Purdy is 49ers’ QB, Trey Lance a ‘mistake,’ says ESPN pundit

Even a Brock Purdy stinker in Sunday’s NFC championship game between the San Francisco 49ers and Philadelphia Eagles won’t be enough to cost him next year’s starting quarterback job, says former NFL player and current ESPN pundit Ryan Clark.

On Friday’s episode of “First Take,” Clark was unequivocal on two counts. First, Purdy has earned the starting nod after going undefeated at least through the NFL title game (and possibly beyond!). “It’s zero question,” Clark said. “… No matter what happens on Sunday, going into next year, Brock Purdy is the quarterback, without competition.”

Clark noted that Purdy has clearly outperformed Jimmy Garoppolo; he’s been more consistent, and he’s shown more ability outside the pocket. And then Clark made his second bold pronouncement: Trey Lance time has already come and gone in the Bay Area. 

“They have to finally say, whether it was Kyle Shanahan’s decision or John Lynch’s decision, ‘We made a mistake with Trey Lance. If we were going to go talent, if we were going to look for the guy with the greatest potential athletically, we should’ve picked Justin Fields. We got the wrong one,'” Clark said. “But, as life would have it, as fate and destiny would determine, at Mr. Irrelevant, [they] picked Brock Purdy. As of now, he don’t even know how to lose in the NFL.”

Even just a few weeks ago, such a pronouncement would’ve still been considered outlandish. That’s no longer the case. Lance, the No. 3 pick in the 2021 NFL draft, still just 22 years old, is going to have a hell of a time usurping Purdy, pick No. 262 in 2022, next season. That means Clark is right, as strange as it may sound: Lance’s future in San Francisco is certainly up in the air. 

Sunday’s NFC title bout kicks off at noon on Fox.

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