If the NFL redid the 2022 draft, 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy surely wouldn’t fall to the final pick again. In fact, in ESPN’s 2022 re-draft, Mr. Irrelevant didn’t even make it to the fifth selection.
ESPN’s NFL Nation reporters redid the first two rounds of last year’s draft with the benefit of hindsight. Jets reporter Rich Cimini aimed to fix New York’s QB problem by taking Purdy with the No. 4 overall pick. Via Cimini:
Yes, Purdy will be on the shelf for at least six months with a UCL tear to this throwing elbow, but we’re thinking long term not short term. It hasn’t worked out with Zach Wilson — the No. 2 overall pick in 2021 — so it’s time to change direction at quarterback. Purdy was Mr. Irrelevant in the real draft, but he’d be very relevant to the Jets. He’d look good in Gotham, especially if they fail to land veterans Aaron Rodgers or Derek Carr this offseason. In eight starts and four relief appearances — three starts in the playoffs — Purdy completed 66.5% of his passes, throwing for 1,943 yards with 16 touchdowns and four interceptions.
The only other QB to go in the first two rounds was Kenny Pickett, originally taken No. 20 by the Steelers, who went to the Saints at No. 16 overall in the redraft.
This is a good illustration of the value the 49ers got with Purdy as the final pick of the draft. Not only did he produce for them right away, but he helped them at least temporarily solve their QB problem. He could solve that problem permanently if he continues playing the way he did from Week 13 on and Trey Lance doesn’t take a sizable leap.
The good news for San Francisco is there won’t be a redraft. Purdy is under team control for four years, and if his arrow keeps trending upward, the 49ers could wind up swinging perhaps the biggest NFL draft steal of all-time.