Originally posted on NFL Draft Dog  |  Last updated 11/24/12
San Francisco 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh is set to name Colin Kaepernick the starting QB for the game against the red hot New Orleans Saints. It's extremely rare that a winning NFL team will switch quarterbacks near the backend of their schedule. That is a testament to Kaepernick's talent and ability as well as an indictment to former starter Alex Smith. Besides starting on Sunday, Kaepernick has now the opportunity to prove, what many scouts privately think, that he is the best signal caller of the 2011 NFL Draft.Five quarterbacks were drafted before the former Nevada Wolfpack star was selected by the 49ers in the second round. Cam Newton went first overall to Carolina; he was followed by Blain Gabbert to Jacksonville, Christian Ponder to Minnesota, Jake Locker to Tennessee and finally, Andy Dalton to Cincinnati.Newton's once promising career have taken a sharp downturn in his second year as a starter for Ron Rivera's Panthers. Gabbert is fast approaching 'bust' status. Both Ponder and Locker have good talent and the natural ability to pay the position but neither is accurate enough to become a difference maker.Dalton meanwhile is accurate, has a great supporting cast and seems to improve every week. But he looks more of a game manager than a top echelon QB. Only Kaepernick has the ability to become a legitimate super star in the NFL. He has cannon of an arm which enable him to make any throw with relative ease. He also possesses something that in that class only Newton can claim: excellent running ability. Gets to full speed fast, can juke will be tacklers and takes plays the distance. Before the Draft, many NFL scouts graded him the second best QB prospect behind Gabbert. Harbaugh obviously brought those reports and snatched Kaepernick with their send pick.The only knock on Kaepernick coming into the Draft was his apparent lack of field vision having played in a "Pistol" offense in Nevada.For nearly two years, Harbaugh have seen Kaepernick improve in this area. His field vision and progressions are up to par with Smith. He also shed the bad habit of eyeballing his primary target, as the Chicago Bears can testify. One game is not an indication of how a quarterback will fare in the NFL. But what Kaepernick showed against a very good Bears defense is enough to warrant a long term audition and the opportunity to prove he is the best of a still undistinguished 2011 rookie QB class.By Raul ColonNovember 24, 2012rcolonfrias@yahoo.com
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