Late Round QB NFL Draft Mystery: Could TCU’s Max Duggan Be The Next Brock Purdy?

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NEW ORLEANS – Quarterback Max Duggan is more than three inches taller than Bryce Young – 6-foot-1 and a half to 5-10.

Duggan and his TCU teammates reached the College Football Playoff last season and advanced to the national championship game. Young and his Crimson Tide lost to Tennessee and LSU, and none of those three made the CFP.

Behind Duggan, TCU reached unprecedented heights in 2022 as it finished 12-2. He was No. 15 in the nation in passing efficiency at 159.2 (267 of 419) for 3,698 yards and 32 touchdowns with eight interceptions.

TCU quarterback Max Duggan finished 15th in the nation in passing efficiency in 2022 at 159.2 with 3,698 yards passing along with 32 touchdowns. (Photo by Alika Jenner/Getty Images)

Young became the first Alabama quarterback to win Heisman Trophy in 2021 and led the Tide to the national championship game that season. But he was only trying to continue an unprecedented, six-time national championship run that started under coach Nick Saban in 2009. Young was No. 8 in efficiency at 163.2 (245-380) in 2022. But he threw for less yards (3,328) than Duggan and the same number of touchdowns. Duggan rushed for 423 yards on 137 carries with nine touchdowns. Young gained just 185 on 49 carries with four touchdowns.

Max Duggan Put On A Show In The College Football Playoff

Duggan threw for 225 yards and two touchdowns and rushed for 57 and another two scores in a thrilling, 51-45 upset of No. 2 Michigan in the national semifinal last New Year’s Eve. His 76-yard touchdown pass early in the fourth quarter put TCU up 48-38.

Also on New Year’s Eve, Young completed 15 of 21 passes for 321 yards and five touchdowns in a 45-20 win over No. 11 Kansas State. But it was in a somewhat meaningless Sugar Bowl.

The Carolina Panthers made Young the first pick of the NFL Draft on Thursday night and Alabama’s first quarterback taken as the first overall pick. But at barely 200 pounds and a weak offensive line in Carolina, Young’s durability will be at question as 2020 No. 5 overall pick Tua Tagovailoa’s frailty at quarterback has been with Miami. Young does not have the body of a Joe Burrow to take the hits consistently.

“You’re going to have to live with the size thing,” Senior Bowl director Jim Nagy told OutKick this week. “And hold your breath every week that he doesn’t take a violent hit. But I think Bryce’s deficiencies you can get a better comfort level with than the others because of his tape. Just the instincts and the feel for the football and the pass rush and ability to extend plays. The next-level intelligence.”

Duggan could be picked as low as the seventh and final round of the draft on Saturday afternoon (Noon, NFL Network, ESPN). Duggan has no arrests and no baggage like back-to-back national champion Georgia quarterback Stetson Bennett, who is not expected to be drafted at all.

But Duggan, despite being a vital part of one of the best teams in college football last season, has never been considered a high round draft pick.

NFL Draft Continues Saturday

“I don’t think that (success in college) comes into play very often any more because there are so many variables,” New Orleans Saints’ general manager Mickey Loomis said on the eve of the NFL Draft. “It’s a team sport. You have to have a lot of things fall into place to win a national championship.”

And the draft is more about individuals, not about what their team did or who their team is.

“I don’t know if winning traditions mean a lot,” Loomis said.

Draft Used To Look More At Results On The Field

“In the old days, quarterbacks would get picked high based on results and the program they played at. ‘They’re winners,’ coaches would say,” said NFL Draft expert Mike Detillier, who published a detailed draft book for nearly 40 years beginning in 1985. “They don’t look at that as much. It’s all about measurables and game film.”

But Duggan has key measurables.

“He gets the ball out fast,” Detillier said. “He’s well coached, and he’s tough, man. He hangs in the pocket. He’s got some mobility. He has a strong arm. He’s got some grit and some smarts. He’s mechanically sound, and he throws a really nice ball. And he’s accurate.”

Detillier only has Duggan going in the fourth or fifth round at best, though.

The Max Duggan Mystery Continues

“I don’t understand the Max Duggan situation,” Nagy said. “I really don’t. I thought the floor for Max would be in the fourth. I really did. Maybe the fifth. He might slide to the sixth or seventh, I’m hearing. I never saw that. I don’t get that. There’s a discrepancy on him. Teams are all over the place on him.”

Duggan started 43 games in his college career and improved for the most part as the program he led did. He was 25-18 as a starter, but 12-2 in that last season. If this was the “Moneyball” movie, the Oakland A’s might be all over Duggan.

“There’s too much there for him not to get picked,” Nagy said. “I think a guy like Max is going to beneifit from the Brock Purdy effect because he has played so many games.”

Quarterback Brock Purdy (6-1, 220 pounds) was the 262nd and last pick (Mr. Irrelevant) of the NFL Draft in 2022 by San Francisco out of Iowa State. After injuries to starter Trey Lance and backup Jimmy Garoppolo, Purdy started and won the 49ers last five games. He led them to the No. 2 seed in the playoffs and authored a fairy tale for the seventh round that will live happily ever after. Purdy completed a relevant 114 of 170 passes for 1,374 yards and 13 touchdowns with only four interceptions in the regular season.

Could Max Duggan Be The Next Brock Purdy?

Purdy’s passer rating of 119.4 through the 5-0 run was the highest for a quarterback in his first five starts since underdog Kurt Warner in 1999. Warner was an undrafted free agent out of Northern Iowa in 1994.

Purdy completed 18 of 30 passes for 332 yards in a Wild Card playoff win over Seattle and became the the lowest drafted quarterback to start and win a postseason game. With San Francisco’s win over Dallas in the divisonal round, Purdy became just the third quarterback since 1970 to win two playoff games as a rookie. He hit 19 of 29 passes for 214 yards to become the first rookie to surpass 200 yards in back-to-back playoff games since the AFL-NFL merger in 1970.

The last player picked in the 2022 NFL Draft was quarterback Brock Purdy, who took San Francisco to the NFC title game last season against Philadelphia. (Photo by Tim Nwachukwu/Getty Images)

“I think Max could be this year’s Brock Purdy,” Detillier said.

“Most teams have sat back now in the off-season and tried to self-scout themselves and figure out why they let Brock slide,” Nagy said. “The common thread between all the teams I’ve spoke to that they think they overlooked is the play experience.”

NFL No Longer Develops Quarterbacks Well

Number of games and at-bats is the heart of the Moneyball philosophy of Oakland A’s vice president Billy Beane.

“Brock Purdy played a ton of games at Iowa State,” Nagy said.

Purdy started 46 games from 2018-21 – just three more than Duggan – and was 30-17. Florida’s Anthony Richardson, on the other hand, started just 13 games in his career at Florida. Great at times and terrible at times, he had a 6-7 record.

But Indianapolis strangely took Richardson with the fourth pick of the first round Thursday because of what he may do as opposed to what he has done.

“And Max was a four-year starter at TCU,” Nagy said. “In a league that doesn’t develop quarterbacks anymore, they really have got to come in with a lot of experience. And Max has done that. And he took his team to the national championship game, which back in the day you used to hear a lot more evaluators talk about.”

Max Duggan Lifted TCU Program

TCU lost that national championship game to Bennett and Georgia, 65-7.

“Max lifted that program above TCU’s standard,” Nagy said. “You don’t hear about that as much anymore. Maybe they should look at that more. Desmond Ridder did that at Cincinnati.”

Ridder, a third round pick of Atlanta in the 2022 draft, replaced Marcus Mariota as Atlanta’s quarterback starter for the final four games last season. He is expected to enter the 2023 season as the starter. In the 2021 season, he led Cincinnati to become the first non-power five program to reach the College Football Playoff.

Will Stetson Bennett Get A Chance?

Could Stetson Bennett, like Duggan, also get the chance to become the next Brock Purdy?

Despite his issues, Bennett did lead Georgia to back-to-back national championships with his arm and feet and often made huge plays at critical times.

“I think Stetson’s a backup quarterback,” Detillier said. “But, man he’s smart on that field. He’s accurate. He knows where to go with the football. I would take a chance on him.”

After Young and Ohio State quarterback C.J. Stroud went as the first two picks of the draft Thursday and Richardson at No. 4, Kentucky quarterback Will Levis plummeted to the second pick of the second round to Tennessee. Nagy predicted that Wednesday.

Then Tennessee quarterback Hendon Hooker – like Levis mistakenly projected for the first round – dropped all the way to the fourth pick of the third round to Detroit.

Other potential Brock Purdy’s expected to be taken in the fourth-through-seventh rounds Saturday in this order are as follows: Jake Haener of Fresno State, Jaren Hall of BYU, Clayton Tune of Houston, Max Duggan of TCU and Malik Cunningham of Louisville.

Bennett and Senior Bowl star Tyson Bagent of Division II Shepherd are projected free agents.

Update: Max Duggan was selected in the 7th round of the 2023 NFL Draft by the Los Angeles Chargers.

Written by Glenn Guilbeau

Guilbeau joined OutKick as an SEC columnist in September of 2021 after covering LSU and the Saints for 17 years at USA TODAY Louisiana. He has been a national columnist/feature writer since the summer of 2022, covering college football, basketball and baseball with some NFL, NBA, MLB, TV and Movies and general assignment, including hot dog taste tests.

A New Orleans native and Mizzou graduate, he has consistently won Associated Press Sports Editors (APSE) and Football Writers Association of America (FWAA) awards since covering Alabama and Auburn at the Mobile Press-Register (1993-98) and LSU and the Saints at the Baton Rouge Advocate (1998-2004). In 2021, Guilbeau won an FWAA 1st for a game feature, placed in APSE Beat Writing, Breaking News and Explanatory, and won Beat Writer of the Year from the Louisiana Sports Writers Association (LSWA). He won an FWAA columnist 1st in 2017 and was FWAA's top overall winner in 2016 with 1st in game story, 2nd in columns, and features honorable mention.

Guilbeau completed a book in 2022 about LSU's five-time national champion coach - "Everything Matters In Baseball: The Skip Bertman Story" - that is available at, and Barnes & Noble outlets. He lives in Baton Rouge with his wife, the former Michelle Millhollon of Thibodaux who previously covered politics for the Baton Rouge Advocate and is a communications director.

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  1. Went to TCU before UT. Watched 95% of every snap he took in college. He’s 1000% a camp arm. Is he likable? Yes. Is he a “gamer”? Yes (in college vs college players). Does he have decent mobility and toughness? Yes. Can he ACCURATELY throw the football on any consistent basis in even moderate windows? NO.
    And that is a prerequisite for anyone trying to ever take a snap in a nfl regular season game.

    Plus: His arm strength is below average and his ability to progress through multiple throwing options is questionable. Wasn’t ever asked to do much more outside of throwing to primary read in TCU air raid esq college offense.

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