Brock Purdy

Steve Young points out key QB trait shared by Purdy, Mahomes

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Brock Purdy isn't a first-round draft pick like Kansas City Chiefs star Patrick Mahomes, but the 49ers quarterback certainly is playing like one.

Purdy has yet to lose an NFL game he has started and finished, and so far in 2023, he boasts the league's best passer rating at 115.1. So, why doesn't he command the same respect as his peers?

Hall of Fame quarterback and 49ers legend Steve Young believes it's because Purdy, the last pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, pushes against the status quo by proving scouts and general managers who passed on him wrong. On the field, Young believes it's clear Purdy has one make-or-break quality just like Mahomes that wouldn't have shown up at the combine.

"They don't know the position like they say they do, because the position is really about guile and an innate gift from heaven, in some ways, to be able to have your heart rate go down when everyone else is in anxiety and pressure," Young said in an exclusive interview with NBC Bay Area's Raj Mathai. "You just react differently -- you respond. And then there's 22 people on the field, including yourself, and it's not overwhelming.

"It's like, 'Oh, I get that. That's fine. I'm not overwhelmed by that.' And that's a very rare quality we're searching for in quarterbacks everywhere. ... But in the NFL, very few are naturally at peace. And that's why when I compare him to Patrick Mahomes, I'm comparing him to how Patrick feels at peace. We all grew into it. Some guys just show up. Patrick showed up at peace, and so did Brock. The draft doesn't understand that thing."

Young is right -- Purdy's ascension has been improbable since he took over the 49ers' starting role from an injured Jimmy Garoppolo last season. He broke countless records in 2022 both during the regular season and in the playoffs courtesy of Mr. Irrelevant milestones, with his success aided by four years as a college starter at Iowa State.

And no sophomore slump here: Purdy's numbers in 2023 have helped his name break into the NFL MVP conversation, dispelling the notion he's simply a benefactor of coach Kyle Shanahan's system. But as Young said, there still are some who can't accept the quarterback Purdy has become.

Or, the quarterback he always has been. Before Purdy truly can be compared to Mahomes, however, he'll have to hoist a Vince Lombardi Trophy or two. In the meantime, the 49ers Faithful can rest assured the young signal-caller will be calm, cool and collected against the Dallas Cowboys on Sunday.

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