aldon Smith had an interception of a Kaepernick pass.
- Second-year cornerback Darryl Morris looked strong. He is trying to make an impact on defense after playing well on special teams as a rookie.
- Backup quarterback Blaine Gabbert hit reserve receiver Brandon Lloyd on a long pass. These two key backups will be fun to watch this summer.
- Rookie running back Carlos Hyde, a second-round pick, had two dropped passes Thursday. His hands out of the backfield were a highlight in the offseason workouts.