As the Philadelphia Eagles prepare for their forthcoming game against the San Francisco 49ers, there’s one player on Kyle Shanahan’s squad that head coach Nick Sirianni won’t have to do too much tape dive on, as he’s been watching his game since his time at Iowa State: Brock Purdy.
That’s right, while most Niners fans didn’t become familiar with Purdy until he was selected with the final pick in the 2022 NFL draft, Sirianni has been keeping tabs on the signal caller for years now, as one of his good friends, Matt Campbell, is Iowa State’s head coach, as he detailed to Reuben Frank of NBC Sports Philadelphia.
“Matt and I may be good friends, and we are good friends, but every game that Brock Purdy plays well in, I think that’s good for recruiting at Iowa State,” Sirianni said with a laugh. “So I’m not asking him because I’m not sure I’m going to get great info from him because if the Eagles play well, how does that help Iowa State? It doesn’t. But if Purdy plays well, it’s going to help him.”
It’s hard to argue with Sirianni’s thought process in regards to Purdy’s importance to Iowa State recruiting, as the collegiate Cyclone’s on-field success has to be an advertisement to Campell and company. Fortunately, Purdy’s hype isn’t all for show, as even Sirianni acknowledges that the 49ers QB has become an incredibly formidable signal caller over the course of his rookie season.
Nick Sirianni Believes the San Francisco 49ers Have a Winner at QB
Asked what he feels makes Purdy a great quarterback, Sirianni pointed out that the rookie quarterback simply knows how to win.
“He’s a winner,” Sirianni said of Purdy. “Obviously, I always follow Iowa State and their program because I have so many college teammates and roommates that coach there. Since Matt became the head coach at Iowa State, I’ve always followed them, and obviously stay in touch with Matt.”
“But you saw what he did for that program. Matt is obviously a great head coach, but he got a great quarterback in Brock Purdy, and you saw what he did for that program. And all the things he did for them. I (would) check the score, Purdy had an awesome game, and they won again. That’s what I notice with him, that he’s a winner.”
Over his four year tenure in Ames, Purdy’s Cyclones never had a losing season, with a cumulative record of 31-20. While the Cyclones lost three of their four Bowl Games, Iowa State finished out the 2020 season ranked 9th in the AP poll, marking the only time in Campbell’s tenure with the team where the team was ranked at the end of the season, period.
While Iowa State’s 4-8 record in 2023 wasn’t solely based on Purdy’s absence, as they had eight players with draft grades from NFL.com leave school including the 36th overall pick, running back Breece Hall, it’s clear talent evaluators undervalued just how important Purdy was to the Cyclones’ success on the field.
Nick Sirianni Distills What Makes a QB Great
So what, in Sirianni’s opinion, makes a quarterback effective? In the second-year head coach’s opinion, it comes down to putting the ball where it needs to go.
“Obviously, when you’re close with other coaches like that, you have conversations back and forth … like, ‘Hey, what are you guys doing on the tape right here? This looked good,’ this and that,” Sirianni said. “The common theme always from them is, ‘Hey, we’ve got a quarterback that can lead the way and find the right place to go with the football consistently, who’s just a playmaker.'”
Is Purdy a playmaker? Yes, in a twist of fate that was unimaginable back in August, Purdy has proven himself the most dynamic passer of the three quarterbacks the Niners started in 2022, as his highlight reel clearly showcases. Unfortunately, Purdy will be dueling with another offensive playmaker, Jalen Hurts, who can do some pretty incredible things with his arms and legs too. Fortunately, the Niners’ defense is pretty darn good, so that should help to even the score at least somewhat.