IOWA CITY — C.J. Beathard believes he belongs.
Projected as a mid-to-late round selection in the NFL’s three-day draft that begins Thursday, the Iowa quarterback brings a level of confidence into the selection process that is a reflection of his own recent observations.
“I feel like it’s going to happen, that I’m going to get drafted and I’m confident that I’m going to have a good shot,’’ Beathard said. “I feel like I have as much to offer as any quarterback in the draft.’’
Since limping off the field at the Outback Bowl and playing through a hamstring injury, Beathard has participated in the Senior Bowl, the NFL Combine and Iowa’s pro day.
He’s also trained with Mitch Trubisky, the North Carolina quarterback who is regarded as the top-rated signal caller in this year’s draft class.
“I’ve had a chance over the last couple months to be around the other guys and I feel I’m right there,’’ Beathard said. “They’re good players, but I think I’m just as good as every single one of them.’’
Beathard shares an agent with Trubisky, and the pair worked out together in California and Arizona.
From Beathard’s perspective, it was time well spent as he works to become the second Hawkeye quarterback to be selected in the NFL draft since 1992.
“The frustrating thing has been the injury and getting back to being healthy enough to show people what I can do,’’ he said. “That took some time and patience, but my workouts I feel like have been good. I’ve been able to show what I can do and hopefully that will lead to an opportunity. I believe it will.’’
Beathard didn’t run at the NFL Combine because of the hamstring, but he did take on the three-cone drill at Iowa’s pro day on March 27 in 6.76 seconds.
That time in the agility drill would have ranked second among Combine participants and illustrated a capable combination of speed and mobility.
“I’m going to get a chance to do what I need to do before the draft and that’s the big thing,’’ Beathard said. “I’ve talked with quite a few teams and I’m getting to know people. That’s all part of the process.’’
Beathard’s familiarity with the NFL doesn’t hurt.
He is the grandson of longtime NFL general manager Bobby Beathard and he’s heard firsthand the amount of respect people have for the man who put together four Super Bowl championship teams.
“The people who I’ve spoken with who know my grandpa have a lot of great things to say about him,’’ Beathard said. “He’s a pretty special guy.’’
He’s even offered his grandson some advice as the draft process plays out.
“Keep working. Stay positive. Be yourself,’’ the Iowa quarterback said. “It’s great advice. I’m a good listener, especially when grandpa has something to say.’’
Beathard has fielded questions about his two different seasons as a starter at Iowa.
He quarterbacked the Hawkeyes to berths in the Big Ten Championship Game and the Rose Bowl while throwing for 2,809 yards and completing 61.6 percent of his passes as a junior during a 12-2 season.
Working with a much younger receiving corps impacted by injuries and an offensive line that included two first-year starters, Beathard connected on 56.6 percent of his passes and threw for 1,929 yards during his senior season on an 8-5 Hawkeye team.
He threw 17 touchdown passes in each of those seasons as a starter, but saw his interception number double to 10 last fall.
“I feel fortunate to have played at Iowa and be part of a pro-style system that prepares you for the next level. I’ve got a good feel for how the game is played at the NFL. The way some college offenses are designed anymore, that’s not something every quarterback can say,’’ Beathard said.
“I feel like I’ve shown that I bring a level of toughness to the field. I didn’t miss a start at Iowa, even if I was little banged up. I’ve shown I can play through things. People have seen what I can do. I’m anxious to see where it leads.’’