SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Brock Purdy, the 2022 NFL Draft's "Mr. Irrelevant," couldn't be more relevant this week as the San Francisco 49ers look to extend their winning streak to six games, with their new QB1, when they host Tom Brady and the Buccaneers on Sunday.
He's so relevant he's even being compared to Hall of Famer Peyton Manning.
"You would think he's been in the league 15 years," 49ers left tackle Trent Williams told NFL Media in the locker room on Wednesday. "If you're talking, he'll say, 'Shut your a-- up.' He ain't no timid rookie feeling his way around. He will get on your a--. You would think he's like Peyton Manning or something. Wide receivers not running, you'll hear him cussing a wide receiver out."
His command might have been something that raised an eyebrow when Purdy first showed up in Santa Clara, but Williams said players have a lot of respect for the rookie because of his work ethic and what it's taken for him to get to where he is.
"When you see him and his makeup and you look at him, an undersized quarterback, 'Mr. Irrelevant,' how many 'Mr. Irrelevants' make the active roster?" Williams said of Purdy, who was selected with the 262nd and final pick of the draft to earn the annual "Mr. Irrelevant" moniker. "That's the only way he could get here. It has to be his attitude, his makeup, his mentality, because it's not his size. He's undersized, not a prototypical type of quarterback."
Purdy, who in Week 7 against the Kansas City Chiefs became the first "Mr. Irrelevant" to complete an NFL pass, took over for Jimmy Garoppolo on Sunday against the Miami Dolphins after Garoppolo broke his foot early in the first quarter.
On Wednesday in Santa Clara, Purdy took the field with his teammates as the starting quarterback. He looked comfortable and confident going through the portion of practice open to the media. That poise is the reason Williams says he's his favorite player.
"I like how confident he is and [he's] such a small package," Williams said. "His seriousness. To me it's so intriguing. [With] the offensive line, the confidence is the biggest thing, because we're judged play by play. I look at it like, damn, when I was a rookie I wish I had that confidence. I can appreciate it."
That confidence is something Williams said is contagious and exactly what the team needed on Sunday when Garoppolo went down.
"You come into a game versus one of the best teams in the league and everybody is looking at you to feed off of you," Williams said of Purdy, who completed 25 of 37 passes for 210 yards, two touchdowns and an interception against the Dolphins, which was his fourth game appearance of his rookie season. "If you come in and you don't seem confident and you seem very hesitant, then everybody else starts to worry and play hesitant. When you come in and you act like you know what you're doing and you look like you know what you're doing, everybody is going to assume you know what you're doing."
Purdy's next task?
Facing the G.O.A.T, Brady.
Quarterbacks making their first career start against Brady are 0-6 all time, according to NFL Research. Purdy will look to become the first to defeat Brady in his initial start this Sunday.
The game plan will be to stick to what the 49ers do best: letting the skill players take over.
"What we ran on Sunday when Brock came in was the same game plan that we had coming into the week with Jimmy, so I think we will definitely still have that of course," said 49ers wide receiver Brandon Aiyuk in the locker room Wednesday. "We'll get to see him play quarterback a little bit more."
Aiyuk described Purdy as a true professional and said nothing has been too big for him since he arrived in the spring. He knows now, this is his moment.
"He wants to continue the path that we're on and keep trending the way that we're trending," Aiyuk said. "We saw what he can do and now everybody knows his situation and where he came from and 'Mr. Irrelevant.' Everybody is rooting for him. We all want him to do good. Of course for the sake of the team, but for him as well."