It would appear the San Francisco 49ers have found a developmental option at quarterback. The team traded up into the back end of the third round, and drafting Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard. They traded 109 and 219 to the Minnesota Vikings to move up to 104.
He joins a depth chart that includes Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley. The 49ers entered free agency with no quarterbacks under contract. Blaine Gabbert, Christian Ponder, and Thad Lewis all entered free agency with expired contracts, while Colin Kaepernick opted out of his contract. The team pounced on Hoyer due to his success with Kyle Shanahan in Cleveland.
Hoyer will be the starter in 2017, and very well could carry that role into 2018. The team needs to figure out the QB position long term, and Beathard will get time to learn behind Hoyer. While Hoyer is not a great quarterback, his knowledge of Kyle Shanahan’s offensive philosophies will be a big help. Jon Gruden described Beathard as the guy he would want to start early if he had one year with a team, but the 49ers don’t need to rush this.
The 49ers have been connected to Kirk Cousins for much of the offseason. He is expected to hit free agency next season after his second straight year under the franchise tag. This draft pick does not mean the 49ers can’t pursue Cousins next year. Instead, they get a year to see how Beathard comes along, and then they’ll go from there.
1. First round: Solomon Thomas, DL, Stanford
2. First round: Reuben Foster, LB, Alabama
3. Third round: Ahkello Witherspoon, CB, Colorado
4. Third round: C.J. Beathard, QB, Iowa
5. Fourth round: Comp pick - No. 37 (143 overall)
6. Fifth round: Own - No. 2 (146 overall)
7. Fifth round: Washington (Derek Carrier trade) - No. 17 (161 overall)
8. Sixth round: Baltimore Ravens (Jeremy Zuttah trade) - No. 14 (198 overall)
9. Sixth round: Denver Broncos (Vernon Davis trade) - No. 18 (202 overall)
10. Seventh round: New Orleans Saints - No. 1 (229 overall)