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Peter King: Kyle Shanahan fought coaching staff, front office to draft another QB in Brock Purdy

A battle Shanahan won

NFC Championship - Detroit Lions v San Francisco 49ers Photo by Michael Zagaris/San Francisco 49ers/Getty Images

The best part of Super Bowl LVIII is no doubt the Brock Purdy story and what a story it’s been. No doubt more and more layers to his legend will be peeled back as the week goes on. We just found out he was thought of as the best quarterback on his roster despite being a 3rd-stringer and now Peter King has some insight on Purdy’s drafting. In an appearance on 95.7’s Willard and Dibs, King shed some background on what was going on in the 49ers war room when the 262 pick came up.

It’s another story of Kyle Shanahan getting into it with coaches. In this case, Shanahan’s main reason for taking Purdy was to not let the quarterback get to undrafted free agency knowing there was no chance the 49ers would get him to sign.

“This draft choice—the 262 pick int he draft—when you have the last pick in the draft. As the head coach, as a coaching staff, as a general manager. Kyle Shanahan, these coaches, John Lynch, they knew. You know why that pick is really important? Because you can sit around the draft room at that moment and you can hear everybody’s best argument for the guy they do not want to let go and risk losing because some other team in undrafted free agency, after the draft, is gonna offer the guy $5000 more than you do and he’s going to take that money. And he’s going to go somewhere else.

“And I’m telling you this: Kyle Shanahan, in that period of time, 20, 25, 30 minutes when they were trying to decide what they were going to do. He said, in that room, “I love this quarterback. This is the guy I want to take.”

“All of the sudden the chorus of other coaches come up and say:

‘“Aw man We need this linebacker.’

“‘We need this receiver.’

“‘This guy is gonna help us.’

“‘We’ve got two quarterbacks already! You just traded three one’s last year to pick Trey Lance! Who cares about a quarterback and if we lose him? It doesn’t matter.’

“But, Kyle Shanahan and the management of this team, made a decision that, I’m telling you, ticked off some people in that room when they took Brock Purdy. Because who has any idea about a quarterback from Iowa State? However, Kyle Shanahan knew one thing, and it was the most important thing, and it was the reason why he ended up taking Brock Purdy with the 262 and final pick in the draft. And he knew that Brock Purdy was not going to sign with the 49ers in free agency. He knew it.

“So he said, ‘if we want this guy, if I love him so much, we gotta pick him’

“So they picked him. And obviously, they lost out on a couple of guys who might have made their team, because every year there’s one or two or three guys who is an undrafted rookie, who comes in—on all teams in the NFL—and makes the team. But, I think probably, the coaches who were arguing against that are pretty happy this evening, That Kyle Shanahan got his backup and took Brock Purdy.”

Arguments with Shanahan’s staff and scouting department for a player are nothing new. Depending on who you want to believe, there were arguments for Mac Jones vs. Trey Lance in the 2021 draft. There were reports of some disgruntlement about Trey Lance being drafted, though nothing confirmed.

The reasoning makes sense. Perhaps Shanahan hoped Purdy would ball out behind Trey Lance and he could move him for an earlier draft pick, somewhat like he planned with Kirk Cousins when the two were with the Washington Commanders.

In any case, there should be a lot of insight and context surrounding the 49ers and Brock Purdy in the coming days leading up to Super Bowl LVIII. If you haven’t watched his draft videos from ESPN/NFL Network, give them a watch (linked). Knowing where he is in the league now and what people were saying then may have you laughing.

“Career backup in the NFL, doesn’t have the overall skillset to be a starter in the NFL” has me smiling.