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Know Your Enemy: San Francisco 49ers, 2014 NFL Draft Round 1
The NFC West was the strongest division in football a season ago, posting the best combined record (44-22) across the NFL's eight divisions. The division features the defending Super Bowl champion Seahawks, last year's NFC runner-up San Francisco 49ers, an Arizona Cardinals team coming off a 10-win season, and a St. Louis Rams squad stocked with quality picks in the 2014 NFL Draft.
So with this year's draft finally underway, we think it's pretty important to keep tabs on some of the Seahawks' closest rivals.
Here's a look at what the 49ers did on day one of the League's annual event:
The Pick: FS Jimmie Ward, Round 1, No. 30 Overall
Who He Is: A 5-foot-10, 197-pound free safety out of Northern Illinois.
NFL.com Analysis: "Wiry, active, aggressive strong safety at his best playing downhill and reacting to plays in front him, yet possesses the cover skill to range over the top or lock down defenders in the slot. Ability to stay healthy in the future given lack of size and durability is the biggest concern. A very talented football player who could slide a round or two based on size, medical evaluations and attitude. Can contribute immediately at any safety position and positively affect the game if healthy and focused."
What It Means: The Niners add a rangy "center-fielder" type to their defense who head coach Jim Harbaugh said will provide "corner skills" to the position. San Francisco general manager Trent Baalke added Ward can also play strong safety and contribute at nickel cornerback.
What's Next: As it stands, the 49ers hold a whopping five picks on the draft's second day - two in the second round (No. 56 & 61 overall) and three in the third round (No. 77, 94 & 100 overall).