Everyone loves 49ers’ Brock Purdy except for one man

You’ll be hard-pressed to find a pundit who hasn’t gushed over San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy this season. Well-respected NFL Network sportscaster Rich Eisen loves him: “This kid seems to have it,” he said. Colin Cowherd, sports media’s great contrarian, adores him: “I think Brock Purdy could win you playoff games,” he predicted. Former NFL head coach turned ESPN talking head Rex Ryan is on board, too: “This man was prepared for the moment.”

ProFootballTalk named Purdy its offensive rookie of the year. Niners great Steve Young said Purdy has “the Force.” Some folks are even already throwing around the “f” word, as in “franchise” quarterback.

And the fresh-faced Purdy has still only played six regular-season games. In his whole NFL career. Yes, his 107.3 passer rating led all quarterbacks with at least 150 dropbacks this season, and the 49ers are undefeated during that stretch, and “Pur-dy, Pur-dy, Pur-dy” chants are now breaking out on the regular. But someone, somewhere has to at least acknowledge that Purdy could just be OK, right?

Turns out that someone is sportswriter Steven Ruiz, and that somewhere is The Ringer.

Not only does Ruiz have Purdy dead last in his playoff rankings of all 14 postseason quarterbacks, he has Purdy ranked No. 33 overall. In a league with 32 teams, Purdy ranks behind every single other starter and even Jimmy Garoppolo (No. 23), according to Ruiz. In the playoff field, Ruiz has Purdy behind The Ghost of Tom Brady, Tua Tagovailoa (who’s out after suffering multiple concussions this season), Geno Smith (who is somehow ranked 10th among playoff QBs), and Daniel Jones, whom Ruiz notes doesn’ t even have a starting job locked up for 2023.

Ruiz’s rankings grade quarterbacks on six different attributes (accuracy, arm talent, creativity, decision-making, pocket presence and pre-snap), plus he hands out badges to denote strengths, weaknesses, and “who has that dog in him.” Purdy does not have the dog in him, according to Ruiz, who has him badged as a “System QB.”

Some of the choice parts of Ruiz’s assessment of Purdy:

  • “Brock Purdy probably looks pretty good in practice.”
  • “The arm strength issue stands out under pressure. And that’s also when his decision making becomes a bit erratic.”
  • “He just doesn’t have the athleticism or arm talent to make plays in those volatile situations.”
  • “He’s smart, accurate, and just big enough for the NFL. But despite checking all those boxes, he still ended up as the 2022 draft’s Mr. Irrelevant. That is how bad his arm is.”


Which is more likely though? That Purdy is the next Tom Brady, an otherworldly, generational talent that every NFL evaluator somehow missed on, something the media cycle has been pushing harder and harder every week? Or, that Purdy is well below even being a “just OK” quarterback, which Ruiz seems to firmly endorse in his rankings.

We’ll likely start to find out Saturday at 1:30 pm when the 49ers play against the Seattle Seahawks at Levi’s Stadium.

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