San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick spent most of the 2013 season with just Anquan Boldin and Vernon Davis as viable weapons around him, and while both are excellent players, the 49ers lack of diversity in the passing game hurt him. Once Michael Crabtree returned, so did Kaepernick’s numbers, and he was one of the most efficient quarterbacks in the NFL at the end of the season. Heading into a 2014 season that will decide just how much money Kaep will make, the star quarterback has an incredible wealth of weapons around him with a health Crabtree, a re-signed Boldin, Davis at TE, backup TE Vance McDonald, second-year wideout Quinton Patton, and big draft-day trade acquisition Stevie Johnson, who was acquired from the Buffalo Bills for a conditional fourth-round pick after the Bills aggressively traded up to make Sammy Watkins their new No. 1 receiver.
Johnson caught over 75 passes for over 1,000 yards in each season from 2010-2012, and he is undoubtedly a big-time addition for Kaepernick, giving him a fourth consistent, top pass-catching target. Although Johnson struggled last season due to nagging injuries, he’s dead-set on bouncing back.
He’s also got some work in with Kaepernick this offseason, and he’s already been incredibly impressed by the sheer talent and arm strength of his new quarterback. He told 95.7’s The Game, via CSN Bay Area’s Matt Maiocco, “I can tell you one thing: He kind of caught me off guard with the arm that he’s got. The kid’s got a cannon.
“Just seeing how he works. He looks like he’s one of those seasoned guys. Obviously, he’s been to the big dance, he’s been through playoff runs and led his team throughout the season to great seasons. Seeing the poise that he’s got. He’s a talented player. He’s gifted.”
Kaepernick is easily one of the most individually talented quarterbacks in the NFL, and he should have a monster season next year, even if his numbers will inevitably be dragged down a bit by the defenses in his division. Johnson has never played with a quarterback close to Kaep’s level of talent, so I’m sure he’s at least as excited as his young QB.