Kaepernick for QB in 2012

Associated Press File PhotoFormer Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick was drafted in the second round by the San Francisco 49ers.

Associated Press File PhotoFormer Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick was drafted in the second round by the San Francisco 49ers.

It is time we all stop trying to explain Colin Kaepernick.

Analyzing and deciphering the wonderment that is Colin Kaepernick on a football field obviously can't be accomplished. Nobody, after all, has ever done it correctly.

But, still, we try.

Oh, sure, we always come off looking like those poor, unfortunate souls with the crew cuts and ill-fitting suits in those grainy black-and-white 1950s documentaries who tried to explain Elvis.

He's a flash in the pan. He mumbles when he sings. And what's wrong with that young man's lip?

It's the same with Kaepernick.

The so-called NFL draft experts told us repeatedly the past three or four months that Kaepernick is a project. He is a better athlete than he is a quarterback. He put up big numbers in college only because he ran a gimmick offense against a bunch of bad teams in the Western Athletic Conference.

He can't throw straight. He's fast but he's not quick. He can't read defenses. He can't take a snap from under center. He makes bad decisions in the passing game. And what's wrong with that young man's release?

Well, just stop it.

Some things are better left unencumbered with analysis and explanation. Just sit back, smile and enjoy them.

Colin Kaepernick has always been one of those things.

Wolf Pack football fans, of course, already know all of this. No draft expert has to tell them about Kaepernick's many flaws and imperfections. Pack fans saw them all up close for four years. But for those past four years they also knew that each time they went to watch the kid with the long name, long legs and even longer release play football, they were going to see something that they could tell their grandchildren about.

San Francisco 49ers fans now get the chance to do the same.

But, still, 49er fans are left wondering if their once quarterback-rich franchise has made yet another quarterback mistake. All they've heard since the draft ended last month is how Kaepernick needs to go to quarterback school for a few years, that he's not ready to become the next Joe Montana, Steve Young or even Jeff Garcia just yet.

They've read that Kaepernick will have the slowest, most elongated windup seen at Candlestick Park since the days of Juan Marichal. They've been told that Kaepernick is just as likely to hit the cheerleader behind the end zone right between the eyes with his deep throws as he is the wide receiver behind the safety right between the numbers.

Not even the praise for their new quarterback is all that reassuring. 49er fans know as well as anyone that when draft experts label your shiny, new quarterback a great athlete they are really just saying your quarterback is the next Vince Young.

That is more than a little frightening for a fan base that has seen its share of quarterback busts since it last won a Super Bowl. Do we have to remind you of  J.T. O'Sullivan, Chris Weinke, Tim Rattay, Ken Dorsey, Cody Pickett, Steve Stenstrom and Jim Druckenmiller?

49er fans, though, needn't worry.

All of those flaws and imperfections that Kaepernick will bring with him to Santa Clara this spring and summer didn't prevent him from becoming the most productive quarterback in the history of college football.

Kaepernick, the kid who looks like a small forward in shoulder pads, redefined the position of quarterback at the college level.

This is the only quarterback in college football history, after all, who engineered an offense with three 1,000-yard rushers. And he is the first in NCAA history to ever pass for more than 10,000 yards and rush for more than 4,000 yards.

How do you explain that, draft experts?

All he does is make plays. All he does is win. All he does is get better and better.

He'll do the same in the NFL.

The key to Kaepernick's success in the NFL, though, is not whether or not he corrects his flaws. Kaepernick can be a success in the NFL even with his flaws.

Tom Brady has flaws. Peyton Manning has flaws. Dan Marino had flaws. Every quarterback who has ever played in the NFL has flaws. It's not about eliminating your flaws. It's about learning how to live with your flaws.

That's what Kaepernick, with coach Chris Ault's help and guidance, did at Nevada. It's what Kaepernick and his new coach, Jim Harbaugh, will do in San Francisco. Kaepernick is that intelligent, that talented, that competitive, that driven and that confident in his abilities.

Harbaugh? Well, do you really think he's going to allow the first quarterback he drafted as 49ers head coach turn out to be a bust? He helped turn Andrew Luck into the best quarterback in the country at Stanford. He helped Josh Johnson go from Division I-AA San Diego to the NFL.

He'll do all he can to make Kaepernick a success in the NFL.

He better. Their careers are now linked. Harbaugh's success or failure with the 49ers hinges on Kaepernick's success or failure.

The 49ers' commitment to Kaepernick, for now, seems to be strong enough. They did, after all, trade three picks to get him.

Still, when the Minnesota Vikings took Christian Ponder in the first round, head coach Leslie Frazier said, "We've got our Matt Ryan. We've got our Joe Flacco. We've got our Mark Sanchez," referring to quarterbacks who started right away as rookies.

Harbaugh didn't say that about Kaepernick. Harbaugh went out and all but said, "We've got our Alex Smith."

You pick your so-called quarterback of the future in the draft and then you immediately go out and start the process to bring back your quarterback of the past?

That's a little strange.

But it's all just part of the process. Harbaugh knows he needs a veteran quarterback to run the team in 2011. Smith is as good as anyone. Actually, he's probably the best choice. He'll come cheap. The 49ers don't really have to commit to him beyond 2011.

He's perfect for Kaepernick.

The 49ers, after all, could have hinted at pursuing a veteran like Kevin Kolb, Donovan McNabb, Carson Palmer or Vince Young. You know, guys who have actually had some success in the league.

Bringing back Smith sort of has a John McCain for President 2012 feel to it.

And that, it seems, should get 49ers fans ready for a Colin Kaepernick 2012 campaign as the starting quarterback.


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