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NFL fans love a catchy storyline, witness San Francisco 49ers QB phenom Brock Purdy.
He was the last guy picked in the draft. He’s wrecking good opponents. His team is winning and looks like a playoff favorite — that is universally appealing, Man vs. The World stuff; hence the rush of media coverage.
But ask a few basic questions of history and the Purdy mystique soon dissolves (sorry to be a downer).
Is Purdy (4-1 w/ 6 TDs and 2 INTs) the best Mr. Irrelevant ever? Nope, not even close. That list starts with Ryan Succop and winds through a Pro Bowl TE with a lot of quality defensive players. Purdy and QBs generally ain’t in the all-time discussion as things sit.
Is Purdy the best rookie late-round QB ever? Uh, no. Don’t even start that discussion with me. Take your pick between Theisman, Starr, Brady, and Staubach, for starters. The odds Purdy ever cracks that list are low.
Is Purdy the best rookie QB selected in the 2022 NFL Draft in the 7th round or later to currently feature on a playoff team?
Probably. I didn’t bother to look it up because it doesn’t really matter. The point is, from a data perspective Purdy has a limited body of work so far, and there’s not much to compare him against.
Zappe, the rookie QB from the Patriots is in the pool (2-2 w/ 5 TDs and 3 INTs). Ridder of ATL (0-1, 0 TD, 0 INT) is just getting started, and PIT QB Pickett (4-5) has just 4 TDs and 8 INTs on the season, though he was the highest QB pick.
So, by comparison to his peers, yes, Purdy is certainly the cream of the rookie QB crop and I give the man props for that.
Playing QB in the NFL is crazy difficult. Everything goes faster, on and on off the field. That Brock Purdy has led the San Francisco 49ers to the success he has to this point in the 2022 NFL season is remarkable.
It just doesn’t make him reliable, yet. And until he is, Brock Purdy is not really relevant.
That begs the question, what does Purdy need to do to prove that he really is special as a Mr. Irrelevant, or as Mr. Anyone in the NFL over the long haul? Again, let’s go to history.
Mr. Irrelevant Ryan Succop has been in the league for 14 seasons so far. He’s made 314 FGs (83.1%) over that span, recording 1,408 points, meaning Purdy has 1,360 to go to catch up. On that basis, at 30 TDs per season on average, Purdy has about 7 seasons of work to go to even get into the discussion as the most relevant Mr. Irrelevant of all time.
6th-round legend Tom Brady is the actual GOAT from any round of the draft, you can look up his stats yourself. I’m going to go out on a limb and say Purdy never touches TB12’s numbers. If I’m wrong in 20 years, hunt me down and flame me. So, yeah, Purdy is out of that discussion too.
But can the 2022 Mr. Irrelevant, the guy who has risen from nowhere to pivot one of the most iconic franchises in the NFL, stay hot and lead the 49ers on a deep playoff run? That remains to be seen.
As a data analyst, I’m sitting in the bushes. As a football fan, I am rooting for Brock Purdy.