- Paul Gutierrez, ESPN San Francisco 49ers reporter
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He was not particularly admired for his scrambling ability, though. And yet, with 2,787 career rushing yards, he ranks 10th in NFL history among quarterbacks.
So surely he’d have a take on Hall of Fame QB and ESPN analyst Steve Young’s recent take that his own skill set as a running quarterback stunted his growth as a pocket passer, the inference being that Colin Kaepernick ’s running ability could be slowing his arm’s development.
Harbaugh did not hesitate.
“He’s growing and growing and growing as a pocket passer,” Harbaugh said of Kaepernick. “I think he’s one of the most dynamic pocket passers in the game of football today. And he’s one of the most dynamic runners.”
Kaepernick’s 322 rushing yards this season rank second to Seattle’s Russell Wilson and his 571 yards, but Kaepernick’s Total QB Rating of 54.9 is his lowest since he became the Niners’ starting quarterback in 2012.
Young, meanwhile, is No. 3 all-time for a QB with 4,239 rushing yards, behind Michael Vick (6,006 yards and counting) and Randall Cunningham (4,928).
The rest of the top nine: Fran Tarkenton (3,674), Steve McNair (3,590), Donovan McNabb (3,459), John Elway (3,407), Tobin Rote (3,128) and Kordell Stewart (2,874).
How, then, would Harbaugh describe his own playing experience, which included one Pro Bowl selection?
“Pretty mediocre,” he said.
“Yeah, I was mediocre. I was a mediocre player. Kap’s a great player. That’s a big difference.”
With 2,787 career rushing yards, Harbaugh ranks 10th in NFL history among quarterbacks.