Back in the 2011 NFL Draft, the Denver Broncos swapped their second round draft pick with the San Francisco 49ers. The 49ers drafted Colin Kaepernick and the Broncos drafted Rahim Moore, but what would have happened if the trade did not go down and the Broncos decided to draft Kaepernick instead? Well, that would provide quite an interesting turn of events.
At that point in time, the Broncos had Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow as their quarterbacks. Adding a quarterback with Kaepernick’s abilities would prove to be quite the quarterback battle. You have the passer in Orton, the running option in Tebow, and Kaepernick who can seemingly do both. Fast forward to the 2011 NFL season, and I imagine that just like in that year Orton would have done alright but struggled up to the point where he was benched for Tebow. Then we would see Tebow do what he did that season and lead the Broncos up until the point in which Tebow struggled. This is where I could see Kaepernick as the starting quarterback for the final game or two of the regular season. With Kaepernick at the helm, the Broncos would have won at least one of those games and had a bit more breathing room, finishing at 9-7 ahead of the other teams to clinch the AFC West.
At that point, when Peyton Manning was released, it would be a difficult situation for the Broncos since they have Tebow, who they do not trust a whole lot and a possible star in Kaepernick. So because of that, the Broncos could be hesitant on signing Manning because they would want to see what Kaepernick could do after his success the last couple weeks of the season. I could see a situation in which the Broncos signed Manning and released Tebow while having Kaepernick learn under Manning. John Elway would see Kaepernick as a more improved Tebow, giving him the reason to stay. I think then Kaepernick would have waited on the sidelines until Manning retires, meaning he could possibly be the franchise quarterback at that point. I could see a situation in which the offense would have some plays designed for Kaepernick by using his feet or in a wild cat (which the Broncos referred to as the Wild Horse at one point) formation to throw teams off.
So, I believe Kaepernick would be a star player, but it would just take a couple more years before he emerged due to Manning. Oh, and Moore? He would be with the 49ers and part of that great defense. Tebow would probably play for the 49ers and be Alex Smith‘s backup until the injury, and Tebow would lead the team into the playoffs like he did with Denver. The football world is full of what ifs and what could have beens, but you can never fully predict how one change can impact the league.