Brock Purdy was passed over by every single NFL team in the 2022 draft multiple times. The San Francisco 49ers got him in the seventh round with the very final pick, which triggers the rather condescending moniker of “Mr. Irrelevant.”
As he’s proven very capable of doing, Purdy took all the slights in stride, made the most of his minimal reps, and rose from the depths of the depth chart to become the 49ers’ new franchise QB. Or at least that should be the case regardless of how Super Bowl LVIII turns out.
If Matt Rhule had his (ALLEGED) way, he’d either still be coaching in the NFL for the Carolina Panthers and not at Nebraska, or Purdy’s ascent to stardom would’ve never happened due to how dysfunctional the David Tepper-owned Panthers are. Rhule claims that he wanted to draft Purdy, but was denied.
“I think Brock Purdy’s an amazing player, ’cause I played against him at Iowa State. When I was in the draft room at Carolina, I brought his name up. I said, ‘Hey guys, he should be on the draft board.’ I got vetoed on that one.”
Turns out Matt Rhule had a strong interest in drafting Brock Purdy while he was Head Coach of the Panthers.
There’s a funny little, “You can ask Coop…” before Rhule trails off and reflects on squaring off against Purdy in college. That’d be in reference to Evan Cooper, who was the Panthers’ cornerbacks coach in 2022 and now coaches the secondary at Nebraska. I’d take Rhule up on that offer to follow up with Cooper about this. That’s about the only thing that has me believing Rhule here.
Although the Panthers weren’t able to find a viable QB during Rhule’s unsuccessful tenure, the defense was a bright spot, and it’s past time that we give some more love to Phil Snow. He was Rhule’s defensive coordinator at Temple, Baylor and with the Panthers. Snow didn’t follow Rhule to Lincoln, Nebraska, opting instead to stick in the NFL with the Chicago Bears as a senior defensive analyst.
Matt Eberflus may not deserve all the credit for the Chicago Bears’ strong defense in the second half of the 2023 campaign. I feel like Phil Snow played no small part in that turnaround. In 2021, for instance, Carolina ranked second in total defense under Snow’s watch despite their offense ranking 30th in total yards and 29th in points. It was a similar story this year with Panthers DC Ejiro Evero.
Perhaps the Snow-coordinated Panthers defense of yesteryear, combined with Purdy’s ability to run an offense, would’ve prevented Carolina from making a full-on regime change. Instead, they fired Rhule and his associates, went less than one-and-done with Frank Reich, and now ex-Bucs offensive coordinator Dave Canales is tasked with getting the most out of rising second-year QB Bryce Young as the team’s third full-time head coach in less than three years.
Some people aren’t buying Rhule’s retroactive rhetoric to cast himself in a more favorable light. Can’t say I totally blame them.
Matt Rhule was given virtually full control of the organization. That was part of the deal when he took the job. Anyone believing that the Panthers didn't let him take a 7th round flyer on a QB is an idiot https://t.co/ApjmzgUo4L
It’s quite comical how the 49ers and Panthers are connected, now at polar opposites of the standings. As the Rhule era flamed out, Carolina traded superstar running back Christian McCaffrey to San Francisco for second-, third-, and fourth-round picks in 2023 and a 2024 fifth-round selection. That second-rounder was used in the trade to move up to No. 1 and acquire Young. As for the next two selections, they were packaged to move from No. 93 to No. 80 to draft EDGE defender D.J. Johnson. If you’re asking, “WHO?” like Snoop Dogg, well, that’s exactly the point I’m trying to make.
Let’s pray for the Panthers’ sake that this year’s fifth-rounder from the 49ers turns into a superstar of some kind. Otherwise, it’s even more depressing to contemplate how CMC and Purdy could’ve teamed up to save Carolina from the dark, bleak oblivion they’re headed toward as a franchise barring a drastic turnaround and almost-unprecedented Year 2 leap from Young.