We are in the midst of a sports information boom, and though it means fans get what they want when they want it, it also means that we can get too much—at least when it comes to surmising the abilities of recently drafted quarterbacks.
No position in sports has a steeper learning curve than that required in the transition of a college quarterback to an NFL quarterback. The players are bigger, faster and motivated by the strongest of all factors: money.
The season is longer and the games more physically demanding, which means that the chances for injury are greater. At the same time, the season is nearly overbearing—20 games if you count a full slate of preseason games. It can be a draining experience.
Through all this, a rookie quarterback—even one as physically gifted as Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert or Andy Dalton—has huge task of adjusting skill sets to the needs of NFL play.
Specifically, these skills are: fast releases yet pinpoint control; pre-snap recognition of confusing defensive schemes, with the right audible and protection calls; and the ability in the hectic pocket during the play to decipher coverage schemes and make correct decisions.
In that perspective, it is worth our consideration to compare the college history and successes of Colin Kaepernick, the San Francisco 49ers second-round draft pick, with some current and recent NFL quarterbacks.
The point isn’t to project Kaepernick’s chances as much as to assess what he brings to the 49ers, and then look to other QBs with similar skills and see how they panned out.