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49ers draft: John Beck shares what Kyle Shanahan seeks in a QB

Apr 22, 2021 at 2:41 PM


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Former NFL quarterback turned private coach John Beck joined KNBR on Thursday. He worked with Kyle Shanahan in Washington when the San Francisco 49ers head coach was the offensive coordinator there. The two remain close.

Beck has worked this offseason with two of the three prospects — Justin Fields of Ohio State and Trey Lance of North Dakota State — that are the betting favorites to be the No. 3 pick by the Niners. Mac Jones of Alabama has the best odds, followed by the other two. Beck has also worked at length with Zach Wilson of BYU, who is expected to go to the New York Jets at No. 2.

Everyone is trying to figure out Shanahan's thinking and predict who will be the 49ers' first selection. After all, the team traded a haul of draft picks, including multiple first-rounders, to the Miami Dolphins to move up from No. 12.

Beck was asked to break down what Shanahan seeks in a quarterback. I'll leave it up to you to analyze it and determine which of the three prospects best matches the description.

"Kyle wants somebody that can understand his offense, that can process information quickly, that can see the field through a lens that makes sense to him to be able to coach it, and for you to kind of see it how he sees it," Beck told Greg Papa and John Lund. "It doesn't have to be perfect, but he wants you to be able to communicate with him and then be able to process so that in-game communications, during-practice communication, all those things can flow smoothly.

"He's also really big on feet. He wants to be able to tie feet to the scheme, and really vice versa. So, he's very particular about the feet of his quarterback, the eyes of his quarterback, the positioning, and he looks for traits and abilities. Physical abilities would be getting the ball out quickly, being able to drive it to a lot of different places on the field quickly and effortlessly. He loves to be aggressive in play-pass, especially certain areas of the field, so he wants somebody, as they come off the play fake, if those safeties start to cut the underneath routes, or if they get flat-footed, he wants somebody that can drive a ball downfield, and then within space.

"In this game, space is always taken away because of the pressure [by] the defense. So, he wants somebody that doesn't have to use a bunch of space in the pocket to be able to really drive the ball and do it accurately. So, that's why there are certain elements of a guy that may jump out to him, and he looks and says, 'I know where that fits in what I do.'"

One of the knocks on Jones, especially when compared to Fields or Lance, is a lack of athleticism. The latter two prospects could add a different dynamic to an offense. Many have speculated that after watching quarterbacks like Patrick Mahomes, Josh Allen, Russell Wilson, and Kyler Murray in recent years, maybe Shanahan seeks his own athletic playmaker.

"A lot of people just want to say, 'Oh, he's looking for an athletic quarterback,' and they think anybody with athleticism fits," Beck commented. "Kyle doesn't need a Lamar Jackson athlete. He just needs somebody athletic enough to run the keeper game, to be able to move off the spot, and in the play-pass game, to be able to move enough, selling the action. And if there is any pressure, quickly move, and still be able to drive every single throw to all three levels of the field."

You can listen to the entire interview with Beck below.




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