NFL roster cuts: AFC | NFC

Insiders: Kaepernick not top tier QB yet

July, 2, 2014
Jul 2
12:00
PM ET
In an Insider piece, NFL Insider Mike Sando polled 26 executives and coaches Insider to figure out the top NFL quarterbacks.

Jones
Kaepernick
Sando asked the NFL insiders to evaluate the quarterbacks in tiers. They voted the 32 starting quarterbacks in five tiers, although none fell into the fifth tier. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick received a grade in the second tier. He ranked as the 14th best quarterback according to the insiders.

Here is what Sando wrote about Kaepernick: Evaluators want to see more from Kaepernick as a reader of defenses, playing within the pocket. They acknowledge his strong arm and dynamic running ability: Kaepernick, like Wilson, has good passing stats from within the pocket, with or without play-action. But there's still a perception around the league that neither is proven in that area. "Kaepernick can affect the game on so many levels," a defensive coordinator said. "He's been to a Super Bowl, been in a championship game. He has kind of revolutionized some stuff. He is a different kind of 'two' than most of them, more multidimensional." Kaepernick, like Wilson, has benefited from a dominant defense and running game, and his team hasn't asked him to carry the offense week after week. But he's been resilient. "Last year, there were a number of people injured and he still kept finding ways to win," a different defensive coordinator said. "Those kind of guys who show that moxie at quarterback, as a defensive coach, that does factor [in] to me. It is not necessarily all based on their stats."

Sando explained that personnel men are higher on Kaepernick than coaches. Insider Far more executives ranked Kaepernick as a second-tier quarterback than coaches. The majority of coaches put Kaepernick in the third tier.

My thoughts?

Kaepernick has 29 NFL starts. For him to be ranked in the upper half of what is a strong quarterback league is encouraging for the 49ers. Kaepernick is far from a finished product. I’d think if this project was done again in two years; Kaepernick would have a solid chance of being a first-tier quarterback.

But, he does have to address some of the questions the insiders brought up, with his accuracy and pocket play being at the top of the list. But there is little doubting this a quality quarterback.

Bill Williamson | email

ESPN Oakland Raiders reporter

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