49ers Could Find Brock Purdy Insurance With Big-Named QB

Brock Purdy

Getty The 49ers could find another backup for Brock Purdy in the draft.

The San Francisco 49ers have questionable quarterback depth behind Brock Purdy, and San Francisco Chronicle writer Eric Branch suggested an aptly-named option late in the draft.

Branch floated the idea of the 49ers taking Northern Illinois quarterback Rocky Lombardi with a late-round pick. Besides bearing two big names from Hollywood and the NFL, Lombardi can play as he has 7,418 yards passing and 42 touchdowns in his college career.

“Armed with 10 picks, what’s the harm in tossing a late-round dart and praying for another Purdy? If nothing else, his first name suggests he could have a triumphant underdog story,” Branch wrote.

49ers Need More Options for QB Behind Brock Purdy

Taking a chance on someone like Lombardi is a dart worth throwing as the 49ers only have Josh Dobbs and Brandon Allen behind Purdy. For passer ratings, Branch wrote that Dobbs (77.3) ranks 70th and Allen (78.0) ranks 69th among “the 78 quarterbacks who have thrown at least 250 passes since 2018.”

“Yes, they are career-long backup QBs for a reason, but the numbers don’t inspire confidence that they could keep the 49ers afloat if they are needed in 2024,” Branch wrote. “After Dobbs’ hot start in 2023, he threw one touchdown pass and four interceptions in seven-plus quarters, posting a 45.1 rating, and was benched in the fourth quarter of a 3-0 loss to the Raiders.”

As for Allen, he hasn’t started a game since 2021 amid his 2-7 career record. He has a 56.7% completion rate for 1,611 yards and 10 touchdowns versus six interceptions.

Whether or not Lombardi could surpass Dobbs or Allen remains a big question. However, the 49ers found a franchise quarterback in Purdy just two years ago with the final pick of the whole draft.

If the 49ers don’t opt for Lombardi, there’s plenty of other options such as Tennessee’s Joe Milton III, Kentucky’s Devin Leary, or Notre Dame’s Sam Hartman.

2 Truths Behind Rocky Lombardi’s Name

According to MLive.com’s Kyle Austin, Lombardi’s name doesn’t come from the obvious references his name bears. Rule out the famous fictional movie boxer Rocky Balboa and the late Hall of Fame Green Bay Packers head coach Vince Lombardi.

“But he is named after a famous athlete and has coaching in his blood,” Austin wrote in 2018 when Lombardi played for Michigan State.

“Lombardi’s first name is after former Pittsburgh Steelers star Rocky Bleier, a player his father, Tony, admired. Bleier ran for nearly 4,000 yards in parts of 11 seasons with the Steelers from 1968-80,” Austin wrote. “So while he isn’t named after Rocky Balboa of the “Rocky” films, he’s still named after a sports star in Pennsylvania in the mid-70’s.”

“And despite his last name, Lombardi is of no known relation to former Green Bay Packers coach Vince Lombardi,” Austin added. “But he does come from an impressive lineage of coaches in his own right: his great grandfather was a college football coach, his grandfather Bob is in the Illinois High School Football Coaches Association Hall of Fame and his father has been a high school and college coach for the past three decades.”

Rocky Lombardi played at Michigan State from 2018 to 2020 before he transferred to NIU.