March 3, 2024

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Kyle Shanahan's early evaluation of 49ers QB Brock Purdy stuns John Lynch – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

Kyle Shanahan's early evaluation of 49ers QB Brock Purdy stuns John Lynch – NBC Sports Bay Area & California

SANTA CLARA — 49ers general manager Kyle Shanahan told John Lynch something privately that he expects will stick around for a while.

It's early in training camp ahead of the 2022 NFL season, and the 49ers are expected to enter the campaign with Trey Lance as the starting quarterback and veteran Nate Sudfeld as the backup.

But, then, Shanahan saw enough in Brock Purdy, the final pick of that year's draft, to make him reconsider the rankings on the team's depth chart.

Shanahan believed Purdy was on his way toward becoming the best quarterback on the 49ers roster.

CEO Jed York moved the story Thursday when Shanahan hit him with his opinion that the little-known Purdy will end up as the 49ers' best quarterback.

“I was there when Jed told it,” Lynch said Friday. “My jaw hit the floor.

“He told me that, but… Kyle often runs things by me to see if they're crazy.

The quick update from the coach to upper management came at a time when veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was undergoing physical therapy following offseason shoulder surgery. The 49ers were intent on trading Garoppolo before the start of the regular season.

Purdy beat out Sudfeld for a roster spot, and the 49ers kept Garoppolo on a significantly reduced contract. Garoppolo opened the season as the No. 2 quarterback behind Lance, the No. 3 overall pick of the 2021 NFL Draft.

The most anticipated Purdy had a chance to stay with the 49ers on the practice squad. But based on Shanahan's early observations, there was no chance the 49ers would take a chance on letting Purdy escape.

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“Kyle and I have been talking,” Lynch said. “We liked Brock early on. But we saw him in a really limited way. So I think we had an intuition that we had a chance for something special, and Kyle is a straightforward person. He's really easy to work with because there's no gray area.”

Purdy got his chance after injuries to Lance and Garoppolo. Purdy's performance after entering the lineup was more than enough to earn him the starting job permanently.

Less than two years later, Purdy became a starter for the 49ers and led the organization to a Super Bowl LVIII championship against the Kansas City Chiefs on February 11 in Las Vegas.

Purdy was voted an NFC Pro Bowl starter and a finalist for the NFL MVP award after leading the league with a passer rating of 113.0.

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