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Why is the San Francisco 49ers’ QB Brock Purdy called ‘Mr. Irrelevant’? When was he drafted?

The 49ers had a plan to get to the Super Bowl, and it didn’t include Brock Purdy. But life has a way of throwing your plans out of the window.

SANTA CLARA, CALIFORNIA - JANUARY 22: Brock Purdy #13 of the San Francisco 49ers runs off the field after defeating the Dallas Cowboys 19-12 in the NFC Divisional Playoff game at Levi's Stadium on January 22, 2023 in Santa Clara, California.   Lachlan Cunningham/Getty Images/AFP (Photo by Lachlan Cunningham / GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / Getty Images via AFP)

When the San Francisco 49ers were plotting their road to the Super Bowl, the had a plan. It was a plan that involved lashings of trickery, in that they assured Jimmy Garoppolo that he was their guy in the form of a nice new fat contract, before trading up to draft Trey Lance in the first round.

Now in something of a pickle, they had to let Garoppolo go, and when nobody picked him up, re-signed him on a contract significantly smaller than his original deal. So far, so good. The 49ers managed to get the rookie that they wanted and the solid veteran to back him up, all while saving money on the deal.

So when they wound up with the last pick of the 2022 draft, management decided to hedge their bets and grab a number three quarterback out of Iowa State. It was a calculated move on their part.

San Francisco had Brock Purdy on their radar already, and with the Cyclone quarterback throwing for 3,188 yards and 19 touchdowns over 13 games in his senior season, he was not exactly a gamble.

But Kyle Shanahan had already nailed his colors to the mast and was all-in on Trey Lance. The 49ers head coach wanted another young QB in the mix. If he isn’t going to stick with Garoppolo in the starting role, he certainly can’t trust that Jimmy G will be his reliable backup.

So as other needs were filled, the 49ers found themselves in possession of pick number 262, the final pick of the draft. While they could have left him undrafted, the feeling in the 49ers camp was to try and head off potential problems down the road. After all, they were already interested in Brock Purdy anyway.

And so Brock Purdy got chosen as the ninth quarterback off the board, and the 46th player to wear the dubious title “Mr Irrelevant”.

Fast forward to Week 2 of the NFL season and Trey Lance, the man who Kyle Shanahan risked the entire franchise on, goes out with a season-ending fractured ankle. Jimmy Garoppolo is now the starter and Brock Purdy is in the backup role.

Garoppolo shows no ill will for the dirty dealing that the 49ers have shown him, and does much of the heavy lifting to get the team into the playoffs, going 7-3 before injuring his foot and handing the reins over to the young number three, Mr Not-So-Irrelevant-Any-More.

Purdy won all six regular season games he played after taking over and now heads into the NFC Championship Game as one of the best stories in football this season. If he can make it past the Philadelphia Eagles and into the Super Bowl, the Hollywood script might just write itself.


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