If you rebuild it, they will come. A day after the new-look 49ers drafted Iowa quarterback C.J. Beathard, they selected Hawkeyes tight end George Kittle in the fifth round.
The 49ers’ interest in Kittle (No. 146 overall pick) intensified after quarterbacks coach Rich Scangarello went to work out Beathard in Iowa. The following day, Kittle got invited to visit the 49ers facility, further convincing them to draft the versatile tight end.
“Me and C.J. are great friends, we’ve lived together and I’ve been with him for five years every step of the way,” Kittle said. “We’re a great combo and I look forward to being on the same field with him again.”
Like Kittle, the 49ers aren’t expected to rush Beathard into action and instead develop him as a pro, although their background in Iowa’s pro-style offense gave them an edge over other draft prospects. Friday night, the 49ers traded up to draft his quarterback, Beathard, with the fourth-to-last pick of the third round.
“He loves football more than anything other than maybe his daughter,” Kittle said of Beathard. “He’s a genius in the film room and on the football field. He’s been a leader since when we first stepped on campus our freshman year.”
Kittle (6-foot-4, 247 pounds) adds depth to a unit led by Vance McDonald, Garrett Celek and Logan Paulsen, with Blake Bell and Je’Ron Hamm also competing for roster spots. Kittle totaled 42 receptions and 10 touchdowns the past two seasons, and while those aren’t big numbers, he also showed solid blocking ability.
“I”m a very versatile player,” Kittle said. “At 250 (pounds), I can block anybody you want me to block, and I feel I can run routes and catch the ball well.”
Kittle’s father, Bruce, played offensive line for Iowa from 1979-81 and was co-captain of its 1982 Rose Bowl team.