With two weeks to go until the NFL Draft, former Fresno State quarterback Jake Haener is trying to put some distance between himself and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Brock Purdy.
Haener has been the hot pick by national pundits as this year’s under-the-radar quarterback in the draft, yet the former Bulldog sees plenty of differences when comparing Purdy’s play to his own.
Driving the news: Haener worked out at Levi’s Stadium for the 49ers local pro day, bringing together some of the top talent from the 49ers geographic sphere of influence.
- Last year Purdy was selected with the very last pick in the draft – the position endearingly called Mr. Irrelevant – and set the league on fire with his performance as the best rookie quarterback in the NFL.
- While top prospects Bryce Young, CJ Stroud, Will Levis and Anthony Richardson have garnered most of the attention, Purdy’s play has led national pundits to seek out the next underrated pick, with many of them pointing to Haener given his successful collegiate career at Fresno State.
What we’re watching: If the ever-volatile bevy of mock drafts and predictions can be trusted, Haener could hear his name called far earlier than Purdy did.
- With Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker generally seen as closer to the top four prospects, Haener could be next in line leading the pack of the group of quarterbacks predicted to be selected in the middle rounds of the draft.
What they’re saying: Haener even expects to be a middle-round selection, telling reporters at the 49ers pro day that the third, fourth and fifth rounds could be when he is picked. He was also asked about his similarities to Purdy, and he said that he doesn’t see the same kind of comparison.
- “I just feel like Brock’s different. I’m different,” Haener said. “There’s different things that we do in our games. Shoot, I’m even older than Brock. Brock did a lot of really good things this year. I’m happy for him and his family, but at the same time I’m on my own mission, on my own train and trying to do something for a franchise that believes in me.”
- Haener also flashed his trademark confidence that captivated Bulldogs fans for the last few years.
- “I think I can spin the ball just as good as anyone in this class,” Haener said. “I can throw just as accurate, but that’s not for me to decide. That’s for the people and the evaluators to decide at the end of the day.”