This article was originally published on Golden Gate Sports.
In just 10 starts for the San Francisco 49ers last season, Colin Kaepernick proved to be one of the most intriguing, electrifying quarterbacks in the NFL. Last season, Kaepernick had 1,814 yards, 415 rush yards, 10 pass touchdowns, five rush touchdowns, three interceptions, a 62.4 completion percentage, and a 72.2 QB rating. His prorated stats for last season would’ve been 3,675 pass yards, 544 rush yards, 23 pass touchdowns, and five rush touchdowns.
Kaepernick has enormous potential. He’s become one of the best quarterbacks in the NFC because of his incredible speed, his strong, accurate arm, his great instincts, his athleticism, and his high football IQ. Will Kaepernick be able to convert his tremendous run last season into a full season of stellar play, though?
Kaepernick is an extremely hard worker, and he will prove that his dominance last season wasn’t a fluke. He’ll keep improving, and he’ll have a solid 2013 season.
This season, Kaepernick will pass for about 3,750 yards and rush for about 610 yards. One of Kaepernick’s favorite targets last season, Michael Crabtree, is out for the majority of the season after having surgery on a torn Achilles. In addition to Crabtree’s injury, Mario Manningham is also out rehabbing an ACL and PCL injury. Because of this, Kaepernick will have to rely more on his feet than his arm at times. He will increase his rushing yards this year, despite the belief that defenses will now know how to stop him. He is just too agile and too quick to stop at times, so he will have plenty of opportunities to show off his running ability.
Kaepernick will still have a solid passing year though. He has started to build some chemistry with Vernon Davis, and Anquan Boldin will certainly be a significant contributor with Crabtree out. Kaepernick also appeared to be developing some chemistry with Quinton Patton in the preseason. Although Patton is just a rookie, he had an impressive preseason, so he could potentially become another reliable target for Kaepernick this season.
This season, Kaepernick will throw 22 touchdowns and rush for eight touchdowns. He will also throw 10 interceptions too. As mentioned before, Kaepernick’s options for receivers will be slightly more limited this season than last season. Because of this, the number of passing touchdowns he has this season will most likely be lower than his pro-rated stats last season. In addition, defenses will do more to disrupt Kaepernick in the read-option, since he’s proven to be strong in that type of offense. Despite his accurate arm, this could lead to more interceptions.
Also mentioned before, Kaepernick will have to rely on his rushing more this season. Although this is potentially more dangerous for a quarterback, Kaepernick is explosive and will be able to adjust to whatever a defense throws at him. As he said recently, he’s seen just about every type of defense that attempts to limit his running. He’s ready for physical defense and brutal hits.
“It’s football. You’re going to get hit,” Kaepernick said when asked about hits on quaterbacks on read-option plays.
This season, Kaepernick will have a 61.6 completion percentage and a 74 QB rating. He flourishes in the read-option, and he has an accurate and powerful arm. However, his completion percentage might decrease slightly with Crabtree out.
The QB rating measures a quarterback’s throws and what their performance means to the team’s win or loss on a scale of 0-to-100. It considers what a certain play means to a team and what the quarterback did to contribute to that play. Kaepernick’s QB rating of 72.2 last season ranked sixth in the NFL. This season, his QB rating will improve to 74 because he will have an even larger impact on wins than last season. With several receiving weapons around him last season, he can rely on his receivers more for first downs. This season, expect Kaepernick to take the ball himself more and impact the result of the game more.
Projected stat line for Colin Kaepernick this season: 3,750 yards, 610 rush yards, 22 touchdowns, eight rush touchdowns, 10 interceptions, a 61.6 completion percentage, and a 74 QB rating.