How last round draft pick became ‘relevant’ to San Francisco 49ers

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By Milo Haskour –

Called “Mr. Irrelevant” as the absolute last pick of the last round of the 2022 NFL draft, Brock Purdy is poised – just one year later – to lead the San Francisco 49ers into the Super Bowl.

“I’m all about living set apart from the world. People can say whatever about me. My identity is in Jesus,” Purdy said on CBN News. His Twitter profile says he’s a believer in Christ and quotes Col 3:23: “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

Brock Purdy got his start in football taking the humble Perry High School in Gilbert, Arizona to the state championship twice.

Even though he did well, his high school was unknown and he was shorter than most elite quarterbacks, so recruiters panned him. He was given an unspectacular three stars on scout reports.

He got an offer to the mighty University of Alabama, but Coach Nick Saban said his accuracy was mediocre. Purdy felt pretty sure Saban hadn’t even watched his videos. Accuracy was and is his strong point.

Feeling he wouldn’t be given a chance at the Crimson Tide, Purdy opted for Iowa State University. Once again, he was at a lesser-known program – and he lifted the Cyclones to consecutive winning seasons and a Fiesta Bowl win after beginning as the third string quarterback.

Pinpoint passing won him regard, but the play that made Purdy stand out with his team was the time he scrambled for yards, having no passing or handoff option. Purdy needed more yards and instead of skidding to a self-protecting down like most quarterbacks, he dropped his shoulder and smashed into two defenders.

Mandatory Credit: Photo by Jason Pohuski/CSM/Shutterstock (14092438nk) Brock Purdy prays at the game.

Seeing his gutsiness, his teammates went wild. Purdy’s willingness to sacrifice for his players galvanized his team, demonstrating his leadership.

Despite his feats at college, once again Purdy wasn’t highly regarded by recruiters, now at the NFL level. He was dismissed for being shorter than the upper echelon QBs.

Round after round of draft passed agonizingly with no one showing interest in the Iowa star. Purdy was resigning himself to the alternatives: either give up football or try out at a “walk on” for the team of his choosing.

Fortunately for Purdy, he got the call before San Francisco exercised their last pick. Again, Purdy was the backup plan, a third string QB for the 49ers.

It didn’t matter. He was used to being underrated, and Purdy did what he always did when he was overlooked. He worked extra hard, learning the playbook forwards and backwards so that if ever got the callup, he’d be ready.

On the 49ers, coaches and players were watching, seeing the commitment, assurance, and readiness. In 2002, Trey Lance was the starter and Jimmy Garoppolo was the backup man. In week two, Lance was injured for the season. In week 13, Garoppolo suffered a foot injury.

Purdy took the podium. He threw 210 yards and two touchdowns to win against the Miami Dolphins.

For the football world, which lacked the insider view of his work ethic, it was as if the 49ers had conjured a genie.

Tom Brady congratulates the rookie who beat him.

Usually, the third string guy helps a team limp out of a season. But Purdy went on to beat Tom Brady with the Buccaneers in his next game and in the following games carried his team into the playoffs.

“I believe in the Lord, and I trust in him,” Purdy declared. “I just go out there and I just play.”

Under the pressure of being a rookie in his first playoffs, Purdy calmly produced his best performance yet, throwing for 323 yards and three touchdowns to send home the sad Seattle Seahawks and advance to divisional playoffs against the Dallas Cowboys. He beat them too.

Unfortunately, against the Eagles, Purdy’s arm got injured and his team lost.

“Mr. Irrelevant” – as a last-round, last-pick, third-stringer player gets teasingly called – became “Mr. Relevant.”

At the beginning of the 2023 season, Purdy was talked about as a potential Super Bowl contender at the beginning. But after losing three games at the beginning of the season, pundits labeled him overhyped.

A bye week was all he needed. Purdy bounced back. His numbers were phenomenal and MVP-worthy: #1 in QBR, #1 in yards per attempt, #1 in completion percentage.

He hasn’t lost a game since. He’s dismissed the “overhype” dismissal.

“I’m competitive. I like to win,” he says. “But I’m not defined by the wins or losses.”

To know more about a personal relationship with God, click here.

Milo Haskour studies at the Lighthouse Christian Academy near the Ocean Park neighborhood of Santa Monica, California.

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