C.J. Beathard

How QBs could impact 49ers' draft strategy

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AP

How QBs could impact 49ers' draft strategy

The 49ers’ list of pre-draft visits is beginning to take shape, as more players are reported to be among the team’s maximum of 30 official visits to Santa Clara. Check out the updated list here.

Now, we go to our latest edition of 49ers Mailbag with questions submitted via Twitter: . . 

Q: Jimmy GQ signed long term and staff loves CJ’s attitude and toughness, but do you think they use another day 2 selection to round out the QB room? (@Budafruco)
A: It would be an upset if the 49ers’ top two quarterbacks to open the season are not Jimmy Garoppolo and C.J. Beathard. The 49ers can keep Garoppolo and Beathard together as the starter and backup through the 2020 season (the duration of Beathard’s contract).

The 49ers would be expected to add a fourth quarterback to their 90-man roster to join Nick Mullens. But it would not make sense for them to draft a quarterback on Day 2 – that is a second- or third-round draft pick.

The 49ers could add a late-round draft pick or, simply, wait to sign an undrafted rookie.

Q: What are the chances the niners trade with a team that's looking to move up in the draft? (@SF_a7x)
A: My guess is the only way the 49ers’ pick at No. 9 overall becomes a hot commodity is if one of the top four quarterbacks – Sam Darnold, Josh Allen, Josh Rosen or Baker Mayfield -- is not chosen within the top eight.

So it is a win-win for the 49ers. If four quarterbacks are chosen within the top eight, the 49ers will, at worst, end up with the No. 5 non-QB on their draft board. If there is a quarterback available, the 49ers might have the option of trading back and picking up additional draft picks.

Q: What are the chances we make a move up for Chubb? (@davidmakepeace)
A: Pass-rusher Bradley Chubb looks like a good fit for the 49ers’ “Leo” or elephant position. But when a team moves up within the top-10 of the draft, the cost of doing business is very high.

If there is one player for whom the 49ers might be tempted to move up to select, Chubb would be the most likely. But the price of doing business would be too high.

Q: If you are on the clock at 9, and the following players are there, who are you taking? Nelson, Fitzpatrick, Landry, Ward or R. Smith? (@YacovoneRick)
A: Let’s re-frame the question this way: Which of those players would the 49ers take?

Notre Dame guard Quenton Nelson – with his size, agility and smarts – would be about as good as it gets for a 49ers offense that puts a lot of stress on its guards. My guess is the two non-QBs who are the best fits for the 49ers in this draft are Chubb and Nelson.

After that, it’s uncertain.

I’m not sold on Ohio State cornerback Denzel Ward – due to his size and lack of physicality – being a fit for this defensive system. And Virginia Tech linebacker Tremaine Edmunds’ versatility, size and freakish athleticism places him on at least equal footing as Georgia linebacker Roquan Smith.

Boston College pass-rusher Harold Landry is an intriguing player whom the 49ers like more as they watch more of him.

Q: With all this talk about the addition of Cooper and the need to draft a guard... what happened to Josh Garnett? (@TellemFranky)
A: Joshua Garnett was never being counted upon to be a starter after the arrivals of Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch. When the decision was made to place him on season-ending injured reserve to start the season, the 49ers challenged Garnett to get in better physical condition to handle the requirements of the guard position in this offense.

But Garnett’s presence was never going to dissuade the 49ers from trying to improve the competition in free agency. And, certainly, his presence would not prevent the 49ers from spending a draft pick on a guard, either.

The 49ers signed Jonathan Cooper as a free agent, and Laken Tomlinson returns after starting 15 games last season at left guard. Even without adding anyone in the draft, the competition at guard already looks better than it did at any point last season.

John Lynch shares motivational message to 49ers backup QB C.J. Beathard

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USATSI

John Lynch shares motivational message to 49ers backup QB C.J. Beathard

INDIANAPOLIS – C.J. Beathard experienced a five-game stint as the 49ers’ starting quarterback in the middle of his rookie season.

Now, if everything works as planned, he will remain as the backup for as long as he is with the 49ers.

“My message to him, ‘Become the next Jimmy Garoppolo,’” 49ers general manager John Lynch said. “You keep playing well and good things will happen for you, and he understands that.”

Beathard, a third-round draft pick from Iowa, replaced Brian Hoyer as the 49ers’ starter in a Week 6 game at Washington. On the season, Beathard completed 54.9 percent of his pass attempts for 1,430 yards with four touchdowns and six interceptions.

Beathard remained as the starter for three games after Garoppolo’s arrival in a trade from New England. The 49ers had the luxury of keeping Garoppolo on the sideline because Beathard was playing well, Lynch said.

“C.J. was playing well in our minds and was improving each and every week,” Lynch said. “C.J. has handled this tremendously well with a tremendous amount of class. It’s motivated him to become even better and continue working on his craft. We love his makeup and what he’s all about.”

Garoppolo spent 3 ½ seasons as Tom Brady’s backup before getting his chance in his contract year with the 49ers. Garoppolo’s strong finished enabled him to earn a five-year, $137.5 million contract from the 49ers to become the NFL’s highest-paid player.

Lynch said Beathard can use Garoppolo’s experience to drive him on a similar path – even if gets only limited opportunities with the 49ers.

“When things were going so well, that could’ve been hard for a young man to take, but he responded in the fashion we thought he would,” Lynch said. “I think there are exciting times ahead for C.J. Beathard.”

Beathard's lesson from Shanahan and Garoppolo after benching

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AP

Beathard's lesson from Shanahan and Garoppolo after benching

Rookie C.J. Beathard won the job as the 49ers’ backup quarterback to Brian Hoyer to open the season. And he finished as the No. 2 behind Jimmy Garoppolo.

In between, Beathard made five starts – complete with the requisite highs and lows – while learning Kyle Shanahan’s complex offense. He believes he is a much better player after gaining that experience.

“Those were really beneficial,” Beathard said at the conclusion of the season. “There’s nothing like getting ready and getting better by getting those actual reps. I think it was a huge to get those reps in game situations against some of the best players in the world.”

Beathard, 24, completed 54.9 percent of his pass attempts with four touchdowns and six interceptions. His passer rating was 69.2. He rushed for three touchdowns and was sacked 19 times.

“It’ll help tremendously,” Beathard said of his playing time. “At the end of the day, it’s my rookie year. I feel like I’ve gotten a lot better. I can’t imagine having been in this offense for two, three, four, five years and becoming a master of it, and knowing exactly what Kyle is thinking and be able to execute even better.”

Beathard took over for a struggling Hoyer in the sixth game of the season at Washington. He helped the 49ers to their first victory of the season, a 31-21 win over the New York Giants on Nov. 12.

He started three games after the 49ers acquired Garoppolo in the blockbuster trade with the New England Patriots before stepping aside. Beathard said he continued to prepare and learn even after he became Garoppolo’s backup.

“It was my rookie year, so I was learning a lot, taking it all in and soaking in every little bit of knowledge I could learn from Kyle, Jimmy, anybody," Beathard said. "Being in the NFL, you learn a lot getting those reps, valuable reps. I think I learned a lot and will continue to get better from that.”

Before the 49ers made the trade for Garoppolo it was assumed they would either make a play to acquire a veteran or invest a high draft pick to enact a long-term plan at quarterback.

Now, the 49ers have reason to head into the offseason feeling good about their quarterback situation. Beathard, whom the 49ers traded up to acquire late in the third round, said he believes he should benefit from a full offseason of work.

“Physically, there are certain things you can work on,” he said. “But it’s so engrained in your training that you’re really not going to change anybody’s mechanics at this point. But, definitely, there are some things footwork-wise that everyone can get better at and I’ll try to get better at this offseason.”