Perhaps the No. 1 need for the San Francisco 49ers heading into the 2022 offseason was a true cover cornerback capable of shutting down an opposing team’s top receiver.
Enter MTSU alum Charvarius Ward.
The 25-year-old cornerback, who is coming off perhaps the strongest seasons of his four-year NFL career, signed a three-year deal on Monday night worth up to $42 million with $26.7 million in guaranteed money, according to a report from ESPN’s Adam Schefter.
Ward spent his first four seasons with the Kansas City Chiefs, totaling 222 tackles, 29 passes defensed, four interceptions, three tackles for loss and a forced fumble. He also played in four AFC Championship games, winning two, and two Super Bowls, winning one.
Ward totaled 67 tackles, 10 passes defensed, two interceptions and two tackles for loss in 2021 as Kansas City’s top CB. He’s expected to step into a starting role in San Francisco’s defensive backfield next to Emmanuel Moseley.
Despite allowing the sixth-fewest passing yards per game last season (206.5), the 49ers yielded the fourth-highest completion percentage (68.3) in the NFL. Ward’s presence should bring that number down; opposing quarterbacks completed just 51.3 percent of their passes — 10th lowest among all CBs — with a QB rating of 79.4 when targeting him in 2021.
Ward also excels in man coverage, finishing last season as the second-best man coverage corner in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus, allowing just 18 completions on 46 targets (39 percent). Quarterbacks also had the lowest completion percentage (40.0) and third-lowest yards per target (4.6) and passer rating (52.5) when targeting Ward in coverage, per NFL’s NextGen Stats.
Considered one of the surest tacklers at his position group, Ward totaled a missed tackle rate of 5.3 percent last season, the eighth-best among all CBs.
Ward played two seasons for the Blue Raiders in 2017 and 2018, finishing his career with 74 total tackles, 13 passes defensed, two interceptions and a sack. He signed with the Dallas Cowboys as an undrafted free agent in 2018 before being traded to the Chiefs in August of that year.
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