Bold Predictions: Sam Darnold Becomes Starter For The Niners By Midseason
I can already hear Niners’ fans yelling and screaming while reading this final section. But allow me to explain before you sharpen the pitchforks and kick down my door.
Brock Purdy looked incredible during his time as the starter last season. After coming off the board as the final selection in the 2022 NFL Draft, the Iowa State alum was thrust into the starting lineup following untimely injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo. Whether you believe it was Kyle Shanahan’s doing or not, Purdy excelled.
Alas, an injury of his own shelved the first-year player for the all-important NFC Championship vs. the Philadelphia Eagles. The result? A complete and utter beat down. This offseason, Lance was traded while Garoppolo left via free agency. The team signed Sam Darnold as the backup, believing he can replicate what Jimmy G provided for the past handful of years — albeit only if Purdy underwhelms.
The former Mr. Irrelevant may continue proving doubters wrong, but I am skeptical. NFL defensive coordinators are savvy; the way to beat them is with an element of surprise. Now that the entire league has several games of tape on Purdy, the chances of exposing his weaknesses rise exponentially.
Players outperform their draft slot all the time. But we must remember that the 23-year-old was passed on 261 times before hearing his name.
And it is worth mentioning that Sam Darnold was once a top-three pick. Granted, that was a long time ago, and his play in the NFL has been… less than spectacular. Still, word out of Niners camp is that Darnold has impressed, causing many to wonder if yet another quarterback controversy is on the way for San Fran. Purdy must prove he is more than a one-year wonder; if not, Shanahan won’t hesitate to make the switch.