There really isn't one universally accepted, sure fire way to rate a player in the National Football League. But people keep on throwing things up at the wall -- like a strand of spaghetti -- to see what will stick.
Some positions, obviously, are a bit tougher than others. Due to the various archetypes of players that are all tabbed with the same positional name, comparing them against one another can be a bit tricky. An inside linebacker must be looked at differently than an outside linebacker, and each of those types of linebackers can play drastically different from one system to another. You get the idea.
Enter former general manager of the Chicago Bears, Jerry Angelo. He recently penned a piece for The Sideline Review in which he used his nine-point scale system to rank the current crop of NFL quarterbacks. I'm not horribly familiar with this system, and Angelo doesn't really break down the benchmarks one would need qualify as league average or elite.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick makes the final spot in the top 10 of his list with a rating of 8.4. For comparison sake, he rates Seattle Seahawks quarterback Russell Wilson with the same number, and former Niners signal caller Alex Smith is rated just a hair below him at 8.3. Universally accepted best-in-the-league Peyton Manning sits atop the list at 8.9, with fellow members of the elite crop Tom Brady and Aaron Rodgers right behind him.
Is this rating system accurate or fair? I really don't know. Some of the things Angelo says are familiar. Kap has a reputation for not going deep into his progressions, but we actually don't know how deep his progressions are on many plays. Angelo says he is not comfortable in the pocket and relies on his athleticism, but any Niners fan who watched every snap this season will happily tell you how frustrated they were that Kaepernick was hesitant to tuck the ball and run at times.
Personally, I think people have looked too deep at times into what they've seen from Kap at times. Whether the coaching staff is easing in him during his continued development or just prefers the one-look-or-run approach, those are more likely explanations than this notion that he just isn't capable of sitting in the pocket.
The 49ers have an extremely talented and athletic quarterback. Creating opportunities for him to utilize both of those threats -- while keeping the defense honest -- is a benefit, not something they should abandon in favor of a pure pocket-passing threat for now.
It's complex. There are a lot of layers to this. Evidence lies in how wildly Kaepernick has been used in the regular season versus the playoffs. He struggled mightily in Seattle during Week 2, for example. Yeah, a third trip and some subtle changes to the silent counts may have helped, but there was a different game plan during the NFC Championship Game that played to the Niners advantage during Kap's big first half. When you can slay the dragon more than one way, it keeps that giant basilisk on his toes.
It seems the 49ers coaching staff doesn't want a guy who fits one mold. They like creating confusion. Showing different looks. Changing things up to keep their opponent guessing. So, then, isn't Colin Kaepernick perfect for them?
It's a subjective scale created by one guy -- albeit a guy who evaluated players for a living at the highest level.
Ben Roethlisberger is also graded as an 8.4. Phillip Rivers is an 8.6 and Cam Newton is a relative rung up the ladder at 8.7. Would you prefer any of those three over the guy we've got? Where do you think Colin Kaepernick should rank relative to his peers?