Nearly every team in the NFL passed on selecting Brock Purdy in the 2022 NFL Draft.
Except one, of course.
Before Purdy was selected by the 49ers as Mr. Irrelevant with the No. 262 pick, the former Iowa State quarterback once was an afterthought for most teams in the draft.
The Athletic's Bruce Feldman reviewed a pre-draft scouting report from one NFL team that -- after concluding its evaluation last spring -- gave Purdy a two-worded final draft grade:
In hindsight, this assessment seems foolish.
Since taking over for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo against the Miami Dolphins in Week 13, Purdy, statistically, has been one of the best quarterbacks in the league, helping lead the 49ers to an NFC Championship Game appearance against the Philadelphia Eagles on Sunday at Lincoln Financial Field.
However, before the draft, Purdy was considered by many teams to be an underwhelming prospect. The knocks on the then-22-year-old were that he was 'sawed off,' 'not a very good athlete,' and 'had a limited arm, both in strength and throw repertoire,' per the scouting report obtained by The Athletic.
These are critiques that Purdy has heard for years. In fact, after his senior season at Perry High School, University of Alabama coach Nick Saban once told Purdy, a recruit at the time, what he was lacking as a quarterback.
" ‘You’re below average in height. Your arm strength is whatever. Your accuracy is average,' " Saban told Purdy in 2018.
Fast forward to the draft, and Purdy's biggest strength was that he was a 'very' experienced college quarterback after 48 starts at Iowa State. Purdy was considered to be a good game manager who made routine plays consistently, was creative as plays extended and 'works through his progressions very well,' per The Athletic's reporting.
San Francisco 49ers
When asked what the difference was between Purdy's college film to now with the 49ers, the unnamed coach that wrote the team's initial scouting report made note of Purdy's athleticism.
"I don’t remember him moving like that at Iowa State, and he didn’t test well. He jumped 27 inches, which is terrible. He ran a 4.85 (4.84)," the coach told The Athletic. "He’s got short arms, like really short, and he’s got small hands. He’s 6-1, and his arm is OK. The twitchiness just wasn’t really there. His short shuttle was OK —4.45 — that’s not outstanding."
That same coach also mentions that the 49ers' heavy use of pre-snap motion is one reason why Purdy has been so successful in processing information under center.
“We undervalued his agility and probably the mental side, and San Francisco is perfect for it because they put a lot of importance on that because of their offense,” the coach said. “In San Francisco, he can operate and play-action and boot and screen and manage the game."
Purdy already has proved doubters wrong throughout his improbable rise to stardom. Now sitting just one win away from becoming the first rookie quarterback in NFL history to start in a Super Bowl, Purdy faces another improbable test against the Eagles on Sunday.
And history shows that he should rise to the occasion.