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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

How 49ers’ Brock Purdy changed Christian McCaffrey’s mind about rookie QBs

May 19, 2023 at 9:25 AM

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Rookie quarterback Brock Purdy came out of nowhere last season, stepping into the lineup after injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo. Purdy entered the game against the Miami Dolphins during Week 13 and helped rattle off eight consecutive wins before losing to the Philadelphia Eagles in the NFC Championship Game.

While most of his teammates saw the work Purdy put in since the 49ers made him the last overall pick in the draft, one newcomer initially had his doubts. That's because rookie quarterback success isn't that common. Purdy made him a believer.

"Brock was an exception to the rule that I had," McCaffrey admitted during a Friday conversation on NFL Network's Good Morning Football. "I was always skeptical of rookie quarterbacks, but I know there have been some great ones. And he came in right away, and he's exactly what you would have wanted."

Purdy finished his rookie regular season completing 67.1 percent of his passes for 1,374 yards with 13 touchdowns and four interceptions. His 107.3 passer rating was the best in the NFL, ahead of Tua Tagovailoa and Patrick Mahomes.

The 49ers quarterback went on to throw for 569 yards with three touchdowns and no interceptions in the playoffs.

Purdy underwent surgery on March 10 and is expected to miss most or all of the offseason. However, there is hope inside the 49ers building that the young quarterback could return sometime during training camp. There is also confidence that, barring any setbacks, Purdy could return just as good as he was during that impressive rookie run.

"He had poise. He had confidence. He [commanded] the huddle," McCaffrey continued. "He did his job, and he made plays beyond the X's and O's. And that's really all you want in a quarterback.

"We had a lot of good weapons around him that he did such a good job utilizing. And obviously, we saw what he did on the field, but off the field, too, he's such an impressive guy. He's a guy you can rely on. He's a great locker room guy, a good dude, and I had a lot of fun playing with him."
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