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ESPN: 49ers QB Brock Purdy among NFL’s most valuable young assets

Jul 3, 2024 at 10:59 AM

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ESPN writer Aaron Schatz recently ranked NFL teams based on their under-25 talent, evaluating which organizations have positioned themselves for future success. These young players, yet to reach their peak performance, are cost-effective assets, consuming less of the salary cap and allowing teams to fill gaps with more expensive veterans.

Schatz ranked the Houston Texans as having the most valuable young core, a team coached by former San Francisco 49ers defensive coordinator DeMeco Ryans. The presence of quarterback C.J. Stroud and pass rusher Will Anderson Jr. were key factors in the Texans topping the list.

The 49ers came in at No. 23, an improvement from their No. 27 spot last year. One of the primary reasons for this jump is San Francisco's young quarterback, Brock Purdy.

"How much credit do we want to give the 49ers for Purdy? Based on his stats, Purdy might be the most valuable young asset in the game other than Stroud and Anderson for the Texans," Schatz wrote. "In two seasons, he has thrown for 5,654 yards and 44 touchdowns with 15 interceptions. (After this season, Purdy will age out of this ranking.)"

As the last overall pick in the 2022 draft, Purdy entered his rookie season buried on the depth chart and relatively unknown among casual NFL fans. Due to injuries at the position, the young quarterback was thrust into the starting lineup in December. The offense didn't skip a beat with Purdy at the helm, with the quarterback leading the 49ers to the NFC Championship Game before an injury sidelined him and dashed the team's Super Bowl hopes.

Last season, after recovering from offseason surgery to repair the torn ulnar collateral ligament (UCL) in his right elbow, Purdy set a new single-season franchise record with 4,280 passing yards in 16 games, an impressive feat considering the 49ers' rich quarterback lineage.

Purdy is entering his third NFL season, hoping to build on last season's impressive performance.

Regarding the rest of the 49ers' roster, Schatz struggled to find significant young talent.

"Other than Purdy and 24-year-old safety Ji'Ayir Brown, not a lot of the young 49ers talent has developed," Schatz observed. "Spencer Burford (24) was near the bottom of the league in pass block win rate (86.1%) a season ago and is not penciled in as a starter this year. Edge rusher Drake Jackson (23) hasn't started a game in two years, although he does have a reasonable total of six sacks in 23 career games.

"Instead, most of the 49ers' top young standouts are this year's rookies. Wide receiver Ricky Pearsall is older for a rookie, turning 24 during the first week of the season. Second-round cornerback Renardo Green is 23, and third-round guard Dominick Puni is 24."

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