Brock Purdy enjoyed a better game than the stats would indicate during the 49ers’ Week 2 preseason win over the Vikings, and Kyle Shanahan said as much, too.
By no means has San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Brock Purdy, the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft, cemented a spot on the 53-man roster ahead of the regular season.
However, a relatively strong showing during the Niners’ 17-7 preseason win over the Minnesota Vikings should earn Mr. Irrelevant a little more consideration towards not being left out.
Purdy being in the discussion for a third-string role behind guaranteed-to-make-the-roster signal-callers, Trey Lance and Nate Sudfeld, is commendable in itself. A year ago, depth quarterback Josh Rosen earned himself a foregone preseason conclusion that he’d be gone long before head coach Kyle Shanahan had to trim the roster down to 53 players.
It doesn’t appear that Purdy is trending in Rosen’s direction.
From Saturday’s victory, Purdy’s stat line would otherwise suggest a so-so outing: 14-of-23 passing for 128 yards with no touchdowns and no interceptions, two sacks taken and a 76.0 passer rating.
However, alternating two series with Sudfeld with Lance on the bench and not playing, Purdy was certainly victimized by multiple drops from his receiving targets, deflating his numbers.
Instead, one of the positives Purdy displayed throughout the game was his feel for pressure, often using his athleticism to evade the Vikings’ pass rush and to extend plays. And while one gallant rushing attempt for a first down resulted in the rookie running into a proverbial wall of Minnesota defenders, the overall pocket awareness and poise nevertheless looked solid.
Certainly not the kind of performance expected from a first-year pro.
Kyle Shanahan says 49ers are benefiting from Brock Purdy’s experience
One of the common themes thrown out there with Lance heading into 2022 is his experience or lack thereof, stemming from just one full season as a starter at the collegiate level and essentially just 2.5 quarters of regular-season action his rookie year.
Purdy is the polar opposite, at least at the college level, and that’s something Shanahan didn’t hesitate to point out in Sunday’s press conference after the preseason win:
"Brock was a four-year starter in the Big  and I think that doesn’t get talked about enough, how much experience that is for someone. For him to have that many games under his belt, that’s a lot of football and I know it’s college football, but that’s still a lot of pressure from a freshman all the way to his senior year.So Brock has played a lot of quarterback and he’s come here and hasn’t let the big lights or being around NFL players change that. He’s been kind of the same guy that you’ve seen on tape and that’s allowed him to have a chance to get better."
Whereas Lance attempted only 318 passes at the collegiate level, Purdy attempted 1,467 at Iowa State, setting all kinds of program records in the process.
Now, don’t get mistaken by this. Purdy isn’t coming for Lance’s job, and the latter’s ceiling is almost infinitely greater than that of Purdy. Lance has also shown exceptional development in pocket awareness and dealing with pressure between year one and thus far in the preseason, too.
Purdy certainly hasn’t cemented himself as a member of the 53-man roster just yet. And he could still impress again during San Francisco’s preseason finale against the Houston Texans on Thursday, Aug. 25, only to be waived in favor of just two quarterbacks — Lance and Sudfeld — on the Week 1 regular-season roster.
Still, Purdy is certainly exceeding expectations, which is great news for him and for Shanahan, too.