Nov 20, 2013; Toledo, OH, USA; Northern Illinois Huskies safety Jimmie Ward (15) warms up before the game against the Toledo Rockets at Glass Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Raj Mehta-USA TODAY Sports

2014 NFL Draft Profile: Jimmie Ward, SS Northern Illinois

Northern Illinois strong safety Jimmie Ward is the top prospect at his position in this draft.  Although he has a smaller frame, it packs a punch and he’s not afraid to throw it around to get his desired results on the football field.

Ward stands only 5’11” tall and 193 pounds, but he has excellent lower body strength which allows him excellent leaping ability.  This lets him play much bigger than his size on paper would indicate.

Sadly, his physicality can be a mistake at time. He seems to like to launch himself into tackles, leaving his feet to make impact.  While this was something he could get away with at the college level, NFL players can be much, much harder to bring down on a regular basis.

Here are his statistics over four years at Northern Illinois:

  • Sep 28, 2013; West Lafayette, IN, USA; Northern Illinois Huskies safety Jimmie Ward (15) during the game against the Purdue Boilermakers at Ross Ade Stadium. Northern Illinois Huskies won 55-24. Mandatory Credit: Pat Lovell-USA TODAY Sports

    54 games played

  • 189 solo tackles
  • 319 total tackles
  • 6 tackles for a loss
  • 2 sacks
  • 11 interceptions
  • 1 defensive touchdown
  • 30 passes defended
  • 4 forced fumbles
  • 3 punt returns
  • 1 punt return touchdown

Strengths

  • Strong body
  • Physical player
  • Soft hands
  • Smart in run defense

Weaknesses

  • Height
  • Lacks elite acceleration
  • Can get “handsy” if beat
  • Launches to tackle

Fit For The Vikings

Minnesota could be looking for a full time starter to help out Harrison Smith at safety.

My Take

Jimmie Ward should be a second round selection in the draft this year.  While I wouldn’t want to see the Vikings use the #40 pick on him, I’d be excited if he fell in the draft to the middle or end of the second round as a possibility for Minnesota to move up and get him.

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