Brock Purdy was selected as Mr. Irrelevant in the 2022 NFL Draft, but when the 23-year-old began producing under center for the 49ers late this season, many questioned how the Iowa State product fell that low.
NBC Sports' Chris Simms joined NBC Sports Bay Area's Matt Maiocco and Jennifer Lee Chan on "49ers Talk" from Super Bowl LVII Radio Row in Phoenix, where he discussed why Purdy wasn't one of his top five quarterbacks in the 2022 draft class. Although Purdy wasn't one of his top quarterbacks, Simms was shocked to see the Iowa State product nearly go undrafted.
"I saw what Brock Purdy was," Simms said. "I was shocked maybe he was there that late. He wasn't in my top five conversation. He was a guy I brought up on the podcast a little bit ago, 'Hey, here's a guy down the line that knows how to play the position, can control the ball, throws a catchable ball, can make all the throws even though they're not wow, and that's good.'
"But to me, that's where there was no elite trait to jump on. There's no [trait where] I go, 'Oh, wait, there's just something here we can really build around.' And again, that's where he's the type of quarterback that is a system quarterback to a degree. If he's got a part of the great system, he could take advantage of more where you give me a ton of answers and tell me how to read the defense and get to the checks on the offensive line of scrimmage there. I'll get us in the right play all the time. But he's not going to be like, 'Hey, it's third and seven. There's nobody open. We're not blocking anybody good. Now I need you to make somebody miss and then set up and throw a laser down the middle of the field like Josh Allen or Trevor Lawrence or Patrick Mahomes.' That's not what he's going to be."
The 49ers are expected to have a quarterback battle in training camp between Trey Lance, who is coming off a broken ankle suffered in Week 2, versus Purdy, who suffered an elbow injury during the 2023 NFC Championship Game.
Nonetheless, as the battle will begin this summer, Simms believes that Lance's draft position shouldn't give the North Dakota State product the edge if the competition between the two players is close.
"You can't get caught up in [where Lance and Purdy were drafted], or you're going to cause more problems, would be my assessment there," Simms continued. "You got a special football team. You got a guy here who can run the offense and you can win games with and honestly can go to the Super Bowl ...
"If Brock Purdy is better, I'm playing Brock Purdy, period. That's just how I would view it ... [Lance has] got some things to work on. He's got some raw talent that I see. But I just think it's still a far way off here before we can start to say, 'Hey, they could put Trey out there, they can run the offense and go.' As you saw at the start of last year, it was a little bit of still managing him and situations and not even in the preseason, not on just letting the offense go because we're worried about what he might do with certain plays."
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However it plays out, 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan will select the quarterback that he believes gives San Francisco the best chance to win.