Seahawks Draft: UCLA’s DTR could be this year’s Brock Purdy

Jan 23, 2023, 11:40 AM | Updated: 4:49 pm
Seahawks draft prospect Dorian Thompson-Robinson...
UCLA QB Dorian Thompson-Robinson jumps over Washington's Kamren Fabiculanan on Sept. 30, 2022. (Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)
(Photo by Ronald Martinez/Getty Images)

The future of the quarterback position for the Seahawks will remain a question even if they re-sign Geno Smith after his breakout Pro Bowl season in 2022.

Seahawks GM John Schneider: “We want Geno to come back”

At 32 years old, it’s unlikely Smith will be getting a contract for more than three years this offseason. And if there’s one thing that teams in the quarterback market are taking into consideration now, it’s how the San Francisco 49ers ended up with the rookie QB that has led them to the last eight of their 12 straight wins, including Sunday against Dallas to clinch a spot in the NFC Championship.

San Francisco selected Brock Purdy with the very last pick in the 2022 NFL Draft out of Iowa State, and after injuries to Trey Lance and Jimmy Garoppolo, he was thrust into the starting spot. Clearly it’s worked out, as he’s yet to suffer a loss as 49ers QB.

Seattle enters the 2023 NFL Draft with nine draft selections, and if the Hawks decide to focus on different positions of need early in the draft, there’s a QB they might be able to take later on with Purdy-like potential, according to Brock Huard.

Asked Monday morning by Mike Salk, his co-host on Seattle Sports’ Brock and Salk, who the next Brock Purdy could be, Huard pointed to a player who he’s seen play many times in person for his job as a FOX Sports college football broadcaster.

“Who’s got wiggle? That’s No. 1. Who’s got just a self-assuredness? No. 2. Who’s played for four years? No. 3. Who has made throws with tremendous accuracy and anticipation? No. 4. And then who has elevated a program that was just in the dumps, like Iowa State was, and elevated them to relevancy like this guy has? He checks all five of these boxes,” Huard said.

The answer is Dorian Thompson-Robinson, a redshirt senior from UCLA.

Huard explained how Thompson-Robinson is coming out of a similar situation to what Purdy went through at Iowa State.

“Chip Kelly comes in (as UCLA coach in 2018), kinda like Matt Campbell came in to Iowa State when they were down and out,” Huard said. “… Iowa State – outpost, one of truly record-wise the worst programs in all of college football, and Matt Campbell and Brock Purdy came in and elevated it. Took a little time, but from Day 1, kind of like Brock Purdy played as a freshman, so did DTR, and he took his lumps early and then just became more and more relevant.”

Huard sees more similarities between Purdy and DTR than just how their college careers went. They’re also roughly the same size (Purdy is listed as 6 foot 1 and 220 pounds, while DTR is 6-1 and 205) and share traits in the way they play the position.

“(Thompson-Robinson) has athleticism, has self-assuredness, can throw the ball especially inside the numbers phenomenally well. Can run and can create, and has played so much football. Has played in big games, has played with pressure. … DTR will be an intriguing guy, and the more that Brock Purdy does at his size and with his athleticism and the amount of games that he’s played, I think the better for DTR in this process”

Above all, it’s experience (49 career games for UCLA) that could allow DTR to hit the ground running for a team like the Seahawks in the NFL similar to how Purdy has with the 49ers.

“That bevy of games and that life experience, a pretty big deal for him. DTR will be intriguing to watch the next few months,” Huard said.

Furthering the connection between Purdy and DTR is how their college highlight reels show both tremendous potential and reasons for teams to sleep on them in the draft.

“He’s been a little up and down, but boy, his upside,” Huard said of Thompson-Robinson. “If you just watched his highlight reel, you’d be like, ‘Yep,’ … Of course, you could also put a turnover reel together and say, ‘Ooh, yeah, that’s why you’re probably going to tumble down a little bit.’ But you could say the same for Purdy in college, man. He had a lot of turnovers – fumbles and picks and ‘a little bit too small.'”

Teams are probably paying closer attention to Thompson-Robinson now than before because of Purdy’s success, however.

“I probably have called 10 games of DTR’s over the four years,” Huard said, “and oh, by the way, I already had an NFL team kind of ping me off the record and ask me about whom? DTR.”

You can hear the full conversation in the Blue 88 segment from Monday’s edition of Brock and Salk in the podcast below. Blue 88 airs live at 7:45 each weekday on Seattle Sports 710 AM.

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