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Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Where 49ers’ Brock Purdy landed in Chris Simms’ QB ranking

Jun 3, 2024 at 3:46 PM

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Pro Football Focus recently drew ire from San Francisco 49ers fans by ranking Brock Purdy at No. 13 in its quarterback rankings. The ranking might have been more acceptable had the analytics site not placed Purdy in Tier 4, labeled "the melting pot of starters," while the tier above was labeled "postseason-caliber."

Purdy has already been to two NFC Championship Games and a Super Bowl in his two NFL seasons, leaving some wondering what one has to do to be labeled a "postseason-caliber" quarterback by Pro Football Focus.

Not to be outdone, Chris Simms of the "Chris Simms Unbuttoned" podcast is in the process of releasing his own annual ranking of NFL signal-callers. Where did Purdy fall within this analyst's list? The 49ers quarterback came in at No. 17.

While Simms labels Purdy as a "system quarterback," he emphasizes that he is more "system-plus." Purdy has long had to deal with critics crediting his success more to his supporting cast and head coach Kyle Shanahan's scheme than to his actual talent. Labeling him as "system-plus" may not sit well with the fanbase.

Simms adds that Purdy is "lightyears above" his predecessor, Jimmy Garoppolo, in his ability to execute Shanahan's complex offense at a high level.

"He's a damn good athlete," Simms said. "He can run. I mean, legit run. You saw it in the NFC Championship Game, even in the playoffs, the Packer game, he found ways to do it. He can scramble to throw and do stuff like that, as well. And, for not a real big guy, he tries to play big. He does try to do that."

Simms adds that Purdy has an excellent feel for the game and impressive anticipation, producing several high-level quarterback plays, often throwing toward the correct read before the analyst even notices that it is the correct read. Simms admires Purdy's quick analysis of the defense and ability to make the proper decision effortlessly.

Moving from his perceived positives to the negatives, Simms believes that if a game gets ugly or Shanahan can't deliver a play to take advantage of the defense, Purdy won't play consistently great football.

"Whether you talk about the Ravens game late in the year, whether you talk about the Packers game, the Lions game wasn't very good either, let's be serious," Simms argues. "And, of course, the Super Bowl was just okay. And that's when the Shanahan tricks get taken away, and he can't get in rhythm and start to get going that way.

"He can still make some throws. And no doubt, he can do that. And like we saw in the Super Bowl, he can get out of the pocket and make a few plays and do that, definitely. But, like I've said with some other guys, there's a lot more wow decisions than wow throws on the tape."

Additionally, Simms believes there are more missed throws in Purdy's film than most people realize.

"He gets the benefit of the doubt in some games, where you go, 'Damn, that guy was open. I can't believe he missed that,'" Simms explained. "And then the next play is, 'Well, this guy's really [expletive] wide open, and he just ran for 40 yards after the catch,' and we forget about the missed throw that he missed the play before."

Continuing down his list of negatives, Simms also notes that Purdy has a long throwing motion, he doesn't make as many big throws under duress as some might think, and the quarterback's motion is one of the slowest in football, calling it "long and deliberate."

"He does it more with his decision-making in his mind to get the ball out quick," Simms explained. "But it's not the actual motion of the football that gets out quick. You picture his motion. Think about it. It's very floppy, and the arms go everywhere. And it takes him a minute to kind of get loaded up to throw the football. And that's definitely a negative about his game."

Simms has only reached No. 11 on his countdown of the best NFL quarterbacks. Right now, the known six quarterbacks ahead of Purdy are Trevor Lawrence, Kirk Cousins, Jordan Love, Aaron Rodgers, Baker Mayfield, and Kyler Murray.

Simms delved even further into his analysis of Purdy, which you can listen to below.

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