SANTA CLARA – The 49ers will finally get an opportunity to see what their first-round draft pick can do on the football field.
Safety Jimmie Ward took part in classroom sessions but no on-field work during the 49ers’ offseason program. He underwent surgery on March 9 – two days after he ran a reported 4.45 seconds in the 40-yard dash – to repair the fifth metarsal bone in his right midfoot area.
Ward's injury, which was discovered at the NFL Scouting Combine in February, clearly was not a concern for the 49ers. Ward was selected with the No. 30 overall selection out of Northern Illinois. The surgery had an expected six- to eight-week recovery time. But the 49ers never had any intention of allowing him to take part in the offseason program.
On Thursday, the 49ers submitted a list of eight players on the non-football and physically-unable-to-perform lists. And Ward was not named – an indication that he has been cleared to take part in all football activities.
Ward is expected to compete for the jobs as the team’s third safety and the nickel cornerback as a rookie.
At the end of the team’s offseason program, 49ers defensive coordinator Vic Fangio said Ward was doing well in the classroom but he was already falling behind.
“When you’re skipping the practice part, you’re skipping the most important part,” Fangio said. “(Ward) has done everything he can under the circumstances to learn our defense and improve. But he’s got to go play.”