A team’s NFL Draft scouting report on Brock Purdy shows how he called “Mr.  Irrelevant’

A team’s NFL Draft scouting report on Brock Purdy shows how he called “Mr. Irrelevant’

In the NFL team scouting report, the most eye-catching information of all categories was in the final grade box. It just read two words in all caps.


This was the description of one NFL team last spring when it evaluated Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy. Frankly, that NFL organization probably shouldn’t feel too bad about its evaluation. Purdy was almost never drafted again in 2022, lasting until the final pick in the draft, No. 262 overall. Still, the former Iowa State star is now just one game away from leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl. This weekend, he becomes just the fifth rookie quarterback to start a conference title game, and none of the previous four were able to help their team make it to the Super Bowl.

Purdy’s rise from being selected as “Mr. “Irrelevant” is one of the most remarkable stories of the NFL season. The athletic reviewed a draft NFL team scouting report to investigate why the college four-year starting quarterback stayed in the draft for so long, then spoke to the coach who wrote that report and asked, on condition of anonymity for competitive reasons, what he now sees in Purdy what other teams may have overlooked and why the 23-year-old is such an ideal match for the 49ers.

The book on Purdy last spring was of a non-ideal size prospect, at 6-0 1/2 and 212 pounds. His hand size was also less than ideal: 9 1/4 inches. The athleticism he showed at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine also failed to impress. He ran a 4.84 40 and jumped 27 inches vertically. In his report, the coach wrote: “Not properly tested, limited athlete with maximum body. Very mature and experienced. Throw it right.”

The strengths for Purdy were that he was “VERY” experienced with 48 college starts and he manages the game well, keeping the routine played consistently. He was creative as the piece stretched and “works through his progressions really well”.

The Weaknesses: “Trite … not a very good athlete … limited arm, both in strength and throwing repertoire.”

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Purdy needed a series of injuries to get his chance in San Francisco this season. In Week 2, the 49ers lost starter Trey Lance to a broken ankle. Then, in early December, Jimmy Garoppolo injured his foot and San Francisco turned to Purdy. He was stellar, posting a TD-INT ratio of 13 to 4 while completing 67 percent of his passes for a rating of 107.3, which is nearly two points higher than any QB in the NFL who had enough tries to qualify. to qualify. More impressively, Purdy is now 7-0 as the 49ers’ starting quarterback.

The NFL coach who wrote the scouting report said Monday: “The main thing that stood out other than in his college movie, and (49ers GM) John Lynch actually said it a few weeks ago, is his athleticism. I don’t remember him so moved at Iowa State, and he didn’t test well. He jumped 10 inches, which is terrible. He ran a 4.85 (4.84). He has short arms, very short, and he has small hands. He’s 6-1 and his arm is fine. The nervousness just wasn’t really there. His short shuttle was OK —4.45 — that’s not great.

“It feels like there are two or three of those guys every year, who played a lot in college. They produced and know the script inside out, but are just physically limited. They play so much and so you get a really good idea of ​​what they can’t do, where sometimes it helps guys who don’t play that much because their warts don’t show up as often.

Evaluating college quarterbacks has always been particularly tedious for the NFL. A mindset, the coach said, is if you’re going to get a QB in the first round, he has to be elite at one thing. “That was the whole debate with Mac Jones,” he said. What’s his one thing he’s really good at? Well, it handles really well, and it’s very accurate, which is hard to see physically. That was a thing with Joe Burrow (when he came out of LSU) until eventually everyone approached him. Joe is fast, but not really fast. His arm is good, not great. But it was, Hey, he’s just a baller. The guy is really, really good at quarterback. When it comes to that “it factor,” it just drips off him.

Purdy had been an effective runner at Iowa State, rushing for a career-high 19 touchdowns and nearly 1,200 yards, but there was much concern about how well his wheels would perform at the next level. “The requirement to fool people and avoid people in college is a lot lower than in the NFL,” the NFL coach said. “You saw that with Zach Wilson, Johnny Manziel, Tim Tebow — guys who looked fast in college, but they’re just not fast enough in the NFL. In college, they might be able to outrun that D-end or pulling away from that linebacker but they got knocked down in the NFL But Purdy kind of kept that up and almost surpassed his level of agility in the NFL I wonder what he did in the off season (to prepare on the NFL).

Purdy ran a 4.84 40-meter sprint on the 2022 combine. (Kirby Lee/USA Today)

The coach said Purdy’s offense at Iowa State has a lot of runs, Q-reads, and RPOs, but there weren’t many true drop-back passes like what scouts saw from Burrow or Jones. In the 49ers’ games against Tampa Bay, Washington and Seattle in particular, the coach said, Purdy showed some wobbling, lateral speed and agility that he hadn’t seen before reaching the NFL. The Cowboys, who are really athletic on defense up front, brought in Purdy the best anyone has had in the NFL to date, he said.

“But,” said the coach, “what I think makes him really successful is he processes a lot of information pre-snap because they do a lot of movement, shifts, kills and warnings on that offense. It can be hard to just get the ball breaking down and knowing which way to hand the ball off. His composure late in the down – he hasn’t made many stupid mistakes – was really impressive. He did have one (Sunday) when he threw the ball away and almost half ended and you could see Kyle (Shanahan) MF-ing him under the call sheet for a good 10 seconds. Those plays haven’t come up much.”

Asked where he thinks Purdy would be drafted now based on what he’s shown this year, the coach said probably second or third round.

“We underestimate his agility and probably the mental side, and San Francisco is perfect for that because they put a lot of importance on that because of their offense,” he said. “In San Francisco, he can operate and play, launch and screen and manage the game. It’s not like he’s playing in a system like in Buffalo, where the Bills rely on Josh Allen to sit back and just throw the ball down the field, where it’s like, ‘Good heavens, how do you make those pitches?’”

“In San Francisco, they don’t rely on quarterback production as much as most teams do. It also helps that they have the best left tackle, one of the best tight ends, one of the best running backs, one of the best wide receivers and a really good defense – they’re full around him.”

The coach is curious to see how Purdy handles the Eagles in the NFC Championship. “Philly does a lot to challenge you one-on-one, where he’s going to have to make some tough pitches — it’s a lot of five-man rushes, a lot of read-trap coverings — it can make it hard for the quarterback. will be interesting to see how they attack it, especially if they can’t execute it the way they want.

(Top photo: Thearon W. Henderson / Getty Images)

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