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Steve Young: ‘What you see is what you get’ with Brock Purdy

Scott Procter Scott Procter BVM Sports Senior Editor/Journalist

SAN FRANCISCO (BVM) – There were three things Steve Young said he heard about Brock Purdy during the San Francisco 49ers’ training camp heading into the 2022 season: The rookie obviously played a lot of football (46 starts over four seasons at Iowa State), he’s “heady” and the moment isn’t too big for him.

After five NFL starts, those preseason notions couldn’t be more evident.

“A person’s psyche has to be ready for the NFL and as a young player, usually you have to grow into it,” Young said on an episode of BVM Sports’ Simple Question. “Every once in a while, you run into somebody who doesn’t necessarily have to grow that much and that’s a huge benefit to Brock.”

After injuries to Trey Lance and then Jimmy Garoppolo thrust Purdy into the starting role, the seventh-round rookie quarterback (taken with the last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft as Mr. Irrelevant) has hit the ground running.

Purdy in his first NFL start outdueled Tom Brady by accounting for three total touchdowns in a dominant, 35-7 win over the Tampa Bay Buccaneers. It wasn’t just beginner’s luck for the former Cyclone star either.

The 49ers haven’t lost since Purdy took over and appear to be even more dangerous at this point than they were under Lance or Garoppolo. Since Purdy’s first NFL start in Week 14, San Francisco has averaged 34.2 points per game and over the last six games, the 49ers’ rookie QB has thrown for 1,308 yards with 13 touchdown passes to just three interceptions. He’s completed 68.3% of his passes, posted a 112 passer rating and helped lead San Francisco (13-4) to an NFC West title as well as the NFC’s No. 2 seed.

The impressive play led to Purdy being recognized as the NFL’s Offensive Rookie of the Month, awarded for contributions from Weeks 13-18.

“The things that had him drafted in the seventh round haven’t gone away, but it doesn’t mean that you can’t go to the Super Bowl and be an All-Pro and be a Hall of Famer,” Young said. “I don’t know what his ceiling is but right now, what you’re seeing is a heady, calm and present force on the field at a very young age which is pretty cool.”

It remains to be seen how Purdy handles the playoff stage for the first time, but luckily for 49ers’ fans, their quarterback will be squaring off against another signal caller making his first playoff start.

Geno Smith finished the season as the NFL’s leader in completion percentage (69.8%) and will lead his Seahawks into Santa Clara on Saturday as massive underdogs. Despite being in the 10th season of his career, Smith will cap his best NFL season off with his first postseason appearance.

These two teams squared off in Week 15 when Purdy threw for 217 yards and two touchdowns during a 21-13 San Francisco victory. It was the first road start of Purdy’s career and on Saturday, the impressive rookie will face a new first on the biggest stage of his life.

“What he’s done so far in five games is kind of replicable,” Young said of Purdy. “There might be some oil leaking on the edges in either direction, but generally, I think what you see is what you get, and that’s probably a really good thing.”