Brock Purdy, the very last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, proved a lot of people wrong when he emerged as the 49ers’ starting quarterback this season.
When given a chance -- although under unfortunate circumstances for the 49ers -- the 23-year-old made the most of his unique opportunity to showcase his talents.
Raheem Mostert knows a thing or two about that.
The 30-year-old running back, who spent six seasons with the 49ers before taking his talents to the Miami Dolphins, joined NBC Sports Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco and Jennifer Lee Chan at Super Bowl LVII Radio Row on Wednesday, and discussed Purdy’s evolution from rookie third-string QB to the shining starter.
“You just take a guy like Brock, and I don’t know too much about him, but I just know that he was at one point Mr. Irrelevant who’s now relevant,” Mostert said. “And I tend to think that a guy like me, coming in, I was undrafted, and not too many people gave me opportunities until I got my opportunity and was able to flourish and try to make plays as best as possible and stay grounded.
“I think that’s what Brock’s been able to do so well is just stay grounded and be that guy that when they call his number, he’s going to show up and show out. And as you saw, he led you guys on an [eight-] game win streak, which is pretty much unheard of, for a guy to step in toward the tail end of the season and then carry you into the playoffs the way he did.”
Even though he's now on a different team, Mostert was there when it all began for Purdy.
Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a broken foot in the 49ers' Week 13 win over Mostert and the Dolphins on Dec. 4 at Levi's Stadium. With no Trey Lance and no Garoppolo, the 49ers turned to Purdy, the rookie third-string quarterback.
All Mostert could do was watch, but just like the rest of the world, what they witnessed didn't disappoint. And not only did Mostert witness it firsthand with Purdy, but he’s also experienced it in his own NFL journey.
After going undrafted, Mostert bounced from team to team before finding a steadier home in the Bay. He was the 49ers' 2019 NFC Championship Game hero with 220 rushing yards and four touchdowns in a 37-20 win over the Green Bay Packers, helping San Francisco advance to its first Super Bowl in seven years.
But injuries in the following two seasons changed everything.
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Mostert played in just eight games in 2020, and in the 49ers' 2021 opener, he suffered a knee injury that sidelined him for the rest of the season when he opted for surgery.
The 49ers chose not to bring Mostert back, so he signed a one-year deal with the Dolphins last March and, like Purdy, continues to prove any doubters wrong.
"So I got nothing but love and respect for a guy like him, who was once known as Mr. Irrelevant," Mostert said. "Someone who was picked last just because. It’s like you go to that guy who’s picked last in a dodgeball game and you’re like, ‘OK, I got to deal with this guy,’ but then all of a sudden, he makes magic. It’s just awesome to see that type of thing."
Respect. From one underdog to another.