As a disclaimer, I have never seen Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick play in person before, and only know what I see, read and hear from NFL scouts and the media about him. That aside, this article will attempt to make a case as to why I think his pros vastly outnumber his cons and why he would be an excellent fit for the Miami Dolphins.
In recent years, it seems the trendy thing to do to pick a prospect, and disect every little flaw, every possible problem they may have making the transition from the college ranks to the NFL. Trying to stay on the positive side, I’d prefer to pick a prospect, and give my opinion on why they are a great fit for my team. For those of you who read my first article, you know how important I believe finding a franchise QB is for the Dolphins. I’ve gotten a few responses telling me that this years draft class doesn’t have a franchise QB in it. You may be right, but for the sake of argument, I believe Nevada QB Colin Kaepernick has all the tools to be the last quarterback the Dolphins have to draft for some time.
Let’s take a closer look at this monster QB from Wisconsin. After getting only one scholarship offer to play football, Kaepernick took the offer to play at the University of Nevada. In his four years there, he passed for over 10,000 yards and ran for over 4,000 yards. Combined, he accounted for 141 TD’s for the Wolfpack. He was also one of only three quarterbacks (Tim Tebow and Cam Newton) in FBS history to throw for and run for 20 TD’s in the same season.
Kaepernick is 6’6, 225 lbs – ideal size for an NFL quarterback. I’ve heard the cons a hundred times. He doesn’t have the proper release, he didn’t play in a pro-style offense, he didn’t face any pro-style defenses, he is a running quarterback – therefore he has no shot. My response: his release can be worked on, he will learn to face both pro-style offenses and defenses, and running quarterbacks can be the most dangerous and most electric to watch, if they can be taught patience and decision-making.
Kaepernick has (in my opinion) the most important quality coming out of college. He has a good head on his shoulders. He wants to win. He wants to be a starting quaterback in the NFL. And most importantly, he will do whatever it takes to do so. From interviews I’ve seen with him and articles I have read, he will spend hours watching film, constantly trying to improve his game. He has said he is willing to work hard to change up his release, and to learn everything he can about the pro game. He is confident, but not cocky. Unlike other quarterbacks who think they know everything going in, Kaepernick understands he is a student of the game.
Watching his performance during the Senior Bowl week really erased any doubt I had about him. Despite being one of only two QB’s who didn’t come from a pro-style offense (TCU’s Andy Dalton being the other), he outperformed everybody (unless you want to give FSU’S Christian Ponder the nod). He has the ideal arm strength the Dolphins are looking for to stretch the field, and he isn’t afraid to take chances, something Chad Henne seems unwilling to do.
In a way, he reminds me a bit of Steelers QB Ben Roethlisberger. The one thing I love about watching Roethlisberger play is his ability to move around in the pocket and make smart decisions. Kaepernick’s size and strength are comparable to Roethlisberger, and I believe his decision-making can also be comparable with just a little bit of coaching.
Yes, Kaepernick is a running quarterback. I don’t understand when people say that is a bad thing. Who wouldn’t want a quarterback who is 6’6, 225 lbs, and can run like the wind? People are raving about Cam Newton’s athletic ability, but Kaepernick actually has better pocket awareness then Newton does. A quarterback who is a threat to throw, take off and then throw, or take off and get the first down with his legs? Sign me up! It’s like Michael Vick, except 6 inches taller, 15 pounds heavier, better accuracy, and not insane. (Okay, maybe not quite that fast, but you get the picture)
He also fits with what the Dolphins wants to do. I know many fans aren’t quite ready to give up on Chad Henne yet. Kaepernick is not going to be ready to come in and be the starter from day one. He is still raw, and will need work. This gives Henne time to prove that he can still be a starting quarterback. It will also give him some much-needed competition during training camp. Maybe that will light a fire somewhere deep down inside, and we’ll finally see the real Chad Henne. If that happens, we will find ourselves in a situation much like the San Diego Chargers did a few years back. They drafted Philip Rivers in the first round after Drew Brees had some less then stellar years. Brees came back the following year and played exceptionally well. The Chargers were left with a decision most NFL teams would love to find themselves in. They had two franchise QB’s, and could only keep one. I wouldn’t mind seeing the Dolphins having to make a similar decision.
Unfortunately, Kaepernick’s draft stock has been not-so-slowly rising since the Senior Bowl. I had heard originally, he would be around a mid-third round pick (possibly at low as a 5th or 6th). Anybody remember a certain Florida QB in last years draft, that was supposed to be a third-rounder until the Denver Broncos snatched him up with the 25th pick in the first round? I’m afraid a team will fall in love with Kaepernick like the Broncos did with Tim Tebow, and he will be gone way before it was expected. If the Dolphins decide Kaepernick is the man for them, they better make sure he isn’t the man for any other team.