Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kim Klement-USA TODAY Sports

Kyle Shanahan on C.J. Beathard: ‘I think we’re getting a leader’

May 4, 2017 at 11:03 AM--

Draft analysts were not particularly fond of the San Francisco 49ers reaching in the third round to select Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard. After all, he was not the highest rated quarterback remaining on analysts' draft boards and they felt that he could have been had later. Although, at least one other team also wanted him in the third round.

For 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan, none of that matters. Beathard is the quarterback who he wanted. He was the quarterback who he fell in love with while watching film. He is the quarterback who Shanahan said had traits similar to Washington Redskins quarterback Kirk Cousins, who the coach loves. On Friday, the 49ers traded up to select him in the third round so they could rest easily that night knowing that Shanahan got his guy.

Shanahan joined KNBR on Thursday morning and discussed his new rookie quarterback. He was asked what 49ers fans should expect from Beathard in 2017.

"You're going to expect to get a good quarterback," Shanahan answered. "I don't have any specific expectations for what he's going to do. I just want him to come in here and compete and from what I have seen on his college tape, I think he's going to have a great chance to do that.

"C.J. is a very good thrower. I'd consider him a natural thrower. It's not something he's had to work at a ton. He was born to throw, which gives him an advantage.

"But the main reason you like him is -- I've never seen a guy hang in the pocket and play as tough as he does. Whether the protection is good or not, whether people are getting open or not, he hangs in there all day, takes hits to the face and just keeps his eyes downfield. It allows him to process things during the game, get the ball to the right spots, be able to read coverages because he can hang in there and keep that poise. When stuff isn't there, he has some athletic ability that he can make some plays after that.

"We're not going to put in a whole offense that's having him run an option and things like that but he's a very good pocket quarterback who has some ability to make some plays when things aren't there."

Shanahan went on to say that he really started to notice Beathard as soon as he started watching film on quarterbacks. He simply went down the list of quarterbacks who he was given by scouts. Quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello got a head start on the film review and the two went back and forth on the quarterbacks who they each liked.

"C.J., both of us watching it separately, we were very encouraged by what we saw," Shanahan said. "When you're encouraged by what you see, all you do is watch more and you watch more and either you start feeling better about it or worse. And the more we watched him, the better we felt. I think we're getting a leader.

"We brought guys in from Iowa. We brought [tight end George] Kittle in on one of our 30 visits. You talk to him about everything but then you also ask about his quarterback. To hear how his teammates spoke about him, we talked to his coaches at his school and heard how they spoke about him, you can tell he was the man there. He ran the show. He was in charge of things. He was a guy everyone respected. They knew that they were getting everything that their quarterback had day in and day out and that's the type of guy that you want.

"The things that you want to hear about a guy, especially at that position, and then what we saw on film, we loved also. So you put the whole package together with the ability and the type of character that you're dealing with and those things, I feel you have a chance to be very successful in this league."

You can listen to the entire interview on KNBR.

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