The Athletic

NFL team’s scouting report on Brock Purdy shows how he became ‘Mr. Irrelevant’

On the NFL team scouting report, the most eye-catching information of all categories was in the box listed for the final grade. He was just reading two capitalized words.

OF NO INTEREST

It was the writing of an NFL team last spring when it rated Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy. In all honesty, this NFL organization probably shouldn’t feel too bad about their assessment. Purdy was nearly undrafted in 2022, until the last draft pick, No. 262 overall. Still, the former Iowa State star is just one game away from leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl. This weekend, he will become just the fifth rookie quarterback to start a game for the conference title, and none of the previous four have been able to help his team get to the Super Bowl.

Purdy’s rise after being selected as “Mr. Irrelevant” was one of the most notable stories of the NFL season. Athleticism reviewed a preliminary scouting report from an NFL team to explore why the four-year-old college starting quarterback lasted so long in the draft, then spoke to the coach who wrote that report and asked, on condition of anonymity for competitive reasons, what he sees in Purdy now, what other teams might have overlooked and why the 23-year-old was an ideal fit for the 49ers.


The book on Purdy last spring was from a prospect with less than ideal height, at 6-0 1/2 and 212 pounds. His hand size is also less than ideal: 9 1/4 inches. The athleticism he displayed at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine also failed to impress. He ran a 4.84 40 and a vertical jump of 27 inches. In his report, the coach wrote: “Not well tested, limited athlete who has a maximum body. Very mature and experienced. I threw well.

Purdy’s strengths were that he was “VERY” experienced with 48 college starts and handled the game well, making routine plays consistently. He was creative as the piece continued and “works very well through its progressions”.

Weaknesses: “saw…not a very good athlete…limited arm, both in strength and throwing repertoire. »

It took a series of injuries for Purdy to have a chance this season in San Francisco. 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 terrific, posting a 13-to-4 TD-INT ratio while completing 67% of his passes for a 107.3 rating, nearly two points more than any NFL QB who has had enough attempts 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 biggest thing that stands out differently from his college movie, and (49ers GM) John Lynch said it a couple of weeks ago, is is his athleticism. I don’t remember him moving like that at Iowa State, and he didn’t test well. He jumped 27 inches, which is terrible. He ran a 4.85 (4, 84). He’s got short arms, really really short, and he’s got small hands. He’s 6-1 and his arm is fine. The contraction just wasn’t really there. His short shuttle was OK – 4.45 – this is not exceptional.

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

The evaluation of college quarterbacks has always been particularly frustrating for the NFL. One school of thought, the coach said, is that if you’re going to take 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 really excels at?” Well, he processes really well and he’s really precise, which is hard to see physically. It was a thing with Joe Burrow (when he was coming out of LSU) until everyone finally turned to him. Joe is fast but not really fast. His arm is fine, not fine. But it was, Hey, it’s just a baller. The guy is really, really good at quarterbacking. When it comes to this “factor”, it oozes it.”

Purdy had been an effective rusher at Iowa State, rushing for 19 touchdowns and nearly 1,200 yards during his career, but there was a lot of concern about how his wheels would translate to the next level. “The requirement to juke people and outrun people in college is much 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 just aren’t fast enough in the NFL. In college, maybe they could- be past that D end or get away from that linebacker, but they got peddled in the NFL. But Purdy kind of maintained that and nearly exceeded his NFL agility level. I wonder what he did in the offseason (to prepare for the NFL).


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

The coach said Purdy’s offense at Iowa State had a lot of runs, Q-reads and RPOs, but there weren’t a lot of true back passes like what the scouts have seen from Burrow or Jones. In 49ers games against Tampa Bay, Washington and Seattle in particular, the coach said, Purdy showed a certain quickness, lateral quickness and agility he hadn’t seen before. to reach the NFL. The Cowboys, who are really athletic on defense, put Purdy together the best anyone has so far in the NFL, he said.

“But,” the coach said, “what I think makes it really successful is that it processes a lot of information before the screenshot because they do a lot of movement, change, kills, scares in this offense It can be hard to just break the ball up and know which way to put it back in. His composure at the end of the down – he didn’t make a lot of stupid mistakes – was really impressive He had one (Sunday) when he threw the ball and almost finished half time and you could see Kyle (Shanahan) the MF-ing under the call sheet for a good 10 seconds. games did not appear much.

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

“We undervalued his agility and probably his mental side, and San Francisco is perfect for that because they value it a lot because of their offense,” he said. “In San Francisco he can operate and play action and start and screen and run the game. It’s not like he’s playing in a system like in Buffalo where the Bills rely on Josh Allen sitting back and just throwing the ball all over the field, where it’s like, ‘God, how do you throw those throws?’

“In San Francisco, they don’t rely on quarterback production as much as most teams. 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 are loaded around him.

The coach is eager 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 throws – it’s a lot of running fives, a lot of reading trap covers – that can make it difficult for the quarterback It will be interesting to see how they attack it, especially if they can’t make it work the way they want.

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

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