SANTA CLARA – Jimmie Ward appears well on his way toward nailing down a starting job at cornerback.
Ward was a backup safety and No. 1 nickel back in his first two NFL seasons after being a first-round draft pick. He was converted to cornerback during the offseason and has been a starter since the first day of training camp.
At this point, Ward appears to be virtually assured of joining veteran Tramaine Brock as a 49ers starting cornerback.
“It’s looking that way right now,” 49ers defensive coordinator Jim O’Neil said on Monday. “He hasn’t really been tested in a game, yet. But he’s done a great job in the three practices we’ve had with other teams and the two preseason games.
“But Rashard Robinson is coming. (Keith) Reaser is coming. There are a lot of guys who are playing really well right now who are going to continue to push Jimmie and Brock. So those guys know they need to show up every day.”
--Anthony Davis warmed up Monday with the team’s guards and centers, a possible indication that Trent Brown has solidified his starting position at right tackle. Davis volunteered to move inside to guard, where he could compete with Andrew Tiller for the starting job.
--Veteran Erik Pears, the primary starter at right tackle and backup to Joe Staley this summer at left tackle, was on the practice field but did not take part in the workout. His condition is not known.
--After losing five fumbles in the first two exhibition games, the 49ers had a session of “ball security,” involving all quarterbacks, running backs, wide receivers and tight ends. The players were split into two lines and ran over bags while coaches and staffers tried to rip the ball out. Running backs coach Tom Rathman was one of the coaches who tried to dislodge the ball. He seemed to take the task rather seriously, as he appeared particularly determined to cause fumbles.
--Rookie cornerback Will Redmond, a third-round draft pick from Mississippi State, continues to practice but has yet to play in an exhibition game as he comes back from a torn ACL that ended his final season of college football.
“(He’s) a really smart football player,” O’Neil said. “I don’t know that he’s all the way back, yet. But he’s doing a hell of a job for us. He’s a guy I get excited about seeing every day out there.”
O’Neil said Redmond is progressing well enough that he expects him to play in one of the final two exhibition games. The team’s medical and athletic training staff are monitoring Redmond’s practice reps, O’Neil said.
--Linebacker Nick Bellore, the team’s best special-teams player a year ago, sustained a knee sprain (partially torn knee ligament) on Saturday night, the team announced. Bellore’s condition will not require surgery, and his timeframe to return was not immediately known.
--Rookie wide receiver Bryce Treggs was also believed to have sustained a partially torn knee ligament. The MCL injury was not believed to require surgery. It is not known when he will be available to return to action.
--Shaun Draughn, the presumptive No. 2 running back, wore a blue no-contact jersey after sustaining a ribs injury during practice with the Denver Broncos last week.