Coach Kyle Shanahan shared something privately with 49ers general manager John Lynch during early training camp before the 2022 NFL season. At that time, the plan was for Trey Lance to be the starting quarterback, with Nate Sudfeld as the backup.
However, Shanahan’s perception shifted when he observed enough potential in Brock Purdy, the last pick of that year’s draft.
Shanahan believed Purdy had the potential to become the best quarterback on the 49ers’ roster. CEO Jed York revealed the surprising turn of events on Thursday, recounting the moment when Shanahan expressed his belief in Purdy’s future as the team’s top quarterback.
Lynch, reflecting on the revelation, mentioned that he was present when Shanahan shared his opinion with York. While Shanahan often consulted with Lynch, this particular revelation left Lynch astonished.
Shanahan’s assessment occurred during a period when Jimmy Garoppolo, the veteran quarterback, was recovering from offseason shoulder surgery, and the team was exploring options to trade him before the regular season.
Ultimately, Purdy secured a spot on the roster, while Garoppolo accepted a reduced contract, assuming the role of the backup quarterback behind Lance, the third overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft. Initially considered a candidate for the practice squad, Purdy’s early impressions prompted the 49ers to secure his place on the team.
Lynch acknowledged that both he and Shanahan had positive early impressions of Purdy, even with limited exposure to his skills. Shanahan’s straightforward communication style facilitated their decision-making process.
Purdy seized the opportunity to play due to injuries to Lance and Garoppolo, impressing enough to secure the starting quarterback position permanently.
Less than two years later, Purdy has solidified his role as the 49ers’ starter, leading the team to Super Bowl LVIII against the Kansas City Chiefs on Feb. 11 in Las Vegas. Purdy’s exceptional performance, leading the league with a passer rating of 113.0, earned him the NFC Pro Bowl starter title and a finalist spot for NFL MVP honors.