Has good size and arm strength. Shows good zip and velocity down the field and has the arm strength to thread the needle. Does a nice job on the outs and crossing routes as he can lead receivers. Capable of going to his second read. Is capable of making plays with his legs. Deceptively explosive when he can get to the edge and turn it up field because of his long stride gives him good speed. Comfortable throwing on the move and can extend the play. Has long arms to fight off defenders and can be tough to sack, even throwing out a nice stiff arm.
Is not a good decision maker. Tends to trust his arms and legs too much. Not comfortable throwing from the pocket, and playing in the pistol offense means he never takes snaps from under center. Not comfortable moving and sliding within the pocket to avoid the rush, and constantly looks to escape outside the pocket. It leads to him taking a lot of sacks if you can cut off his escape route. Doesn't really know how to throw the ball away. Shows poor ball security when he's out on the move, carrying the ball like a loaf of bread which can lead to fumbles. Doesn't show good touch on his throws, and most of them are lasers and they tend to sail on him. Accuracy is erratic. Has an elongated windup for a release, much like a pitcher. Forces too many throws and doesn't do a good job looking off defenders.
Kaepernick has intriguing combination of size, arm strength, and athleticism, but that's all he is: intrigue. I've watched him since he was a redshirt freshman starter, and he has not shown significant improvement as a passer since them despite all of his experience. He's a dual threat guy that can make plays, but he doesn't show enough of the tools and skills to be a competent passer at the next level. His numbers improved each year, capping off with a 13-1 record as a senior, completing 64.9% of his 359 attempts for 3022 yards, 21 touchdowns, 8 interceptions, 1206 rushing yards, and 20 rushing touchdowns. Over his career, he accumulated a 32-16 record as a starter, completing 58.2% of 1271 attempts for 10,098 yards, 82 TDs, 24 INTs, and rushed for 4112 yards (6.9 avg) and 59 touchdowns.
The player that Kaepernick reminds me of is Vince Young. Like Young, he's got good tools with good size, mobility, and arm strength, but his mechanics and footwork need work. Kaepernick's release is just like a baseball pitcher's, and unlike VY he's going to take a lot of sacks because the ball takes a split second longer to come out, coupled with his poor pocket management skills. In the end, Kaepernick is going to struggle just like Young to be a consistent, efficient passer. He's going to have difficulty completing 60% of his passes and his poor touch isn't going to do his receivers many favors. His decision making isn't particularly good and I don't think he can manage an offense. If he had a running game like Young had in Tennessee, he might do alright. He's a good, humble guy that you like watching in college, but his skills don't translate well to the next level. He's a project, and even if you do develop him, again he's not going to be anymore effective a passer than Vince Young or Jason Campbell-type of starter. That's fine for a stopgap, but again that's the BEST you can hope for out of Kaepernick. I think it's doubtful he gets that far unless he goes to a team that really commits to sitting him for three whole years and having the talent around him that is going to take the onus off him to make an offense go. I think it's more likely that he becomes another Charlie Whitehurst, riding the pine for several years, but when you give him the opportunity to be a starter, he brings very little to the table that makes you think he learned much in all that time. I think a team that drafts him with the intention of developing him as a starter is going to be sorely disappointed. A team that drafts him purely for depth might become a bit more satisfied with the outcome.
Kaepernick could compete for a reserve role here in Atlanta. But he's too raw to think he's more than a practice squad player at the start, and unless the team dumped Redman as the No. 2, it's going to be hard for him to stick as anything more than the No. 3. He doesn't have the passing prowess to really surpass Wilson on the depth chart.
Kaepernick merits a look in the late rounds because he can play in this league, but not play well. He has marginal upside as a starter, so the highest he should go off the board is the fifth round.
1-poor, 2-weak, 3-above average, 4-very good, 5-elite
Arm Strength: 4.0
Decision Making: 2.0
Pocket Awareness: 2.0
Scouting reports of the quarterbacks in the 2011 Draft.
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