This draft idea essentially "piggy-backs" off of the Fan-Post by James Dator entitled "Could the Arizona Cardinals emerge as a trade partner?" Surely we've all been a part of or witnessed the debate of rather or not such a trade is worth it. A lot of attention has been given to the 5th overall pick and what it would mean, moving back from 1st overall, but we haven't exactly went in-depth concerning what could be done with the second round pick we would gain, the 38th overall pick. I have an idea and I am so convinced of it, that I would support this trade wholeheartedly, without hesitation.
My goal in taking the time to write this Fan-Post is that I may convince just a few others that there is life beyond the "Big Three" (or two, depending on your take on the possible QB candidates). With that in mind, for the remainder of this Fan-Post, I'll be writing under three assumptions:
A) That the Cardinals trade no less than their 1st and 2nd round picks to us for the #1 overall pick.
B) That Carolina would be willing to spend the 38th pick on Kaepernick.
C) That Carolina plans to bring a veteran free agent QB in regardless of how the draft goes.
(For the sake of staying on topic, I will be skipping the first round and free agent talk. I have an opinion of who we should take in this situation but that's for another time.)
Most of you know of him, if only by name, but he may be new to a few. Allow me to introduce, or re-introduce, Colin Kaepernick to you all.
First things first, who is Colin Kaepernick on the most basic of levels? He's a 23 year old senior billed at 6'6" (though, interestingly, I've seen varying accounts of his size.) and 225lbs from Turlock, California. His birthday, November 3rd, also comes three days before mine, now that's an added bonus. Playing in a total of 14 games as a senior, Kaepernick won all but one to finish the year with a record of 13-1.
Statistically, Kaepernick has been a solid quarterback through the entirety of his college career. Taking a look at the stats of his senior year, we'll compare them to a few of the big names, just for those that may want a statistical stick to measure him by. We'll include the "Big Three" and, don't shoot, the Golden Boy that most believe to be the crème de la crème of quarterbacks coming out this year and within the foreseeable future. If we're to judge, we need a ceiling, do we not? We'll start with the man of the hour...
(CMP/ATT - YARDS - CMP% - YARDS/ATT - LONG - TD - INT - SACKS TAKEN - RATING - RECORD)
233/359 - 3,022 - 64.9 - 8.42 - 79 - 21 - 08 - 10 - 150.46 - 12-1
185/280 - 2,854 - 66.1 - 10.19 - 94 - 30 - 07 - 23 - 182.05 - 13-0
301/475 - 3,186 - 63.4 - 6.71 - 68 - 16 - 09 - 23 - 127.03 - 10-2
266/411 - 3,869 - 64.7 - 9.41 - 89 - 32 - 12 - 25 - 163.65 - 10-2
263/372 - 3,338 - 70.7 - 8.97 - 81 - 32 - 08 - 06 - 170.16 - 11-1
I have to be perfectly honest. From strictly a statistical point of view, there's only one man who looks as though he doesn't belong in that group. No, it's not Colin Kaepernick, not even Ryan Mallet, but Blaine Gabbert. But, again, that's another topic for another time. Kaepernick holds his own with each of these projected first round picks, yet has been slated to go so low as in the 4th round by some.
Oddly enough, the stat that I find most impressive is Kaepernick's lack of sacks taken. He's not just fast when he decides to run the ball but very elusive in the backfield, buying time in the pocket as needed. This will be demonstrated near the end of this post, in the videos.
Statistics out of the way, what are the pro's and con's as discerned by those "professionals" we so love and hate at any given time? I'll compile here as large a list as I can find.
Reads defenses well
Throws well from both the pocket and on the run
Makes big plays with both his arm and legs
Plays with a lot of confidence
Fast, Agile, Large
Durable team leader
Checks down to different receivers, includes tight end
Holds ball too low
Deep ball accuracy
Questionable decision making
Lack of snaps under center
Ball security while running
Does not consistently go through progressions
Needs to use eyes and pump fakes to move defenders
What do we gain from looking at these pro's and con's? Colin Kaepernick is an outstanding athlete with potential to be a game changing QB both by air and ground but will require the proper coaching to reach that level. There were many remarks on his good character, determination, and hard working attitude. The biggest challenge Kaepernick looks to face will be reworking his throwing motion as to release the ball higher and quicker. He'll also need to add weight and build his frame to take a 100% certified grade NFL pounding.
So we've got the gist of what he does right and wrong but what are they specifically saying about Kaepernick? Lets look at a few quotes...
"According to a league source, Kaepernick hit 36 of his 38 throws on campus, not including a couple of drops. 25 teams were represented at the workout, including quarterback coaches from the Jaguars (Mike Sheppard) and Panthers (Mike Shula)."
- Evan Silva of NBC Sports
"The only player in NCAA history with 4,000-plus rushing yards and 10,000-plus passing yards, and one of three quarterbacks in NCAA history to have at least 20 touchdowns both rushing and passing in the same season..."
"Three-year starter is a tremendous athlete and a very mobile prospect who set too many college records to count. Strong arm, can laser the ball, also has a 90-plus mph fastball as a baseball pitcher."
"He's a long strider who makes a ton of plays on his feet, and he evades pressure with ease. But in terms or passing, Kaepernick is quite underrated. He puts good zip on his passes, and has very solid arm strength. While his accuracy isn't amazing, it's still better than what many want to give him credit for. He puts good touch on his passes and makes passes towards the sidelines on come backs, hitches, outs and flags look easy."
- Keet Bailey of NFLSoup.com
"Kaepernick has exceptional physical tools. He is still a raw and unfinished project who will have to fine tune some mechanics and learn a pro-style offense. Based on his high ceiling Kaepernick could find himself in the second round of the 2011 NFL draft. We think he is a very solid 3rd round choice for a team with some time to develop a young QB."
- Kevin C. of TheNationalFootballReport.com
"Kaepernick got the opportunity to prove that he could play in a pro-style offense when he accepted an invite to the Senior Bowl in late January. By most accounts, he passed with flying colors. Despite having little experience under center, Kaepernick did a great job with his drops and made strides through the week in diagnosing coverages and listening to coaches.
In Mobile, he also displayed the tremendous athleticism that allowed him to be so successful at Nevada. That athleticism was in full display at the Scouting Combine last week in Indianapolis. His 4.53 40 time was second best among quarterbacks and faster than all the first round candidate quarterbacks, including Jake Locker and Cam Newton. He also showed off his arm strength with a 59 mph throw that ranked as the fastest among quarterbacks at the combine, despite a quirky release."
- Adam Stites of TheJaggernaut.com
"NFL.com's Gil Brant reports that Kaepernick was "very impressive" in front of officials from 26 teams, and confirms Kaepernick has established himself as a "high-round draft prospect." Russ Lande of the Sporting News has Kaepernick rated as the No. 2 quarterback in the draft, behind only Blaine Gabbert. We have him teetering between the Seahawks at No. 25 and Bills at No. 34."
- Reported by RotoWorld.com
"Colin Kaepernick was remarkably consistent during his four years at Nevada. His touchdown passes were 19, 22, 20 and 21. He ran for 1,100 or more yards in each of his final three seasons. The passing yards were the only exception with less production in 2007 and 2009, but even against mostly WAC opponents he only threw 24 interceptions in 1,271 attempts. He also greatly improved his accuracy to 65 percent as a senior."
- Greg Cox of WalterFootball.com
(PS: Apologies for these not being blockquotes. I'm having issues with it quoting the entire post instead of what I highlight.)
It wasn't long ago that the thought of landing Kaepernick in the 4th round was more so a question of "is he worth it?" than "will he be there?" and yet now, as we close in on the final month before the draft, people are beginning to allude to the idea that Kaepernick could come off of the board so early as the bottom of the 1st round.
I view Colin Kaepernick + current mechanics as a "solid" to "good" quarterback but I do believe, with time and good coaching, Kaepernick + improved mechanics will be a force in the NFL. He'll be big, he'll be fast, and he'll be able to burn opposing teams whenever they commit to stopping our deadly backfield from running the ball. He also seems to fit our new philosiphy in wanting to spread the ball around.
He might not be our answer week 1 of 2011 (then again, it doesn't look like there will be a week 1 of 2011) but I think his value as a 2nd round pick is way too high to pass up. It'll enable us to strengthen our team elsewhere with the first round pick and still grab a QB with elite potential.
Ok, ok. I've fed you all of these words and opinions but, really, what does it all mean when you can't really see it for yourself? Seeing is believing, so who am I to convince you of something that you can't even see. Luckily for us, there just so happens to be a fantastic video of Kaepernick on the web.
Colin Kaepernick (via myarosesanchez)
So what say you, Panther fans? Is Kaepernick worth the 38th overall pick, freeing up the 5th pick for another position of need? Is there a glaring weakness you see in him that turns you off? Lets hear your opinion of the seldom mentioned QB. Those of you who I may have convinced that this may not be such a bad move, you're free to sing along with me as much as you wish...
"Driving that train, high on cocaine
Colin Kaepernick you better watch your speed
Trouble ahead, trouble behind
And you know that notion just crossed my mind"