Like many, the first thing I thought of with the Shanahan/Lynch hiring was how it was similar to the entrance of Bill Walsh. From there I was trying to find anything that seemed similar to the beginning of the 49ers rise from what was an awful, awful team and tonight I found another thing to compare: C.J. Beathard’s draft to Joe Montana.
Yes, both were picked in the 3rd round, but the circumstances surrounding the picks is very similar, according to this video I dug up on NFL.com. The way Bill Walsh was notified of Joe Montana’s possibilities is different to how Kyle Shanahan evaluated Beathard, but the scouts analysis and the talk coming into the draft beforehand seems like history is repeating themselves.
The circumstances surrounding Joe Montana’s draft are interesting. While Montana was no scrub at Notre Dame, he wasn’t considered a can’t-miss prospect. At best (as you’ll see in the video), Montana was labeled a career backup. It took a trip from Bill Walsh (and a recommendation from then-passing game coordinator Sam Wyche) take a peek at the overlooked Montana. The 49ers were thought of to select Stanford prospect Steve Dils, something Dils even said Walsh confirmed in a talk a couple weeks prior.
As the draft rolled around, they took Montana instead and the rest is history. Watching this, you can’t help but see the same circumstances surrounding the draft of Beathard. Obviously, it is yet to be known how he rises on the depth chart and what he’ll do with his chance, but you can add this little nugget as another piece of how history may be repeating itself with the rise of the 49ers dynasty under Walsh.