The rise of Mr. Irrelevant

Kaylee Donnelly, Senior Writer

Following the 2022 NFL draft, nobody expected the 262 pick to be on his way to the NFC Championship. More specifically, the last pick being on the field, as well as acting as the starting quarterback for his team. Brock Purdy, however, has beaten all odds.

The last man to be picked of the NFL is often dubbed “Mr. Irrelevant” – an unofficial nickname that dates back to 1976. Brock Purdy, this year’s “Mr. Irrelevant,” started off as the third-string quarterback of the San Francisco 49ers. Throughout the season, he found himself climbing the ranks. Since Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo suffered injuries, Purdy found himself as the starting quarterback. 

His journey to the league wasn’t common. Despite being an All-State quarterback from Arizona his junior year, Purdy did not receive a lot of attention from colleges. It wasn’t until halfway through his senior season that he received any Division I offers. He ended up taking one from Iowa State. 

Purdy’s college career started similarly to his professional one, being placed originally in a third-string spot. But, as happened this year with the 49ers, Purdy managed to snag the starting spot due to injuries. After that, he remained Iowa State’s main quarterback, setting several school records throughout his four years at the university. 

The 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan saw some potential in Purdy at the camp, taking him onto the team even as a last pick. It paid off, because Purdy has been able to help San Francisco maintain its run to the championship this season. 

To clarify, Purdy hasn’t stepped out as the best new quarterback in the NFL. But as a third string quarterback, and the last pick in the NFL draft, he’s done more than anyone ever expected to: compete and win. 

Of the 49ers 12-game winning streak, Purdy has played in eight, starting in seven games. In his most recent win, Purdy helped his team knock out the Dallas Cowboys and send them to the NFC championship game.

His stats were fairly average throughout the game, putting up 214 passing yards with no touchdowns but also no turnovers. But for a last pick rookie, his poise in crucial moments and ability to close out the game helped surprise the league and put his team into a great spot for the rest of their season.

Purdy and the 49ers have their next challenge ahead on Sunday, where they will play the Philadelphia Eagles for the NFC Championship. The Eagles remain a favorite in this matchup, and coach Shanahan said he does not see Garoppolo returning to health before the match. It seems the team will have to rely on Mr. Irrelevant again for this championship. Purdy has defeated the odds several times before, so perhaps he can do it again now.

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