The San Francisco 49ers surprised pretty much everybody with their Friday evening decision when they traded back into the third round to select Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard. A lot of people thought he was a later day three option at best, with some thinking he would go undrafted. Suffice to say, people are wondering what is up.
We’ll hear plenty more from John Lynch and Kyle Shanahan, but it is worth noting that on April 18, Ian Rapoport said he “should go much higher than expected.” It’s safe to say he did.
So, what do we need to learn? Here are some summaries from various scouting reports:
PFF: Beathard’s arm is very good, as he can make the majority of NFL throws. He is a fastball thrower, with little to no finesse in his game of being a true passer. When he is playing in rhythm and knows where to go with the ball, he delivers on time and accurately. Certain throws required to throw up and over defenders he struggles with, as he needs a clear lane to throw through. The biggest questions come with his feel in the pocket and ability to see the field clearly to consistently get through reads, as well as decision-making particularly late in the down. Beathard’s arm and overall game is enough to warrant a late-round selection and a chance to develop as a third-string QB.
Draft Analyst: Beathard is a solid dink-and-dunk/timing passer with a terrific understanding of the position. He’s only fit for certain systems but is worth having on the sideline as another pair of eyes.
NFL.com: Pro-style quarterback who dealt with nagging injuries to key pass catchers and himself in 2016. His 2015 tape was more impressive, but deep-ball accuracy issues, poor pocket awareness, and unnecessary hesitation as a passer shows up in both seasons. Beathard plays checkers with safeties rather than chess, which could always hinder his ability to attack down the field with success. Could be a career backup who finds himself in the action at some point down the road.
NFL Mocks: Beathard’s inconsistency will make him a day three draft selection, but he has tools that are worth drafting and developing. He takes a professional approach to the game and I think based on his 2015 tape, this is a guy that could wind up someday being a starter in the NFL.
I said back then that he reminded me of a healthy Tony Romo with his playmaking ability outside the pocket, and of course his willingness to sacrifice his body for the betterment of the team, even at the expense of himself.
Beathard’s experience, arm talent, and deceptive athleticism will be skills that NFL teams will be overjoyed to develop initially as a backup quarterback, but this kid has the potential to be a starter down the line.
Land of 10: More than any of his former Iowa teammates, Beathard’s next locale is vital to any future success. Ideally, he’s drafted as a backup to an established veteran where he regains his passing rhythm with NFL-caliber receivers. If he’s pressed into service too quickly, it could ruin him.