Now that the combine is over, NFL watchers are busy compiling their mock drafts while the teams are busy trying to figure out which players will best serve their needs and figure out what their strategy will be on draft day.
Although the media continues to focus primarily on Cam Newton, he may not be the best QB available. His Heisman and National Championship notwithstanding, Newton did not post the best numbers at the combine.
Peeling beneath the hype and the media glare and looking carefully at the data, I think there is another senior QB who is the stealth candidate of choice: Nevada's Colin Kaepernick. Here's why.
His career stats speak for themselves. No one in NCAA history can touch them. 10,000 yards passing and 4,000 yards rushing. No player even comes close.
Brad Smith held the record with 4,000+ yards rushing and 8,799 yards passing. Kaepernick absolutely destroyed that record, and not by a little bit, mind you. He bested it by over 1,200 passing yards. I think it is safe to say that record is in his hands for a very long time. In fact, it may be a record that will never be broken. That's because he started nearly every game in his four years at Nevada. To break that record will require four injury free years as a starter with huge production every year.
And here's another mind boggling stat: Kaepernick is the only player in NCAA history to pass for over 2,000 yards and rush for over 1,000 yards in three seasons.
Then consider this one: He tied the all time NCAA record for rushing TDs by a QB at 59. Had he held onto the ball in Hawaii this season, he would have set a new record at 60. Mind you, he surpassed one Tim Tebow for that record.
But none of this explains fully why he is the best QB in the draft. His performance at the Senior Bowl and the combine do.
Reports from the Senior Bowl practice week were that he was very impressive, and may have had the best week in practice of any of the QBs. At the combine, he posted the second fastest 40 yard time among the QBs and was much faster than Newton. He also demonstrated exceptional speed, agility, arm strength and touch. He clearly has the strongest arm of any QB in the draft and threw a 59 MPH football.
But here's what really caught my attention. At the Sports Science testing, he reportedly had off the charts athleticism and spectacular reaction time and accuracy. In this very high tech environment, Kaepernick reportedly identified his target and threw the ball in the vicinity of 64 hundredths of a second with 90 percent accuracy.
To put that in perspective, Peyton Manning didn't come close to that when he was a senior. Much has been said about his arm motion, but the data is clear. Despite his motion, he finds his target and throws a rocket propelled grenade with deadly accuracy in a fraction of a second.
So what we are seeing with Kaepernick is a QB who re-wrote the record books and is the best dual threat in college football history.
But, he is also faster and has a stronger arm than Newton. At 6'6" and 233 pounds, he is also a very big boy. Add to the mix his spotless record, academic performance, innate intelligence and impeccable character along with what Hall of Fame Coach Chris Ault said was "the most ferocious competitor" he had ever seen, and I think Colin Kaepernick is the best available talent in the draft. Certainly, he will need some fine tuning. But, he is very eager, humble and coachable.
Some have him going in second or third round. I would take him in the first round. The team that takes him will have gotten the best QB in the draft. I would not be one bit surprised if Colin Kaepernick is the QB we will be watching on Sundays in a few years, preferably in San Francisco!
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