Brock Purdy

49ers QB Purdy flattered by prestigious comparison to Brees

NBC Universal, Inc.

SANTA CLARA — When wide receiver Willie Snead broke into the NFL with the New Orleans Saints, he quickly established himself as one of Drew Brees’ favorite targets.

Snead caught 141 passes for 1,879 yards and seven touchdowns in his first two seasons with the likely first-ballot Pro Football Hall of Fame quarterback.

Last season, Snead's mind flashed back to those experiences when he started to see more and more from 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy.

“He just reminds me of these little things about Drew,” Snead told NBC Sports Bay Area.

First, there are the physical tools and their similar physical statures. Brees was listed at 6-foot, 209 pounds. Purdy checks in at 6-1, 220.

“Drew never had the strongest arm, but he was so pinpoint accurate,” Snead said. “He knew when to let the ball go to make sure you’re catching it in stride, and Brock has similar traits. He doesn’t have the strongest arm, but he can anticipate guys getting open.”

The other favorable comparison, Snead said, is the drive and commitment to be great.

“I see similarities between Brock and Drew with the mental part of the game and being a competitor,” Snead said. “For a long time, it was Tom Brady and Drew, as far as being competitors. I got to see it up close. When I see Brock, it’s like, ‘Yeah.’

“I think Brock has so much time to grow and be that player. Just being a part of that and seeing Drew for three years, I can see his level of play can get there. I told him last year, ‘Brock, you’re that guy.’ This season he proved it to everybody.”

Purdy set the 49ers' franchise record with 4,280 passing yards and a 113.0 passer rating. He was chosen as the NFC Pro Bowl starter.

He said he was flattered to hear Snead make the comparison between him and Brees, whom he has long admired.

What has separated Purdy at nearly every level are traits that cannot be measured. Even when he was a star high school player in Arizona, Division I college programs were not exactly coming after him.

He wrote the following statement about himself on a recruiting site: “I have the drive and passion to win any given game. I am a rare athlete who leads with authority.  My leadership and competitiveness has always separated me from other quarterbacks.”

His four years as a starter at Iowa State set him up to be the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. And once he got on the field with the 49ers, coach Kyle Shanahan knew he found his guy.

“Honestly, just being a kid and watching games on TV and wanting to be in those games,” Purdy answered when asked about his competitive drive.

“There’ve been moments growing up where you just want to play in the biggest stadium possible and feel the thrill of the game. So I fell in love with the game at an early age.”

Competition was part of the Purdy family. His father, Shawn, pitched in the minor leagues for eight seasons. His younger brother, Chubba, has received multiple offers after entering the transfer portal after playing quarterback at Florida State and Nebraska.

“Over time, you just hate to lose, and I feel that’s carried over,” Purdy said. “And when you play in the NFL, as a kid you watch those games, and now you get to live it. Why not give it your all?” 

Download and follow the 49ers Talk Podcast

Contact Us