One team’s NFL Draft scouting report on Brock Purdy shows how he became ‘Mr.

On the NFL team scouting report, the most eye-catching information of all the categories was in the box listed for final grade. It simply read two words in all caps.


This was the write-up for one NFL team last spring when it evaluated Iowa State quarterback Brock Purdy. In fairness, that NFL organization probably shouldn’t feel too bad in its evaluation. Purdy almost went undrafted in 2022, lasting until the final pick in the draft, No. 262 overall. Yet the former Iowa State star is now just one game away from leading the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl. This weekend he will become only the fifth rookie quarterback to start a conference title game, and none of the previous four were able to help their team make it to the Super Bowl.

Purdy’s rise from being selected as “Mr. Irrelevant” has been one of the most remarkable stories of the NFL season. The Athletic reviewed a pre-draft scouting report from an NFL team to explore why the four-year college starting quarterback lasted so long in the draft, then spoke to the coach who wrote that report and asked, on the condition of anonymity for competitive reasons, what he sees in Purdy now, what other teams might have overlooked and why the 23-year-old has been such an ideal fit for the 49ers.

The book on Purdy last spring was of a prospect with less-than-ideal size, at 6-0 1/2 and 212 pounds. His hand size also less than ideal: 9 1/4 inches. The athleticism he displayed at the 2022 NFL Scouting Combine also didn’t impress. He ran a 4.84 40 and vertical jumped 27 inches. In his report, the coach wrote, “Did not test well, limited athlete that has a maxed out body. Very mature and experienced. Threw it ok.”

The strengths for Purdy were that he was “VERY” experienced with 48 college starts and that he manages the game well, making the routine plays consistently. He was creative as the play extends and “works through his progressions very well.”

The weaknesses: “sawed off … not a very good athlete … limited arm, both in strength and throw repertoire.”


It took a series of injuries for Purdy to get his opportunity this season in San Francisco. In Week 2, the 49ers lost starter Trey Lance to a broken ankle. Then, in early December, Jimmy Garoppolo injured his foot and San Francisco turned to Purdy. He has been terrific, posting a 13-to-4 TD-INT ratio, while completing 67 percent of his passes for a 107.3 rating, which is almost two points higher than any QB in the NFL who had enough attempts to qualify. More impressively, Purdy is now 7-0 as the 49ers’ starting quarterback.

The NFL coach who wrote the scouting report said Monday, “The biggest thing that stood out differently than from his college film, and (49ers GM) John Lynch actually said it a few weeks ago, is his athleticism. I don’t remember him moving like that at Iowa State, and he didn’t test well. He jumped 27 inches, which is terrible. He ran a 4.85 (4.84). He’s got short arms, like really short, and he’s got small hands. He’s 6-1, and his arm is OK. The twitchiness just wasn’t really there. His short shuttle was OK —4.45 — that’s not outstanding.

“There feels like there’s two…

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