The Rise of “Mr. Irrelevant”

T.J. Minsky and Quinn Knight

Brock Purdy goes through his throwing motion in a game versus the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Mr. Irrelevant. This is the tag that San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy was labeled with after the 2022 NFL Draft. Purdy was selected with the 262nd (last) overall pick in the NFL Draft – which is also known as the “Mr. Irrelevant” draft pick. The Mr. Irrelevant tradition stems back to 1976 where former NFL wide receiver Paul Salata began a series of events in Newport Beach, California with the player given the title of “Mr. Irrelevant.” 

This nickname is nothing new to Purdy, as he knows what being doubted on feels like. Purdy grew up in Gilbert, Arizona, and played for his local high school, the Perry Pumas. His success at Perry was nothing short of exceptional. Throughout his three year varsity career, he threw over 8,900 yards and 108 touchdowns. His talent on the field led to the attention of several division one colleges such as Alabama, Texas A&M, UCF, among others. 

On February 7th of 2018, Purdy would sign his letter of intent to Iowa State University. By no means did Purdy have high expectations going into college. He was rated as a 3 star recruit and the 839th best player in the country according to 247Sports. Immediately after arriving at Iowa State, Purdy was faced with a difficult task: he was announced as the starter as a true freshman which is not a normal feat in the type of college football he was playing in. Throughout his time at Iowa State, Purdy threw for 12,170 yards, 81 touchdowns and 33 interceptions.

Purdy was seen as just a solid collegiate level quarterback, nothing more or less. His scouting report out of college was not attractive to say the least. NFL Draft Scout Charlie Campbell stated, “In the NFL, I think Purdy could end up being a quarterback similar to Barkley. Barkley (6-2, 234) and Purdy are similar in size and have limitations that make them backup caliber.” 

Despite all of these limitations and critiques, Purdy now finds himself starting on one of the best teams in the NFL because of the top two quarterbacks’ injuries. He has thrown for 13 TDS and has an outstanding QB Rating of 107.3. 

Purdy’s job is not finished yet though (it’s finished now). He will look to become the first Mr. Irrelevant QB to win a Super Bowl ring.