It’s been another offseason arguing about who will start at quarterback for the 49ers, and yes, we’ll do that again later this morning. But we rarely talk about how they compare to the quarterbacks on other teams.
PFF ranked each quarterback in the NFL, and with Brock Purdy as the perceived starter, he found himself one spot ahead of Jimmy Garoppolo at No. 23:
Purdy passed for 8.3 yards per attempt last season in his run as the starter — more than Patrick Mahomes and every quarterback in the league other than Tua Tagovailoa — but he attempted just 233 passes in an offense we know to be a virtual cheat code for production. It would be wrong to dismiss his success altogether — he was better than players like Nick Mullens who also had success in that offense — but it would also be crazy to overreact to such a small sample size, even outside of the risk associated with the UCL surgery Purdy had on his elbow.
Crazy, you say? There isn’t a middle ground when it comes to discussing Purdy’s accomplishments. And whenever you come close to critiquing Brock, some view you as a “hater.”
For those in the camp who believe Purdy is a franchise quarterback, it’s easy to understand why. He reeled off nearly ten wins in a row before exiting early in the NFC Championship game. The offense reached heights we hadn’t seen before, and Purdy was testing defenses down the field.
The asterisk I’d have is the schedule, the addition of Christian McCaffrey, and the ceiling, or lack thereof. We base Purdy’s abilities based on the previous quarterbacks on the roster. If the bar is to clear the likes of C.J. Beatheard, Nick Mullens, Jimmy Garoppolo, and an incomplete Trey Lance, it’s easy to anoint Brock.
But you can’t compare quarterback stats as if it’s apples to apples. Purdy isn’t asked to do the same things as a Patrick Mahomes, Justin Herbert, or Josh Allen. And why would he? Purdy went above and beyond with what he was tasked to do also while doing his job, and that works for the 49ers.
From Week 13 through the end of the regular season, Purdy’s big-time throw rate was 1.7 percent, which ranked him 43 out of 43 eligible quarterbacks. As for Purdy’s turnover worthy percentage, he was at 3.1, which was 41 out of 50.
When you pull back the curtain and look at some of the decision-making, that’s where I struggle to come to gripes with Purdy evolving into this upper echelon quarterback in this league. Thankfully, he has Kyle Shanahan and a slew of weapons most quarterbacks would envy.
Here’s what PFF had to say about Jimmy G:
For his injury history alone, Garoppolo is likely capped at this kind of level in the rankings. He was outperformed by Purdy last season in the same offense and now goes to a new offensive system, albeit one he is familiar with from his stint in New England. The Raiders have a good collection of receivers to throw to, but Garoppolo has a 3.6% career turnover-worthy play rate, significantly higher than his big-time-throw rate (2.9%). Even if he stays healthy all season, he is likely a below-average starter.