Brock Purdy

How Purdy's NFL career is inspiring ‘overlooked' QB draft prospects

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Austin Reed is retracing the steps Brock Purdy took two years ago.

The Western Kentucky quarterback has been doing pre-draft work with Tom Gormely and Will Hewlett at Tork Sports Performance in St. Augustine, Florida. They are the same men who worked with Purdy before the 2022 NFL Draft.

“If you asked those guys, they would’ve told you in the spring of 2022 that this guy is going to be an NFL starter,” Reed said last week at the NFL Scouting Combine in Indianapolis.

The 49ers selected Purdy with the No. 262 and final pick in the draft. Less than a year later, he played his way into the long-term starter’s role. And in his first full NFL season, he finished fourth in voting for NFL Most Valuable Player.

“I’m not surprised at all by it,” Reed said. “He was super talented at Iowa State.”

There are six quarterbacks in this year’s draft projected as first-round draft picks, including the expected top three overall selections of Caleb Williams, Jayden Daniels and Drake Maye — in whatever order.

Purdy was just one pick away from being undrafted, and his example has given hope to every quarterback whose self-belief is higher than his draft stock.

“There are a lot of guys who you can draw inspiration from, and Brock is definitely one of them, for sure,” BYU quarterback Kedon Slovis said.

Slovis attended Desert Mountain High in Scottsdale, Arizona, just a 40-minute drive from Perry High in Gilbert, Arizona, where Purdy went to school.

“I watched him kind of get blown up late with his offers,” Slovis said of Purdy’s recruiting. “He was a stud in high school and didn’t get offers until late — kind of under the radar. And same thing in college. He didn’t get the respect he probably deserved. It’s been awesome to see him get to where he’s gotten.”

Slovis played a lot of football in his college career, which included three seasons at USC and a year apiece at Pitt and BYU. He is considered a Day 3 pick in the draft.

Like Fresno State’s Jake Haener a year ago, Michael Pratt of Tulane is drawing the most Purdy comparisons this time around.

Pratt was a four-year starter who threw 90 touchdowns and 26 interceptions while leading Tulane to a 23-5 record and bowl games in his final two seasons. He figures to be a Day 3 selection. 

Reed is an under-the-radar prospect who began his career at NCAA Division II West Florida. He won a national championship before transferring to Western Kentucky. As a two-year starter, he threw 8,086 yards with 70 touchdown passes and 22 interceptions.

“I feel like a lot of guys who are overlooked have that drive when it comes to the NFL and they’re the ones who work harder and stay on rosters and when they get their chance,” Reed said. “They make the most of it. I’m not surprised by it, knowing what kind of guy Brock is. I think he’s got a long NFL career ahead of him.”

Despite being a prolific high school passer and the Arizona Player of the Year, Purdy was not highly recruited until near the end of the recruiting process. Purdy selected Iowa State over Illinois, Texas A&M, Boise State, Central Florida, Kansas and others.

“I feel like my entire career I’ve been overlooked, and I’ve had to prove myself along the way,” Reed said. “I believe in myself, and I believe in what I can do. I definitely see some of that in my career.”

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