Peter King goes inside Baltimore Ravens’ war room at the 2022 NFL Draft

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OWINGS MILLS, Md. — “We’re on the clock,” Ravens GM Eric DeCosta said to the 36 scouts, coaches, analytics staffers and club officials in the Baltimore draft room at 12:16 p.m. Saturday. Day three, round four of the 2022 NFL Draft was four picks deep, with the 110th overall selection upcoming. “We’ll wait till there’s three minutes left—just to make sure.”

Round four. The golden round for Baltimore in an odd draft season. No team in draft history has had as many picks in a round as the six the Ravens had in this one, and it was by design. Because a slew of draft prospects stayed in school a year longer than projected after the Covid-wracked 2020 college season, the talent in the ’22 draft would be deeper than normal, even if the first round or so was just okay. “We thought this pool would be rich and fertile,” said DeCosta, 51, in his office before the round began. He wore a sweatshirt that read: ANALYZE MORE. NEVER GUESS. “We wanted as many third- and fourth-round picks as possible.”

One fourth-rounder was Baltimore’s pick, three came in trades, two came as Compensatory picks for lost free agents. Consciously accumulated for just this strange year when, to the Ravens, the fourth round had extra value. Would DeCosta be right? Would this jackpot of depth pay off in a rebound from an 8-9 season? No one can know today, but a long-haul franchise like Baltimore had used this round to pick Dennis Pitta (114th), Kyle Juszczyk (130th) and Za’Darius Smith (122nd) in recent years.

As the clock wound down for the 110th pick, no team called trying to trade for the pick. With three minutes left, DeCosta picked up the phone and called mountainous Minnesota tackle Daniel Faalele, an Aussie who didn’t play football till age 16.

“You’re gonna be a Baltimore Raven,” DeCosta said. “We love big guys like you. You’ve had a remarkable voyage, and this is just the beginning.” Coach John Harbaugh and team president Sashi Brown took turns welcoming the 384-pound Faalele.

“All right guys,” DeCosta said to the room. “We’re off and running.”

The next pick, 119th overall, was nine slots away, and there was an Alabama corner to procure. Then 128, 130, 139 and 141. Five more chances to get pieces of a 53-man puzzle. Of the 29 prospects they were choosing from in this area of the draft, the Ravens would focus on an injured corner, the Academic Heisman winner, a punter to replace aging Sam Koch. They’d get gut-punched by their arch-rivals for a player they wanted—and needed. They’d get nine phone calls, three from the Jaguars, about trades, and they’d make none.

Eric decosta
Ravens GM Eric DeCosta, left, and coach John Harbaugh inside the Baltimore draft room. (Courtesy of Baltimore Ravens)

The trades had been made. Now it was time to cash in the picks. These six men, these six decisions, would be big factors for the future of the Ravens, good or bad.

Not sure what was weirder about the Vegas draft, but this definitely was not a staid affair. An illusionist kicked off day two by extricating himself from a straitjacket while dangling and spinning over the crowd. Michael Irvin kissed Donny Osmond. YouTuber Dr. DisRespect announced the Niners’ third-round pick, and I have no idea why. “I wish Mayock was here,” Rich Eisen said when Blue Man Group invaded the NFL Network set and leaf-blew streamers in the middle of the 127th pick. (Mike Mayock lived for Vegasy things like that.) You want weird, though? Cole Strange, first-round pick, Patriots. Viva Los Belichick.

Atypical draft. First 70 picks: one quarterback, 14 receivers.

Atypical story. I’ve got to make you want to read about a team’s fourth round. Here’s the pitch: The Ravens have made the playoffs 13 times and won two Super Bowls since 2000, and they’ve done it by zigging when others zag. They’ve had more Compensatory Picks than any team; they’re fine with letting big-money players walk, because they figure they can find good (and cheaper) replacements. After the abridged 2020 college season and the runup to the ’21 draft, they saw a market inefficiency coming—more good players in the ’22 middle class—and so they let go two big free-agents (Matthew JudonYannick Ngakoue) for Comp Picks, and they made two 2021 trades that netted fourth-round picks, and one more trade in round one, moving from 23 to 25 with Buffalo to pick up the sixth fourth-round pick.

I was in the Ravens’ draft room for the fourth round. What I found interesting was the calm, even when the Steelers threw a stunning changeup at them moments before the Ravens were going to address a need. Halfway through my 100 minutes in the room, I wrote in my notebook, They’ve done this before—no surprises.

Part of what’s interesting to me is the kind of new knowledge the team seeks. DeCosta has formed a bond with the former NASA engineer and ex-Astros analytics guru Sig Mejdal, now the Orioles assistant GM. “Eric’s a football expert,” Mejdal said at Camden Yards on Friday, “but he’s also a guy who continually searches for ways to improve.”

In the previous 15 drafts, I’d categorize 24 of the Ravens’ 76 picks in rounds three through five as successes—meaning they became starting players for Baltimore for a time. From guard Marshal Yanda in the third round of 2007 to safety Brandon Stephens (third round, 2021), the Ravens have drafted, developed and started their middle class. In this draft, as of Saturday morning, Baltimore had about 31 of its top 115 players left on the board. An hour before starting round four, DeCosta laid out his top priority: “I’d like to get the corner from Alabama [Jalyn Armour-Davis] if we can. He’s good. He’d help us.”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: SEP 04 Chick-Fil-A Kickoff Game - Miami v Alabama
New Ravens cornerback Jalyn Armour-Davis. (Getty Images)

Entering round four, in order, the Ravens prioritized three players: Faalele, Armour-Davis and Iowa State tight end Charlie Kolar. But it wasn’t that easy. DeCosta was torn entering the room. Armour-Davis was more of a need, and even though the grade on Faalele was higher, the GM felt a run at cornerback coming.

DeCosta believes that being a general manager is not simply about reading the grades and picking by them. There has to be a feel involved. They prioritized Faalele because he had a slightly higher grade; he and North Carolina QB Sam Howell were the highest-graded position players for Baltimore at the start of round four. (The Ravens don’t need a quarterback, so they wouldn’t have taken Howell.) For DeCosta, Armour-Davis was key because you can’t have enough corners, and he was their best corner left.

After Denver picked at 116, owner Steve Bisciotti, a huge draftnik, wondered what DeCosta’s next move was if Armour-Davis was gone. Another target for Baltimore was Iowa State tight end Charlie Kolar. “Eric,” Bisciotti said, “Kolar if you lose Armor-Davis? He’s the Academic Heisman guy.”

“Yeah,” DeCosta said. “Kolar wrote me a note, a hand-written note, after we met with him [at the combine], thanking me. Good kid. Good player.”

117: Jets take Michael Clemons, defensive end, Texas A&M.

“Guys,” DeCosta said to the room, “we’re taking the Alabama corner if he’s there.”

118: Vikings take Akayleb Evans, cornerback, Missouri.

119: Jalyn Armour-Davis, cornerback, Alabama.

Applause in the room. “Jalyn,” DeCosta said over the phone after introducing himself, “how much do you know about the Ravens?” He quizzed him on Ravens corner Marlon Humphrey, from Alabama, and about ex-Crimson Tide tight end Ozzie Newsome. Then DeCosta handed the phone to Newsome. “Jalyn?” Newsome said. “Roll Tide.”

The list of Ravens’ favorites dwindled. At 122 and 123, the Raiders and Chargers took two of Baltimore’s preferred backs, Zamir White and Isaiah Spiller. But then four straight players who weren’t Raven targets went. Vegas called, wanting the 128th pick. Nope. The Ravens wanted Kolar, he of the 3.99 GPA in mechanical engineering and the 64-catch season in Ames last fall.

Bisciotti was excited. “Finally,” the owner said, “I’ll have someone to converse with.”

Not a bad line. The room broke up.

On the live speaker from the draft, a tinny voice called out: “At 127, the Patriots take running back Pierre Strong Jr., South Dakota State.”

“Yesssss,” DeCosta said.

128: Charlie Kolar, tight end, Iowa State.

On the phone, DeCosta told Kolar, “You’re going to have the chance to play with Mark Andrews, and to catch passes from Lamar Jackson. We’re excited.” Harbaugh took the phone. “Hey Charlie! We’ve been holding our breath here!”

COLLEGE FOOTBALL: DEC 29 Cheez-It Bowl - Clemson v Iowa State
New Ravens tight end Charlie Kolar. (Getty Images)

Kolar, in fact, was a good example of the player who went back to school after the Covid season. “I thought long and hard about coming out in 2021,” Kolar said Sunday. “But I had sports hernia surgery [in early 2021], and obviously when you’re getting ready for the NFL you want to put your best foot forward. Theoretically, even if I’d been a third-round pick last year versus a fourth-round pick this year—and there’s no guarantee of that, obviously—I knew I’d be a better player if I stayed in school one more year. To me, the draft is just the beginning of the journey. Staying in helped me.”

Now a short turnaround to the next pick.

130: Jordan Stout, punter, Penn State.

The Ravens needed a speed receiver to replace Hollywood Brown, who they traded to Arizona during Thursday’s first round. But they had a one-punter prospect class (“Stout was the only one we would have drafted,” DeCosta said) with Koch nearing his end in Baltimore. So Stout was the pick.

DeCosta allows his special-teams coach, Randy Brown, to lead analysis on kickers and punters. Brown loved Stout. Koch has had a 16-year run in Baltimore. Justin Tucker is entering his 11th season as kicker. It’s hard to know when it’s smart to take a punter; the Bucs took the second of the draft just three picks later. But DeCosta knew the expiration date was coming due on Koch, knew he needed a punter, and knew if he lost out on the chance to get a 10-year punter he’d be kicking himself.

“We think you’re one of the best punters to come out in years,” DeCosta told Stout on the phone.

He’d better be.

Now the calls started coming for the last two fourth-rounders, 139th and 141st overall. Five teams called in 20 minutes. One NFC team offered two sixth-round picks for either 139 or 141. “I don’t think so,” DeCosta told one of the GMs who called. “We’re gonna pick.”

137: Patriots take Bailey Zappe, quarterback Western Kentucky.

A middle-round receiver, Calvin Austin III of Memphis, a smurfy guy who runs a 4.32 40, was Baltimore’s target here. Guess who else runs a 4.32? Hollywood Brown. Though Austin’s a small guy, he was durable at Memphis, playing 49 games in four years and averaging 16.3 yards per catch. Baltimore’s not a deep-throwing team—thus Brown’s frustration, leading to his trade request, and the trade to Arizona—but the Ravens could use speed depth.

Austin wasn’t a must-have. But he was the next target. He was Baltimore’s guy.

Then, over the tinny speaker, news that the Steeler were picking wide receiver Calvin Austin, Memphis.

Mississippi State v Memphis
New Steelers receiver Calvin Austin III. (Getty Images)

“Gotta be kidding me,” someone blurted out as the Ravens began to process it.

Ravens on the clock … 4:40 4:35 … DeCosta had to think now. He had open trade offers with Kansas City and Jacksonville, and he could pull the trigger on either. He didn’t love his options here. But his expression didn’t change. Harbaugh’s expression didn’t change, nor did Newsome’s. These things happen in the draft. They pondered alternatives. They had two linebackers and one slower receiver with good grades left, but didn’t love any of them.

There was a tight end rated very close to Kolar, Isaiah Likely of Coastal Carolina, one of the best offensive tight ends in the college game last year. The Ravens thought he might be able to do some receiver things—lining up in the slot and outside—as well as playing inline tight end.

“How about Likely?” Harbaugh said to offensive coordinator Greg Roman. “Find a spot for him?” Roman liked him.

With about a minute left on the clock, the decision was made.

139: Isaiah Likely, tight end, Coastal Carolina.

“Isaiah, hi. Eric DeCosta, GM of the Baltimore Ravens,” the GM said, giving him the news. “You’re from Boston, huh? You a Celtics fan?”

Later, I asked DeCosta about losing Austin. DeCosta said, “That’s the draft.”

“We gambled on the punter, and we’re glad we got him,” DeCosta said. “To us, Stout was the only one we’d have taken. These are the kinds of decisions you make every year in the draft. You never get everyone you want.”

There was one other part of the equation, a part of the job DeCosta didn’t want to discuss openly. A good general manager can sniff around his area of the draft and see if a player he likes a lot is in danger of being picked by another team. And here, the Bucs picking 133rd and the Bengals picking 136th were sniffing around punters. He heard one of them liked Stout. “If you have a chance to fix a position for 10 years with a punter about to be 40, you’ve got to consider that strongly,” DeCosta said. Thus the punter at 130.

141: Damarion Williams, cornerback, Houston.

Now you’re looking for traits, particularly at important positions. Williams started 33 games in three years at Houston, played all over the secondary, two-year captain, highly competitive, highly recommended by his coaches. At this point, 141 picks into the draft, you’re not drafting Revises. You drafting 5-10 corners who run 4.5 and who have traits, and who your scouts love.

One of the Ravens’ most trusted scouts, David Blackburn, advocated hard for Williams with DeCosta. That means something to DeCosta. “I want those guys to know their voice counts with me,” DeCosta said.

NFL Combine
New Ravens cornerback Damarion Williams. (Getty Images)

In the room now, with time left on the clock before the 141st pick, Bisciotti said: “You see one of these corners we have left making our team?”

DeCosta said he did, then addressed Blackburn. “David, you like Williams, right?” They talked for a moment, and then DeCosta said, “We’re gonna pick the corner.”

Then two teams called, and DeCosta told both no thanks, they had a player to pick. He dialed the number he had for Williams  and the agent picked up. “I gotta get a hold of him or I’m not drafting him,” DeCosta said. Crisis averted: The agent gave DeCosta the number where Williams was, and GM told player he was a Raven. “One of our scouts, David Blackburn, really campaigned for you,” DeCosta told Williams. He handed the phone to Blackburn, so they could talk. Cool move.

At 1:51 p.m., THE PICK IS IN flashed on the TV screen in the draft room, the sixth of six fourth-round picks. Damarion Williams, CB, Houston.

In the first two days of the draft, the Ravens picked four players they fully expect to turn into starters by opening day 2023: safety Kyle Hamilton, center Tyler Linderbaum, edge rusher David Ojabo (who will rehab a torn Achilles in 2022) and defensive tackle Travis Jones.

In 95 minutes on day three of the draft, the Ravens picked six players they hope will turn into valuable puzzle pieces to a championship team.

One of the lessons Mejdal, the baseball analytics trailblazer, imparted to DeCosta was not to think of a group of players in one round in a clump. Don’t think, History says we’ll hit on two or three of these, so just understand we’ll probably miss on three or four. “Why can’t they all make it and be good players for you?” Mejdal said. “Once they’re drafted, they’re thrown onto a team, into practice, and soon you forget where they were drafted. Each player is an independent story.”

So 32 percent of the third-, fourth- and fifth-round picks over the past 15 years contributed significantly to the Ravens. DeCosta took Mejdal’s thoughts and expanded his percentages. Damarion Williams is an example. His 4.52-second 40 time is poor by NFL standards for a corner. But there’s another recent corner with a poor 40 time who will be discussed for the Hall of Fame in a few years. Richard Sherman ran a 4.56 40 at the 2011 combine. He has one thing Williams doesn’t: size. He’s four inches taller that Williams. Otherwise, their traits—feistiness, competitiveness, leadership—are similar. Williams is a corner you have to believe in because you’ve seen him play football.

“We feel great,” DeCosta said Sunday night. “We addressed a lot of concerns in that fourth round. Being totally honest, I think we’ll have three eventual starters, and three guys who will be quality depth for us.”

History says going six-for-six doesn’t happen. It probably won’t here either. But don’t tell that to the Ravens this morning. In the Baltimore draft room, in the corner, is a stuffed giraffe, maybe five feet tall. DeCosta’s son got it for a gift when he was a child, and DeCosta brought it into the room. There are few things in a draft room that can look more out of place than a stuffed giraffe that belongs in your kid’s nursery.

A few looks at the Ravens’ draft room mascot, a stuffed giraffe. (Courtesy of Baltimore Ravens)

But it is there for a reason.

“Stick your neck out,” DeCosta said. “I want guys in here who aren’t afraid to tell me what they think, always.”

Read more in the full Football Morning in America column

What to know about Super Bowl 2023: Date, location, halftime performance info, and much more


The NFL playoffs are in full swing and Super Bowl 2023 will be here before we know it! See below for answers to all of your questions about the big game. Be sure to tune to NBC and Peacock every week for Sunday Night Football games this season and extra content from Mike Florio, Matthew Berry, Chris Simms and more.

RELATED: When do the 2022 NFL Playoffs start: dates, schedule, playoff format, overtime rules, and more

Four teams are left heading into the Conference Championships and only two will make it to Super Bowl LVII. Ahead of this weekend, here’s everything you need to know about the biggest game of the NFL season.

RELATED: 2022 Sunday Night Football Schedule: TV channel, live stream info, NFL schedule

When is Super Bowl 2023?

Super Bowl 2023 takes place on Sunday, February 12 at 6:30 p.m. ET on Fox.

Where is Super Bowl 2023?

Super Bowl 2023 will be contested at State Farm Stadium–home of the Arizona Cardinals– in Glendale, Arizona.

Who is performing the halftime show at Super Bowl 2023?

It was announced in September, that international popstar, entrepreneur, and philanthropist Rihanna will headline the halftime show at Super Bowl 2023.

RELATED: How to watch Matthew Berry on NBC Sports

When was the last time Rihanna released an album?

Rihanna’s most recent album “Anti” came out in 2016. The Barbados native has spent the last few years venturing into various business industries including beauty, fashion, and makeup. Additionally, the superstar welcomed her first child, a boy, in May of 2022.

Why does the NFL use Roman numerals?

AFL and Chiefs founder Lamar Hunt proposed using Roman numerals for each Super Bowl to add pomp and gravitas to the game. Roman numerals were, unsurprisingly, used in ancient Rome as a number system. I stands for 1, V for 5, X for 10, L for 50 and C for 100. That’s right: In 2066, get ready for Super Bowl C.

Super Bowl V was the first to use Roman numerals. They were retroactively added to the Super Bowl II to IV logos and have been used each year since⁠ until 2016. For Super Bowl L, or 50, the NFL tried out 73 different logos before breaking down and using a plain old “50.”

The Roman numerals for this year’s big game, Super Bowl 57, are LVII.

Which NFL team has the most Super Bowl wins in NFL history?

The Patriots and Steelers are not only familiar with playing on the big stage, but they also know what it takes to come out on top. New England and Pittsburgh are tied for the most Super Bowl victories in the NFL with six each. The San Francisco 49ers and Dallas Cowboys have won five Lombardi Trophies each and the Green Bay Packers and New York Giants are tied with four Super Bowl championships.

  • New England Patriots: 6
  • Pittsburgh Steelers: 6
  • San Francisco 49ers: 5
  • Dallas Cowboys: 5
  • Green Bay Packers: 4
  • New York Giants: 4

RELATED: 2022 NFL Regular Season Schedule – How to Watch, Live Stream, Dates, Times, Matchups

How to watch Sunday Night Football on Peacock:

If you have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can watch Sunday Night Football on your TV or with a TV provider login on the NBC Sports app, NBC app, or via Check your local listings to find your NBC channel. If you can’t find NBC in your channel lineup, please contact your TV provider.

If you don’t have access to NBC via your TV provider, you can stream Sunday Night Football on Peacock with a $4.99/month Peacock Premium plan.  Sign up here or, if you already have a free Peacock account, go to your Account settings to upgrade or change your existing plan. 

Please note that selection of a Premium plan will result in a charge which will recur on a monthly or annual basis until you cancel, depending on your plan. You can cancel your Premium plan at any time in your Account.

What devices are compatible with Peacock?

Peacock is available on a variety of devices. See the full list here.

In addition to Sunday Night Football, what else can I watch with Peacock Premium?

Premium is your key to unlocking everything Peacock has to offer. You’ll get access to all the live sports and events we have, including Premier League and WWE Premium Live Events like WrestleMania. You’ll also get full seasons of exclusive Peacock Original series, next-day airings of current NBC and Telemundo hits, plus every movie and show available on Peacock. There is always something new to discover on Peacock Premium.

Follow along with ProFootballTalk for the latest news, storylines, and updates surrounding the 2022 NFL Season, and be sure to subscribe to NFLonNBC on YouTube!

2023 NFL Playoffs: What to know about SF QB Brock Purdy Ahead of NFC Championship game


The NFC crown is up for grabs on Sunday, and it will be Jalen Hurts and the Philadelphia Eagles squaring off with Brock Purdy and the San Francisco 49ers to secure a ticket to Super Bowl LVII in Glendale, Arizona. These two high-powered teams have both had seasons for the storybooks, but possibly no story this year has been greater than that of “Mr. Irrelevant’s” emergence.

From the 262nd pick in the draft to a third-string quarterbacking role, the odds of Purdy making a splash in the NFL seemed all but impossible at the start of the season. But just months later, the 23-year-old finds himself captaining one of the league’s most storied franchises on a playoff run in hopes of bringing a sixth Lombardi home to the Bay.

The 49ers will take on the Eagles in the NFC Championship game Sunday, Jan. 29 at 3 p.m. EST. Let’s take a closer look at Purdy’s emergence from “Mr. Irrelevant” to QB1.

RELATED: 49ers vs. Eagles NFC Championship matchup, series history

Where did Brock Purdy go to college?

Before Purdy was a Niner, he was first an Iowa State Cyclone.

In fact, Purdy rose to stardom in Ames much like he is now doing in San Francisco. Purdy entered the picture at Iowa State as the third-string quarterback, in line for field time behind quarterbacks Kyle Kempt and Zeb Nolan.

The season-opener, however, shook things up. Kempt suffered an MCL injury against Iowa, bumping up Nolan to the role of signal-caller. Nolan then saw a rough three-game stretch, forcing ISU coach Matt Campbell to give the freshman Purdy an opportunity.

Purdy would take this opportunity and run with it. He first entered the scene mid-game against Oklahoma State, leading the Cyclones to a thrilling victory over the Cowboys as they edged them out, 48-42. Purdy was now the man for Iowa State.

In his four-year career, Purdy was simply a winner. He finished his time in Ames as Iowa State’s career leader in passing yards (12,170), total offense (13,347), touchdown passes (81), completions (993), passing efficiency (151.1) and completion percentage (67.7). The wide-eyed freshman with an opportunity developed into the winningest quarterback in Cyclones history (30-17).

RELATED: Eagles DC warned 49ers of ‘electric’ atmosphere at the Linc

Jalen Hurts vs Brock Purdy collegiate record

Sunday’s Conference Championship will not be the first time that Jalen Hurts and Brock Purdy have gone head-to-head. The Cyclones faced off with the Oklahoma Sooners in November of 2019.

While the senior Hurts and his offense diced up Iowa State’s defense early, Purdy would charge his team to a comeback from the 35-14 halftime deficit. Purdy led an epic resurgence coming out of the locker room, outscoring the Sooners 27-7. A savvy drive from the sophomore late in the fourth resulted in a 33-yard touchdown to Sean Shaw Jr., cutting the deficit to 42-35 with three minutes remaining.

On the ensuing drive, Hurts made a disastrous mistake, throwing a pass into traffic that was picked off by Lawrence White. With the ball at the Oklahoma 35, Purdy could not be stopped, pulling off a few impressive plays before connecting with Charlie Kolar in the end zone.

The scoreboard now read 42-41, and the Cyclones wanted to end the game right then and there. Purdy dropped back for the two-point conversion, throwing a dart to La’Michael Pettway. The pass hit Pettway’s hands, but was then knocked away by Oklahoma defenders. While the epic comeback could not be completed, it was a game to be remembered.

RELATED: Brock Purdy views time at Iowa State as ‘blessing in disguise’

When was Brock Purdy drafted?

Brock Purdy found a home in San Francisco on Saturday, April 30 when he was selected by the 49ers as the 262nd pick in the 2022 NFL Draft. As Melanie Salata held up the “Mr. Irrelevant” jersey on the NFL Draft stage, no one knew that the name on the back of it would rise to relevance so quickly.

The seventh-round pick was passed over by nearly every NFL team, except for one. Not even the 49ers knew that this selection would hold so much magnitude, as Purdy was merely expected to be a third-string rookie sitting behind starter Trey Lance and backup Nate Sudfeld.

RELATED: CMC vows to be ready for NFC title game despite calf discomfort

How has Brock Purdy fared as an NFL starter?

San Francisco’s blueprint at the beginning of the season would be thrown out the door very quickly. The 49ers made the decision in late August to retain veteran quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo and release Sudfeld, allowing Purdy to remain in his third-string role.

When Lance suffered a crushing injury against the Seahawks in just the second game of the season, it seemed clear that Garoppolo was destined to lead the team to its third playoff appearance in four years. Garoppolo would go 6-3 in his next nine starts, making Super Bowl aspirations once again very real for the team that lost the big game just three years prior.

In a critical battle against the Miami Dolphins in Week 12, however, that vision faded. Garoppolo suffered a broken foot on the final play of the team’s opening drive, and “Mr. Irrelevant” was now QB1.

Purdy’s first drive of the game ended in a 3-yard touchdown pass to fullback Kyle Juszczyk to give San Francisco a 10-7 lead. As with his starting role in Iowa State, Purdy has yet to look back.

RELATED: Brock Purdy’s PFF grades show how well he operates under pressure

He drove the team to a 33-17 victory over Miami, finishing the day 25 for 37 for 210 yards, two touchdowns and one interception. His starting debut came the next week, against none other than the great Tom Brady.

The rookie tore through Tampa Bay, becoming the first quarterback to ever defeat Brady in his first start. The game ended with an emotional hug from his father, who had witnessed his son take down a quarterback who has been playing pro football longer than Brock has been alive.

Purdy remains undefeated as an NFL starter. Since taking over in Week 13, “Mr. Irrelevant” has gone 7-0, with an overtime victory and two playoff triumphs. While many thought the rookie would crumble under postseason pressure, he has yet to let his team down. In the 49ers wild card battle against their division foe Seattle Seahawks, he became the first NFL rookie to score four touchdowns in a playoff game. While the divisional round success over Dallas wasn’t the prettiest victory, Purdy got the job done, advancing his team to the NFC Championship for the second consecutive year.

Will Brock Purdy play in NFC Championship game?

Now, the seventh rounder will clash with a daunting Philadelphia defense for the conference crown, with aspirations of becoming the first rookie quarterback to ever hoist a Lombardi. On Monday ahead of the Conference Championships, 49ers head coach Kyle Shanahan told media that he’d be “very surprised” if quarterback Jimmy Garoppolo was able to play in Sunday’s game, meaning that Purdy is still QB1, with Josh Johnson as the backup.

RELATED: When was the last time the 49ers made it to, won the Super Bowl?

Has a rookie QB ever started in a Super Bowl?

Should the 49ers advance to the Super Bowl, Purdy has a shot to cap an unbelievable season with a particularly remarkable accomplishment: No rookie quarterback has won a Super Bowl, and in fact, no rookie quarterback has ever started in a Super Bowl.

RELATED: Ranking potential Super Bowl LVII matchups

How to watch the Super Bowl 2023

Check out ProFootballTalk for more on the 2023 NFL Playoffs as well as game previews, picks, recaps, news, rumors and more.