Kaepernick's recent insertion into the starting lineup for the San Francisco 49ers has been revelatory, but he's just getting his feet wet.
His talent is undeniable, and the 49ers offense has been notably more explosive since he subbed in for an injured Alex Smith, but this young man still has so much more room to grow.
So, what's his ceiling?
If that doesn't make 49ers fans drool and opposing defensive coordinator run for terror, then I don't know what will.
Before the season began, I worried that Kaepernick was not ready to step into the starting lineup and produce with the same kind of precision and good judgment we've seen from Smith the past two seasons.
I was wrong.
His athleticism, speed and flat-out insane arm strength appealed to me, but I wasn't sure he had enough touch on his throws to make NFL defenders pay when they were slightly out of position.
I was wrong.
Kaepernick has already shown excellent judgement, throwing just one interception in 74 attempts this season—one which came after a terrible snap that hit the ground in the waning moments of the second quarter in New Orleans.
He has also already shown incredibly deft touch on his passes, as we saw from his touchdown pass to Michael Crabtree in Week 11, among others.
The 49ers have brought in some talented offensive players this past offseason. Randy Moss, Mario Manningham, A.J. Jenkins, LaMichael James, etc.
Many wondered if Smith would be able to make good use of those weapons. And though he did make a few big connections this season, for the most part the Smith-led 49ers passing attack is a quick-hitting, timing game that can be disrupted with the right defensive strategy.
Looking at what Kaepernick brings to the table, it's clear that the 49ers brought those weapons into the fold looking ahead to the future. Kaepernick's skill set meshes with the team's new offensive acquisitions far better than Smith's, and we're bound to see quite an explosive offense in San Francisco for years to come.
I'm particularly interested to see how James and Kaepernick work together—not to mention Kendall Hunter.
Kaepernick's ability to make teams pay on the ground and through the air in the option game intrigues me to no end, and given the speed and quickness James brings to the table, the two of them will be unbelievably difficult to defend.
With Jenkins and Manningham stretching the field, Michael Crabtree will find open lanes underneath for big gains, and don't forget about Vernon Davis.
Kaepernick has the arm and vision to get every playmaker on the 49ers roster involved, and it's going to be exciting to watch this team grow under his leadership.
One more aspect to consider here is the team's offensive line, which is already one of the top units in the NFL. This unit will only continue getting better, and if Kaepernick is given time to progress through his reads, he'll shred opposing secondaries.
The 49ers look to be on the verge of another golden era, and the future looks bright for Kaepernick and this storied franchise.
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