San Francisco 49ers signal caller Brock Purdy will become just the fifth rookie quarterback to start a conference championship game when his team takes on the Philadelphia Eagles Sunday evening.
The final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Purdy has already made history by becoming the lowest selection to start a playoff game under center in the history of the league.
By now, you likely already know the story. Coined as Mr. Irrelevant leading up to the annual event last spring, there weren’t many around the NFL who believed that Purdy could even make a 53-man roster. Heck, the Iowa State product was San Francisco’s ninth pick in the draft.
Bruce Feldman of The Athletic took a look back at how teams viewed Purdy leading up to the 2022 NFL Draft. One unnamed team didn’t even provide Purdy with a grade. Rather, the final line read in full caps “NO INTEREST.”
Not even a priority free agent or someone to take a chance on late in the annual event. Simply, no interest.
“He didn’t test well. He jumped 27 inches, which is terrible. He ran a 4.85 (4.84). He’s got short arms, like really short, and he’s got small hands. He’s 6-1, and his arm is OK. The twitchiness just wasn’t really there. His short shuttle was OK —4.45 — that’s not outstanding.”Unnamed NFL coach on Brock Purdy
While the 49ers’ brass speaks glowingly of Purdy, they didn’t think enough of him to select the quarterback with any of their three sixth-round picks. Those selected in that round, Nick Zakelj, Kalia Davis and Tariq Castro-Fields, played all of 21 snaps for San Francisco in 2022.
San Francisco 49ers lucked into Brock Purdy
While we’re not going to compare a quarterback with seven NFL starts under his belt to another who has won that many Super Bowl titles, there’s something to be said about Purdy and Tom Brady.
When New England selected Tom Terrific in the sixth-round of the 2000 NFL Draft, no one really thought much of it. He was the Patriots’ seventh pick in that draft and the 199th overall selection. Bill Belichick and Co. took defensive tackle Jeff Marriott 38 picks before Brady. He didn’t play a single regular-season game in a New England uniform.
Quarterbacks such as Chris Redman, Tee Martin, Spergon Wynn and Giovanni Carmazzi were all selected ahead of Brady.
What’s the moral of this story? Sometimes, it pays to get lucky. If San Francisco was sold on Purdy, it wouldn’t have waited until the final pick in the draft to select him.
Fast forward less than a calendar year, and Purdy has made history in replacing an injured Jimmy Garoppolo under center for San Francisco. The 49ers have won all seven of his starts, including postseason victories over the Seattle Seahawks and Dallas Cowboys to open the playoffs.
Purdy also compares extremely well to NFL MVP candidate Jalen Hurts heading into their matchup in the NFC Championship on Sunday. The numbers are nearly identical.
- Brock Purdy stats (past seven starts): 67% completion, 234.9 yards per game, 14 TD, 2 INT, 116.0 QB rating
- Jalen Hurts stats (past seven starts): 65% completion, 234.0 yards per game, 10 TD, 3 INT, 96.8 QB rating
Both Hurts and Purdy are 7-0 in their seven starts during this span. It just goes to show us how much of a crapshoot the NFL Draft can be. With a win against Hurts’ Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday, Purdy will continue to make history. But some teams will have “no interest” in that narrative.