Brock Purdy NFL Story

Purdy proves draft status is irrelevant as playoff QB outlier

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SANTA CLARA —  Of the eight teams remaining in the NFL playoffs, the 49ers are the only team whose starting quarterback was not drafted in the first round.

While those outside of the 49ers organization might think Brock Purdy’s performance since taking over the starting role is exceptional considering his status as the last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, Christian McCaffrey believes his quarterback’s statistics should stand alone.

“I think what he has done is impressive whether he is a first-round pick or not,” McCaffrey said Wednesday after practice. “He’s putting up numbers that are impressive for first-rounders.” 

George Kittle, like McCaffrey, is impressed, but not surprised. A fifth-round pick himself, the All-Pro tight end believes his quarterback's accomplishments since his arrival in Santa Clara are what have set Purdy apart.

Purdy's perceived disadvantage as a non-top draft pick could even be why he has been more productive than expected. Without the safety net of being a first-round pick, Purdy had a heightened sense of urgency to perform well in order to keep his job.

“All the draft is, is an opportunity,” Kittle told NBC Sports Bay Area. “Brock is a guy who came in and on his first chance played at an incredibly high level and was ready for his opportunity. That just speaks volumes about him. When you’re a guy who was a seventh-round draft pick, last pick in the draft, you go out there and if you suck it up, you could be out of the building the next day. You never know.” 

Purdy has put up record-breaking numbers since taking over the 49ers' offense in Week 13 of the 2022 NFL season, and only has improved with time. The recently tapped Pro Bowl quarterback led the league with 9.6 yards per attempt, 13.9 yards per completion, a 7-percent touchdown ratio and a 113.0 passer rating.

The most important stat, however, is Purdy’s 17-4 regular-season record as a starter to go with his two playoff wins. While the quarterback technically is 2-1 in the postseason, his loss in last season's NFC Championship Game came when he did not have the full use of his throwing arm.

“Definitely impressive, but at some point it’s not surprising,” McCaffrey said. “At some point it’s just who he is. He’s a hell of a player and when he’s been great as often as he has, it becomes routine and that’s what make the greats, great. They do it all the time, and that’s exactly what he’s done.” 

Trent Williams has seen a lot in his 14 NFL seasons, and Purdy might be one of the most pleasantly shocking surprises of the left tackle’s illustrious career. The All-Pro couldn’t help but smile when asked about his young teammate.

“It’s definitely impressive,” Williams said. “If he stopped everything today and you look at his body of work, it’s still impressive to see where Mr. Irrelevant has come in just 24 months. He’s a lifesaver. We hit the lottery. As good of a player that he is, he’s even a better dude, a better person to be around, and a better teammate.”

Williams, who himself was selected as the No. 4 overall pick of the 2010 NFL Draft by Washington, believes that like age, a draft position is just a number. Williams, 35, and Purdy, No. 262, are living proof.

“Super proud of him, and I hope he continues to blaze trails and show people that drafts status is just what happens on draft day,” Williams said. “What happens after that is up to you.” 

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