Only a few days after Iowa State lost to Clemson in the Cheez-It Bowl, draft-eligible quarterback Brock Purdy turned his attention towards the NFL Draft.
Purdy was a four-year starter at Iowa State, but his draft stock was low due to his size (6-foot-1, 212 pounds) and his average arm strength in college.
Despite the concerns over his size, Purdy was determined to prove his worth, and that started with some pre-draft work with his personal throwing coach, Will Hewlett.
Hewlett is a private quarterback trainer who focuses on throwing mechanics, motion, and cognitive strategies for NFL-aspiring passers. He’s also been an instrumental part of Quarterback Collective. This group features prominent NFL coaches like Kyle Shanahan, Sean McVay, and Matt LaFleur in developing young quarterbacks at the high school and college levels.
The throwing coach also works closely with a physical therapist, Dr. Tom Gormely, and the duo set up a throwing program for quarterbacks to improve their rotational mechanics and perfect their craft as much as possible leading up to the NFL Draft.
When Purdy arrived at Hewlett’s training facility in Florida a few days after his Bowl Game, they immediately put him through motion capture, breaking down every detailed nuance of his throwing motion.
Based on the results, Hewlett and Gormely are able to put together a plan to improve the different areas of deficiencies for quarterbacks. Specific to Brock Purdy, Hewlett noted that he wasn’t built like a traditional thrower.
Hewlett mentioned that Purdy wasn’t necessarily a prototypical quarterback prospect. He wasn’t built like a lengthy, tall, long prospect. Instead, Purdy’s quads were built like a college fullback, which caused some issues in his overall throwing motion.
The private coach added that Purdy was built more for a position that required “forward-pushing movement, rather than a rotational thrower.” They quickly identified these issues and worked on his strength and weight distribution to correct those issues.
“Brock was awesome. He wanted to fix every little thing. He was really into the program and made some fantastic strides through the process,” Hewlett added on the 49ers’ rookie quarterback. One thing that stood out in speaking to Hewlett was Purdy’s desire to improve every bit of his motion in their short time together.
How impressive was Purdy’s improvement? The Iowa State offensive coaching staff reached out to Hewlett after Purdy’s Pro Day and asked if he could work with all of their quarterbacks.
“It was truly the perfect storm. [Brock] was the right type of young man for this program. His dad was also a baseball player, which meant he had the right type of background. He’s also extremely driven and humble and just has this urge to be great,” Hewlett described on Purdy’s drastic improvement between his final college game and the NFL Draft.
Quantifiably, Hewlett said that Purdy’s throwing velocity improved by nearly five miles per hour after his work with the throwing coach. On average, NFL quarterbacks reach 54-55 miles per hour on their throws, but Purdy was only throwing about 50-51 miles per hour when he came into the throwing program.
After the improvement to his mechanics and motion, Hewlett mentioned that Purdy was able to increase that to 55-56 miles per hour — which was noticeable during his Pro Day, which was scripted by Hewlett.
That’s become evident with the 49ers, as many are wondering how there’s been such a jump in Purdy’s play between Iowa State and San Francisco. Some of that can be attributed back to the quarterback’s offseason work with Will Hewlett.
Hewlett mentioned that Purdy’s already messaged him about returning to the throwing facility in Florida during the offseason to continue his development as a passer, which speaks to his work ethic and character.