While there might have been players at other positions the 49ers were eyeing with the final pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, they did not want to have to compete for the quarterback they wanted to add to the room.
Therefore, with the final pick in the draft on Saturday, the 49ers selected Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy and avoided the recruiting process of competing with other teams for his services.
“He’s relevant to us,” 49ers general manager John Lynch said, “but Mr. Irrelevant, Brock Purdy, and we’re excited. He started a ton of games at Iowa State, really helped influence a culture change there and played a lot of good football for them.”
The final pick in the draft takes on the moniker of "Mr. Irrelevant," the brainchild of former 49ers player Paul Salata. Salata’s daughter, Melanie Salata-Fitch, will carry on the tradition as the chief executive of the festivities to honor Mr. Irrelevant in Newport Beach. Her father passed away in October, one day before his 95th birthday.
“A team believed in me and now I get my opportunity to go and play football,” Purdy said. “That’s what I want my career to be, my job to be. Now I have the opportunity to do so.
“That’s how I’m looking at it. From the outside, yeah, I guess it’s a funny thing. I’ll embrace the role and have fun with it, for sure, but at the end of the day, I’m trying to help a team win a Super Bowl. That’s where my mindset is at with it.”
Purdy started 46 games in his four-year college career. He completed 67.7 percent of his pass attempts for 12,170 yards with 81 touchdowns and 33 interceptions.
Coach Kyle Shanahan compared Purdy to former 49ers quarterback Nick Mullens, who entered the NFL as an undrafted rookie and started 17 games over four seasons.
“He knows how to play the position well,” Shanahan said of Purdy. “He’s go a ton of reps. You’re not looking on what you can develop him into, you’re looking at, this guy knows how to play the position. Let’s see how he can do it at this level.
“I love how balanced he is in the pocket, I love that he’ll hang in there, doesn’t need good protection to get rid of the ball and usually if someone’s open he gets the ball to the right spot.”
Purdy is expected to fit nicely into the 49ers’ quarterback room, along with presumptive starter Trey Lance and backup Nate Sudfeld.
Jimmy Garoppolo remains on the 49ers’ roster while he continues to recover and get his strength back from shoulder surgery he underwent on March 8. Garoppolo’s status with the 49ers for the upcoming season remains uncertain.
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Purdy expressed appreciation for the 49ers' quarterbacks from what he saw from afar.
“With Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, man, what they did last year and the years before with Jimmy G, I respect them so much,” Purdy said. “It is enjoyable watching them. How Jimmy operated within the system and being so decisive, I really respected that.
“With Trey Lance, obviously he had a great career in college and he’s the guy that coaches want to build around. I respect that, too. I respect his game and I want to go in and help build that quarterback room up as best as I can with whatever they need me to do. I’m all for the team, so that’s where I’m at.”