Nick Wright compares Brock Purdy with Mark Brunell Photo credit: FS1

While sports media debates whether Brock Pudy is a game manager or the next Tom Brady, Nick Wright thinks he found the happy medium.

Mark Brunell. There’s a name you probably didn’t expect to hear much about on a national sports debate show less than ten days before the Super Bowl. But according to Nick Wright, not only is Brunell a great comp for Purdy, he’s the ceiling for the San Francisco 49ers quarterback.

“This is real analysis. No pom-pom waving and not trying to hold any priors against him,” Wright insisted Thursday on FS1’s First Things First. “I think Brock Purdy’s ceiling is Mark Brunell. Mark Brunell was also a late round pick. Mark Brunell was also a bit undersized. Mark Brunell also had early postseason success…Mark Brunell also did it on a team with a Hall of Fame left tackle in Boselli, great receivers in McCardell and Jimmy Smith. Great running back in Fred Taylor and was really good.

“He made three Pro Bowls. Led the league in passing yards once…had a nice six year run where he was good every year. By the way, I guarantee you the Niners would sign up in a heartbeat for that from Brock Purdy…they would love that. So to me, that’s his ceiling. I don’t think Hall of Fame or Drew Brees is on the list of viable options. And that is a compliment, I feel.”

Brunell never made it to a Super Bowl as a starting quarterback, which Wright noted during his take, although he did get a ring with the New Orleans Saints as a backup. Brunell also was never in the MVP conversation. And that one year where Brunell led the league in passing yards, he threw more picks than touchdowns. Purdy, however, is in the Super Bowl as a starting quarterback and was a serious NFL MVP candidate up until his Week 16 flop against Lamar Jackson and the Baltimore Ravens.

Cam Newton was ripped for calling Purdy a game manager, but at least he gave the 49ers quarterback a chance at reaching a class of “elite game managers” that included Peyton Manning, Drew Brees, and Tom Brady. Wright said Brunell is the ceiling, that’s it.

Is Brunell a totally unfair comp for Purdy right now? Probably not. But it’s also not fair to call Brunell his “ceiling” when one could reasonably argue Purdy already exceeded that ceiling. And it’s definitely not a compliment to claim a 24-year-old MVP candidate and Super Bowl quarterback is looking up at Brunell as his ceiling.

No disrespect to Brunell, but the 49ers are probably aiming higher than him with Purdy. And they have to. If Purdy is striving to be Brunell, as Wright depicts, that’s not going to bode well for the Niners when they inevitably have to pay him like a quarterback who is much better than Brunell.

[First Things First]

About Brandon Contes

Brandon Contes is a staff writer for Awful Announcing and The Comeback. He previously helped carve the sports vertical for Mediaite and spent more than three years with Barrett Sports Media. Send tips/comments/complaints to