After watching yet another dismal season for the Redskins, I did not immediately think that a quarterback would be the Redskins' top priority going into the draft.
I thought McNabb generally did a good job and mostly blamed Shanahan for absurd decision-making and poorly handling the awkward situation this created. I figured that McNabb had another year or two of good play left, and what the Redskins really needed to focus on was improving their offensive line, perfecting the 3-4 defense and replacing the useless and expensive Albert Haynesworth at nose tackle.
I was thus horrified to hear that the Redskins were seriously considering adding another egomaniac with a poor attitude to the team by picking up QB Cam Newton during the 2011 draft.
Yes, he is large, athletic and strong. However, his poor attitude and questionable character are widely known, and bringing him to the Redskins threatens to be a JaMarcus Russell-style bust.
Despite his physical gifts, many teams are understandably afraid to touch him, and the Redskins cannot afford the risk either.
I maintain that the first-round pick should focus on bringing in a high-quality defensive player. However, if the Redskins insist on picking a quarterback, why not look at Colin Kaepernick? He is a top-ranked player and is a much better fit for the Redskins.
First, Kaepernick stands in stark contrast to Cam Newton when it comes to character issues. Despite his successes, he is known to be down-to-earth, humble and possesses a great work ethic.
The Redskins, who seem to constantly be “rebuilding," need a quarterback whose focus will be on studying the game, improving his play and showing up to practice. Too many of the headlines about the Redskins have been about squabbles between teammates and the coaching staff, the greed of Dan Snyder, brushes with the law and nightclub antics.
The organization could benefit from a player that serves as a true role model, much like Brian Orakpo or Donovan McNabb.
Second, Kaepernick is a truly talented individual. While he lacks the athletic build of Newton, he was still a four-year starter at Nevada and had an impressive college career.
In 2007, Kaepernick won the WAC Freshman of the Year Award. His pass efficiency of 161.06 was fifth in the nation and his 9.4 yards per attempt was third in the nation.
Kaepernick was the only quarterback in the nation to both pass for over 2,500 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards in 2008. He had the second-most rushing yards of all NCAA QBs with 1,130, and his 7.02 yards per carry was seventh in the nation amongst all players. He ran for 17 touchdowns, tied for ninth in the nation.
In 2009, Kaepernick was named second-team All-WAC QB. He won the team's MVP award for the second season in a row, becoming the only player in Nevada school history to do so. He became the first player in NCAA history with back-to-back 2,000/1,000 yard seasons when he finished the season with 2,052 passing yards and 1,183 rushing yards.
After his 2010 season, Kaepernick is now the only quarterback in Division I history with over 10,000 passing yards and over 4,000 rushing yards in a collegiate career. He also compiled over 2,000 yards passing and rushed for over 1,000 yards for three consecutive seasons.
With talent, humility and a tremendous work ethic, Kaepernick has excellent upside. In his four years at Nevada, he has shown improvement every year and can be expected to do the same in the NFL. I can envision him spending the 2011 season as a backup to McNabb, preparing to take over the top role in 2012.
I am relieved that as the draft approaches, the Cam Newton speculation has died down some. Hopefully, another team will take him first—and at the moment of this writing, Carolina is said to be considering him.
I hope that the Redskins realize that many of the best quarterbacks in the league are blessed not only with physical talent, but also with brains and a penchant for hard work. Then, they should take a closer look at Colin Kaepernick.