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Stan Szeto-USA TODAY Sports

Brock Purdy shares lessons learned from past 49ers quarterbacks

Jun 10, 2024 at 4:20 PM

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San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy recently participated in a panel during the Dwight Clark Legacy Series event. He was joined onstage by several former 49ers quarterbacks—Alex Smith, Jeff Garcia, and Steve Young—each sharing their experiences entering the NFL.

While Purdy was the last overall pick in the 2022 NFL Draft, Smith was the first overall pick in 2005. Garcia was undrafted and played in the CFL before getting his NFL opportunity. Young's path to the NFL went through the USFL, and he produced a Hall of Fame career.

Speaking at the 49ers' recent "State of the Franchise" event, Purdy shared what he learned from these seasoned quarterbacks.

"It was pretty sweet just to see the different eras of quarterbacks that night," Purdy said. "Steve Young talking about the grit, coming to San Francisco, backing up Joe [Montana], but also being ready to play. And playing and having success while Joe was here, so going through all of that. But at the end of the day, how blue-collared it was back then, how gritty you had to be."

Smith's story particularly inspired Purdy. Unlike Purdy, who had low expectations surrounding him as the No. 262 pick, Smith faced immense pressure as the No. 1 overall pick.

"Alex Smith's story is pretty sweet just because these other guys sort of had to fight and claw to get an opportunity," Purdy shared. "Alex was drafted first overall and didn't have anybody to learn from or have someone build him up. He had to learn on his own."

After his time with the 49ers, Smith joined the Kansas City Chiefs, who later drafted Patrick Mahomes. Purdy admired how Smith's experiences led him to become a mentor to Mahomes, something Smith didn't have when he entered the league. He didn't want Mahomes to endure the same challenges he had.

"It was just an interesting point of view, just seeing Steve, Jeff, even myself, guys that come in, and we're trying to fight for that opportunity and be ready for it," Purdy continued. "But you also have Alex Smith, who was drafted first overall, and was thrown [to] the wolves, and had to learn, and didn't have anybody to learn from.

"So just cool, different eras of quarterbacks for the Niners. And then, to obviously learn from those guys and their experiences, for myself, it doesn't get any better. I'm very, very thankful and blessed to be in this organization, learn from those kind of guys, who have had success throughout the years and eras. And for me to be able to learn like that, at a panel, it doesn't get any better than that. So I'm very thankful."
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