"Kyle Shanahan's First Impressions of Brock Purdy After 49ers Drafted the QB"
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy, a fourth-round draft pick, has exceeded expectations and is impressing the team with his performance.
Kyle Shanahan, the head coach of the San Francisco 49ers, saw potential in quarterback Brock Purdy after studying his time at Iowa State. Despite not having a significant need for a quarterback, Shanahan gave Purdy a fourth-round draft grade. As the 2022 NFL Draft neared its end, Purdy was still available.
The 49ers had recently used their No. 3 overall pick on Trey Lance, making quarterback a less pressing need. However, there was enough intrigue in Purdy that scout Steve Slowik and quarterbacks coach Brian Griese advocated for selecting him with the final pick in the draft rather than risking him signing with another team as an undrafted free agent.
San Francisco took a chance on Purdy, and it turned out to be a highly successful move for the organization. Purdy competed for a roster spot behind Lance and Nate Sudfeld and eventually became the third-string quarterback. When both QB1 and QB2 suffered injuries, Purdy stepped in and led the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game.
Purdy held onto the starting job despite recovering from a torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow. His performance in his brief stint convinced the 49ers and their fans that he had what it takes to play in the NFL.
Even Shanahan wasn't certain how Purdy would fare after drafting him. Purdy didn't possess all the physical attributes typically associated with a franchise quarterback, such as height and a strong arm. However, Shanahan's evaluation of Purdy after the draft made him a believer. Seeing Purdy in person during rookie camp, Shanahan was impressed by his physique and arm strength, realizing he had underestimated him.
The 49ers hope that their faith in Purdy is justified, especially considering the lackluster performance of their other quarterbacks in a recent loss to the Las Vegas Raiders. Purdy may turn out to be a hidden gem, a late-round pick who exceeds expectations.
While Purdy may not possess all the physical traits of an elite player, he makes up for it with his intelligence and ability to grasp Shanahan's complex offense. General manager John Lynch noted that Purdy's mind can keep up with Shanahan's, and once Purdy took the field, Lynch saw firsthand the off-schedule plays and athleticism that made him stand out.
Purdy even impressed the Miami Dolphins defense when he replaced an injured Garoppolo in Week 13. Despite the defense's attempts to rattle him, Purdy remained composed and made big-time throws, forcing the defense to adjust their aggressive approach.
The 49ers surprised everyone by announcing that Purdy had been cleared to practice at the beginning of training camp, much earlier than expected. While he didn't play in the preseason game against the Raiders, all signs point to Purdy being ready to join his teammates when the 49ers face the Pittsburgh Steelers on September 10.
To read more about Purdy's journey, you can find Albert Breer's full feature on him at Sports Illustrated.