Brock was the furthest thing from a lock in the 2022 NFL Draft.
49ers quarterback Brock Purdy has put himself in position to continue making NFL history as San Francisco faces the Eagles in the NFC championship game Sunday. While the midseason injury to Jimmy Garoppolo could have doomed a lesser franchise’s Super Bowl chances, Purdy’s ascent has kept the 49ers in the hunt for a championship.
But long before Purdy became all but a certainty to be the 49ers’ starter in 2023, he was anything but a certainty to be taken in the NFL Draft. San Francisco threw the final dart at the board in the 2022 NFL Draft, taking Purdy with the final selection, making him last year’s “Mr. Irrelevant.”
MORE: Why Brock Purdy fell to the seventh round of the 2022 NFL Draft
It wasn’t too long ago that Purdy was an ascending NFL Draft talent, perhaps even a first-round pick, before middling results in college tanked his draft stock, all the way down to the seventh round.
As it goes with the NFL Draft, nobody knows anything. Here’s what experts were saying about Purdy during the selection process:
Brock Purdy scouting reports
Draft experts generally said the same thing about Purdy: He didn’t have the ideal size, arm strength or production to make him a first-round product, but he could be a more-than-capable backup and excel in the right system.
Here’s what some of the pundits said about Purdy pre-draft:
Four-year starter who was never able to improve upon a stellar sophomore campaign. Purdy is a burly pocket quarterback who needs a play-action based offense where he can rely on timing over release quickness and arm strength. He can be a confident passer when he finds his rhythm, but throwing is more of a chore than a talent thanks to a labored release. Certain areas of the field will be off limits as he moves up to take on NFL coverage talent. He’s a scrappy runner but not dynamic enough to make up for his shortcomings as a passer.
Charlie Campbell, Walter Football:
To start out on the positive, Purdy is an efficient rhythm passer who makes very good decisions overall. He is accurate in the short to intermediate part of the field, throwing a very catchable ball with nice touch. … On the negative side, Purdy does not have a powerful arm and he is not a mobile running threat. Regularly, Purdy can struggle to avoid pass rushers and blitzes. … While Purdy does not have a starter’s skill set, he could develop into being a solid pro backup. Purdy looks like a mid-round pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, and he could easily go in the early rounds of Day 3.
Ian Cummings, Pro Football Network:
Purdy is a legitimate NFL Draft prospect. However, what’s up for debate is what kind of upside he possesses and where he should ultimately go. Physical traits rest on a spectrum, and Purdy is on the right side of that spectrum. He has above-average athleticism and an above-average arm. Still, neither of those traits are elite. In fact, one could argue that Purdy has no elite traits.
Purdy excels at getting rid of the ball quickly to receivers that are in his first progression. Purdy is also athletic enough to keep the ball on a QB option play to pick up first downs. The area that Purdy struggles is in the deeper portion of the field, where his lack of true arm strength prevents him from consistently being able to get the ball to his receivers. In the NFL, Purdy is a prospect that will be best served in an offense that doesn’t have to push the ball vertically, but an offense that would rather the quarterback get the ball out of his hands quickly on short-to-intermediate routes.
Purdy is a smaller quarterback with average arm strength and above average pocket mobility. He extends plays, finds receivers late and makes platform throws. He holds onto the ball too long and his ball security needs to get better.
At least one NFL team made it clear that it didn’t have Purdy in its plans, according to The Athletic’s Bruce Feldman:
On the NFL team scouting report, the most eye-catching information of all the categories was in the box listed for final grade. It simply read two words in all caps.
The 2022 NFL Draft was a bit light on QBs. Just nine were selected, the fewest since seven were selected in 2015. That said, several intriguing passers fell in the draft, Purdy included.
MORE: Purdy showed 49ers his best yet in gritty divisional playoff win over Cowboys
Despite a solid college career at Iowa State under Matt Campbell, Purdy couldn’t quite build on a stellar sophomore season in 2020 that launched him into first-round discussions. Now, he may be turning back the clock to show teams why he was talked about in that vein.
Purdy opted to stay in college through his senior season, perhaps in hopes of raising his draft stock. That didn’t happen, but given that the 49ers’ scheme relies less on physical tools and more on smarts, decision-making and a quick release, he might have ended up in the perfect hands.
He has a chance this weekend to further prove that’s the case.
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