Summer 2024

2022 'Mr. Irrelevant' Brock Purdy joins 49ers with Christ as his foundation

Former Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy just wanted to end up on an NFL roster. Whether he was selected in the middle rounds or signed as an undrafted free agent was not particularly important.

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The San Francisco 49ers made his wish come true — with the final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft on Saturday, making Purdy this year’s “Mr. Irrelevant.” His new title comes with a week of activities in Newport Beach, California, the proceeds from which go to charitable organizations.

Purdy is taking the whole thing in stride as he prepares to compete for a spot on the 49ers’ roster.

“I think it’s a funny thing,” he told ESPN. “If you’re a fan, or even my family, friends and stuff, it’s funny to laugh about it and joke around with it. For me, I’m looking at it as an opportunity. I got my foot in the door, a team believed in me and now I get my opportunity to go and play football.”

The all-time leader in passing yards and passing touchdowns in Iowa State history, Purdy became the starting quarterback midway through the 2018 season (as a true freshman) and led the team to a 7-2 finish. He was a two-time All-Big 12 first-team selection and completed 68% of his passes in 48 career games.

The Cyclones went 9-3 in 2020, the program’s first nine-win season since 2000. They earned a trip to the Fiesta Bowl, where Purdy was named Offensive MVP in the 34-17 victory over Oregon.


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His extensive experience was one of the factors that led San Francisco to draft him.

“The guy has played a lot of football,” 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan said. “He plays the game the right way. He’s extremely tough, gets the ball to the right spots and plays very well in the pocket and is a guy who we think can come in here and help us fill out this roster and give himself a chance to make the team.”

He also lives on a solid foundation of faith, which was laid by his parents at an early age. He joined Fellowship of Christian Athletes in high school, which is when he began to make his faith his own.

Soon after arriving at Iowa State, Purdy found himself struggling at practice. He got down on his knees at the end of the first week of fall camp and asked God to forgive him for putting football ahead of his relationship with Christ.

“It was just a great reminder of where my identity is, where it lies,” Purdy said on the Sports Spectrum Podcast in August. “And it’s in Jesus. And I continue to lean on Him. Again, the next day I didn’t go out and throw for 500 yards and was this awesome quarterback, but it was just this peace that I had with Him knowing that, ‘Hey, no matter what I’m going to face moving forward during college football, God and Jesus are going to be my identity. And whatever I face, I won’t be shaken from it.’ I’ve got a great foundation in Him.”

Purdy joins a quarterback room that includes veteran Jimmy Garoppolo and last year’s No. 3 overall pick, Trey Lance. Each of the last nine “Mr. Irrelevants” have gone on to appear in at least one NFL game.

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