This season for the 49ers won’t necessarily hinge on the success of the quarterback, as they enter the preseason with Brock Purdy, Trey Lance, and Sam Darnold. Their health is important, but the roster is stacked on both sides, while the schedule suggests the Niners should win double-digit games.
In Purdy’s case, there’s still some doubt whether we can expect an encore performance. He was as close to lights out as it gets last season. Some wonder how much better he can get, while others believe there’s only one way to go, and it isn’t up.
The truth is somewhere in the middle, but the fact that we’re still torn implicates Purdy still has something to prove.
The Athletic’s Mike Sando released his tenth annual quarterback tiers. Fifty league insiders share their evaluations, and Purdy found himself in Tier 4 where he was No. 24 overall:
Many promising players have debuted in Tier 4, including Patrick Mahomes (after one career start) and Lamar Jackson (after seven). The reason was simple. Voters hadn’t seen enough to make a fuller evaluation. Purdy fell right on the border between 3 and 4, with an average tier vote that could have qualified him for Tier 3, but a majority of voters placed him in Tier 4.
Purdy made five regular-season starts last season, won playoff starts against Seattle and Dallas, then was injured against Philadelphia in the NFC Championship Game.
“When I looked at him, I thought he was a 4,” an offensive coach said, “but when you watch the kid play, he is an absolute gamer. He has the intangibles, the moxie, the want-to, the leadership.”
Purdy was in an ideal situation — elite play caller, elite defense — and played well enough to draw 23 Tier 3 votes and a single vote in Tier 2.
“You put him on any other team and they lose more than half the games,” another offensive coach said. “They got the best rushing offense, they got the top defense, he doesn’t make mistakes and he makes some plays with his legs, he gets the ball out. Good for him.”
Purdy received 26 votes for Tier 4 and 23 for Tier 3, so he was close to bumping up a level. But it’s not unfair as Purdy is still relatively unproven considering he took over in the second half of the season and played against mostly subpar teams in the back half.
It always comes back to the supporting cast with Brock. But to say they’d lose more than half the games feels like a stretch. Undefeated? Probably not. However, you can point to specific parts of the game — like running for a first down against the Seahawks in Week 15 — where Purdy did just enough to put the team over the hump.
Do you think this ranking/tier is fair, or should Brock be higher?