The rise of Brock Purdy

by Arav Bansal (’26) | February 3, 2023

Art by Katherine Winton (’25)

The NFL Draft is one of the most watched events of the American football season. Millions of people tune in to watch college players get picked into their professional teams. Yet, most had turned off their TV when the 262nd, and final pick came around in the 2022 NFL Draft. The annual last pick, known as Mr. Irrelevant, turned out to be Brock Purdy, a quarterback from Iowa State. The San Francisco 49ers picked him up, intending for him to grow with their team.

The two quarterbacks the 49ers planned to play were Jimmy Goropolo, also known as “Jimmy G,” and Trey Lance, who had taken over the starter position after sitting out his rookie year behind Garoppolo. The 49ers were not generating much trade interest for Garoppolo, so they re-signed him to the largest contract for a backup in NFL history. But when Lance was ruled out for the rest of the season in Week 2 with a broken ankle, Jimmy G stepped up to the task. Many called his contract a bargain for how much value he now produced for the team. In Week 13, after leading the 49ers on a four-game win streak, Garoppolo followed Lance and was also injured. Most fans looked forward to Garoppolo’s return in the playoffs, but the 49ers were forced to turn to the 2022 Mr. Irrelevant.

Purdy led the 49ers to a win in his first game, showing poise rarely seen in a rookie quarterback. He excited fans with his playmaking and gave them confidence that the 49ers could make the playoffs and even the Super Bowl; a few weeks back, the 49ers had signed Christian McCaffrey, giving the 49ers the final piece to bring a championship title back to San Francisco, something Garoppolo was unable to do in his tenure. 

Purdy continued his hot streak through the rest of the regular season, leading the 49ers to the second seed in the playoffs. This resulted in a matchup with their division rivals, the Seattle Seahawks. Analysts doubted that the 49ers could win a third time against Seattle in one season. However, the 49ers pulled off a win with their rookie quarterback, a big one in their quest for a Super Bowl victory. They had a tougher task in the Divisional Round against the Cowboys, but they fought their way through a field goal-filled game.

Purdy’s success is huge for the 49ers. There is a high chance that he finds his way to another win with such a well-rounded team around him. Looking forward, Purdy seems well-suited to steal the starting job from Trey Lance. Garoppolo will likely get traded following his solid time in the regular season, leaving the 49ers with two young, promising quarterbacks. 

Categories: Sports

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