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This offseason, Kyle Shanahan was hired as the San Francisco 49ers’ head coach after Jed York fired Chip Kelly. In his first draft with the 49ers, Shanahan and General Manager Jon Lynch picked C.J. Beathard (pronounced “Beh-third”) from Iowa in the third round.
Beathard is one of the few quarterbacks in this draft that actually has pro-style experience and has taken a large portion of his snaps from under center. In my opinion, this should immediately help his transition at the next level. Also, based on his underrated athleticism and quick release, he’s a good fit in Shanahan’s offense.
This system features west coast concepts similar to that of Darrell Bevell and the Seattle Seahawks. Additionally, it features the same zone blocking scheme as well as many play-action and bootleg plays. Digging deeper into Beathard’s game tape, he already executed many concepts that he will run with San Francisco.
As a passer he’s generally accurate on short and medium throws, but when throwing deep his completion percentage was dreadful. He has good touch, but was extremely inconsistent with his ball placement.
Going from a strong 2015 season to his 2016 campaign, his play definitely regressed. In 2015, he was much more confident making full field reads while going through his progressions. One thing that consistently stood out to me while studying his tape was his hesitation and his lack of anticipation on timing routes. For someone that has significant pro-style experience, he has to understand that this is a problem going forward. Typically, he waits for the receiver to completely break on his route and throws with little to no anticipation.
During the offseason, many linked Kirk Cousins to San Francisco due to his stalled contract negotiations with the Washington Redskins. Ironically, I think Beathard and Cousins are very similar in their play styles. Both were team leaders in college. Both were accurate and made many quick throws while not taking too many risks. Also, both quarterbacks can win with a strong team around them, but have questionable elite quarterbacking ability in the NFL.
In the third round, this pick was too early for me. I had him as a late fourth, early fifth round pick in the NFL Draft. For that, I gave this pick a C+ with his scheme fit as a definite positive.