NFL Picks the 49ers Player to Root for in 2023

Getty San Francisco 49ers helmet on the bench during the game

NFL analyst Jason McCourty has named his 32 people to root for in the 2023 season, one from each NFL team. Here’s who he picked from the San Francisco 49ers and why.

The NFL Named Brock Purdy as the Player to Root for on the 49ers in 2023

In the 2022 season, 49ers quarterbacks Jimmy Garoppolo and Trey Lance went down with injuries, and in came third-string quarterback Brock Purdy, a rookie out of Iowa State. In the final six regular season games, the 49ers were undefeated under Purdy, who threw for over 1300 yards and 13 touchdowns with just three interceptions in that span.

Then in the postseason, Purdy and the 49ers beat the Seattle Seahawks and the Dallas Cowboys before falling to the top-seeded Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship game; however, Purdy went down with an arm injury on the 49ers’ opening drive and missed the rest of the first half. He did play the second half after his backup, Josh Johnson, had to leave the game with a concussion, but because his throwing arm was injured in the first half, he only threw two more passes the entire game and the 49ers lost 31-7.

With that in mind, the NFL’s Jason McCourty would love to watch “Mr. Irrelevant,” aka the last person chosen in the draft, get another shot at greatness this year and named him the 49ers’ player to root for.

“Who didn’t love watching Mr. Irrelevant help take the 49ers deep in the playoffs? From the family moments to defeating the G.O.A.T. in Santa Clara to winning a pair of playoff games, it was quite a story,” writes McCourty. “But the ill-fated struggle through a crippling elbow injury in the NFC title game loss was such a letdown for him, the team and the 49ers Faithful. GM John Lynch said Purdy ‘has earned the right’ to head into camp as QB1; I’m hoping he’ll pick up right where he left off and help San Francisco win a lot more games in 2023.”

The 49ers GM Said Purdy Has ‘Earned the Right’ to Be the Starting Quarterback

In a March 2023 interview, 49ers general manager John Lynch did indeed praise Purdy’s performance last season and said that he has earned the right to be the starter over Trey Lance, who is still recovering from an injury himself.

“I think Brock has earned the right with the way he played that he’s probably the leader in the clubhouse at that. Let [head coach Kyle Shanahan] make those kind of decisions, but I know that when we talk, I think Brock’s probably earned that right to be the guy if we were to line up. He’ll probably take that first snap,” said Lynch.

The 49ers are currently in a wait-and-see pattern as to when Purdy will be fully healthy after the ulnar collateral ligament surgery he had in early March. According to NBC Sports at the time, the expected recovery timeline was six months — three months of just recovery and then he’s hopefully able to start throwing, with a complete recovery expected after six months. Six months after the surgery is early September, so Purdy may not be ready for training camp and the preseason. But if he’s not, Lynch is prepared to “hold down the fort until he is.”

“I think the timeline as I understand … around 12 weeks we’ll know a lot more. That’s when he can start throwing and that’s when you really start to know a little more about timelines. But all things are going really well. Brock’s going to work, he’s going to do everything they ask and more. They were very pleased with the way the surgery went, so we’re excited about that,” said Lynch.

He continued, “Our hope is he’s ready to go in training camp, we’ll see how everything goes. We’re going to do what’s right for Brock because that’s right for our organization – be aggressive with what we do but also be really smart. … If Brock’s not ready, we’ll hold down the fort until he is.”

Read More