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INDIANAPOLIS — When Brock Purdy was 16 and paintballing in his home state of Arizona, he was maybe a little too competitive.
“We’re paintballing in the desert and my hand got stuck in a cactus,” the former Iowa State quarterback said. “So I had cactus needles removed from my hand.”
Now Purdy will be going up against some tougher competition than his high school paintball buddies and a prickly Saguaro cactus at this week’s NFL Combine.
He came to Indianapolis as one of 15 quarterbacks invited to the 2022 combine. Despite a relatively weak quarterback class, Purdy is far from No. 1 among that group.
ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr. ranked the top 13 quarterbacks on Tuesday. Purdy wasn’t on the list.
Even Purdy will admit he’s under the radar at the combine.
“A little bit, yeah,” Purdy said. “I’m not going to lie.”
He’s now going through the painstakingly-thorough NFL evaluation process that happens at the combine. That includes the detailed medical review that flagged getting cactus needles removed from his non-throwing hand six years ago.
His physical measurements taken at the combine likely won’t be the thing that catches scouts’ attention although the 6-foot-1 quarterback will have the chance to show his intangibles as NFL teams conduct formal and informal interviews.
“I haven’t been a guy who’s 6-5, 6-4, big frame, extremely fast, extremely strong arm,” Purdy said. “Football IQ for me has really just been my M.O. my whole life.”
That relatively low profile going into this next chapter is not particularly anything new for him.
“All I know is I need a shot,” Purdy said. “That’s been the story of my life. … Once I get my shot, I don’t look back.”
That includes metaphorical shots and literal shots. The paintballing game with the cactus needles that broke in his hand? He won that.
“It was the last match of the day and I got the final kill,” Purdy said.
He played safety once in high school, Purdy said. It was his first game as a freshman, and he had the game-winning deflection.
Take his recruitment coming out of Gilbert, Ariz., as another example.
Purdy was 65th in 247Sports’ composite rankings of all quarterbacks. Even when just looking at prostyle quarterbacks, Purdy was 36th — well behind Iowa’s Spencer Petras.
“I feel like I was sort of overlooked in college recruiting,” Purdy said.
Purdy then came to Iowa State and won more than any other quarterback in the Cyclones’ history although he “fell short” of his 2021 goals.
“So in a sense, sort of been here before, now on a bigger stage and a bigger level,” Purdy said. “But it excites me, so I’m ready.”
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