The San Francisco 49ers surprised most of us when they decided to trade up and select Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft. After the round ended, Kyle Shanahan said, “we had an idea that C.J. might go in the fourth round.” Some folks were a bit skeptical of that comment.
In reality, it might not be entirely crazy to think that. On April 18, Ian Rapoport tweeted that Beathard was one of a handful of players who, “should go much higher than expected.”
On April 22, Green Bay Packers reporter Bob McGinn posted his QB rankings, and had Beathard ranked No. 7. He had him ahead of both Joshua Dobbs and Brad Kaaya, which went against the grain. McGinn’s rankings include some of his own assessment, but also involve him speaking with several scouts. They’re a little different than your normal QB rankings.
Both of those were before the draft. Since the draft, Beathard has offered a quasi-confirmation of that. He was on SiriusXM NFL radio earlier this week (audio), and he said some teams suggested he would be going in the third or fourth round. There is no guarantee when a player is told by a team where he might be drafted, but it does suggest this was something that had some legs to it.
None of this means the pick is going to work out. Rather, it offers some insight into what might have led the 49ers to think he would go earlier than expected. Kyle Shanahan seems to be a pretty big fan of Beathard, and was prepared to make a big move up to get him. Now, we’ll see if that judgment pans out.