San Francisco 49ers' Brock Purdy (13) is set to become the third-youngest quarterback to start a Super Bowl. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

Gold mined: Kyle Shanahan, 49ers struck it rich with QB Brock Purdy

LAS VEGAS — As Mr. Irrelevant, he had a parade, a prodigious haul of swag and a few massive believers.

As an NFL quarterback in his second season, Brock Purdy started two NFC Championship Games and is playing Sunday for a Lombardi Trophy and a little bit more national attention.

“I would say he’s doing a pretty good job of getting it,” Chiefs coach Andy Reid said Monday at Super Bowl LVIII Opening Night.

It’s been quite a roller coaster to get back to Las Vegas, where Purdy brings a 21-5 record as a starter to the Strip and a Super Bowl LVIII matchup with the Kansas City Chiefs on Sunday. The third-youngest QB starter in Super Bowl history, Purdy is embracing everything about his next game and the opportunity to spark another parade.

“I got drafted last,” Purdy said Monday with a wry smile. “Staying grounded and more than anything, just staying grateful. Not what I didn’t do or where I didn’t go. But, ‘Hey, I get to go play for the 49ers.’ I want to be a part of this, I want to be a part of it forever. Even though I was overlooked two years ago in the draft, I’ve got an opportunity to go win a Super Bowl with the 49ers.”

When Purdy’s NFL journey began down the street at Caesars Palace, the 49ers turned in the card for the 262nd and final pick in the 2022 draft to little fanfare. He was the ninth of nine quarterbacks selected.

San Francisco hardly kicked the door down to reel in Purdy. Niners general manager John Lynch had many chances to select him sooner with five picks on the third and final day of the draft (Nos. 134, 172, 187, 220 and 221) before the draft-capper was announced.

Mr. Irrelevant no more, Purdy stood out to coach Kyle Shanahan very early in his rookie training camp. That’s not revisionist history.

“We had a fourth-round grade on him,” Shanahan said Monday. “You always go through and predict where guys are going to get drafted. We had a lot of holes at the time. Quarterback wasn’t really one of them.

“We knew his measurables and stuff were smaller (than the prototype quarterback). The first day of rookie minicamp he walks out and I told our coaches, ‘OK, he’s going to be fine.’ We called him Baby Bosa. He had these shortie shorts on and big, thick legs kind of like (San Francisco edge rusher Nick) Bosa.”

Team owner Jed York confessed this week Shanahan told him in August 2022 he was pretty sure the “third-sting quarterback is our best quarterback,” which turned the stomach of the CEO who invested massive draft capital and salary for the 49ers to acquire the No. 3 pick in 2021 and select Trey Lance.

San Francisco traded three first-round picks to go up from No. 12 to No. 3 and select Lance, a relative neophyte out of North Dakota State. Shanahan said now with the benefit of hindsight it was “definitely a mistake.” After two seasons and four total starts, Lance was traded to the Dallas Cowboys in August after the 49ers were fully comfortable that Purdy’s surgically repaired right elbow was fully healthy.

Two years later, Shanahan isn’t just willing to put Purdy among the best quarterbacks he’s ever coached.

“Better. He’s better,” Shanahan said.

The numbers prove his point. Among quarterbacks with at least 20 starts (regular season and postseason combined) the past two seasons, Purdy leads the NFL during his starts with an .808 winning percentage, 9.2 yards per attempt, a 3.36-to-1 touchdown-to-interception ratio (47-14) and a 111.2 passer rating.

–By Jeff Reynolds, Field Level Media

Dec 17, 2023; Glendale, Arizona, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) celebrates following the game against the Arizona Cardinals at State Farm Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Mark J. Rebilas-USA TODAY Sports

49ers’ Brock Purdy now odds-on MVP favorite

Brock Purdy can stump for teammate Christian McCaffrey all he likes, but the reality is that oddsmakers view the San Francisco 49ers’ second-year quarterback as the odds-on favorite to win Most Valuable Player honors this season.

Purdy is coming off a four-touchdown game in the 49ers’ Week 15 rout of Arizona. Meanwhile, two of his closest pursuers in the MVP race, Dallas’ Dak Prescott and Philadelphia’s Jalen Hurts, suffered defeats that were surprising for separate reasons.

Purdy, who was the final pick of the NFL draft less than two years ago, now has a league-leading 29 touchdown passes against only seven interceptions while passing for 3,795 yards this season. He is now the -200 MVP favorite at DraftKings and has even shorter odds at -225 at BetMGM, where he leads all players with 11.7 percent of the money wagered backing Purdy to win MVP.

Baltimore’s Lamar Jackson remains firmly in the picture at +450 and +500, respectively, followed by Prescott, who is being offered at +700 by both books. Jackson does have a prime-time opportunity to go head-to-head against Purdy, with San Francisco set to play host to Baltimore on Monday Night Football on Christmas Day.

Purdy said after Sunday game that he believes the versatile McCaffrey should be leading the MVP race, and the running back is fourth at DraftKings (+1000) and fifth at BetMGM (+1,600). McCaffrey leads the league in carries (244) and rushing yards (1,292) and has amassed 20 total touchdowns through the 49ers’ first 14 games.

“I think Christian should be MVP,” Purdy told reporters. “I really do believe that. He does everything for us. Runs the ball well, catches the ball, he does everything. In my eyes, that’s the MVP.”

McCaffrey does remain BetMGM’s biggest liability in the MVP market, having drawn 7.9 percent of the money wagered since opening at +10000. He is also the odds-on favorite to win Offensive Player of the Year honors. McCaffrey is being offered at -150 by DraftKings and at -155 by BetMGM, where he leads with 13.1 percent of the total bets placed.

Hurts, who led the MVP race much of the season and still has been backed by the most total bets at BetMGM at 11.1 percent, has almost fallen out of the picture at +2000 and +1800 by BetMGM. The Eagles have loss three consecutive games, the most recent coming in a Monday night upset at Seattle against a Seahawks team that had dropped four consecutive games and started a backup quarterback.

Prescott remains in the picture, but his odds also took a significant hit after Sunday’s 31-10 blowout loss at Buffalo. In additional to failing to throw a touchdown for the first time since Week 1, Prescott threw his first interception in five games.

–Field Level Media

Dec 10, 2023; Santa Clara, California, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) throws a pass against the Seattle Seahawks during the second quarter at Levi's Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Darren Yamashita-USA TODAY Sports

Playoff-bound 49ers stay hungry for Brock Purdy’s homecoming at Arizona

It’s homecoming weekend for Brock Purdy as his San Francisco 49ers continue the chase for the No. 1 NFC seed on Sunday against the Arizona Cardinals in Glendale, Ariz.

The 49ers (10-3) are the first team to clinch a playoff spot. They also are on a five-game winning streak during which they have outscored opponents 162-65.

The Cardinals (3-10) are rested after a bye week, have won two of their last four games since Kyler Murray’s return, and are looking to spoil the Purdy party.

Before he was the final player selected in the 2022 NFL Draft and before he became a leading 2023 MVP candidate, Purdy starred at Perry High School in Gilbert, Ariz. That’s about 40 miles from the site of Sunday’s game at State Farm Stadium, the same venue where he led Iowa State to a Fiesta Bowl win over Oregon on Jan. 2, 2021.

Purdy deflected talk about NFL MVP buzz this week.

“I’m trying to do what I can for this team, for this Sunday, and for this practice or this meeting. I’m not getting caught up in awards and stuff like that,” he said. “If anything, I look at it more as a team award. I have a great surrounding cast. I’ve got guys around me that are all making plays, a great defense, great special teams. And so that’s a testament to the team that I have.”

In addition to putting on a show for family and friends, Purdy wants to keep San Francisco in control of its postseason destiny. With wins by 23 points over the Philadelphia Eagles and by 32 over the Dallas Cowboys (both also are 10-3), the 49ers will earn the only first-round bye in the NFC if they win out.

Purdy passed for 368 yards with two touchdowns and an interception in last Sunday’s 28-16 victory against Seattle. He leads the NFL in completion percentage (70.2) and quarterback rating (116.9) entering Week 15.

Purdy threw for 283 yards and a touchdown and also ran for a late score in the first meeting with Arizona, a 35-16 win at Levi’s Stadium in Week 4. Murray was still rehabbing from ACL surgery in that game and Joshua Dobbs — now with the Minnesota Vikings — passed for 265 yards and two scores for the Cardinals.

The difference-maker that day was 49ers running back Christian McCaffrey, who ran for 106 yards and three TDs and caught seven passes for 71 yards and a score.

The Cardinals played their most complete game of the season before their bye, a 24-10 win at Pittsburgh in Week 13. That game featured 105 rushing yards and two touchdowns from James Conner and eight catches for 89 yards and a TD by second-year tight end Trey McBride.

“We’re a tough team. We’re going to fight every game,” McBride said. “(Division) games mean a little bit more. Those are the ones that mean the most, so we’re trying to get those ones. Obviously, the 49ers are playing really well right now. Coming into our house, I think it’s going to be a great matchup and I’m excited.”

The 49ers are 4-0 in the NFC West and the Cardinals are 0-4. San Francisco has swept the last three meetings by a combined margin of 111-39.

Starting defensive tackles Javon Hargrave (hamstring) and Arik Armstead (foot, knee), cornerback Charvarius Ward (groin), linebacker Dre Greenlaw (ankle, hip) and left tackle Trent Williams (ankle, rest) did not practice Wednesday for the 49ers.

Marquise Brown (heel) did not practice Wednesday for the Cardinals, but fellow receiver Michael Wilson (shoulder) returned and is on track to play for the first time since Week 10.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) throws a pass as Minnesota Vikings linebacker Danielle Hunter (99) and linebacker D.J. Wonnum (left) rush in during the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Jeffrey Becker-USA TODAY Sports

49ers QB Brock Purdy clears concussion protocol

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy has cleared concussion protocol and will not carry an injury designation into Sunday’s game against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals.

San Francisco coach Kyle Shanahan on Friday indicated Purdy would start if he was cleared to play.

“Yeah, definitely,” Shanahan told reporters. “He was full-go today, so he’s just got to pass that (Saturday).”

Purdy began experiencing concussion symptoms on the flight home following Monday night’s 22-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings during which he appeared to take a hard hit to the helmet. He returned to practice Thursday on a limited basis before turning in a full session on Friday. He was then listed as questionable for Sunday’s game.

Purdy is completing 67.9 percent of his passes for 1,668 yards, 11 TDs and three interceptions on the season.

If Purdy does not play, Sam Darnold would be in line to make his first start for San Francisco. The former New York Jets and Carolina Panthers starter signed with the 49ers as a free agent in March.

–Field Level Media

Oct 15, 2023; Cleveland, Ohio, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) throws a pass during the first half against the Cleveland Browns at Cleveland Browns Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Ken Blaze-USA TODAY Sports

49ers QB Brock Purdy (concussion) returns to practice

San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy returned to practice Thursday while remaining in the NFL’s concussion protocol.

The Niners’ injury report listed Purdy as a limited participant in practice. Reporters at the team’s facility in Santa Clara, Calif., saw Purdy take part in individual drills.

Purdy reported concussion symptoms on the plane trip home from Monday night’s 22-17 loss to the Minnesota Vikings. But he may already be at the fourth of five phases in the NFL’s return-to-play protocol, described as “club-based, non-contact training drills.”

The 49ers (5-2) will likely give Purdy a game designation in Friday’s practice report. They host the Cincinnati Bengals (3-3) on Sunday.

If Purdy cannot play, Sam Darnold is in line to make his first start for San Francisco. The former New York Jets and Carolina Panthers starter signed with the 49ers as a free agent in March and beat out Trey Lance for the backup position during training camp. Lance was subsequently traded to the Dallas Cowboys.

Purdy is completing 67.9 percent of his passes for 1,668 yards, 11 TDs and three interceptions on the season.

49ers wide receiver Deebo Samuel (shoulder) and left tackle Trent Williams (ankle) sat out Thursday’s practice. Running back Christian McCaffrey (oblique) was a full participant.

–Field Level Media

Oct 23, 2023; Minneapolis, Minnesota, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy (13) scrambles against the Minnesota Vikings in the first quarter at U.S. Bank Stadium. Mandatory Credit: Brad Rempel-USA TODAY Sports

49ers QB Brock Purdy in concussion protocol

San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Brock Purdy is in the concussion protocol after experiencing symptoms postgame Monday.

Niners coach Kyle Shanahan told reporters that Purdy began having symptoms on the plane ride back from Minnesota, a 22-17 loss on “Monday Night Football.”

Backup QB Sam Darnold will take first-team reps, though Purdy is allowed to participate in some portions of Wednesday’s walkthrough, Shanahan said. It’s possible, however, that Purdy can clear the protocol ahead of Sunday’s game against the visiting Cincinnati Bengals (3-3).

“He does have enough time,” Shanahan said. “Just has to go through the process.”

Purdy played the entire game against the Vikings, and Shanahan said it’s unclear when exactly Purdy might have suffered the injury.

Purdy threw for 272 yards with a touchdown and two interceptions in the loss. Purdy is completing 67.9 percent of his passes for 1,668 yards, 11 TDs and three interceptions on the season.

The 49ers signed Darnold, the 2018 draft’s No. 3 overall pick, as a free agent in March. He beat out Trey Lance for the backup position during training camp. He’s appeared in four games this season in mop-up duty. He’s 21-34 in his career as a starter.

–Field Level Media