Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada Wolf Pack
40-Time: (NFL Scouting Combine Time Feb. 23 - Mar. 1 to be added)
Kaepernick is getting sold short in this year's draft by most of the experts. One reason is due to his elongated throwing motion. I see the positives far outweighing the negatives with this prospect, especially with a class of quarterbacks coming in who all have huge flaws. The best way for me to tell you what I see in Colin, is to compare him to the other prospects.
Colin has the rare height of a Ryan Mallett and Cam Newton. He shows a growing comfort in the pocket, much in the same manner that Ricky Stanzi showed more comfort in the pocket from his junior to senior year. This shows that he's able to grasp and develop rapidly. Kaepernick is capable and comfortable enough to tuck the ball and run just as Jake Locker has proven in his career. His arm strength is possibly the top of the class. Colin can reportedly throw a 95 mph fastball. It shows up on film when he's zipping the ball into small windows. The baseball background also leads me into some of his weaknesses as well, though.
When Colin unleashes the ball, it seems to take forever to come out due to an extraordinary long throwing motion. I credit this to his baseball background. Colin looks like a pitcher, cut in the mold of a Randy Johnson that comes off the rubber with a long windup, plant foot, and then follow through. It works great for velocity, but unlike baseball you don't have the time sit back there and hold the ball that long. Randy Johnson didn't have to worry about a 300-pounder running at him...unless he hit Cecil Feilder.
In addition to allowing pass rushers extra time to lay the hit, this also gives the secondary extra seconds to react to the ball. If they are peeking into backfield and see the motion starting, that extra second or so could mean the difference between an offensive touchdown and a pick six.
Kaepernick looks awkward standing in the pocket with his 6'5 frame being held up with two toothpicks. He has to add bulk to his legs and become more physical altogether. He's not built like Ben Roethlisberger, and few people are. Ben takes a lot of hits and is able to pop back up due to that extra padding. If Kaepernick takes off to run or even just stands in the pocket, the defenders will hurt him often if his legs are still built like a 12-year-old female swimmer.
Kaepernick has always been an athletic freak. He's excelled in football, baseball, and basketball in high school. It's been reported that he is capable of throwing a 95 mph fastball, and with the miniature windows in the NFL, that'll definitely come into play. His throwing motion has been hurting him in the evaluation phase since high school. His brother sent out Colin's game film to hundreds of big name schools and Nevada was the only school to offer him a scholarship. The reason most bigger named programs passed on him was due in large part to his throwing motion, their fear that he'll go pro in baseball, as well as his slender frame.
Colin proved all his college critics wrong by becoming the only player in Division 1 history to ever pass for 10,000 yards and rush for 4,000 in his career. He was also the only player to pass for 2,000 yards and rush for 1,000 yards in 3 different seasons. After Tim Tebow became the first 20/20 man in college football, which is recording 20 passing touchdowns and 20 receiving touchdowns in the same season, Colin joined the elusive club.
Potential NFL Team, Round
It's hard to gauge where teams stand on the different quarterbacks in this class. Reports are that you could ask five different coaches who their favorite prospect is and you would receive five different answers. My favorite draft phrase is that it only takes one team to like you. I could easily see Kaepernick sliding into the top 15. After the combine comes and goes in the next few weeks, you can expect to see Colin's name start to slowly move up the "experts'" draft boards.
The San Francisco 49ers new coach, Jim Harbaugh is saying that he's looking forward to working with Alex Smith. 49ers fans are hoping that this is a bad joke because that would be Part 3 of the movie known as "How Alex Smith Ruined My Franchise". Harbaugh is hopefully getting an early start at throwing teams off of what their draft plans are. If Harbaugh likes Colin, this could be a good landing spot with all of the weapons around him. I don't believe that San Francisco wants to start the Harbaugh era with this group of quarterbacks, though...not in the first round anyways.
I see Kaepernick landing somewhere between the Minnesota Vikings' 12th pick in the first round and the Arizona Cardinals' 6th pick of the second round. I don't see Colin lasting past that point. The teams that could take him in that range also include the Miami Dolphins at 15, who I believe would pair intriguingly well with Brandon Marshall. Jacksonville at 16 needs to replace David Garrard ASAP. The Seattle Seahawks 25th pick would be a tremendous value pick for Pete Carroll to get his franchise quarterback and with the similarities between Kaepernick and Tebow, it's fitting that he would go at the same pick. If he gets past Seattle I would expect the Buffalo Bills or Cincinnati Bengals to take him off the board with the 2nd or 3rd pick of the second round before Arizona got a shot at him.
Jayson Braddock appears on Sports Radio 790 AM in Houston, TX, every Thursday morning at 11:19 am CST as the football insider on the Dylan Gwinn show. He's a graduate of the Sports Management World Wide Football GM & Scouting Course and has been mentored by former NFL player / executive John Wooten and Sporting News.com NFL Draft Expert Russ Lande. His work is mostly appreciated by die-hard fans interested in every little detail about their team and not just watered down mainstream talk. - Listeners NOT in the Houston metropolitan area can hear Jayson on iheart radio or sports7910.com. You may email Jayson directly @ [email protected] or follow him on Twitter @ JaysonBraddock
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