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Our writers and analysts examine how the first round could unfold. Find out the direction each team is projected to take when they're on the clock in
Apparently, Kaepernick believes his time to take the reins could come as early as next season. The quarterback, who will begin his second second season in the NFL come this August, recently told the Reno Gazette-Journal that coach Jim Harbaugh told him he'd have a chance to compete with Alex Smith for the starting spot this offseason.
"Someone told me coach Harbaugh said it's an open job," Kaepernick said, via The San Francisco Chronicle. "It will be earned. I think they'll give me a fair shot."
"I plan on being in San Francisco and plan on trying to take the starting job," Kaepernick added. "That's what your goal is as a football player."
The Niners surely will make re-signing quarterback Alex Smith one of their top priorities this offseason, and supplanting Smith will be tough for Kaepernick. Smith, the No. 1 overall pick in the 2005 draft, had his best season of his career in 2011, throwing 17 touchdowns to five interceptions with 3,144 yards in leading the Niners to a 13-3 record and an NFC title game appearance.