Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports



San Francisco 49ers general manager John Lynch joined Mike Florio on "Pro Football Talk Live." During the interview, Lynch was asked about rookie quarterback C.J. Beathard, who the 49ers traded up to select in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft.

Florio asked Lynch what he sees in Beathard that makes him believe that the former Iowa signal caller could be a franchise quarterback. 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan has mentioned Beathard's toughness is one of his most attractive qualities. Lynch indicated the same while talking to Florio.

"I think his best quality – a couple of them – aside from the talent, in tight spaces and in tight windows, he can really rip the ball," Lynch responded. "But I think his toughness speaks to me and Kyle. This is a guy that will get hit (and) stand up. And that seems to be a quality all the great ones have.

"And then – kind of fearless. I talked about letting that ball go. There's just no hesitation and that's what the great ones in this league (do). I think they anticipate and they let the ball go and they trust that their guys are going to be and they demand that their guys are going to be where they're supposed to be – when they're supposed to be there. He's got a lot of fire to him.

"He's played in a pro-style offense. Now, at Iowa, they didn't throw it as much as a lot of people so I think that's one reason he wasn't as coveted throughout the league. But I think people that studied him liked a lot of the same qualities that we had. He's a very accurate thrower as well. Those are the qualities that stand out to me."

Beathard, a redshirt freshman at Iowa in 2013, didn't see significant playing time until the next year when he appeared in nine games with one start. As a junior in 2015, he was the Hawkeyes' starter and ended up as the team's MVP after completing 61.6-percent of his passes for 2,809 pass yards, 17 touchdowns, and five interceptions. His production dropped during his senior year, during which he completed 56.5-percent of his passes for 1,929 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions.

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In May, Peter King of TheMMQB reported that Beathard was the only quarterback in the draft that Shanahan wanted. King wrote the following in that report:

"There wasn't a player they had to have, but they'd picked up an extra seventh-round pick in an earlier deal, and someone suggested moving from early in the fourth round to late in the third, five spots up, to snare the only quarterback Shanahan wanted in this draft: Iowa's C.J. Beathard."

Florio asked Lynch how you balance Beathard's type of toughness in the pocket and protecting the quarterback to try to limit the contact.

"It's part of this game," Lynch said. "In my experience, the great ones – the Bradys, the Mannings – not only are they tremendous players that have that will to win and have all the intangibles and tangible talents, but they're also available. They're there all the time. A lot of that is getting rid of the darn ball because these guys are hard to block these days.

"There seems to be a trend where the players coming in the league – the d-linemen keep getting better and the offensive line play is not as good. That's concerning for quarterbacks but one thing that drew me to this job, in all honesty, Mike, is I think the way that Kyle Shanahan protects his quarterbacks by virtue of the way he runs his offense – the play-action pass – he has a run game that he very much believes in and is committed to.

"But then, as a player, I always loved when I played a team where they had a run game and then the play-action passing game didn't really look like that run game. That's one thing when I always studied Kyle as a broadcaster, is that his play-action pass game – his run-action pass game – it looks exactly like run plays that they're running. So, I think he does a really nice job as a play caller of designing offenses that protect these quarterbacks.

"That's not to say that they're not going to get hit, but I think he lessens the load because it's not purely drop back where it's hard to block these guys."