The Minnesota Vikings selected Jay Ward with the 134th overall pick in the 2023 NFL Draft. He will slot in behind Harrison Smith and Camryn Bynum on the depth chart. Ward will likely be the future of the Vikings' secondary with Lewis Cine.
Former LSU Tigers safety Jay Ward played at the highest level of college football in the SEC over the past few years as he looks to translate those talents into a productive NFL career.
In four college football seasons, Ward made 162 tackles including 3.5 for loss to go along with six career interceptions, one of which went back for a touchdown during his sophomore year. He defended 17 passes with two forced fumbles and one fumble recovery that led to another TD.
Jay Ward: Scouting Report
Ward moved from cornerback to safety for his last two college seasons, so he has experience all over the secondary. It remains to be seen where NFL franchises will want him to play, but he can carve out a role somewhere due to his athleticism and length that should translate well. Ward is a threat in the rushing game with his fearless ability to go in and make a tackle.
Ward’s frame makes him a bit of a tweener between cornerback and safety, which could be seen as a strength where he can play both spots or a weakness where his frame may limit upside at either position. Regardless, he should find a role and get on the field at the NFL level based on what we saw from college.
Mock Draft landing spots
Several mock drafts have Ward going in the later rounds this year. ESPN’s Matt Miller has the Commanders taking him in the sixth, and The Athletic’s Dane Brugler has the Giants selecting him in the sixth. NFL.com’s Chad Reuter sees him falling to the Jaguars in the seventh round, but CBS’ Ryan Palmer has him going as early as the fourth round to the Jets.