After all, this is the regime that boldly benched Smith after spending hundreds of hours on the practice field with Kaepernick, the high-ceilinged young passer who Bengals owner Mike Brown admits he coveted over Dalton during the 2011 draft.
Based solely on his game tape, Kaepernick still needs work. Hall of Famer Steve Young says the QB looks to run too often after his first read fades away. We'd argue, though, that Kaepernick rarely had a second read in last year's target-depleted attack. Once Michael Crabtree returned from injury, however, Kaepernick's numbers blew up.
Now armed with a top-five receiving corps, we expect Kap to bloom into a top-10 talent under center for years to come.
Here are 11 other takeaways from Wednesday's OTAs:
2. Jermichael Finley isn't lacking for suitors. NFL Media Insider Ian Rapoport reported that the pass-catching tight end recently visited with the Steelers and was cleared by their team doctor, who also doubles as Finley's personal physician. With the Raiders and Patriots also showing interest, the former Packers weapon won't be unemployed for long once teams believe he's healthy enough for battle.
3. The New York Giants have lost yet another defensive back to suspension. Big Blue on Wednesday announced that third-year cornerback Jayron Hosley has been banned without pay for the first four games of the season for violating the NFL's substance-abuse policy. After releasing talented safety Will Hill, this front office won't hesitate to part ways with a fringe player like Hosley.
4. Marcell Dareus wasn't the only Bills defender involved in Friday's street racing incident. Fellow lineman Jerry Hughes confirmed to reporters that he was behind the wheel of the black Camaro that police cited as zooming along with the white Jaguar driven by Dareus. Buffalo promises a nasty front seven if those mentioned above can stay focused on football.
6. Rex Ryan on Wednesday couldn't hide his frustration with Dee Milliner. Piqued to see the second-year cornerback miss practice with a nagging hamstring, the Jets coach told reporters that Milliner needs to "step it up" and "understand that he has to be in extraordinary shape."
Rex was far more generous with 5-foot-7, 167-pound rookie cornerback Jeremy Reeves:
8. David Wilson remains in flux after Wednesday morning's neck exam. Rapoport was told by a source that the third-year Giants running back still hasn't been cleared for full-contact activities. Team doctor Russell Warren, though, cited "significant progress" and anticipates Wilson gaining clearance "at the start of training camp."
9. More from the trainers' room: Redskins deep-threat DeSean Jackson was limited for a third straight day with a slight hamstring pull he labeled as "a little nick," per ESPN.com's John Keim. ... In Detroit, Ziggy Ansah's shoulder injury continues to keep the promising Lions pass-rusher from practicing this offseason. ... Down in Georgia, Falcons receiver Julio Jones (foot) was seen by reporters cutting on the field, per ESPN.com's Vaughn McClure. Promising news for an Atlanta offense that plans to run plenty of three-receiver sets come September.
11. Appearing on NFL Network's NFL AM on Wednesday, Rams coach Jeff Fisher emphasized there is "no doubt whatsoever" that Sam Bradford will be under center for the season opener. The revelation prompted Chris Wesseling to remind society: "The Rams are doomed to mediocrity in the NFL's most competitive division."
12. It's June 4, and every player in the league is amazing: