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Kyle Shanahan: C.J. Beathard is a natural thrower, incredibly tough in the pocket

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The 49ers head coach was eyeing C.J. Beathard most of the offseason. He offered some insight on KNBR into what he saw.

The San Francisco 49ers drafted quarterback C.J. Beathard in the third round of the 2017 NFL draft, and it is not surprising that one of the more popular questions for Kyle Shanahan has been about the Iowa product. The selection was a surprise, particularly with the move up into the back end of the third round. But, Shanahan had a guy in mind, and the team was aggressive in going after him.

On Thursday, Shanahan joined KNBR for a morning segment, and the hosts asked him a couple questions about Beathard. The first was what Shanahan expected from Beathard in 2017. He was quick to downplay basically any expectations, but he did offer some compliments, including calling him a natural thrower. He said the main reason he likes Beathard is because of how tough he is in hanging in the pocket.

That was followed up with some discussion as to when he first started noticing Beathard. Shanahan said he and QB coach Rich Scangarello did separate film work and were both encouraged by what they saw.

Here’s a full transcript of what Shanahan had to say about the 49ers new QB.

On what to expect from Beathard in 2017:

“You’re gonna expect to get a good quarterback. I don’t have any specific expectations for what I want him to do. I just want him to come in here and compete. With what I’ve seen on his college tape, I think he’s gonna have a great chance to do that.

“CJ is a very good thrower. I consider him a natural thrower. It’s not something he’s had to work at a ton. It’s, he was born to throw which gives him an advantage. But the main reason you like him is, I’ve never seen a guy hang in the pocket and play as tough as he does. Whether the protection’s good or not, whether people are getting open or not, he hangs in there all day, takes hits to the face, and just keeps his eyes downfield. It allows him to process things during the game, get the ball to the right spots, be able to read coverages, because he can hang in there and keep that poise.

“When stuff isn’t there, he has some athletic ability, he can make some plays after that. We’re not gonna put in a whole offense that has him running the option and things like that, but he’s a very good pocket quarterback who has the ability to make plays when things aren’t there.”

On when he first started noticing Beathard:

“I’m trying to think, right when I started watching the quarterbacks, it was really when I got back from the draft (Fooch’s note: This timing seemed off, I’m not sure what he meant since they obviously evaluated QBs before the draft). You start with the names that you’ve heard first. Then I just go down the list that our scouts give us, there’s about 15 people. Our quarterback coach, Rich Scangarello gets a head-start, and he watches it on his own, and I start to see the guys that the likes, and go to him with the guys that I like, then we just discuss it together.

“CJ, both of us watching separately, we were very encouraged by what we saw. And when you’re encouraged by what you see, all you do is watch more. You watch more and either you start feeling better about it or worse. And the more we watched him, the better we felt. And I think we’re getting a leader. We brought guys in from Iowa, we brought Kittle in on one of our 30 visits. You talk to him about everything, but you also ask him about his quarterback. To hear how his teammates spoke about him – to talk to the coaches at his school and how they spoke about him – you can tell he was the man there. He ran the show, he was in charge of things, he was a guy everyone respected. They knew that they were getting everything that their quarterback had day in and day out. And that’s the type of guy that you want and the things that you want to hear about a guy, especially at that position.

“And then what we saw on film is, we loved also. So you put the whole package together and with the ability and the type of character you’re dealing with, and those things, I feel give you a very good chance to be successful in this league.”