Jim Harbaugh’s decision to take a chance on Colin Kaepernick in the 2011 draft came after some unorthodox scouting, reports Scott Ostler of the San Francisco Chronicle.
Harbaugh first heard about Kaepernick from Andrew Luck — who was Harbaugh’s QB at Stanford when he was coach there in 2010.
When the 2011 NFL Draft came around and Harbaugh was San Francisco’s head coach, he went to Reno, Nevada (where Kaepernick went to college) for a personal workout.
At some point during the workout, Harbaugh challenged Kaepernick to a throwing contest, and the two went at it. Here’s what Kaepernick told Ostler:
“He was running all over the field with me, throwing the football around. From the get-go it was just a competition out there, we’re going to see who can throw the most perfect spirals to each other. And then we’re going to see who can be the most accurate throwing through the goalposts from different spots.”
Harbaugh played quarterback for several NFL teams, and he’s still young enough to keep up with today’s pros.
Kaepernick was never considered a can’t-miss prospect. ESPN draft expert Mel Kiper Jr. had him ranked 7th among QBs behind Cam Newton, Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Andy Dalton, Ryan Mallett, and Christian Ponder. And almost every expert called him a “project” who would struggle outside of a college offence.
San Francisco drafted him earlier than anyone expected (36th overall), and Harbaugh spent the next year and a half teaching him the position and improving his throwing motion.
Now he’s in the Super Bowl, but he might not have even gotten the chance if he wasn’t for the hands-on scouting from the former QB:
Photo: Gary Mook/Getty Images
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