Brock Purdy is the unquestioned starting quarterback in San Francisco, with the only question in 49ers camp being whether Trey Lance or Sam Darnold will back Purdy up. That’s not what anyone expected when Purdy was the final pick in the 2022 NFL draft.
But 49ers coach Kyle Shanahan says it quickly became very apparent last year that Purdy — not Jimmy Garoppolo, not Lance — was the best quarterback on the 49ers’ roster, and that Purdy was going to stay the starter even if Garoppolo or Lance had healed from their injuries quickly enough to play in the postseason.
“That was never going to change,” Shanahan told Albert Breer of SI.com. “It took about three games.”
Shanahan said the only question the 49ers had this offseason about Purdy was whether his injured elbow would heal in time for him to start Week One — not whether he’ll start if healthy, which he absolutely will.
“He’s been [the starter] since last year ended,” Shanahan said of Purdy. “He was always clearly our starter, but there were so many questions about his injury, how he’d come back from it, that we didn’t even know if he’d be ready for this year, so we had to prepare for everything else. I mean, Trey was the guy we gave the keys to last year, so we were definitely excited to have him in a situation [to play], and we also didn’t know if Brock would be back, so we needed someone to come in and at least compete with Trey, and give us a chance, because Trey was hurt last year, and just got cleared before OTAs. That’s why we brought Sam in here. And those guys have been competing their butts off, and I feel great playing with those guys. But like I told them, like I’ve said to media, like I said to everyone since Day 1, based on what Brock did on tape last year, it’s hard to beat that out in practice.”
Purdy looks so much better than Lance in the same offense that it’s hard to believe Purdy was Mr. Irrelevant and the 49ers spent three first-round picks on Lance. But those are sunk costs, and Shanahan is doing the smart thing by declaring his best quarterback the starter. And Purdy showed very quickly last year that he is the 49ers’ best quarterback.