Jimmy Ward appeared over the foot injury that sidelined him from working out at the Scouting Combine last month by running a 40-yard dash timed unofficially in 4.47 seconds by multiple scouts at Northern Illinois' pro day on Friday.
The workout was well attended, with Baltimore Ravens defensive coordinator Steve Spagnuolo and Detroit Lions defensive backs coach Alan Williams among those in attendance. Ward reportedly met with various teams for more than two hours following the workout.
Ward, the top-rated strong safety in this year's class by NFLDraftScout.com who can also play free safety, ran the 40 twice to display his straight-line speed before he soon undergoes surgery to have a screw inserted into his foot.He expects to be cleared to return to the field before the May 8-10 NFL Draft.
Ward had 95 tackles and seven interceptions last season, and is considered to be a versatile back-end defender who boasts speed and good instincts despite being relatively small at 5-feet-11 and 193. He was a finalist for the Jim Thorpe Award as a senior, and has even displayed the ability to drop down to handle slot receivers in man coverage.
Northern Illinois has two other potential draft prospects in defensive tackle Ken Bishop and quarterback Jordan Lynch. Few NFL teams project Lynch, a Heisman Trophy finalist last season, as an NFL quarterback, and although he has maintained his desire to pursue continuing to play offense, he did go through defensive back drills Friday.
Bishop is a potential late-round pick or priority free agent.