I got this idea from Field Gulls. Someone asked if anyone was interested in putting together pre-draft rankings of their current starters. I figured I would give it a shot here. Thought I would do a few of the players on offense to start off and give a quick little opinion after.
Kaepernick could easily be one of the most unheralded, NFL-caliber quarterbacks to come out of college football in a long time. He was one of the most statistically successful quarterbacks in NCAA history and helped bring the Nevada football program to prominence. With an outstanding mixture of athleticism and passing abilities, he has proven himself to be a rare, dynamic specimen whose stock has sky-rocketed after his impressive performance at the Senior Bowl. He has plenty to offer to NFL teams and is extremely coachable, so turning him into a pro-style quarterback shouldn’t be too tedious of a task. If he can stay healthy and build on all of the tools that he developed at Nevada, he could become a great starting NFL quarterback in the near future. I project that he will be a second-to-third round pick. (http://draftbreakdown.com/scouting-report-colin-kaepernick)
I really don't mean to just keep bagging on these "New Era Mobile Quarterbacks". But when are we going to learn that this style of quarterback rarely ever has worked out? And for every Michael Vick or Randall Cunningham, I will give you 10 Akili Smith's or Pat White's. These type of guys just don't work in the NFL. Really the only 2 thing's I like about Kaepernick is that he is a great athlete, and has a strong arm. Other than that, he is has proved nothing as far as being able to fit into an NFL offense, and just as with Cam Newton, nothing he used in college will be used in the pros. In college, if Colin's first receiver wasn't open, he could just take off and run for a first down, no longer, as that just does not fly in the NFL as it would in college. Also, Kaepernick just does not have the ability to "Throw his receiver open", so basically, if the receiver is not Wide Open, Kaepernick can't hit him. He doesn't throw a good deep ball, he doesn't do a good job hitting his receivers right out of breaks, and on top of that, has never really taken the ball out from Center. I am genuinely shocked, and a little disappointed that guys like Kaepernick and Newton are viewed as highly as they are, as Draft Analysts are throwing everything out the window when it comes to what it takes to be a successful NFL Quarterback. (http://www.nfldraftgeek.com/kaepernick.html)
Clearly Prediction #1 was the more accurate of the two. Kaepernick is still growing in his abilities but has settled into a nice starting spot so far and hasn’t shown much if any weaknesses.
Overrated: Frank Gore, Miami
As a true freshman in 2001, Gore, playing in the same backfield as future stars Clinton Portis and Willis McGahee, was more explosive than either of them. Gore was pegged as the next great Miami running back, and rightfully so. Unfortunately, two ACL injuries later, he wasn't nearly the same runner last season and probably never will be. Gore may have a clean bill medically, but that doesn't change the fact he's become tentative on his cuts and average speed-wise. He averaged a good-but-not-great 5.0 yards per carry as a junior and would have benefited tremendously from another year of college, playing behind a healthier 'Canes offensive line. Some team will snatch up Gore late in the first day, just because of his potential, but sadly, he may never return to the level necessary to be an NFL running back. (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/2005/writers/stewart_mandel/04/20/underated.overrated/)
What else needs to be said about Gore that you don’t already know? Pro Bowl caliber running back that has rushed for over 1000 yards in 6 of his 8 seasons and averages 4.6 yards per carry, 40 catches per year and 8 TD’s a season.
Bruce Miller: Positives: "Pass rushing defensive end who projects to linebacker in the NFL. Plays with terrific leverage, gets underneath blockers, and fluid moving in every direction of the field. Chases to get involved in the action, plays with explosiveness, and effectively uses his hands to protect himself. Possesses great first-step quickness, keeps his feet moving, and wedges through blocks up front. Consistently gets penetration, shows ability in pursuit, and goes very hard. Flashes ability to drop off the line and play in space on zone blitzes." (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/nfl/draft-2011/players/49631.html)
Quickly becoming one of the premier FB’s in the game which nobody had predicted due to the switch from OLB/DE projections. Great pick by the 49ers fron office here.
Michael Crabtree: Positives: Ultra-productive, competitive playmaker with prototypical size. Excellent hands; snatches the ball from the air within or outside his body. Secures the ball quickly in his strong hands after the catch. Uses his size, initial quickness and hands to get inside or outside separation off the line of scrimmage. Runs quick slants and has the suddenness to take the route upfield. Excellent body control to high-point the ball in traffic, adjust to any poor throw, tiptoe on the sideline and find his way through creases. Can turn his man out, plant and get the inside shoulder, giving the quarterback a big target down the seam. Quick to stop and adjust for the ball behind him, whether purposely or not. Used outside, in the slot and even in the backfield at times. Always tries to make a play after the catch, keeping his legs moving when tackled low, stiff-arming smaller defenders on the run and extending the ball to get to the first down or goal line. Rubs defenders for other receivers. Displays a good attitude and appears to be a solid teammate without major ego issues. Negatives: March surgery to fix a stress fracture in his left foot will prevent Crabtree from running for scouts leading up to the draft. It's an issue teams are grappling with because a lack of great top-end speed is one of the few concerns about Crabtree. Needs to speed up his release, as he jumps off the line too often trying to lull his defender to sleep. Does not have the elite speed to separate from quick corners on the outside, although the point typically was moot at Tech because he could overpower collegiate talent. Not sudden with the ball in his hands, dancing awkwardly at times instead of using his size and strength. Must improve consistency on downfield blocking, as he has the size to be effective but gives inconsistent effort to get to his man or sustain. Runs with the ball loose in the open field. (http://www.cbssports.com/nfl/draft/players/historical/1125838)
Crabs has shown improvement every year in catches and yardage. He took a while to get started but when he and Kaepernick got on the same page his career really picked up. Solid number 1 receiver capable of moving the chains seemingly at will.
Anquan Boldin: Positives:Nice-sized wide out who consistently makes positive plays for the offense. Extends and catches the pass away from his frame, boxes out defenders and effectively runs after the reception. Adjusts to the errant throw, reaching back to catch the ball without breaking stride. Settles into the open spot on the field, looks the pass into his hands and pulls the throw out of the air. Displays focus, concentration and timing. Negatives: Not quick off the line of scrimmage, lacks sharpness running routes and overall quickness. Does not have the second gear or have separation downfield. (http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/football/2003/draft/players/6726.html)
We didn’t draft him but Boldin has been a top 10-15 WR in the NFL for years. He possesses great hands and an ability to make acrobatic catches and move the chains.
Vernon Davis: There is not a more explosive tight end prospect in this years draft. Davis is an excellent athlete, and has fantastic speed and quickness for the position. Whoever gets him could line him up in various slots because of his physical talent. Davis can get open and once he has the ball, he possesses a rare playmaking trait as a tight end. He will be a factor in the passing game in the NFL.
There are legitimate questions about Davis' size. He does not appear as tall or bulky as his listed weight. That will cause some match up problems in the NFL, both as a receiver and as a blocker. It could limit his ability as a full time tight end.
Other than his size, Davis is an outstanding prospect. If he is a legitimate 6'3, he could potentially crack the Top 10 of the draft. (Update: He measured 6'3-1/2" at the combine) His talent is that good. He is a player that should amaze in workouts with his awesome physical skills. Whatever his size is, Davis should find a role in the NFL as a receiver. His receiving ability is too good to not be utilized in some capacity. Davis is likely to be the first tight end selected, but Marcedes Lewis and Leonard Pope are not far behind. (http://www.footballsfuture.com/2006/prospects/vernon_davis.html)
Easily the most complete tight end playing in the NFL today. His stats don’t show the true abilities and greatness he possesses. He is a man that you must account for on every play. He can stretch the defense with his speed, catch passes deep or over the middle and block damn near anyone.