|Ward may be from a small school, but he's getting plenty of attention as the draft approaches. The Northern Illinois product had a solid senior season to shoot up draft boards as an NFL-ready safety who could contribute immediately. Ward, a three-year starter, was a semifinalist for the Jim Thorpe Award as the nation's top defensive back and was named a third-team All-American. Not only is Ward above average in coverage, he's also solid in the run game as he often comes up from his position to make tackles near the line of scrimmage. He's also been praised for a positive attitude and shows plenty of emotion on the field. With Alabama's Ha Ha Clinton-Dix and Louisville's Calvin Pryor ranked ahead of him at the safety position, a team looking for improvement at the position that misses out one on of those two would be wise to snap up Ward. He shouldn't slip past the middle of the second round, but there's been talk of him going in the late first round as well. One downside is Ward underwent surgery to repair a stress fracture in his foot in mid-March with a recovery time of 6-8 weeks. Barring a setback, the surgery shouldn't prevent Ward from being ready for minicamp or hinder him from being ready for the start of the season.