Kyle Shanahan Reveals Who Recommended Drafting Brock Purdy

Brock Purdy

Getty Brock Purdy got drafted at the recommendation of 49ers co-chairman John York.

The San Francisco 49ers seemed set on quarterback Trey Lance in 2022, but someone in the organization not named Kyle Shanahan saw a new opportunity.

Shanahan, the team’s head coach, said 49ers co-chairman John York, recommended drafting quarterback Brock Purdy in 2022. Less than two years later, Purdy has the 49ers in the Super Bowl.

“I’m always trying to check myself on this stuff,” Shanahan told NBC Sports’ Peter King in his Monday column regarding the last day of the 2022 draft.

Purdy fell to the final pick in the seventh round, famously known as “Mr. Irrelevant”. That said, the 49ers could have taken a risk on pursuing Purdy as an undrafted free agent instead.

“The pick’s coming up and I remember [John] asking, ‘Who’s the best player out there?’ I go, ‘Well, there’s no doubt Purdy’s the best player.’ He goes, ‘Then what are we talking about?’ I was like, ‘Well, there’s other spots. Also, we might be able to get him as a free agent for $10,000 after the draft,'” Shanahan recalled. “Dr. York can’t believe it. He’s looking at me like, I don’t get why there’s discussion if you guys think he’s the best player.”

“Then it gets closer. I’m also getting the feeling we’re not getting Purdy as a free agent because there are so many other teams who are going to try to sign him,” Shanahan said. “He wasn’t coming to us. He’s told me since then he was signing somewhere else. I said in the room, ‘Let’s not risk it. This guy’s too good.'”

It altered the trajectory of the 49ers that traded up to grab Lance at No. 3 only two years earlier. Lance didn’t pan out as a starter despite his dominance at North Dakota State, and Purdy emerged as an MVP candidate when his opportunity came amid quarterback injuries in 2022.

Kyle Shanahan Graded Brock Purdy Higher Than 7th Round

Though Purdy landed in the final round of the draft, Shanahan anticipated that he would go much sooner.

“I was sure Brock was worthy of the fourth round, and we put a fourth-round grade on him,” Shanahan told King. “There was no way we could take him for our team. But we’re sitting there in the seventh, and all these picks go by, he’s still there.”

NFL Draft experts generally viewed Purdy as a potential backup in the league but nothing more. He kept falling through the later rounds as teams kept passing on the former Iowa State star.

“That’s when I get to hear our linebacker coaches, all the scouts, other coaches, everybody who’s talking, saying things like: I can’t believe my guy is still there in the seventh! I love this guy. Or, We got all these needs! You traded those ones last year! We don’t need a quarterback to be our third guy. Or, Kyle! We can still get him as a free agent. He’s not gonna get drafted. I mean, it’s all coming down on me,” Shanahan said.

Kyle Shanahan Makes Admission Despite Brock Purdy Grade

San Francisco had numerous draft priorities in 2022, and quarterback wasn’t one of them. The 49ers already had Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, but Shanahan had an inkling that Purdy would land late despite his fourth-round draft grade.

“You hear all this stuff and the last thing you wanna be is the offensive head coach who’s like, ‘Nope, we’re taking my favorite quarterback.’ I get it—this linebacker, this running back might start for us … This linebacker might be the next dude,” Shanahan said. “I remember saying before the draft I wouldn’t be surprised if Brock was there in the seventh, or didn’t get drafted. Just how the NFL works.”