Posted: 9:00 a.m. Saturday, July 13, 2013
By David Fucillo
ESPN's Ron Jaworski continued through his second annual quarterback rankings, listing 49ers QB Colin Kaepernick No. 11 among all quarterbacks. He ranked Russell Wilson No. 12, and Robert Griffin III No. 13. The bunching of these young quarterbacks is not surprising, and it would not be all that surprising to see Andrew Luck show up sooner rather than later.
This ranking is not particularly surprising, and it's safe to say continued solid performances from Kap will only move him up the rankings. Jaws ranked NFL quarterbacks when the playoffs got going, and he had Kaepernick ranked No. 14. He was actually ranked behind Wilson, RG3 and Cutler, all of whom rank behind Kap after his playoff run.
This change reflects much of what Jaworski has said about Kaepernick. I had a chance to briefly speak with Jaws the week of the Super Bowl, and he mentioned that the only area he felt Kap needed to improve was experience. The idea behind that was, the more games he played, the more situations he would experience. His three-game run in the NFL playoffs certainly counts for some serious experience.
Jaws introduced Kap as his No. 11 quarterback on Sportscenter, and here is a transcription of what he had to say, courtesy of ESPN Media Zone.
"The 11th quarterback in my rankings is Colin Kaepernick. Normally 10 NFL starts is not enough for me to evaluate a player so highly, but this kid has special talent, is a dynamic dual-threat quarterback with a power arm and outstanding athleticism.
"Remember this? It was a signature play of the 2012 season. It was Kaepernick's first touchdown run against Green Bay that really caught my attention. You see the press man coverage with two deep safeties. It turned out the Packers doubled Michael Crabtree. But the point is the same. This is what mobile, athletic quarterbacks can do versus man-to-man coverage, especially on third down. It forces defenses to rethink their concepts, it limits their tactical options.
"I remember Kaepernick's first start against the Bears. It was immediately evident that he gave the 49ers every dimension in the passing game. And I love the way Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman set up Kaepernick with defined reads through the use of shifts and formations.
"Watch what happened here from the coaching tape. All that pre-snap movement was designed to get Vernon Davis matched on linebacker Lance Briggs. As favorable as the matchup was, that was still not an easy throw.
"That's why Kaepernick has a chance to be very special. He has a complete throwing skillset with a powerful arm that I absolutely put at gun level. His ball comes out with a lot of energy and velocity. And Kaepernick can drive the ball down the field, on the move, with accuracy.
"Kaepernick dispelled that belief in his 10 games in 2012. That's why he's No. 11 in my quarterback rankings. Kaepernick is one of the four or five most physically talented quarterbacks in the entire NFL. It will be fascinating to see how he adjusts to the loss of Michael Crabtree, but the elite skillset is still there."