Brock Purdy, Mr. Irrelevant, is very relevant for the 49ers

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Mr. Irrelevant for the 2022 NFL Draft was quarterback Brock Purdy, but Niner Noise details how his pick is pretty relevant to the 49ers.

The San Francisco 49ers had a lot of needs to get into the 2022 NFL Draft. They had an offensive line that desperately needed inside competition, a safety job to fill, and many more.

What they didn’t need was a quarterback where Trey Lance, Jimmy Garoppolo and even Nate Sudfield, with his money guaranteed in 2022, have a strong claim to a roster spot if one of them is not exchanged.

Still, the Niners used the final pick in the 2022 draft to select Mr. Irrelevant, quarterback Brock Purdy from Iowa State.

Yes, the latest draft pick is almost entirely akin to signing a priority free agent, and at this point, there’s no grand pattern to the position that desperately needs an infusion of talent.

But, as Purdy will be dubbed Mr. Irrelevant of 2022, his selection is quite relevant for San Francisco, both in what he can bring to the table and what he tells us on the front office.

Brock Purdy can still carve out a place in the NFL

Purdy’s draft profile on NFL.com is not flattering. Lance Zierlein’s description of him is that of a quarterback whose physical attributes fall short of the quality of an NFL starter and whose development process in the art of being a quarterback is too long to justify these skills.

Purdy is a low-cap player, who will likely be an NFL replacement at best. To expect a story from a franchise quarterback is unreasonable.

However, expecting potential growth to become a backup quarterback isn’t, and Niner Noise has tagged him as a potential replacement for Trey Lance. And there’s tangible value in drafting and developing quarterbacks that can max out at a backup level.

For starters, it’s valuable protection against injuries, like those that have plagued the 49ers during Garoppolo’s entire tenure. But it’s also the ability to take a chance on the most valuable position in the sport, one where longtime quarterbacks can earn lucrative contracts and players sitting in the wings can almost always be traded.

Garoppolo is the perfect example. He barely played with the New England Patriots but grew up behind the scenes. He played a bit and showed his talent, and in the end, the Patriots salvaged a second-round pick for a player they had no use for because Tom Brady, then the Pats’ starter, was still going strong.

The 49ers can also benefit from Brock Purdy

Back when CJ Beathard was on the 49ers, I wrote many times about the importance of his development. Although he never started for the Niners, his growth has given them a talented player that other teams could potentially covet.

It didn’t work out, obviously, and in the third round of the 2017 NFL Draft, it was a risky game to play, but it was a bet made by San Francisco.

The same sentiment is true here.

Purdy being drafted is important to the 49ers because it shows their understanding of the value of their roster and the value of their draft picks. Often the Niners tend to give up positional value when drafting players, and while they aren’t perfect, they end up with a surplus in positions that aren’t highly valued in the league and a shortage in places that need high-impact players.

The likelihood of Mr. Irrelevant creating any tangible effect on San Francisco, regardless of his position, is so minimal that it is not even worth considering. There is no downside here as there is nothing the team could have missed. The 49ers understood this and used their pick for a complete upside game simply because quarterbacks are valuable, even if their upside is capped.

The late Hall of Famer Bill Walsh reportedly said a team should sign a quarterback every year (h/t Niners Nation), and while every year can be a bit long, the sentiment is true: He there aren’t too many good quarterbacks.

Purdy could be Mr. Irrelevant, and he could end up not being on the Niners’ roster out of training camp.

But make no mistake, his selection is very relevant to the 49ers and how they might approach the draft going forward.

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