Sports Fodder: Kaepernick’s draft stock rising | RecordCourier.com

Sports Fodder: Kaepernick’s draft stock rising

by Joey Crandall

Sports fodder for a Friday morning . . .

It sure didn’t take long for Colin Kaepernick to show NFL scouts and media that he just might be the best quarterback in this year’s Senior Bowl. The former Nevada Wolf Pack player hit the ground running during the North team’s first practice (the game is Saturday) this week. “Kaepernick was easily the best performer of the North quarterbacks on Monday,” wrote Adam Caplan of Foxsports.com. “He threw the ball with tremendous timing, power and accuracy. Scouts love his intangibles, his great character and work ethic. He has a wonderful opportunity to make a big jump in the draft.” Rob Rang of cbssports.com wrote, “The Nevada passer clearly has spent the time off (since the Pack season ended on Jan. 9) working on his dropback from center. He was most impressive threading the needle and demonstrating spectacular arm strength.”

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Kaepernick is one of six quarterbacks in the Senior Bowl along with the South’s Andy Dalton (TCU), Greg McElroy of Alabama and Christian Ponder of Florida State and North teammates Jake Locker (Washington) and Iowa’s Ricky Stanzi. Kaepernick, though, is the one creating the most buzz. “Everybody is questioning me, wants to know, can I do it?” Kaepernick told the Palm Beach (Fla.) Post this week. “So this week I really want to show I’m capable of making my reads, dropping back and seeing the defense.”

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Kaepernick headed down to Mobile, Ala., this week as a likely fourth or fifth round pick. After a week of practices in front of NFL scouts and coaches, the Pack quarterback might be picked as high as the second round. The teams that seem most interested in him are the Minnesota Vikings, Washington Redskins and Miami Dolphins, according to various Web sites. The only negative surrounding Kaepernick is his long release. He’s also somehow lost an inch and half off his height. The Senior Bowl lists him at just over 6-foot-4. “On one occasion Kaepernick kept the ball on an option, eluded a defender in the hole and dashed into the secondary, surprising defenders with his rare acceleration for such a big quarterback,” Rang continued.

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It’s time everyone gives Jay Cutler a break. The NFL players who criticized Cutler’s toughness for sitting out the bulk of the second half last Sunday against Green Bay should be ashamed of themselves. Why would Cutler want to miss a NFC Championship game? He’s never faked an injury before. Why do it now, in the biggest game of his life? NFL players should know this better than anyone. There are absolutely no cowards in the NFL. If you are afraid of getting hit or hurt then you don’t make it in the NFL. It’s as simple as that.

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Cutler a quitter? The guy has played five seasons in the NFL. You don’t last five years in the NFL if you are a quitter or lack toughness. He’s missed just one game over the four seasons. And he’s not a quarterback who simply drops into a fetal position if there’s pressure in the pocket. Cutler has run the ball 203 times in his career for a 12.2 average. He’s not afraid to fight for yardage. The man has been sacked 87 times over the last two years playing behind the worst offensive line in football. If he was quitter he would have quit long before Sunday.

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Early Super Bowl prediction: Pittsburgh 28, Green Bay 24. Steelers have a better defense, can run the ball better, have much more Super Bowl experience and Ben Roethlisberger is simply the most underrated quarterback in NFL history. If Roethlisberger gets his third Super Bowl ring next week you can start to sculpt his Hall of Fame bust right now.

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Jimmer Fredette of BYU is Pete Maravich, Jimmy Chitwood, John Stockton and Steve Nash all rolled into one exciting package. The Cougars’ guard scored 43 points in an upset over unbeaten San Diego State on Wednesday. Thank goodness the Wolf Pack isn’t already in the Mountain West Conference, huh? Everyone knows Fredette is going to shoot the ball and, well, nobody has stopped him yet. The Wolf Pack, though,  now should be commended for holding Fredette to a mere 33 points in a 110-104 loss to BYU on Dec. 22, 2009 in Las Vegas.

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If the New York Yankees are seriously going to consider moving Derek Jeter to center field in a few years, well, they might have to use a defense of three infielders and four outfielders. If you think Jeter’s range at shortstop is limited wait until he gets out in center. When Jeter can no longer play short, instead of sending him to center field they might want to send him to Cleveland.