The 49ers walked away with the steal of the century when they selected quarterback Brock Purdy at No. 262 overall in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Mr. Irrelevant since has proven he's the real deal as San Francisco's starter, certainly leaving NFL scouting departments around the league scratching their heads and wondering, "How did we miss that?"
Greg Cosell of NFL Films might have an idea. In describing two of Purdy's high-level traits during an appearance on the "Ross Tucker Football Podcast," Cosell offered perhaps the most logical explanation yet as to why no NFL team knew what Purdy eventually would become based on his college tape.
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"There's two things Purdy does at a really high level, which were hard to see in college because the college game is different from the NFL game," Cosell explained. "... Number one, he is outstanding at reading a late rotation of coverage. You don't really see a lot of late rotation of coverage in college football. ...
"Maybe Georgia, maybe an Alabama, but there's not 100 college teams that are able to do a ton of late rotation and disguise with coverage. Purdy has proven to be a master at seeing that instantaneously and knowing exactly where to go with the football."
Whether its Purdy's studious habits or simply his innate feel for the game that allow him to make in-game adjustments on the fly, Cosell doesn't believe it was an ability regularly on display for NFL scouts during his time at Iowa State. Another, Cosell continued, is Purdy's anticipation.
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"And the other thing you don't see a ton of in college, just because it's not necessarily required, is the ability to throw with really high-level anticipation, throwing the ball before receivers make breaks," Cosell said. "You don't see a ton of that in college because you don't need a ton of that in college because the game is different with the hashmarks, the field is wider.
"You don't need that high level of anticipation. Those are two things that Purdy did at a high level that didn't show up on college tape."
Purdy was a four-year starter at Iowa State and played in 48 games, giving him a ton of experience before the 49ers had even drafted him. But the NFL is a different beast -- and it turns out, it has unlocked some characteristics in the 23-year-old he didn't have to utilize during those four collegiate seasons.
Last season, Cosell told the "Ross Tucker Football Podcast" that Purdy had average arm strength and struggled with accuracy during his time at Iowa State, and that, in addition to his underwhelming size, led to him falling in the draft. But Cosell noticed right away that Purdy had impressive timing when he took over for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo against the Miami Dolphins, and it appears the signal-caller's anticipation only has improved since then.
Purdy slipping to No. 262 certainly worked out to the 49ers' benefit. He leads all NFL quarterbacks in several key statistical categories since taking over as starter, and now, the young quarterback finds himself in the 2023 NFL MVP conversation as he leads the league's top offense.