Tampa Bay Buccaneers v San Francisco 49ers
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From Mr. Irrelevant to Mr. Relevant, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy was one of the most notable storylines to come from the 2022 NFL season. The final pick of the 2022 NFL Draft out of Iowa State was thrust into the starting lineup in Week 14, and won five straight games to finish out the regular season, and two playoff games to get San Francisco to the NFC Championship. 

Unfortunately for the 49ers, Purdy suffered an elbow injury on San Francisco's first possession of the conference championship matchup vs. the Philadelphia Eagles. While he did return to the game, he was clearly not the same player. The day after the 49ers' 31-7 loss, CBS Sports NFL Insider Jonathan Jones reported that Purdy suffered a complete tear of his UCL

In March, Purdy underwent successful surgery, which included an internal brace repair to his right elbow. Purdy is expected to start a throwing progression program in a couple months, and be ready for the beginning of the 2023 NFL season -- although he will have to battle former No. 3 overall pick Trey Lance for the starting job. 

The 2022 season was truly a remarkable start for Purdy, as he became the only quarterback since 1950 to win and throw multiple touchdowns in each of his first five regular-season starts. This past week, Purdy spoke with CBS Sports about his rookie season, how he's doing in recovery following surgery and more. 

We are less than two weeks away from the NFL Draft. What do you remember from that weekend when you were drafted last year?

Purdy: "It was a lot of emotions. Day 3 of the draft, you're waiting for a phone call and when it comes literally last minute, for me, it's like man, I was relieved. Just to know that I have a spot to go to and that I'll have an opportunity to go and show everybody what I'm about. So that's how it was last year, and I'm excited for this year's draft to see who's next." 

Last year you reportedly scored the highest on the S2 cognition test among the quarterbacks. Do you remember taking that? Can you tell me a little bit about that? 

"Man to be honest, there were so many tests that we took -- combine prep, when I was at the East-West Shrine Bowl, there's all these mental cognitive tests. So I can't exactly remember everything that was on that one specific test, but I do remember there were some things -- some symbols and numbers and all these things you had to see at first, and then you take a test for 15-20 minutes and then those symbols and things come back up. I don't know if there's necessarily training that you can do going into it, it's just I think from football and trying to memorize plays and formations and different coverages, stuff like that, I feel like that all helped out at the end of the day."

How's the recovery going after elbow surgery?

"It's going well. Just taking it one day at a time. Just trying to heal up and feel a little bit better every single day, and it's all gone as planned. Obviously we're in great communication with the doctors that I'm working with, the Niners, the organization as a whole, everyone's on the same page and we're excited for how it's going. So just taking it one day at a time, man."

Your rookie year was very different compared to the average first-year player. Now that you've had some time to reflect on that short but eventful journey, how would you describe it?

"Unexpectedly great. I think overall, just being ready for my opportunity, and how important that is, and the preparation that goes into it every single week. Even as a backup before my opportunity came. Even in college, being ready for my opportunity.

"Are you doing the right things all the time? I feel like it's a testament to show like, 'Man, it's worth it.' Even when people aren't giving you recognition or anything like that. You just keep believing in what you're doing, and when your opportunity comes, make the most of it. So it's pretty cool to reflect on that."

What was the toughest part of the transition to the NFL level?

"I would just say the mental part. In college -- Texas, Oklahoma, we played some pretty good schools. And guys are big, fast, strong, all that. And the NFL is the same way across the board, but I feel like the mental part is what separates teams and guys from having success or being average. I think there's definitely another level to the mental part of the game. The playbook, going into just one play, you're walking up to the line of scrimmage and you have your two plays on a lot of times, making sure you're in the right play, things like that. I feel like that's the biggest difference."

Did you have a 'Welcome to the NFL' moment during your rookie season?

"Yeah. I would say my first start against the Bucs. The first play of the game, we walked up to the line, I checked to the wrong play because they disguised something pretty well and then the safety came off the edge untouched and just cleaned me right off my feet and hit me pretty hard, and I was like, 'OK, this is how it is.' But from there you get up, you learn from it and then you go put some points up on the board and find a way to win. That was a good moment for me, for sure." 

When it was understood that you were going to be the starter moving forward, what was that feeling like? What was it like knowing that you were the guy moving forward for the 49ers?

"I just try to keep it as simple as possible. All year, when I had been a backup, every single play Jimmy's in running the plays, I'm in tune to what's going on. Is he checking it to the right play? Is it this coverage, is it that coverage? Just in case something happened. I wanted to be ready, and so when he went down, it wasn't a panic mode, it was, 'OK, this is what happened the drive before, this is where we're at in the game, this is what we have to do,' and then the same thing after the game ended. We were on a roll as a team, and so I just wanted to continue to be a guy that does his job to help the team win, and I didn't want to make it anything more than that -- what does the future look like or anything like that. It was all about today, at practice, in this meeting, this game, this rep, whatever it was, it was just staying in the moment. That's how I handled it."

What was the moment where you said, 'OK, I'm going to be alright here in the NFL?'

"Probably the first game, the Dolphins game, where I went in. Just once I started getting into a groove and throwing the ball and converting third downs and throwing touchdowns, I was like, 'You know what, it's football.' At the end of the day, yes, it's at a higher level, everyone is great, you're going against great scheme, well-coached teams and all that kind of stuff. But at the end of the day, it is football. In a sense, you have to keep it simple."

What's it like having Kyle Shanahan as your head coach? Why is he so successful at what he does?

"There's probably a lot more that goes into that than what I can answer, but obviously his dad, what he grew up into. Obviously the system that he's ran now, he's been running it as an offensive coordinator forever. So being able to teach the game, because he's the one that's created this and put it all together. And obviously he's got coaches all over the NFL. He's like the Godfather of it, and he keeps it simple, he knows how to attack teams and everyone respects him. All the players respect him and we want to play for him. He does a great job with all of it put together. Very thankful to be playing for him."

After a successful season, what's the goal for yourself moving forward?

"First things first, it's get healthy, and then everything else will fall into place from there. But we went to the NFC Championship last year, fell short in it. But for us, we know we can get back, but it starts with Day 1. We got a new team, we got new guys coming in and you have to be on the same page. So I think it starts there, and then just win man. You gotta find ways to win every single week, and I feel like that's the main goal right now." 

Purdy spoke with CBS Sports in promoting Buffalo Wild Wings' burgers and BWWs One and $1 Deal

"I thought it was a great partnership. Talking about how great their burgers are, in a surprising way. Sort of just like how I was the last draft pick last year, and then taking my opportunity to shine. So a lot of similarities there. So if you get a chance, go get yourself a Buffalo Wild Wings burger."