Or something like that.
“That was really a head-scratcher of a pick, to me,” Pro Football Focus college analyst Josh Liskiewitz said when C.J. Beathard, the former Iowa quarterback, was tapped by the San Francisco 49ers in the third round in last month’s NFL draft. “I just don’t understand that. Especially a team like San Francisco.”
Keep in mind: No one’s shaking their heads at the fact Beathard was taken; given the arm, the general moxie, a winning pedigree, and NFL bloodlines, that was a given.
They’re still shaking their heads at the where.
And, mostly, at the when.
“That’s a New England Patriots (move) right there,” Liskiewitz continued. “That’s New England, taking a guy who’s going to get in the system, going to pick all that up, and then they play him in a couple preseason games. In the preseason, he looks good, and then they let him in a preseason game and for some reason he intrigues people. And they end up selling [him] off at a high market price.”
In a salary-cap world, draft picks, ultimately, are judged on value for the dollar. Beathard was the sixth quarterback selected, with pick No. 104. The sixth signal caller off the board in 2016, former USC quarterback Cody Kessler, went to Cleveland with the 93rd selection. Kessler wound up signing a 4-year, $3.39 millon contract with the Browns worth $847,271 annually and with a signing bonus — guaranteed money — of $664,788.
Beathard’s first contract figures to land in that ballpark. And yet with former Bears backups Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley already on board and penciled ahead of him on the depth chart, how many regular-season snaps the former Iowa standout sees over the next 18-24 months is pure conjecture.
“A team like San Francisco that’s trying to build, and you take him in the third round, I find that curious,” Liskiewitz said. “I don’t see the upside to warrant taking that quarterback in that round, especially when you’ve got some of the quarterbacks that went later … that was one of the more curious picks of Day 2.”
Mind you, when it comes to 2017 Big Ten rookies and draft “value,” other scouts — including Liskiewitz — are much higher on two of Beathard’s old teammates:
THE BIG TEN’s 5 BEST ‘SLEEPER’ NFL ROOKIES, BY VALUE
1. George Kittle, TE, Iowa (5th round/San Francisco)
Liskiewitz: “Kittle is so much more useful on at least three counts than [former Michigan tight end Jake] Butt is. And frankly, I think, he’s much more dynamic. I think that’s one, even knowing Butt’s injury, [where you’re] going, ‘Why did Denver do that?’ So that’s going to be something to watch. Maybe not necessarily this year, because Butt [taken by the Broncos one pick before Kittle] is not going to do much this year. Denver could be getting that production in a number of ways … but they went a different direction.”
Iowa TE George Kittle “projects as a useful matchup option in a two-tight end offense.”
Scouting report: https://t.co/xUEy9gQ8el
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) March 13, 2017
2. Desmond King, DB/KR, Iowa (5th round/L.A. Chargers)
Liskiewitz: “If they want, they can immediately put him on as a return man, so they’re going to get good production there. He can be as good in that capacity as he was at Iowa, as long as he’s used correctly. I think he’ll be fine, if they keep him in good situations. I think he’s going to be a very good player. He’s one of the better tackling corners in this draft, and so where [he] is, if you’re playing a cover-2 base or playing him in the slot and really active in the box doing a number of things, where he’ll [help] being an extra run-down guy, where you’re kind of that middle-down-and-distance guy. I think he offers a lot. I think that’s a good selection there.”
Desmond King allowed just 24 receptions for 271 yards and one touchdown in 2016.https://t.co/GZNbwPssmV
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) March 22, 2017
3. Vince Biegel, LB, Wisconsin (4th round/Green Bay)
Liskiewitz: “I think that worked out really well for him. One of the things I would look for with him is, it’s between him and Kyle Fackrell; I would hope you’d have your outside linebacker between those two. What it does, it probably allows them to move Clay Matthews inside. They really don’t want Jake Ryan starting, and they didn’t take anybody else at inside linebacker, so I think you have Clay Matthews, [as] his pass-rush skill seems to be diminishing. And you have Blake Martinez next to him, and then Nick Perry and then [there’s] a competition of Biegel and Fackrell, and I think that’s a unit that makes a lot of sense and makes that front seven a lot better. So I think Biegel is a really, really good fit.”
Wisconsin LB and draft prospect Vince Biegel had 99 pressures on 493 pass-rushes the last two years. https://t.co/aYa4i44E1N
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) March 26, 2017
4. Nate Gerry, S/LB, Nebraska (5th round/Philadelphia)
Liskiewitz: “They already know what to do with him to some extent — they had his [comparable] in Philly a couple years ago in Kurt Coleman. They kind of say they’re moving him to linebacker. I don’t know if it’s necessary. Again, if you play more cover-2, as long as you’re not asking him to [go] single high or a coverage [like] that, he’s going to be a good player. I like Gerry a lot, and I think there’s a way to use him and get maximum production. I know I’ve said this a number of times: I thought he was the best defensive player in the Big Ten last year. I liked him and I think they’re going to get a lot of mileage out of him, as long as he’s not in single [high] in coverage, which I don’t anticipate him being.”
Top-graded safeties in college football
Jamal Adams, LSU, 89.4
Nathan Gerry, Nebraska, 88.3
Marcus Williams, Utah, 88.2
— PFF College Football (@PFF_College) January 16, 2017
5. Jordan Roos, G, Purdue (UFA/Seattle)
Liskiewitz: “He was right up with the top guards in the country. He goes to a Seattle team where everybody knows how much of a mess they are on the offensive line. I wrote up last week how I think he probably makes that roster, especially if he can show them the kind of versatility and that he’s not just a right guard only.”
Carroll on Jordan Roos: he’s a legit player #Seahawks
— Aaron Levine (@AaronQ13Fox) May 12, 2017