2012 was the year of the quarterback. Well specifically the year of a new breed of quarterback. And there's one QB who's star shone brighter than the others.
That would be Colin Kaepernick, the 6'4", 230-pound dual-threat quarterback who makes the San Francisco 49ers offense go.
His kind of quarterback might revolutionize the NFL. In 2012, we saw the likes of Russell Wilson and Robert Griffin III rip apart NFL defenses on their way to playoff berths. And all three of these quarterbacks did this in their first action as starters.
Cam Newton is another quarterback in that mold. Michael Vick of a couple years ago would again be a great example. But after last year, the title of most dangerous NFL QB is a three player race.
And though RGIII and Russell Wilson are well deserving of mention for the title of the NFL's most dangerous quarterback, the award is Kaepernick's. And it all starts with his arm.
The man has legendary arm strength. We're not talking just about a former pitcher who can put some heat on a football. This guy throws a football like none other.
I could show you the video of his 87 mph first pitch at a Giants game, or the video of him throwing a football across the ESPN campus before the 2011 NFL draft. But what's even more impressive is how NFL great Randy Moss went on about Kaepernick's arm.
Yeah, Randy Moss said Kaepernick has dislocated his fingers on a throw. This is five-time All-Pro, future Hall-of-Famer, one of the best receivers of all time Randy Moss. He knows what he's talking about.
And he's played with some guys who throw pretty hard. For most of the time he was in Minnesota, he was catching passes from Daunte Culpepper, a guy who was lauded for his arm strength. So he has a good sense of how hard a QB can throw.
Wilson and Griffin have good arms, but they don't have one like Kaepernick.
Although arm strength on it's own doesn't mean much, just ask Jamarcus Russell. A quarterback has to be mentally strong, show poise in the pocket, and most of all deliver passes on target.
Kaepernick does all of that. And he does it all at an elite level.
In 2012, Colin Kaepernick completed 62.8 percent of his passes. Tom Brady completed 63 percent. Tom Brady is a pretty accurate quarterback. Not bad huh?
But completion percentage doesn't tell the whole story. So we turn to some more advanced statistics.
According to Pro Football Focus, Colin Kaepernick was the most accurate deep passer in the NFL last year with a ridiculous completion percentage of 60.6 percent.
On passes that travelled more than 20 yards in the air, Kaepernick was almost eight percent more accurate than second place finisher Aaron Rodgers.
The other cool thing about Pro Football Focus's stat is it tells us the percentage of a QB's passes that are deep passes. Amongst the top ten most accurate deep passers Kaepernick leads in that category as well with 15.1%.
So he's deadly accurate with the deep ball, and he throws it plenty. That's gotta make defenses sweat.
Feel free to bring the heat too. Kaepernick's accuracy percent, a Pro Football Focus Statistic, is 71.2 percent. That's good for fifth in the NFL.
As far as accuracy overall, I'll let you check out the following Sports Science clip on Kaepernick. Spoiler alert, he sets records for accuracy, touch and arm strength among others.
Now that his arm talent has been established, why don't we move onto just how deadly those legs of Kaepernick's are.
And let's start with 181 yards. That's the NFL single game rushing record for a quarterback, which was set by one Colin Kaepernick against the Green Bay Packers in the playoffs this past year.
To put it simply, that was a masterful performance and the best running performance by a quarterback in NFL history. His iconic run was in the Sports Science video, but looking at it from the stands is almost more impressive, so check out the video to the right.
Now for some statistics. Kaepernick ran for 417 yards at a yards per carry of 6.6 to go along with five touchdowns.
Those 417 yards were fourth in the NFL among quarterbacks, and he did that with about half the carries of Newton and Griffin who were at the top of the list. The five touchdowns were tied for third, and his 6.6 yards per carry were also third.
So in less than a full season, he ended up being one of the best running quarterbacks in the NFL. And refer back to that Sports Science clip for some of their analysis on his speed. Remember, his acceleration was the best they have ever tested.
And the best part about Kaepernick's running? He's great at avoiding contact. One of the knocks on Griffin, Wilson, Newton and Kaepernick is that they're going to get hurt thanks to their playing style. But Kaepernick is excellent about sliding, ducking out of bounds or just waltzing in for a touchdown.
Sample some of this highlight film. On all of his runs, the defense can barely get a finger on him.
Franchise quarterbacks need to be on the field, not rehabbing injuries. So Kaepernick staying on the field just adds to the reasons for why he should be the most dangerous QB in the NFL.
So let's recap. He's accurate, especially on deep passes. He's got beyond elite arm strength. He's poised under pressure. He's a phenomenal running QB who avoids contact. Oh and Jim Harbaugh is his coach.
Good luck to all those NFL defenses next year.
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