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What Experts Said after 49ers Drafted Kaepernick

Posted Apr 24, 2014

The NFL Draft is a hotbed for instant analysis. We took a look back at what the talking heads said about San Francisco's 2011 second-round pick to see where they were right and wrong.

Soon after the San Francisco 49ers make their first pick in next week’s NFL Draft, league experts will start giving their analysis.

Not all of it will prove to be true.

Looking back on the 49ers second-round selection of quarterback Colin Kaepernick this time four years ago, however, the consensus seemed to be on point.

Kaepernick, whom general manager Trent Baalke traded up nine spots to grab on April 28, 2011, has enjoyed four strong seasons to start his career, guiding San Francisco the Super Bowl in 2012 and the NFC Championship game in '13.

Let’s look back at what was said in the minutes and hours after he became a 49er.

ESPN’s Mel Kiper Jr.: “Jim Harbaugh found a quarterback he can develop with Kaepernick in Round 2, but even with the run on quarterbacks, I saw that as a reach. There's a lot of development needed.”

ESPN’s Todd McShay: “Kaepernick needs work and is a long way away, but with the right coaching he could be one of the steals of this draft.”

FoxSports.com’s Adam Caplan: “Kaepernick may wind up being the best player out of their draft class, but down the road.”

SI.com’s Peter King: “Will he become a good NFL quarterback? No one knows. But he'll work at Harbaugh's pace and give it everything he has.”

SI.com’s Kerry Byrne: “He has incredible athletic talents and put up great numbers on the ground and in the air at Nevada. Kaepernick could be a great value in the second round.”

The Sacramento Bee’s Matt Barrows: “Kaepernick is full of potential. He's tall, strong-armed and he scored 59 rushing touchdowns in four seasons at Nevada.”

SFGate.com’s Kevin Lynch: “What’s best about Kaepernick is his intangibles. You will hear a lot about his running ability and his strong arm, but what’s most impressive is his four fourth-quarter comebacks, including when he lead a drive in the fourth quarter to tie the game against unbeaten Boise State this year. The concerns about Kaepernick is his long release, which doesn’t seem to fit in to being a West Coast quarterback, and his running might also be seen as a detriment. Typically, running quarterbacks in the NFL get sacked often because they take their eyes off their receivers and look to run.”

Rotoworld.com’s Evan Silva: “Like the pick or not, Kaepernick is set up for success under quarterback guru Harbaugh.”

NFLDraftScout.com’s Rob Rang: “Kaepernick possesses many of the attributes necessary toward becoming successful in the NFL. He has a rare combination of size, arm strength and mobility for the position and is intelligent and hard-working. His awkward throwing motion has drawn the ire of some, though the 49ers are obviously comfortable with it. Recognized for his development of Andrew Luck at Stanford, Harbaugh's ability to cultivate Kaepernick will go a long way in determining both men's success in the NFL.”

CBSSports.com’s Pete Prisco: “Passing on Blaine Gabbert and then trading up to get Colin Kaepernick (was a questionable move). They will now be linked together in 49ers draft history… They better hope… Kaepernick is better than the QBs taken ahead of him. That was risky passing on a quarterback at No. 7.”

Huffington Post’s Jordan Schultz: “I thought San Francisco should have gone quarterback in the first round. But unlike the Cardinals, the 49ers did address the most glaring need right after that by acquiring Colin Kaepernick (pictured). The scrambling and uber-athletic Kaepernick is a project who ran the pistol offense at Nevada, but clearly new coach Jim Harbaugh feels comfortable developing him.”

Sporting News’ Clifton Brown: “They smartly traded up to get a quarterback. Problem is, he’s not ready to start right away. Maybe Blaine Gabbert would have been.”

Yahoo Sports’ Jason Cole: “The most impressive thing the 49ers did was not reach on a quarterback at that spot and instead waited until the second round to get Colin Kaepernick, who has just as much chance of being great as first-round quarterbacks Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder. The 49ers had to make a slight trade up to get Kaepernick, but that was perfectly acceptable.”

(Article originally written in April of 2014 by former associate digital editor Andrew Pentis.)

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