Former Iowa State Cyclone quarterback turned Mr. Irrelevant turned San Francisco 49ers starting quarterback Brock Purdy has had quite the December so far, and the Denver Broncos should be jotting notes down. After taking over for an injured Jimmy Garoppolo early in the game against the Miami Dolphins, Brock Purdy has put on quite a show for a rookie 7th-round draft pick going 41 of 58 for 395 yards and 4 touchdowns in two wins over the Dolphins and the Buccaneers.
I am not going to pretend like I think Brock Purdy is going to be the next Tom Brady or even Dak Prescott for that matter, but his first two games with significant snaps have been nothing short of impressive.
Meanwhile, the Denver Broncos may have to turn to former undrafted free agent Brett Rypien who has double the interceptions (6) as touchdowns (3) in his career and 536 yards in six games of playing time, including one start this season. Brett Rypien has managed to snag a backup spot for one reason or another on the Denver Broncos for the last three seasons and that isn’t saying much about Brett Rypien.
In that same time span, the Denver Broncos have drafted zero quarterbacks at any point in the NFL Draft. Kyle Shanahan has drafted two quarterbacks in that time span (Trey Lance and Brock Purdy). Moreover, I can confidently say that Brock Purdy has shown significantly more progress in two games than Bretty Rypien ever has.
Drafting a quarterback in any round can be an absolute gamble. The Denver Broncos know better than anyone. They have drafted four quarterbacks in the first round in the last four decades and all have failed spectacularly except for Jay Cutler, who unfortunately had to get shipped off because of Josh McDaniels’ ego to Chicago Bears’ purgatory. The odds of landing a quality quarterback only get worse the further in the draft you go, but I would argue that former 7th-round draft pick Trevor Sieman has had nearly as an impactful Denver Broncos career as Jay Cutler, Paxton Lynch, Tim Tebow, or Tommy Maddox.
The point is, finding a quality quarterback is tough, but you have a better chance the more shots you take. If nothing else, you have someone in the pipeline that you can constantly work on developing so they can challenge the starter or at least be a reliable backup come crunch time.
It’s hard to imagine Kyle Shanahan and John Lynch drafted Brock Purdy thinking, “boy, I hope he gets playing time this year because he’s going to light it up”. They did however probably think, “why not take a chance on a kid who had a great career building up a historically terrible Iowa State program, and if he gets in the game, maybe we will hit lightning in a bottle”.
Brett Rypien isn’t the reason the Denver Broncos have absolutely stunk this season, but he’s certainly not going to help right the ship. What is George Paton holding on to? Regardless of position, a draft pick on day three is just one big gamble. Why not gamble on football’s most important position?
This year alone we’ve seen Bailey Zappe, Skylar Thompson and Brock Purdy get significant playing time as 2022 day-three picks. In the 2021 NFL Draft, we’ve seen Sam Ehlinger get playing time with the Indianapolis Colts and put up 304 yards throwing and a 60% completion percentage. In 2020, we saw Jake Luton, Ben DiNuci, and Jake Frohm see playing time to varying levels of success.
To reiterate, I don’t think Brock Purdy is the second-coming of Tom Brady, but he has had an impressive start, and he’s a great example of why NFL teams across the league, and the Denver Broncos, in particular, should be taking chances on quarterbacks in day three. Your move George Paton. Let’s end this Brett Rypien experiment with the 2023 NFL Draft.