Baltimore Ravens quarterback Joe Flacco has established himself as a postseason winner with an 8-4 career mark in the playoffs. Meanwhile, San Francisco 49ers signal-caller Colin Kaepernick seems to be redefining how the QB position is played. If you were starting an NFL franchise from scratch, which young quarterback would you want on your team?
In the week leading up to the NFC Championship Game, 49ers cornerback Carlos Rogers told me something about Colin Kaepernick that impressed me: Rogers said he believes Kaepernick has staying power in this league because of his comfort and ability under center. In other words, he isn't just a read-option quarterback. We started to see that in his second-half performance against the Atlanta Falcons, which is hugely important when predicting his long-term future.
While I'm a fan of Joe Flacco, Kaepernick's versatility simply makes him too appealing to pass up.
Colin Kaepernick. Although we primarily think of him as a runner, he also is a good thrower. That would allow me to acquire versatile personnel -- including backup quarterbacks who are either pocket passers or runners -- and keep me from having to tinker with the offense much.
I've spoken to someone close to Kaepernick who said the quarterback's drive and focus are off the charts. We've seen how poised he has remained under some pretty adverse circumstances. This isn't a young QB playing caretaker. He is making plays to win games.
This isn't an easy decision. Joe Flacco has had his share of critics during his young career, but his postseason success speaks for itself. He has outstanding arm talent and is a better athlete than he gets credit for being.
That said, I would choose to start my franchise with the hyper-athletic Colin Kaepernick. NFL offenses continue to evolve; he'll provide the skill set to incorporate a thicker playbook.
When you lay out the numbers of Joe Flacco's young career, it is very hard to pick against him. But the offensive diversity that Colin Kaepernick provides is too exciting to pass over. Kaepernick can create explosion plays in both the pass and running games.
As good as Joe Flacco has become, Colin Kaepernick is the wave of the present -- and future. Colleges are starting to exclusively manufacture the dual-threat QB now. Everybody has to have one.
But what really tilts me toward Kaepernick instead of Flacco is this: If your team has the ball on its own 40-yard line, Flacco is capable of throwing a 60-yard bomb for a touchdown. Kaepernick is capable of throwing a 60-yard TD pass, too -- and running for one. You just can't account for the value of a player who not only can make things happen with his legs when protection breaks down but is a threat on designed runs, as well.
I would want Colin Kaepernick. His mobility is far superior to Joe Flacco's. I mean, that's like comparing a Porsche 911 to an '83 Pulsar. But I digress ...
Kaepernick has shown that he can throw the football very well, particularly on intermediate throws. He might not have Flacco's incredible touch in the vertical game, but for a guy with just nine NFL starts under his belt, he's shown ridiculous upside. At this point with Flacco, we know what we're getting. He's a good quarterback who doesn't complete a high percentage of his passes but can seriously hurt teams with the deep ball and plays relatively well in the postseason. The sky might be the limit with Kaepernick, even though the jury is still out at this point. Nonetheless, if you're starting from scratch, it's all about upside.
Joe Flacco certainly has earned himself a ton of money during this postseason run. And he should be considered among the game's best, given what he's done in the playoffs over the past two years -- scratch that, his whole career.
But Colin Kaepernick is the future of the NFL. He does things on the field no other quarterback has done before. If there were a re-draft for the NFL right now, I'm not sure how many quarterbacks I would take over Kaepernick. It's less than five, but probably more than one.