Aug 8, 2013; San Francisco, CA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) drops back for a pass during the first quarter of the game against the Denver Broncos at Candlestick Park. Mandatory Credit: Ed Szczepanski-USA TODAY Sports

Quarterback Rankings: No. 11

Every two days, Rishi Pochiraju will reveal a quarterback on his grand list of quarterback rankings. Each quarterback will receive a grade out of 50 – 10 points for each category. See his page for earlier ranked quarterbacks. Up next: number 11.

#11. Colin Kaepernick, San Francisco 49ers

Dolphins fan 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick seized his opportunity and became the San Francisco’s starter after what turned out to be Alex Smith’s season-ending concussion.

As we all know, Kaepernick and his team fell five yards short of a Super Bowl lead, and possibly a win, on a highly-controversial fourth-down incompletion.

While we can spend the offseason debating on whether pass interference should’ve been called, Kaepernick and the 49ers are working towards a season where they look to represent the NFC in the Super Bowl once again, and this time, hopefully will go one step further.

Physical traits and athleticism

Listed at 6-5, Kaepernick is huge for a quarterback. Even at that height, he has tremendous speed. Last year, he set the record for rushing yards in a game for a quarterback (181) in the divisional playoff game against Green Bay. He’s perhaps the most athletic quarterback in the league, and at his size, there’s little chance Kaep will get hurt running the football. Grade: 9.5/10

Arm talent

Kaepernick has one of the strongest arms in the NFL. He has a good balance of arm strength, but sometimes relies on it too much, which contributes to his type of javelin-like throwing motion. He’s capable of making any throw, however, even when his mechanics aren’t sound, so his arm talent is an asset. Grade: 8.5/10

Mechanics

As previously mentioned, Kaepernick seems to throw with a javelin-like motion, which could be attributed to the fact that he played baseball before declaring for the NFL Draft in 2011. His footwork is actually aided by the run game – the play-action pass set up by the read-option game allows Kaepernick to set his feet cleanly, which he does often. However, when he doesn’t set his feet, the ball sails on him, as it did in the Super Bowl, leading to his only interception. Grade: 7.5/10

Mental make-up

Kaepernick didn’t do much of reading defenses last year, but did recognize blitzes, make audibles, and command his team in the huddle and the line of scrimmage during his time as a starter. There’s a lot in terms of the mental game that Kaepernick can improve upon, which includes reading defenses – that can also help him make throws under pressure instead of taking off, protecting himself. His football IQ is also very strong. Grade: 8/10

Intangibles

Kaepernick comes across as an enjoyable person who’s fun to be around. He has a great attitude towards the game, and he is already evolving into a leader of the 49ers. The tattoos shouldn’t throw anyone off – that’s simply his way of expressing himself. Kaepernick is a competitor who deserves to be playing in this league. Grade: 8.5/10

Overall impression

Colin Kaepernick is gifted with tremendous natural ability and a knack for making plays. With Michael Crabtree hurt, more may be placed on his shoulders to lead the ‘Niners back to the Super Bowl. One thing about that statement is obvious: Kaepernick is definitely capable of doing so. Overall Grade: 42/50

Tags: 49ers Colin Kaepernick FanSided Fansidednfl Michael Crabtree NFL Quarterback Rankings San Francisco 49ers

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