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Thursday, February 24, 2011

Colin Kaepernick Scouting Report

Colin Kaepernick, QB, Nevada, 6'5 225 lbs


Don't these 2 QBs just look similar?
Size/Arm Strength: 9.5 - Extremely gifted as an athlete, Colin Kaepernick's long and lean frame is reminiscent of Vince Young, former University of Texas Longhorn and current NFL player. Needs to add some weight to his skinny frame, but nonetheless he has ideal size for a quarterback in the NFL.

Kaepernick competed at the annual summer passing camp, the Peyton Manning Passing Academy last summer in preparations for his senior season, catching the eye of former Super Bowl winner and Pro-Bowl quarterback Peyton Manning and younger brother Eli Manning, also a Super Bowl winer and Pro-Bowler. The two brothers "giggled" at how much velocity and zip there was to Colin Kaepernick's ball. His arm strength might've been the most impressive they had ever seen. These are two of the NFL's best saying this. 

Even more so following the Senior Bowl, Colin Kaepernick's ability really came into national focus. 

Colin K. impressed the Manning Brothers

Here is what NFL Draft Scout said following their evaluation of Colin Kaepernick's senior bowl week, 
"Displaying the arm strength, accuracy and touch to be an early round pick, Kaepernick played side by side with Washington's Jake Locker... and was the more impressive thrower." 
My position on Jake Locker is well documented within this site, but this high of praise for Kaepernick's ability is universal among scouts involved with the draft. 

I recently spoke with and have gotten to know better Eric Galko from Optimum Scouting. A respectable and knowledgable draft expert, Eric could not help but listen in on an NFL scout talking about Colin Kaepernick. In regards to what the scout said, 
"Heard on plane back from scout that Kaepernick could go as high as 2nd round! I think Mia, Ten, Min most interested; I think he's a project."
 I usually smirk and give little credence when draft bloggers mention sources or scouts, but seeing how Eric personally was onboard a plane with the scout, I am convinced that the report is firm. To the point, if Kaepernick continues to show this kind of improvement in the NFL Combine, his stock will only go higher. The closer and closer we get to April 28th, the more possible it becomes for Colin Kaepernick to get drafted in the late first round area. 

Accuracy: 7 – In each progressive year, Colin Kaepernick improved his completion percentage, finishing the 2010 season with a 64.9 completion percentage (53% freshman year, 54% sophomore year, and 58% junior year). 

Colin K. and his delivery
Despite the awkward delivery, Kaepernick's ability to fit the ball in tight windows is often overlooked. His high throwing plane is what allows Colin to make throws over linebackers but underneath the safety. In the NFL he won't get away with forcing throws over the middle due to much more talented linebackers, however I really do feel throwing above the reach of linebackers is one of Colin Kaepernick's strong attributes as a quarterback. 

In looking over Colin Kaepernick's games this season, he flashed an ability to make solid throws outside of the numbers. He is inconsistent with his ball placement on these throws, but he does a good job of minimizing turnovers. That being said, he This ability dovetails off of Kaepernick's huge arm and the velocity he is able to put behind the football. 

The consensus concern is Kaepernick's accuracy vertical and deep down the field. Kap was never asked to throw many "go routes" because of a option run, spread attack offense. Kaepernick excelled in the short passing game, and was particularly effective throwing intermediate passes outside of the numbers. The flashes of greatness are quite evident in the big plays and highlights Colin Kaepernick put on display throughout his career. The stats do not lie about his ability to produce. The thing going forward will be his consistency in being accurate, cleaning up of technique, and making a label for himself. Is he just a "developmental project"? Or can he convince an NFL team that he can come in and compete early on? 

Throwing Mechanics/Footwork: 5 – This is the area with the most fluctuation in evaluation. You have solid junior and senior tape on Colin Kaepernick performance wise, but throwing mechanics and footwork are glaring weaknesses. Major improvement and development are musts for the kid. At the same token, as an evaluator for the draft, you have to take into consideration the work, effort, and results from Kaepernick's pre-draft workouts, senior bowl and combine which is coming up this weekend. 

When I break down Colin's throwing motion, he surprisingly gets the ball out very quickly. His non-throwing arm, the lead hand is what throws people off. He pronates his arm straight forward in an unorthodox manner, but behind that cover he rears the ball back and fires it out with great velocity. I found out that this quick delivery however came in spurts. Colin gets into trouble when he puts in a windup to his throws. This can be attributed to his former days as a baseball player (actually drafted by the Cubs in '09). Nevertheless his delivery needs work, but somehow is effective. 

Colin's release and spin of the ball is quite exceptional. His clean, tight spiral was evident in senior bowl practices. This release combined with his velocity, arm strength, and flashes of accuracy intrigue talent evaluators. The ceiling for Colin Kaepernick in the 2011 NFL Draft is as high as any quarterback available. 

Colin K., next surprise 1st rounder?
Mobility/Athleticism: 10 - In each of his final 3 seasons at Nevada, Colin Kaepernick averaged more than 7 yards per rush, compiled more than 1,100 yards rushing, and scored 16 or more touchdowns. His final year in 2010, Colin did what only 2 other modern quarterbacks have done. He, along with Tim Tebow, and Cam Newton are the only quarterbacks to throw for 20 or more touchdowns, and run for 20 or more touchdowns. The 20-20 club so to speak. 

Kaepernick's athleticism as mentioned earlier in this report, is remarkable. At 6'5 and 225 lbs, Colin Kaepernick runs like a deer; he is a long strider, and is very smooth in open space. His top end speed is what separates Colin Kaepernick; Colin is very similar to Cam Newton in that both hvae the ability to really turn on the jets after hitting the second and third levels of a defense (linebackers and safeties). On tape, you can just see his 4.5 speed as he blows by safeties and cornerbacks en route to a long touchdown run. His combine results need to provide backing for the claims that he can run a sub 4.5 40 time. 

The escapability factor, a growing trait necessary at the NFL level, is another positive to Kap's game. Particularly against Boise State in their home upset win, Colin Kaepernick was able to consistently avoid the pressure, move around comfortably inside and outside the pocket, and throw the ball accurately downfield. Any time he needed to come up with a big play, he made it. This ability to escape pressure also leads to another plus for Kap, as he is an accurate passer while on the move. His arm strength and velocity allows him to make NFL caliber throws down the sidelines and outside the numbers. 


Best fit: Tennessee Titans, Miami Dolphins, Minnesota Vikings; as mentioned before all three are interested. All three teams have strong receiving corps, and all three most definitely need starting quarterbacks. Steam will come up around April about HOW interested these teams may or may not be, and that is something I will be closely following and updating on. 

X-Factor: How will he fair at the combine, competing against top NFL Draft prospects Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Ryan Mallett, and Christian Ponder? Will he come in a more polished quarterback? Or will the stigma of being a developmental player stick with him? 

The interviewing process for Colin Kaepernick will also be a huge deciding factor in where he gets drafted. Everyone knows how good of a kid Kaepernick is, but what needs to be determined for certain is whether or not his football IQ is up to par. "Chalk talk" with NFL teams will likely be the center of interviewing for Kaepernick. 

"Chalk talk"
Playing in a Pistol offense Colin Kaepernick will be transitioning to a completely different offensive scheme at the pro level, regardless of who drafts him. His biggest problem at times, is his decision making, as he will force throws towards his primary receiver. He rarely went through difficult passer progression, so this will be a big key for teams interested in drafting Colin Kaepernick. The upside and physical attributes warrant high draft value, but the unpolished passing ability will draw concerns. Intangibles of football IQ, character, and personal drive will have to be the overriding factors for Colin Kaepernick if he expects to get drafted at the end of round 1.

Where he will be picked: Late 1st to Mid 2nd Round

Where he should be pickedEarly 2nd Round

NFL Comparison: Vince Young, QB, Texas


  1. Thanks much!

  2. I think if you put this guy with the vikings and have Peterson in the back field with Sidney rice and Percy Harvin he could do something but this is college if he goes to the NFL he will need a top QB coach I think the best place would be the 49ers with them just signing Jim Harbuagh not to mention the 49ers have 4 1st round picks invested in there O line plus he would have Crabtree, Gore, and Vernon Davis not only does this seem like a good place I also heard that the 9ers and Dolphins will both have private meetings with Kaepernick