Brock Purdy still has long odds to make the 49ers’ 53-man roster this season, but his efforts against the Vikings in preseason action sure helped his cause.
The San Francisco 49ers may have little choice but to keep quarterback Brock Purdy, “Mr. Irrelevant as the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, on the first 53-man roster of the season.
Unless they want to risk losing him to the waiver wire after head coach Kyle Shanahan makes his final cuts ahead of Week 1.
Purdy was one of the standouts from the Niners’ 17-7 preseason win on Saturday against the Minnesota Vikings. And while Purdy’s stats won’t jump out for those who didn’t watch the game but just chose to look at the box score, his efforts on the field were significantly better than what the numbers said.
Speaking of those numbers, Purdy’s final line while alternating drives with fellow backup quarterback Nate Sudfeld was 14-of-23 passing for 128 yards with no touchdowns or interceptions and a 76.0 passer rating.
Those would be the kind of numbers one might expect in a lackluster preseason game comprised of mostly backups on both sides.
However, Purdy wasn’t exactly aided by factors mostly out of his control. One of his preferred targets, third-year wide receiver Jauan Jennings, dropped a key pass, while nearly hitting tight end Tanner Hudson for what would have been a crucial (and large) pickup on third down was simply dropped.
The officials missed Minnesota’s encroachment into the neutral zone on this particular fumble recovery, which unfortunately was credited against Purdy, too:
A rough call, perhaps. But Shanahan won’t go into his preseason Week 2 evaluation of Purdy holding that against him.
Brock Purdy can convince 49ers to keep him on 53-man roster
The first two spots on San Francisco’s quarterbacking depth chart are accounted for already: Lance and then Sudfeld.
And while Sudfeld was arguably more impressive than Purdy against Minnesota, the former’s fully guaranteed $2 million contract for 2022 pretty much says everything that one needs to know about his own roster chances.
Shanahan’s choice of whether or not to keep three quarterbacks on the 53-man roster might be a tough one.
With the 49ers looking to part ways with veteran signal-caller Jimmy Garoppolo soon, there are still plenty of other teams around the league who’ll be looking to reinforce their own quarterback rooms, including finding depth options.
Related Story: Deep dive into strengths, weaknesses of rookie Brock Purdy
Should the Niners attempt to waive Purdy, there’s an awfully good chance another team would pluck him up and off the waiver wire, away from San Francisco and away from a likely practice squad designation.
It’s not clear whether or not Shanahan wants to risk that, but the rookie’s performance against the Vikings suggests the quarterback is trending in the right direction towards sticking around.