Kaepernick had a wildly successful college career but will it translate to the NFL?
Over the coming weeks leading up to the NFL draft, I will be breaking down top prospects at various positions to give you the best idea of the player your favorite team takes on draft day, the best time of the year. Today, a look at former Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Colin Kaepernick is one of the draft's fastest rising players. Once considered a mid-round project, there is now speculation that he could be taken in the bottom end of the first round. He's definitely a lock for the second round. Does he deserve it?
It's a treat to watch Kaepernick throw the football with seemingly such ease. There are some strong arms in this class, but his may be a cut above the others. Flicking a pass 60 yards downfield isn't an issue for him. He reportedly had the Manning brothers "giggling" at their quarterback camp the two hold each summer.
The former Wolfpack is one of the most athletic quarterbacks in the draft that boasts a class with Cam Newton and Jake Locker. He is fluid when running and shows a second gear, most notably in a game against Fresno State, finishing the day with 156 rushing yards and two rushing touchdowns.
Kaepernick doesn't fall prey to the "mobile but inaccurate" group. He throws a catchable ball in nearly any circumstance. He is accurate on the run and shows good timing on "out" routes.
He shows a good internal clock and gets the ball out of his hand quickly. The numbers back up the tape with Kaepernick being sacked just 10 times in 359 pass attempts.
Believe it or not, he is one of the most successful college players in history in regards to statistics. He is the first and only player in FBS history to have three consecutive years with at least 2,000 yards passing and 1,000 yards running. In his career, he totaled 140 touchdowns and just under 14,000 yards of total offense. This occurred throughout his ultra-experienced career at Nevada, starting all four years and 50 total games.
Adding to his resume, Kaepernick is a high-character person and a leader. He brought his team from a 24-7 deficit to eventually upset Bosie State in overtime. The game may be remembered for Bosie's loss and Kyle Brotzman's two missed kicks, but Kaepernick showed the ability to rally a team.
He looks like Gumby. He did weigh in at 233 pounds but looks extremely skinny—especially for a running quarterback. I question if he'll be able to hold up in the NFL with his build. He was durable in college but the pros are, of course, a different level.
I question his ability to read a defense. He is too careless with his passes. The stats may not back that thought up, but he turns the ball over far to often in the red zone. A college red zone is as close to a simulation to the NFL as you're going to find. Windows are small and decisions have to be made quickly.
He threw an interception right before halftime against Hawaii, throwing across his body while on the run. He got picked against Fresno State, throwing a five-yard out too late and allowing the cornerback to get in front of it.
Mechanically, his throwing motion has been a widely discussed issue. His windup in his throwing motion isn't as bad as some have made it out to be, it certainly isn't of the Byron Leftwich variety, but it is there.
Like a lot of quarterbacks, Kaepernick won't be able to play in the same offense he did in Nevada. Chris Ault installed a pistol and veer offense with Kaepernick never taking game snaps from under center.
Where will he end up? If his speculated rise is true, Seattle at No. 25 makes sense. His strong arm isn't required for the team's West Coast, but his ability to get outside of the pocket is huge in a system that uses a lot of rollouts. In my mock, I have him going 34th to the 49ers. San Francisco clearly needs a QB with Alex Smith turning in another poor year.
Kaepernick's measurables are definitely interesting, but I can't buy into the hype of him being worthy of a first round pick. He still needs to show he can be as competent above the shoulders if he is going to want to succeed.