Chip Smith might be the only man who has spent considerable time personally working out Cam Newton and Colin Kaepernick -- and he believes the Nevada quarterback is a superior athlete when compared to Auburn's Heisman Trophy winner.
"They're a lot alike in terms of being really special, and they're both extremely athletic," said Smith, founder of Duluth, Ga.-based Competitive Edge Sports. "But Colin is actually a little bit better athletically. He's a little faster -- I've clocked him as low as a 4.4 (-second runner in the 40-yard dash) -- and there isn't a quarterback in this draft who throws the ball with the velocity that Colin does. Colin is a better athlete, and he understands the game better."
That's high praise from a man who has trained elite football players for 20 years. Smith also has long ties to Newton's family and worked with the quarterback after he left the University of Florida in 2008 and was looking at other schools.
Smith, who spent the winter training Kaepernick for February's NFL Scouting Combine, said he expects a team to move up into the back end of the first round to land the quarterback. Smith also said the fact that some analysts have Kaepernick rated as low as the fifth-best quarterback in next week's draft motivates the prospect.
"Of the 56 quarterbacks I've worked with, Colin is the most prepared for the NFL," Smith said. "I've never seen the kind of complete package like Colin Kaepernick has."
Smith believes that questions concerning the level of play that Kaepernick faced in college won't hinder his development and the quarterback will make an immediate impact in the NFL.
"I think Colin is game-ready to step in and play," Smith said. "He has the physical package, and the arm and he's very intelligent. He understands the mental aspect of it."
Smith said he and his staff spent considerable time getting Kaepernick more comfortable under center, working on snaps and exchanges. They also dedicated hours daily to the precise footwork required for three-, five- and seven-step drops.
Kaepernick has been busy visiting and working out for NFL teams, including the Cleveland Browns, Denver Broncos, Oakland Raiders, Philadelphia Eagles, San Francisco 49ers and Tennessee Titans. I'd be surprised if Kaepernick, who has been invited to attend the draft, isn't gone within the first eight picks of the second round, with the potential for him to go significantly higher.