NFL Draft Prospect Profile: S Jimmie Ward All Green Bay Packers All the Time
Jimmie Ward
S Jimmie Ward

Packers prospect profile:  S  Jimmie Ward

Player Information:

Jimmie Ward,  S  Northern Illinois,  5-11, 192 pounds  Hometown: Mobile, AL


Pro Day:

40 time: 4.47

Vertical jump: 38″

225 lb. bench: 9 reps

Broad jump: 10’5″

News and Notes:

Third-team All-American in 2013. . .First-team All-MAC in 2012 and 2013. . . had 92 tackles, 62 solo in 2013. . .seven interceptions in 2013. . .semi-finalist for Jim Thorpe award. . . had three blocked punts in 2010 as a true freshman

 What they’re saying about him: 

  •  Compact frame. Remarkably fluid athlete with quick feet, smooth change-of-direction agility and easy acceleration. Dropped down to cover slot receivers with solid man-to-man skills to handle a similar role in the NFL. Good balance and lateral agility, including the ability to sprawl to avoid cut-blocks. Physical, competitive defender who doesn’t back down from the challenges of bigger opponents. Very good diagnosis skills and closes quickly and forcefully. Takes proper angles in pursuit, limiting breakaway opportunities for opponents. Shorter than scouts prefer, a fact that could lead to some projecting him at cornerback. Good but less-than-ideal speed to recover if beaten initially. Gets too grabby once he’s turned around. Leaves his feet to tackle, creating some impressive collisions but occasionally failing to wrap up securely. Misses tackles against the bigger, stronger athletes.
  •  Flies around the field. Aggressive run supporter. Shoots downhill and chops down ball carriers. Breaks on throws and shows short-area burst to close. Has quick hands to snatch interceptions. Confident and energetic. Has a special-teams mentality and four blocked kicks to his credit. Size is just adequate — lacks ideal bulk and is built more like a cornerback than a safety. Can be a tick late diagnosing pass, gaining depth and digesting route combos. Lacks elite top-end speed. Has man-coverage limitations. Inconsistent downfield ball reactions with his back to the throw. Limited functional strength to discard blockers when he gets snagged. Shows lower-body stiffness in space. Has some maturing to do and needs to learn what it means to prepare like a pro. Could rub some people the wrong way.


Video Analysis:

  • As I always disclaim, this is a “highlight” reel, so does not show any of Ward’s weak spots
  • Flies to the ball and not afraid to get physical with receivers
  • Did blitz, which is not something we have seen a lot of the top college safeties do a lot of in college
  • Reads the quarterback well and diagnoses what is in front of him
  • Wants the ball, has a nose for it
  • Have to wonder how he would fare against larger ball carriers like Adrian Peterson, Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall
  • Seems to play with a chip on his shoulder.  Shows some fire on the field
  • While he is fast, that speed doesn’t seem to translate much on tape. May struggle with the deep ball

If drafted by the Packers:

Ward has been highly touted by the media as one of the better safeties in this upcoming draft.  I don’t see a guy who would come in and give the Packers what they really need opposite Morgan Burnett.  His size is not ideal and I can’t recall hearing much about the smaller safeties in the NFL last season (Jonathan Cyprien, Matt Elam, M.D. Jennings).  The Packers face Calvin Johnson, Brandon Marshall, Alshon Jeffrey and Adrian Peterson twice a year.  Is Ward the safety to help neutralize them?  I don’t see it.  Green Bay needs a true safety and as is stated here, Ward has more of a build for cornerback.  He could become a value pick if he somehow falls into the fourth round or later, but that doesn’t seem likely.  There are conflicting scouting reports on his man-coverage skills and this is something the Packers would need out of the free safety.  Ward would be a good second option or for depth at safety, but not am immediate starter and impact player unless on special teams.


Jason Perone is an independent sports blogger writing about the Packers on

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11 thoughts on “NFL Draft Prospect Profile: S Jimmie Ward

  1. I would like our team to stay healthy this year. I believe the D-line will help the safeties considerably. I would agree that this guy does not look like the answer at safety. Safety is definitely the priority but an early draft choice on Ward could hurt as we need to fill other areas as well. (TE, ILB, and maybe a receiver)

    1. Sign Chris Clemons and the Safety position would be just fine but I think the Packers are going to make Micah Hyde their Safety. Personally I feel Hyde would do a good job. I think this will be a year where TT really sticks to his “Best Player Available”, if Pryor, Clinton-Dix, Mosley, or even Ebron the TE isn’t there. The Packers could take Marques Lee or Kelvin Benjamin. Ward makes me nervous considering he played in the MAC Conference. Not exactly the SEC guys. Like Jason said, he’d have to drop to at least the 4th round or even Comp pick the Packers get for Greg Jennings, providing that’s a 3rd rounder.

      1. Mosely is way overhyped. God help us if TT spends his #1 pick on that guy. watch some film.

  2. I like ward quite a bit. you do not have to be big to be a good safety. you need to have good speed, instincts, timing and the willingness to tackle. I would like it if he was 10 pounds heavier, but I think he could do that pretty easily. if the packers drafted ward in the second or third round I would be pretty happy. I like Haha, Pryor and Buchanon better. But he is close to buchanon.

  3. Zzzzzz.

    In a division with Watusi’s at WR, Ted can’t be drafting anymore Smurf’s for the back end.

    Something tells me the next 60 days are going to be s-l-o-w.

  4. I went to NIU and Jimmie was a pleasure to watch. He always seemed to be around the ball and made great plays in pass coverage. I would be incredibly happy if we could snag him in the draft.

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