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Jimmie Ward NFL Draft Outlook

NIU's Jimmie Ward expect to go high in the NFL draft.
DEKALB-Safety Jimmie Ward should be one of the highest players from NIU ever taken in the NFL draft. There's a lot that scouts like about Ward.  Draft guru Mel Kiper calls him a 'ballhawk."  NFL.com says he's intense, active and energetic with quick hands.  SB Nation says he's the best pure coverage safety in the draft.  All the talk has Ward believing he'll be an early round pick.

"I hear a lot of stuff," says Ward. "I try not to pay attention, but if you want me to give a guess I say first three rounds."

Some mock drafts have him going to the Cowboys, Browns or Bills all in the second round.  Ward had the best season of any NIU safety ever last year.  He had seven interceptions.  He led the team in tackles.  And he was named first team All-America by the USA Today.
He's been timed at 4.45 in the 40 yard dash.  His vertical leap is 38 inches.  The knock on him is his size.  Ward is only 5'11 and 193 pounds. Top NFL safeties generally run bigger than that. So Ward knows he has to...

"Keep getting bigger.  Keep getting faster.  Keep getting stronger," says Ward.

Ward was born in Racine, Wisconsin…Packer country.

"My granddaddy is one of the best Packers fans.  He died Christmas.  Anytime I talk to a Packers scout or GM I always think about my granddad," says Ward.

Ward grew up in Mobile, Alabama and that's where he'll be during the draft.  And even though he's been dreaming of being drafted since he started playing football when he was nine he says he's not sure he'll be watching the draft on television.

"Watching it? I might," says Ward.  "I'm probably going to be eating BBQ or something…hah."
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