It’s always a tough road for seventh-round NFL Draft picks, but Brock Purdy does have a modest shot to make the 49ers’ 53-man roster in 2022.
There are probably two key reasons why the San Francisco 49ers used the 262nd and final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, otherwise known as “Mr. Irrelevant,” on former Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy.
First, it’s never a bad idea to draft a quarterback every year. Not every team does this, not even the Niners under head coach Kyle Shanahan and general manager John Lynch. But, given the premium on the position, even a gem of a find once every 10 years can net lucrative returns.
Second, San Francisco actually has a need for another quarterback this offseason.
Quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo remains on the 49ers roster despite the team’s efforts to trade him. In light of his offseason shoulder surgery, however, he won’t be able to throw a ball until the opening days of training camp, likely late July, meaning the only previous two options the Niners had available until Purdy came into the fold were Trey Lance and Nate Sudfeld.
Two QBs won’t be enough to cut it during minicamps and organized team activities.
Purdy will likely get those third-string reps. And remember, the Niners have carried four quarterbacks on their offseason rosters before, so that’s not entirely foreign.
Nearly every team across the league will carry a minimum of three during these programs, though.
OK, so what does that have to do with Purdy’s chances of making the 53-man roster?
Can Brock Purdy beat out Nate Sudfeld for a roster spot?
The road for Purdy to actually earn a spot on San Francisco’s regular-season depth chart will be a difficult one, and he’ll have to overcome his steady collegiate decline since his 2019 campaign. Plus, it’s not like seventh-round draft picks are all but guaranteed spots anyway.
As far as direct competition goes, Sudfeld will be Purdy’s first target during offseason workouts. Yet the 49ers gave Purdy $2 million in guarantees this offseason, according to Over the Cap, so it wouldn’t make much financial sense to pencil in Purdy over the veteran at this point.
Not unless Purdy completely wows during camp, paralleled by Sudfeld melting down.
That is possible, however, especially if Purdy demonstrates the better upside in terms of his own physical ability.
Jimmy Garoppolo is the X-factor to Brock Purdy making the 49ers cut
An easier path for Purdy to survive post-preseason roster cuts is for the Niners to finally move Garoppolo between now and Week 1.
From Purdy’s perspective, it doesn’t matter how. A trade to a suddenly emerging quarterback-needy team would be ideal for San Francisco, but an outright release this offseason would thin out the depth chart.
In that particular case, the likely outcome would be Lance supported immediately by Sudfeld, then Purdy being the regularly inactive No. 3 quarterback on game day.
At least he’d collect a game-day check, though, right?
Now, that might not be the most impressive quarterback room, and the 49ers would probably scramble for some sort of contingency option if Lance suffered some sort of lengthy injury. That could jeopardize Purdy’s precarious hold on a would-be roster spot, too.
But at least he’d wind up surviving the cut, provided Garoppolo is moved and winds up being the last of the Niners’ quarterbacking transactions in 2022.