Surprise picks littered the first three rounds of the NFL Draft, including the rise of numerous quarterbacks — specifically, Iowa’s C.J. Beathard.
The San Francisco 49ers selected the former Hawkeye signal caller in the third round with pick No. 104.
“He’s a leader, he’s tough, extremely accurate,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “I think he lives and dies football.”
Minnesota held the 104th pick, but San Francisco traded the 109th and 219th pick to the Vikings in exchange for their position in the late third round to move up in the draft order.
The first Hawkeye off the board, Beathard was the sixth quarterback to be selected.
In 2016, Beathard led the Hawkeyes to 8-5 record. He threw for 1,929 yards, 17 touchdowns, and 10 interceptions. His best season came the year before, when he helped lead Iowa to a 12-win campaign and appearances in the Big Ten Championship and Rose Bowl He finished the year with 2,809 yards, 17 touchdowns, and only 5 interceptions.
Beathard finished his four-year Iowa career with 5,562 yards, 40 touchdowns, and 29 interceptions.
Going into the draft, ESPN listed him as the ninth-best passer in the draft.
Cornerback Desmond King, defensive lineman Jaleel Johnson, and tight end George Kittle remained on the board going into Round 4.
Beathard became the highest drafted Hawkeye quarterback since Mark Vlasic in 1987 (fourth round, pick No. 88) and the second signal caller (Ricky Stanzi, drafted in the 5th round in 2011 (under Kirk Ferentz).
— Adam Hensley