San Francisco 49ers: Colin Kaepernick's Journey To Becoming NFL's Best Young Quarterback

By Greg Douglas
Geoff Burke-USA TODAY Sports

Colin Kaepernick led the San Francisco 49ers to the Super Bowl last season, but some critics still have doubts about the young quarterback’s future in the NFL. Kaepernick supplanted Alex Smith as the starting quarterback and rose to prominence as a dual-threat quarterback, but his success did not come without criticism both on and off the field. Kaepernick recorded 2,612 passing yards, 679 rushing yards and 22 total touchdowns in 10 games as the starting quarterback for the 49ers last season.

At the beginning of this season, Kaepernick and the 49ers had big expectations that only grew after they defeated the Green Bay Packers in Week 1. Kaepernick had a career day with 412 yards and three touchdowns through the air, but the following games indicated his Week 1 performance was merely an aberration. In the nine games following his spectacular performance, Kaepernick threw for an average of 180 yards and failed to record a touchdown pass in four of those contests. Kaepernick’s paltry passing performances made him the subject of ridicule among many analysts including Trent Dilfer. Dilfer stated:

“Kaepernick this season has not fared as well because defenses have taken away his first read, rendering him a remedial passer who has not learned how to comfortably work through the rest of his receiving progressions.”

On Monday Night Football, Kaepernick punched back at his critics by delivering a remarkable performance against the Washington Redskins. Kaepernick passed for 235 yards and three touchdowns in a crucial win that kept hopes alive in the Bay area. Kaepernick is rounding into form just in time for a stretch run, and Michael Crabtree‘s return only boosts Kaepernick’s value the rest of the season. Times have been tough for the 49ers this season, but a Super Bowl could be on the horizon if Kaepernick continues to increase his productivity.

Who is the best young quarterback? This is a debate that will continue for years, but Kaepernick has had the most success thus far. He has already reached a Super Bowl while his counterparts have failed to reach a conference title game. Kaepernick has struggled at times this season but still holds a higher average Total QBR. His average QBR is 65.8 ranking him 7th in the league while Russell Wilson‘s is 64.2 (9th), Andrew Luck‘s is 62.8 (11th), and Robert Griffin III‘s is 40.2 (29th).

All four of these young quarterbacks have what it takes to win multiple Super Bowls, but who will be the first to hoist the Lombardi trophy? Only time will tell who the best quarterback of this generation is, but if you had to bet on someone look no further than Colin Kaepernick.

Greg Douglas is an NFL writer for Follow him on twitter @thegpd93, like him on Facebook or add him to your Google network.

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