Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports



While many questioned the selection of quarterback C.J. Beathard in the third round, the general consensus among analysts and writers was that the San Francisco 49ers had a pretty good draft. In fact, if you consider that it was the first led by general manager John Lynch and head coach Kyle Shanahan, it appeared to be a great draft. Lynch didn't look anything like a rookie executive over the course of the three-day event. Most post-draft grades fell within the A-to-B range.

However, there is at least one writer who is not yet ready to throw as many accolades toward the 49ers' decision makers. Frank Schwab of Yahoo! Sports' Shutdown Corner was not among those who graded the 49ers' draft so highly. In a 2017 team preview released on Thursday, he gave the 49ers a "C-" grade.

Why did he grade the 49ers so low? Let's take a look at his reasoning.

"They moved up to draft linebacker Reuben Foster with the No. 31 overall pick, after off-field concerns and questions about the health of his shoulder caused many linebacker-needy teams to pass. Lynch later told The MMQB's Peter King the 49ers would have felt comfortable drafting Foster third overall … when no other team in the top 30 used its pick on him. There have been questions if Foster's shoulder will be healthy enough for him to play this season."

The questions about Foster's shoulder have not come from within the 49ers' building. Management and the coaching staff have felt comfortable with his recovery based on the feedback from doctors within and outside of the organization. In fact, last week, Shanahan stated that he expected Foster to be recovered from his shoulder surgery by the time the team reconvenes and that he would be "more than ready" to compete in full pads at the start of training camp.

As Schwab states, if Foster ends up being another Patrick Willis for the team, it doesn't really matter where he was selected. The 49ers were able to select two of the top three players on their draft board. That accomplishment alone seems worthy of a higher grade.

"Plenty of reporters reacted to Lynch's fairly standard draft-day trade with the Chicago Bears like he was Ron Wolf landing Brett Favre in 1992...The trade with the Bears wasn't the genius stroke it was made out to be, but it was a good move."

The top three players on the 49ers' draft board were Myles Garrett, Solomon Thomas, and Reuben Foster. The Chicago Bears moved up one spot to select quarterback Mitch Trubisky and gave up three picks to the 49ers in the process. San Francisco had no intention of selecting Trubisky so he would have been there for Chicago at the number three spot. Chicago basically gave up three picks for nothing. That is why most analysts felt that the Bears got "mugged" in the deal. Lynch and his staff thought Chicago was moving up to select Thomas. Had that occurred, they would have been perfectly comfortable selecting Foster at number three.

How do we know that the 49ers had no intention of selecting Trubisky? Because there was reportedly only one quarterback on their draft board and that was the Iowa product that they selected in the third round – C.J. Beathard. Schwab, of course, is among the many who criticized the early selection of Beathard.

"You'd have to look far and wide to find anyone who thought Beathard would be a second-day pick...Then again, C.J. Beathard might be a wasted pick in the third round and sending a fourth-round pick for Kapri Bibbs was odd."

I'll discuss Bibbs in a minute.

We didn't have to look too "far and wide" for a report of Day Two interest in Beathard. According to Peter Schrager of FOX Sports, who is best known as a host on NFL Network's "Good Morning Football," there was at least one other team interested in Beathard during Day Two of the draft.

Schrager said the following during a post-draft interview on the Taylor Price Talk podcast:

"I can tell you that they weren't the only team that looked at C.J. that high. In fact, I had a team tell me if he's there in the third round, they'll take him. They ended up trading out of that pick or they didn't have a pick. Something happened (and) they ended up not taking him but that's another one where the mock drafts didn't have C.J. Beathard being mentioned but he went before Nathan Peterman and a bunch of the guys that got all the hype."

The 49ers could have also heard the same chatter. Selecting him that high was a small price to pay to guarantee themselves the only quarterback in the draft who Shanahan felt fit his scheme and someone who he has repeatedly compared to Kirk Cousins of the Washington Redskins – a player we know Shanahan loves. It was also a small price to pay for Lynch who wanted his head coach to rest well that night knowing he got his guy.

Schwab also called the trade of a 2018 fourth-round selection for Denver Broncos backup running back Kapri Bibbs a "head-scratcher." As he mentions, the 49ers also received a 2017 fifth-round selection in return, so the price was not too steep – especially if Bibbs is able to win a roster spot and contribute at all this season. The 49ers ended up using that fifth-round selection on wide receiver Trent Taylor, who has been impressive during the team's offseason program.

As for Bibbs, Lynch was very familiar with the Denver running back from his time covering the team as an analyst with FOX. Nick Wagoner of ESPN wrote the following in May:

"[During his time with FOX], Lynch was able to get a close look at players up and down Denver's roster. So when the Broncos came calling during this year's draft in search of a fourth-round pick next year, Lynch had a pretty good handle on what he wanted in return."

"In the last two preseasons with Lynch watching, Bibbs posted 165 rushing yards on 39 carries. If that wasn't enough to make him a desirable piece in a trade, the extra knowledge brought by Niners vice president of player personnel Adam Peters helped."

Bibbs himself has no shortage of self-confidence. "I do wish [Denver] saw this final piece in me and they saw the type of player that I'm going to be this year," Bibbs told 9News in Denver. "Now the 49ers are about to get one of the best running backs in the league this year. And [the Broncos are] going to find out real soon."