It is the tag that nobody wants in an NFL Draft, but for anybody not drafted by that point, being picked as the last player in a draft means you at least get signed to an NFL Team, along with the somewhat unfairly named tag of “Mr Irrelevant”.

The name stems from the fact that very few players drafted with the final pick in an NFL Draft go on to have a notable career in the NFL.

There are a few exceptions to that list, Marty Moore, Mike Green and more recently Ryan Succop and Tae Crowder have made a name for themselves in the NFL, two of them going on to win Super Bowl rings (Moore & Succop).

However, the list of Mr Irrelevant’s that don’t make a career for themselves is a long one: Justice Cunningham, CHeta Ozougwu, Lonnie Ballentine Chandler Harnish, Gerald Christian, Kalen Reed, Chad Kelly, Trey Qunn, Caleb Wilson, Grant Stuard, Ryan Hoag… The list of those that live up to the name is a long one.

Even if you do well as Mr Irrelevant at one point, you can be discarded quickly. Tae Crowder found that out when was released by the Giants just a couple of days ago.

All of which makes Brock Purdy’s story all the more remarkable.

Who Is Brock Purdy?

The San Francisco 49ers were the team to have the 262nd final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft back in April and with that pick they selected a 22-year-old quarterback from Iowa State by the name of Brock Purdy.

At the time, the move made some kind of sense. Their first round pick fromn the 2021 draft, Trey Lance, was the 49ers quarterback going forward and his back up Jimmy Garoppolo was expected to move on to a new team, with the 49ers likely to pick up a veteran QB in free agency to serve as Lance’s main back up.

Purdy would simply come in to training camp to compete with any of the other quarterbacks the 49ers had on the roster for the role of third-string QB. Which in addition to Lance and Garoppolo included and NFL veteran in Nate Sudfield,

  • College Career

After a decent high school career at Perry High School, Purdy moved on to Iowa State University where he initially started as a third string quarterback.

However, after an injury to their starting QB and his replacement playing poorly, Purdy got his chance midway through his first season, leading them to a 7-2 record with him under center.

He had a superb season as a sophomore, leading the Big 12 in passing yards and passed for a touchdown in 12 consecutive games.

By the end of his four years at College, Purdy had started 46 of 48 games, thrown 81 touchdowns (to 33 interceptions) for over 12,170 yards, as well as rushing for 1,177 yards and 19 touchdowns.

However, despite his solid stats at quarterback, it was felt that his small stature for a QB (at just 6ft, 212lb) may go against him being drafted higher in the draft, and so it proved.

Future Thrown Into Doubt

In August, it appeared that Purdy’s NFL future could be over before it had even begun. Rather than move on as had been expected, Jimmy Garoppolo agreed a pay cut to remain with the 49ers, leaving Purdy as a likely 4th choice behind Lance, Garopplo and Sudfield.

However, a few days later Sudfield was the surprise name cut from the 49ers final 53-man roster, moving on to the Detroit Lions, as Purdy was named the third-string QB for the 49ers going forward.

That position lasted just a couple of weeks into the new season when Trey Lance went down with a season ending injury. That allowed Jimmy Garoppolo to step in and Garoppolo, managed to steady the ship somewhat after a slow start.

Purdy got a few snaps late in games as a second string QB filling in with the result no longer in question, but that all changed when on Week 13, Jimmy Garoppolo went down with a broken bone in his foot in the 49ers win over the Miami Dolphins.

Suddenly, Purdy was thrust into the role of replacement QB and he performed well, leading the 49ers to a solid win against the NFL’s most potent offense.

In that game he completed 25 of 37 passes for 210 yards, 2 touchdowns with just one interception

Many people felt the 49ers would bring in a free agent quarterback, Colin Kaepernick was even mentioned as a possible signing, but the 49ers coaching team had seen enough to convince them that Purdy could do a job for them.

And earlier in this past week, Purdy was named as their starting quarterback for the remainder of the 2022 season.

The Acid Test Against the G.O.A.T

Purdy’s first start would be an intriguing one, against the team that has the greatest player of all time, Tom Brady as their quarterback. The Tampa Bay Buccaneers were also Super Bowl winners back in 2021 and their defence is recognised as one of the better units in the league.

However, Purdy made light work of the former Super Bowl winners, throwing 16 completions from 21 passes, for 185 yards and two touchdowns, rushing in for another and leading his team to a comprehensive 35-7 victory and a 9-4 record in the NFC West.

What Is Next For The 49ers New Quarterback Starter?

The 49ers have four games left this season and if they can win three of those games, having won all of their last six, they will clinch the top spot in the NFC West.

However, they would effectively clinch the title with a win next weekend against the Seattle Seahawks, who are the team in second place in the NFC West with a 7-6 record.

The 49ers then finish their season with games against the Washington Commanders, Las Vegas Raiders and the Arizona Cardinals.

It seems unlikely that the 49ers can claw back the three-game deficit to the Eagles to earn the top spot in the NFC Seeding but they are the form team in the NFL right now and with Purdy providing to be far from Mr Irrelevant in this season, they should fancy their chances of going deep in the playoffs once they have confirmed their place in them.