Among the most stunning selections that occurred during the NFL Draft, one of the more unexpected was the third round selection of Iowa quarterback C.J Beathard. For a team known for its illustrious QB play, for it to select Beathard, and in the same round they took Joe Montana was one of the biggest shockers of the weekend.
Many draftniks expected the two-year starter Beathard to go day 3 between the fifth and sixth round. But, new San Francisco General Manager John Lynch made the pick at #104, making Beathard the sixth quarterback taken.
New head coach Kyle Shanahan saw traits in Beathard that reminded him of Redskins QB Kirk Cousins stating to Peter King:
“He processes the game so well,” Shanahan said. “Tough as s—. Got a chance. He reminds me a lot of Kirk Cousins.”
While the stats in their respective careers favor Cousins, the Michigan State product had three full seasons as the starter, where as Beathard spent much of his sophomore season behind Jake Rudock. Beathard would eventually win out the job prompting Rudock’s transfer to Michigan. Beathard of course, would end up being one of Iowa’s best quarterbacks in the Ferentz Era which included a perfect 2015 regular season, and Rose Bowl appearance.
The 49ers also would be able to learn more about Beathard, and what he is capable of due to his development in a pro-style offense. Beathard’s offensive coordinator at Iowa, Greg Davis even thought he could be the best he’s coached. That list includes Longhorn greats Vince Young and Colt McCoy who did not have exceptional NFL careers.
Beathard will be joined in the Bay Area by his college teammate George Kittle who was also selected by the Niners. Beathard and Kittle were the first Hawkeyes taken by San Francisco since Merton Hanks was taken in the fifth round in 1991. Hanks would go on to make four Pro Bowls, and win a Super Bowl in San Fransisco.
The 49ers improved in many areas, but with only adding Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley, a strong training camp for Beathard could see him get on the field early. While the veterans are expecting to see most of the snaps, Beathard’s resiliency in his college career shows that he should not be overlooked.