With six fourth-quarter comebacks on his Iowa resume, C.J. Beathard engineered one final upset before taking his game from the Big Ten to the next level.
The Hawkeyes’ quarterback became a surprising third-round selection of the San Francisco 49ers in the NFL draft.
"They won't regret it,'' Beathard said during a conference call with San Francisco reporters late Friday night.
Generally projected as a mid-to-late round choice, the first and only Iowa player selected so far in this year’s draft was taken by San Francisco after it traded up to secure Beathard as a long-term solution in an area of need.
"He's a leader. He's tough. He processes very well. He's extremely accurate, and he lives and dies football,'' coach Kyle Shanahan told the Sacramento Bee, saying he views Beathard as a developmental selection.
Shanahan called Beathard's work in Iowa's pro-style system advantageous compared to quarterbacks who might have better numbers but ran a spread offense in college.
"One thing that helps is seeing guys play the way you're going to ask them to play. It helps his being at Iowa and watching the system he's in,'' Shanahan said. "To watch him over the years, he led his team to a bunch of wins.''
Throughout the pre-draft process, Beathard remained confident that he would be selected.
After initially being slowed by a hamstring injury suffered at the Outback Bowl, he helped himself with strong showings at Iowa’s pro day and in later individual workouts for teams.
“I know I’m going to get a shot at some point, whenever that is,’’ Beathard said.
Chicago had only one draft pick on Friday and it used it to select Adam Shaheen, an all-American tight end at the NCAA Division II level. The 6-foot-6, 278-pound Shaheen initially began his college career as a basketball player, but spent the past two years playing football at Ashland.
Green Bay made its first three choices of this year’s draft on Friday and used each of them on the defensive side the ball.
The Packers opened the second round by taking cornerback Kevin King of Washington with the first pick of the round. Green Bay followed that by choosing safety Josh Jones of North Carolina State later in the second round and taking Auburn defensive tackle Montravious Adams in the third round.
In selecting Beathard, San Francisco gave Minnesota draft picks in the fourth and seventh rounds to choose the Hawkeye with the late third-round choice.
He will be one of three quarterbacks on the 49ers roster, joining Brian Hoyer and Matt Barkley.
Beathard is the second Hawkeye quarterback to be selected in the NFL draft since 1993 and the first since Ricky Stanzi was chosen by Kansas City in the fifth round of the 2011 draft.
Selected with the 104th overall pick of this year’s draft, Beathard is the highest draft pick from Iowa at the position since Mark Vlasic was chosen at 88th in the 1987 draft.
Vlasic is the most recent Hawkeye quarterback to complete a pass in the NFL, accomplishing that in 1991.
The selection of Beathard comes after he led Iowa to a 21-7 record as a starting quarterback, one of five players in Hawkeye history to win 20 or more games as a starting quarterback.
He threw for 5,562 yards during his college career, eighth on Iowa’s all-time list and ranks sixth on the Hawkeyes’ career list with 40 touchdowns.
The grandson of longtime NFL general manager Bobby Beathard quarterbacked Iowa to the Big Ten West Division championship and a Rose Bowl berth as a junior, earning second-team all-Big Ten honors after throwing for 2,809 yards during a 12-2 season.
Working with a young and injury-depleted receiving corps, Beathard threw for 1,929 yards last season.
Beathard was the only Hawkeye selected on the second day of the three-day draft which concludes today in Philadelphia.
Defensive back Desmond King, tight end George Kittle and defensive tackle Jaleel Johnson remain on the board when rounds four through seven begin at 11 a.m. today in Philadelphia.
Illinois defensive end Dawaune Smoot was taken by Jacksonville with the fourth pick in the third round.
A third-team all-Big Ten selection as a senior, Smoot joins a Jaguars team which was looking to improve its pass rush in this year’s draft.
“I feel ready. I’m a pass rusher and my specialty is getting to the passer,’’ Smoot said in a conference call following his selection.
The 6-foot-3, 264-pound Smoot is the sixth Fighting Illini defensive lineman to be selected in the NFL draft since 2011.
He recorded 58 tackles last season, including 15 tackles for a loss and five sacks.
“Coach (Lovie) Smith and the staff have prepared us all well for the next level,’’ Smoot said. “They’ve been here. They know what it is about.’’
Northern Illinois wide receiver Kenny Golladay, coached the past two seasons by new Iowa receivers coach Kelton Copeland, was picked in the third round Friday by Detroit.
Golladay totaled over 1,100 receiving yards in each of the past two seasons for the Huskies.