In today's era of up-tempo and spread offenses, it is easy to become mesmerized by gaudy statistics and to discount those who do not have them. Beathard could be a prime example.
He never threw for 300 yards in a single game with the Hawkeyes and threw for just 66 yards in Iowa's biggest win in 2016, a last-second 14-13 victory over then No. 3 Michigan. Further, he and the Hawkeyes were humbled in an Outback Bowl loss to Florida, with Beathard completing just seven of 23 passes for 55 yards and three interceptions in a 30-3 spanking to end his college career.
Fortunately for Beathard, scouts rely on tape rather than box scores.
A conservative offense and lack of speed among pass-catchers may have limit Beathard's opportunities to put up big numbers at Iowa but it did not hide his intelligence, toughness and accuracy -- traits which could make him the first senior quarterback of the board in the 2017 NFL draft.
STRENGTHS: An intelligent, composed distributor of the ball with good accuracy to all levels of the field. Good pre-snap diagnosis skills, rarely throwing the ball into coverage and earning the right to call audibles at the line of scrimmage based on his reads. Can manipulate the defense with his eyes, frequently scanning the field and delivering to second and third targets. Has an efficient, over-the-top delivery and will change his arm slots to throw 3/4 and even sidearm to avoid rushers. May lack a true howitzer for a right arm but was asked to make pro-style throws in this offense, showing enough velocity and timing to deliver the deep out to the opposite sideline as well as touch down the seam. Very good touch and accuracy on intermediate and deep passes, putting just enough loft on the ball to allow his receivers to run under them to hit receivers in stride and create run-after-the-catch opportunities. More athletic than he looks. Steps up in the pocket when he feels pressure outside and is not afraid to tuck the ball and run, showing more wiggle, grit and straight-line speed than defenders expect. Shows good accuracy and field vision while rolling in either direction. Voted a team captain over the 2015-16 seasons. Showed toughness in fighting through multiple injuries over the 2015-16 seasons, including a bruised knee, strained hip and sports hernia that limited his mobility and required offseason surgery (January, 2016). Has grown significantly since signing with Iowa as a 170 pound freshman and appears to have the frame to add more... More accustomed than most to the spotlight. His grandfather, Bobby, spent 38 years working in NFL front offices and was the architect of four Super Bowl-winning teams. His father, Casey, is an accomplished country music songwriter who has penned hit songs for the likes of Billy Ray Cyrus and Kenny Chesney.
WEAKNESSES: Does not possess the elite traits to excite scouts. Shorter than ideal and still possesses a somewhat lanky frame that may leave him susceptible to injury. Fails to step into his passes, at times, relying upon just his arm, which appears to be average by NFL standards. Protected by a very good offensive line and will have to speed up his internal clock, occasionally getting burned by "coverage sacks" in which he simply did not get rid of the ball quickly enough. More crafty than dynamic as a scrambler and is not a true dual-threat quarterback.
IN OUR VIEW: Beathard does not bring the "wow" factor but in a relatively weak year for quarterbacks, his accuracy, mobility, grit and experience in a pro-style offense stand out. Provide him with some legitimate weapons to throw to and Beathard could surprise at the next level.
COMPARES TO: Ryan Fitzpatrick, New York Jets: Neither has the rocket arm or mobility to carry a team to a Super Bowl but Beathard has intangibles and enough talent to stick as a backup and perhaps even surprise as a functional starter.