By Jerrell Richardson
Colin Kaepernick, QB #7
Hometown: Milwaukee, Wisconsin
Experience: 2 years
Watching backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick on the field for the 49ers this past week gave San Francisco a glimpse into the future. The jury is still out on the current starter Alex Smith, so if Kaepernick is able to have his football IQ catch up to his physical talent, then he will have a starting job eventually in the league, if not in a San Francisco uniform. A mobile quarterback is nothing new, but Kaepernick is a new breed of mobile quarterback, and in a few years he may be the talk of the league rather than Cam Newton or Tim Tebow.
Colin Kaepernick was born in Wisconsin and was a Packer fan first, but moved to Turlock, California at a young age, and took to the 49ers. Although many kids dream of the same thing, he said at a young age that he would end up playing for either the 49ers or the Packers, and his dream became a reality when San Francisco drafted him in 2011 with the 36th overall pick. The reason that he was not drafted higher was due to a lack of competition in the conference he played in, despite the numerous accolades he was awarded in college. He was the WAC freshman of the year, two-time offensive player of the year and two-time first team all-WAC selection. He took his team to a Bowl Game three coach Jim Harbaugh.
Although there were concerns about his level of competition, there is no doubting the physical specimen that his Kaepernick. His size and speed are unparalleled at the position. Both Tebow and Newton are more power runners, and although Newton is no slouch, he would lose a 50-yard foot race with Kaepernick. In a downfield pass attempt to Randy Moss on Sunday, Kaepernick showed off his cannon of a right arm, and it’s clear that he is as physically gifted as any quarterback to ever play the position. Of course there is more then raw talent that goes into making a successful quarterback, but he is at least in the right situation and he has the tools to succeed.
By having a head coach who played the same position, Kaepernick will be able to get the same direction that has taken Smith from a disaster into a possible Super Bowl winner. Harbaugh has the ability to put players in a position to have success, and there is no doubt that he would do the same with his backup quarterback. In Alex Smith, Kaepernick also has the privilege of watching first hand a player who also entered the league known more for his athletic ability and not so much his pure passing ability. Smith is still progressing, so Kaepernick simply needs to follow closely in the footsteps of the man in front of him on the depth chart.
San Francisco now has yet another facet to implement in the offense, with Kaepernick being a real threat to run the Wildcat. The 49ers also have a possible future starting quarterback on their hands. Should Kaepernick develop starter caliber talent, then the 49ers will either have an extra bargaining chip to continue to build the current team around, or, if Smith doesn’t show the needed progression, then the team may already have their replacement. Colin Kaepernick fits the mold for a new age quarterback that is slowly becoming a trend and not a novelty. The blueprint for his success has been developed in front of him, so if he puts in the work, then his dream of playing for the 49ers can turn into a reality of starting for the 49ers.
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Jerrell Richardson is a Bay Area native who due to a college career at San Diego State University has grown an appreciation for all things sports related in California. His heart will always remain in San Francisco though where he currently resides and covers everything from the San Francisco 49ers and Giants to the San Jose Sharks and California Bears Baseball team. His work can be found on Examiner.com.