The Cowboys may have found their solution to their safety problem in draft prospect, Jimmie Ward. When I watch this guy, I see him having a very good future in the NFL. I would love for the Cowboys to pick him in second round of the draft. I personally see him as a prospect that deserves a first round grade. From the games I’ve watched of him, he has shown great talent and I would love to see him wear the star on his helmet.
One knock I’ve seen of Ward is his size. He’s only 5’11” and 193 pounds. He’s considered a bit small, but there are a lot of safeties in the NFL that are below 6’0”. Earl Thomas, Ed Reed, Eric Weddle, and Troy Polamalu are all examples. However, all of the safeties listed are above 200 pounds, so Ward can definitely gain some weight. Ward definitely needs to hit the weight room, at the combine his bench press was an unimpressive 9 reps. However when you watch his game, you would never have guessed that he would score so lowly. When he hits, there is authority behind it. If he gets his arm on the ball carrier, they won’t be able to escape his tackle.
Ward does a lot of things well on the field. What stuck out most to me is his tackling ability. He wraps up very well and does not allow a chance of a broken tackle. He’s a great tackler, and when I watch him he has proper form and goes low. Ward can also lay a hard hit, but what surprises me most is that he lands these hits very carefully so he won’t draw a flag. He makes sure to hit opposing players in the chest, not at the helmet. He’s very strategic with these hits as he uses them to force incompletions. Ward also does well in the box, and is always around the ball carrier. In his senior season he had an impressive 74 tackles, which shows his ability to get around the ball carrier. Ward can defend the point of attack and can contain runningbacks to small gains. He can also attack the line of scrimmage and make tackles for a loss. When I see his tackling and hitting ability, he reminds me of a hard hitting strong safety. However he has much more capabilities than that.
In coverage, Ward is impressive. He had 7 interceptions this past year, which shows his ability to locate the ball in the air. In addition to this he had 10 passes defended. Ward is great in deep coverage and has great ability to make plays on the ball. At Northern Illinois, Ward often covered the slot in man coverage and showed impressive ability to blanket the receiver. In coverage, Ward can do it all. He can hit like a strong safety, but he can cover like a free safety. Ward is a versatile and complete safety, which the Cowboy can use.
Ward shows he can play well in both the running and passing game. His tapes are very impressive and he looks like he can be a starter from day 1. He has the potential to be a great playmaking safety, which the Cowboys been lacking since Darren Woodson played for us. I personally like Ward better than HaHa Clinton-Dix. Ward looks to be a better playmaker. Though I have to keep in mind that Ward played in a weaker conference, and as a result he faced off against worse competition. Despite this I think Ward is the kind of safety that the Cowboys have desperately lacking for years. He would be a great pick in the second round.