SANTA CLARA -- Jimmie Ward spent the first half of Thursday night's draft driving back to Mobile, Ala., after buying his mom a $300 purse in New Orleans.

When pick No. 30 came up, Ward was a 49ers, and he had the income to cover that birthday present.

"She was too happy," Ward said. "It was in front of the whole family, too. I wound up buying her a Louis Vuitton. I never ever could afford anything. I never could afford a Michael Kors purse. That's what, $300?

"This is the first time buying her something over $100."

Ward entertained the media at his introductory news conference Friday with charisma and charm. But he also showed a competitive persona that should serve him well as the team's next slot cornerback, if all goes as planned this season.

Ward, a Northern Illinois product, said he patterns himself after Ed Reed, whose Baltimore Ravens team knocked off the 49ers in Super Bowl XLVII.

"I'm a humble guy, not a bragger," Ward said. "I don't talk on the field. I talk with my pads."

A day after general manager Trent Baalke glowed about Ward's consistent film for each game his senior season, Ward said such film review also shows his "kill shots" and how "I was taught not to miss tackles."

As Ward finished up his news conference, he put aside his sense of humor for a minute while reflecting on his rough upbringing in Mobile, noting that his mother moved him around different low-income neighborhoods to keep him out of trouble.

Now that he's in Santa Clara, he plans on joining the offseason program through mid-June.

Upon meeting Colin Kaepernick, Ward said: "Pretty cool guy. Kind of funny. Got a sense of humor. Looks like my cousin. When I first met him, I said, 'Hey, you look like my cousin!' And my cousin's name is Nick, so what a coincidence."

Ward also likes the relationship he's sparked with his coaches, starting with an April visit when defensive coordinator Vic Fangio initially welcomed him with a "poker face" and a chat with Jim Harbaugh flowed freely for over 30 minutes.

Ward also knows what's at stake this season as the 49ers try unseating the reigning champion Seattle Seahawks.

"I know the Seahawks-49ers, that's the game of the century right there," Ward said of a matchup that will resume Thanksgiving night at Levi's Stadium. "I know they have a real good defense, too, so I want to see this defense be the best defense in the nation."

For more on the 49ers, see Cam Inman's Hot Read blog at blogs.mercurynews.com/49ers. Follow him on Twitter at twitter.com/CamInman.