It took some people by surprise when the San Francisco 49ers traded up and snagged former Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard in the third round (104th overall) of the 2017 NFL Draft.
Kirk Ferentz wasn’t surprised. Instead, the Hawkeyes coach was impressed by the 49ers’ move.
In Ferentz’s eyes, drafting Beathard was a smart football play — even if the quarterback didn’t have flashy numbers as a senior.
“My sense was around pro day here on campus was that there were some people who were seeing things differently than maybe the draft experts,” Ferentz told sports radio KNBR in the Bay Area. “Apparently San Francisco was in that group. There were a few people who had this thing figured out.”
The 6-foot-2 quarterback had an impressive 2015 campaign in his first year as a starter. Beathard threw for 2,809 yards and 17 touchdowns as the Hawkeyes went undefeated in the regular season and won the Big Ten title.
However, he followed it up with a meager 1,929 yards in 2016. Ferentz blamed that on injuries among Hawkeyes pass catchers, and he applauded the 49ers for looking past Beathard’s 2016 stats.
“All of a sudden we had a pretty good quarterback with nobody to throw it to. I think the smart people found that out. He has all the intangibles you want. I think he’s going to do really, really well,” Ferentz said.
He continued: “It’s no secret our passing game last year left a lot to be desired. I would attribute that to two of our guys from ’15 being in the NFL and the other two guys being hurt a majority of the season. We don’t have them stocked up like at Ohio State. We don’t have a four-deep at receiver. That really affected his numbers. But if you’re looking at tape and looking at players and delving in there a little bit, to me, smart people figured this one out. I really give San Francisco a lot of credit, because I think guy is a really good football player.”
Ferentz’s full comments on Beathard and tight end George Kittle, who also was drafted by San Francisco, can be found below.