It's that time of year again - Chris Simms quarterback ranking time.
Once again, the 49ers have signal callers that appear fairly early on the list.
We'll start with the good, and that's QB1 Brock Purdy. (I'll save the Darnold stuff for another post). In just eight total starts, Purdy has already established some impressive skills in Chris's eyes.
"He sees the field phenomenal," Simms said on the Chris Simms Unbuttoned podcast, "For a rookie quarterback he's an unbelievable decision-maker. Unbelievable feel for the game overall. Okay, take a sack. Okay, throw it away, whatever. Maturity beyond belief in some of the nuanced things he does as a quarterback. He's got veteran eyes already...that's where he's damn good."
You all know the numbers for Brock by now: five starts in the regular season, 12 total touchdowns, 2 interceptions, 68% completions, and a 119 QB rating. There was certainly a lot there deserving of praise, and Chris pretty much exclusively did so during the episode.
The only somewhat critical thing that Simms said about Purdy was that he could shorten his throwing motion a little. According to Chris, that would quicken the release and, "add a little pop on the ball."
I've made my thoughts on Brock, and any young quarterback, known for quite some time. Five regular season games (and three playoff games) isn't a big enough sample size to tell us anything meaningful. My worry is that the 49ers could be making the same mistake they made with Jimmy Garoppolo. A quick comparison:
My only point with this graphic is to show that we have seen a young QB come into this system and play well in the past. I admit that the circumstances aren't exactly the same, but they're close enough to give me pause before saying Brock is definitely the franchise QB we've been waiting to embrace since Steve Young retired.
Is Brock worth exploring? Absolutely, just as Jimmy Garoppolo was worth exploring after his five game rise in 2017. Whether he's worth exploring at the cost of simultaneously not exploring Trey Lance is another question altogether.
That's why Kyle Shanahan and the 49ers should have make the best of a bad situation while Brock Purdy recovers from off-season elbow surgery. In a way, they could have had their cake and eaten it, too. Instead of a silly quarterback competition between Trey Lance and Sam Darnold, the 49ers should give every possible rep to Trey Lance while Purdy is working his way back.
That way, they'd get another chance to see what Trey Lance might become without the whiff of a quarterback controversy. If Trey played poorly it would be easy to make the switch back to Purdy when/if he fully recovers. If Lance played well, they could slow play Brock's return in order to get a longer look at the former third overall pick.
Instead, what the 49ers have chosen to do is create a QB controversy where there didn't have to be one by signing Sam Darnold and insisting he will split the reps in training camp. In essence, they're making it harder to evaluate Lance because they're giving him less opportunities and muddying the quarterback picture even more than it already had been.