Brock Purdy: Offensive Rookie of the Year?
San Francisco 49ers rookie quarterback Brock “Mr. Irrelevant” Purdy has improbably climbed into the top five in NFL Offensive Rookie of the Year (OROY) odds.
the team has not missed a beat since switching over to him
The Niners’ QB started the year listed third on the depth chart, but is now poised to lead them into the playoffs, where they are expected to make a lot of noise. His three stints of extended action have all finished as resounding successes and the team has not missed a beat since switching over to him.
With just three games remaining in the regular season, Purdy is racing against the clock to win the award handed out annually to the best first-year pro on offense. He will have to topple several established candidates, but is, if nothing else, the hottest name on the block.
Joining the race late
Purdy is filling in for longtime San Francisco QB Jimmy Garoppolo, who broke his foot in a Week 13 win over the Miami Dolphins. Original starter Trey Lance was lost for the season in Week 2 after suffering a fractured ankle.
The unsuspecting rookie had only previously made headlines for being the annual recipient of the “Mr. Irrelevant” nickname awarded to the last pick in the NFL Draft. His performances have gone above and beyond what was expected of him, though, and he now looks like a potential solution to San Francisco’s QB struggles.
helped trounce the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady 35-7 in his first career start
Purdy has 678 yards, seven total touchdowns and two interceptions in his first professional campaign and is 2-0 as a starter. He recently led the Niners to a primetime win over their division rival Seattle Seahawks on Thursday Night Football and helped trounce the Tampa Bay Buccaneers and Tom Brady 35-7 in his first career start.
According to PointsBet sportsbook, Purdy (+1500) is now fifth in the list of odds to win the OROY. He trails:
- New York Jets wide receiver Garrett Wilson (+110)
- Seahawks running back Kenneth Walker III (+350)
- Green Bay Packers wide receiver Christian Watson (+400)
- New Orleans Saints wide receiver Chris Olave (+500)
Purdy will struggle to make his case with raw statistics, but he has a real chance to prove his worth with the power of narratives, especially with what could be in store for the 49ers.
The path to the award
The Rookie of the Year award only deals with the regular season, which is unfortunate for Purdy. His team has the second-best odds to win the NFC Championship and advance to the Super Bowl, and he would significantly benefit from adding playoff success to his resume if it was taken into account during the award voting.
stepped into a ready-made offense
With only three weeks left to convince voters, Purdy will likely need to win out while still playing clean and effective football. On the plus side, he stepped into a ready-made offense with first-team all-pros at wideout (Deebo Samuel), running back (Christian McCaffrey), tight end (George Kittle), and left tackle (Trent Williams). He also has the benefit of playing for one of the sharpest offensive minds in football, Kyle Shanahan.
Purdy also is not asked to do too much in San Francisco’s offense. He takes a lot of first reads in the short and intermediate passing game, gets the ball to playmakers, and errs on the side of caution. While all of that should help the Niners win games, it could hinder his statistical potential.
Coming up on the 49ers’ schedule are games against the Washington Commanders and Arizona Cardinals with a road trip to the Las Vegas Raiders in between. They are expected to be favored in all three, including next week’s game against a Washington team that was hard done by the referees on Sunday Night Football.
Assuming Purdy takes the field for the rest of the season, he will finish with appearances in just nine of 17 possible games, with three of those being very brief cameos. That would be the fewest number of games played by an offensive rookie of the year since then-Los Angeles Raiders’ running back Marcus Allen won the award in 1982.
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