From ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ to MVP contender – Brock Purdy’s Cinderella story has captivated fans across the NFL, with experts already comparing the San Francisco 49ers quarterback to all-time franchise greats Joe Montana and Steve Young.
Purdy claimed the infamous ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ title, after being drafted with the last pick in the 2022 NFL draft. He subsequently started that season as San Francisco’s third-string quarterback, until injuries saw Purdy quickly move up the depth chart – eventually taking over from Jimmy Garoppolo in Week 13.
Purdy immediately hit his stride and went on a historic run. Not only did he become the first quarterback in NFL history to win his first six career regular season starts, whilst throwing at least two touchdown passes in each, he also became the first rookie quarterback since 1937 to have at least 200 passing yards and two passing touchdowns in a playoff win – a win that helped the 49ers reach the NFC Championship game against the Philadelphia Eagles.
Despite suffering both a loss and a torn UCL in his throwing arm, Purdy’s outstanding achievements leading up to the match-up with Philadelphia saw him named runner-up for Offensive Rookie of the Year.
Heading into the 2023 season, many doubted Purdy’s ability to perform post-surgery. 14 weeks later, however, and Purdy has silenced all doubters – leading the NFL in passer rating, yards per attempt and touchdowns per attempt, whilst sitting in the top five for both passing yards and passing touchdowns.
Furthermore, after the 49ers’ 28-16 win against the Seattle Seahawks in Week 14, Purdy has now completed at least 70% of his passes in seven consecutive games – just the fourth quarterback to ever do so in a single season. This comes just three weeks after becoming the first San Francisco quarterback to earn a perfect 158.3 passer rating since Joe Montana in 1989.
Only 18 regular season starts into his career and ‘Mr. Irrelevant’ has exceeded all expectations – showing NFL scouts exactly what they overlooked from his time in high school and college.
— Decyfr Sport (@DecyfrSport) December 8, 2023
Born in 1999 in Queen Creek, Arizona, Purdy attended Perry High School and quickly made a name for himself on the field – leading the team to back-to-back State Championship games whilst being named Arizona’s Gatorade Player of the Year and the Ed Doherty award for the best high school football player in the state of Arizona.
A three-star recruit, Purdy received interest from some of the biggest colleges in the U.S. before joining Iowa State University in 2018. Foreshadowing his start to life in the NFL, Purdy began his freshman year as the Cyclones’ third-string quarterback – working up the depth chart thanks to injuries and a “commitment to practice.”
In his first game, Purdy threw for 318 yards and four touchdowns as Iowa State beat Oklahoma State 48-42 – a performance that saw him subsequently named the starter for the rest of the season. Prior to Purdy’s tenure as starter, the Cyclones sat at 2-3 on the year. With Purdy at the helm, the Cyclones finished the season with an 8-5 record – including five-straight wins.
Purdy went on to start 46 consecutive games over four seasons, in which he put up a record-breaking 12,170 passing yards and 81 touchdowns. Along with winning the Fiesta Bowl and being named to the All-Big 12 first team in both 2020 and 2021, Purdy would claim 32 school records before departing for the NFL. Going down in Iowa State history as the first quarterback to lead the team to four-straight winning seasons in nearly 100 years – the last time being 1923-1927.
Despite his unquestionably impressive college career, his relatively small stature meant that the 6′ 1″ quarterback was forced to accept his fate as a Day 3 pick come draft day. Though he seemingly foresaw it.
“I didn’t think I was going the first day or two, it was really day three.
“I didn’t really care how I got there, I just wanted to get there and have an opportunity.”
— Decyfr Sport (@DecyfrSport) December 5, 2023
When the 49ers used pick number 262 to give Brock Purdy that very opportunity, little did they know that they had just unearthed their future franchise quarterback.
With Brock Purdy stringing together an MVP-calibre season and the 49ers sat atop the NFC West, could San Francisco be set to lift the Lombardi in Vegas, led by their now very relevant quarterback?
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