The San Francisco 49ers traded up into the back end of the third round of the 2017 NFL draft to select Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard. Head coach Kyle Shanahan is a big fan of Beathard’s toughness and accuracy, and thinks his work in a pro style offense is a big plus. Peter King went so far as to say Beathard was the only quarterback Shanahan really wanted in the 2017 NFL draft.
After the selection, Shanahan made it clear that Beathard will need time to develop, and will spend this season as the team’s third string quarterback. Injuries and quick development could very well change that, but barring any quarterback developments, he will spend the season inactive.
Jason La Canfora put together an article on Friday offering projections for when each rookie quarterback will make their first start. He has Mitchell Trubisky, DeShaun Watson, and DeShone Kizer all getting a start in before the end of this season. He then has Patrick Mahomes in the Kansas City Chiefs starting lineup by Week 1 of 2018. For C.J. Beathard, he offers up Week 6 of the 2019 season, although he admits it is guess-work:
OK this is a totally random guess. But Kyle Shanahan knows what he wants from his quarterbacks and he selected this kid, higher than some would have projected, for a reason. Brian Hoyer is the guy this season and if Kirk Cousins is a free agent in 2018, he'll be in San Francisco a year from now. Or they'll draft a kid high next year who is close to ready.
In the meantime, Beathard will be developed into the ultimate system guy Shanahan trusts, who could be a long-term high-end backup able to function in the offense for half a season or so. He'll be limited but smart, and if/when the starter gets hurt a few years from now, he'll get an opportunity to play. Shanahan has had guys like Matt Schaub and Rex Grossman in the past, and Beathard could be in the role for years to come.
The decision to draft Beathard does not preclude any future quarterback moves. The team could sign Kirk Cousins next year, draft a QB in the 2018 draft, acquire someone via trade, or virtually any other possible move. Beathard could improve significantly and become the 49ers starter at some point. I would say pretty much everything is on the table at this point.
Will we ever see Beathard on the field as the 49ers starter, even if just as an injury fill-in? I’ve included a poll below to see when people think he makes his first start. Maybe it’s as an injury fill-in this year or next year. Maybe he takes over the starting job at some point and shows us Kyle Shanahan knows what he’s talking about. When do you think it will happen, if ever?
When will C.J. Beathard make his first regular season start with the 49ers?
This poll is closed