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Madden didn’t understand why Kaepernick wasn’t more highly rated in 2011 draft

Kaepernick AP

During the 2010 college football season, former NFL coach and legendary broadcaster John Madden tripped over plenty of Nevada games on TV.  And Madden was impressed by the team’s quarterback, Colin Kaepernick.

“When I watched him, he had a strong arm,” Madden tells Sam Farmer of the Los Angeles Times.  “You knew that.  There’s a thing where a guy doesn’t have a strong arm, or the guy’s too small, or he can’t run — Kaepernick could do all those things.”

So Madden tried to find out why there wasn’t more NFL buzz about Kaepernick.

“I remember I said to [Raiders owner] Al [Davis],’What’s wrong with Kaepernick?’  And Al said,’Nothing.’  But I think Kaepernick was just under the radar.”

The nudge from Madden may have gotten Kaepernick on to Oakland’s Raider.  Kaepernick has said he thought the Raiders would be drafting him.

“I always wondered, what was wrong with him?” Madden said.  “Because I couldn’t see anything wrong. I just thought, there must be something wrong with him because he was never in play [among the top prospects].  Wherever the line was, he was next guy.”

Madden’s right.  The first tier in 2011 consisted of Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert, and Christian Ponder.  All were taken in the first 12 selections of the draft.

Then came the Bengals at No. 35, who took Andy Dalton over Kaepernick.  (Secretly, the Bengals could be regretting that one.)  With the next selection, the 49ers removed Kaepernick from the board.

Madden is now a fan of Kaepernick, whose performance likely has been elevated by coaching from Jim Harbaugh.  Kaepernick possibly wouldn’t have had the same impact with a different team.  He’s had a huge impact in a fairly short time with the 49ers, and one of the big story lines for the coming season will be whether he can continue to do what he did in 2012 — especially with a depleted receiving corps.

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60 Responses to “Madden didn’t understand why Kaepernick wasn’t more highly rated in 2011 draft”
  1. jimmyt says: Jul 30, 2013 8:10 AM

    We’ll see.

  2. gooch80 says: Jul 30, 2013 8:10 AM

    Btw, the jury is still out on this guy. Don’t be so quick to anoint him as the next great QB. He had a nice half of a season.

  3. touchdownroddywhite says: Jul 30, 2013 8:10 AM

    He very well could’ve been a different QB in a different city, but the fact that he has the physical tools and mentality he does speaks to the fact he was never going to be less than a league average starter.

  4. irvin12589 says: Jul 30, 2013 8:15 AM

    Madden got Kaepernick on Oaklands RADAR?

  5. godofwine330 says: Jul 30, 2013 8:15 AM

    A lot of people fail to understand that a good reason for probably half of the productive players in the league is coaching and surroundings. Good coaching develops players, whereas poor coaching stunts the growth of players. Had Kaepernick been drafted by the Raiders there is a good chance he would not be on the level that he is now due to the team’s ever revolving door of coaches, as well as not having a coach who has been in the position before that he has now in Harbaugh.

    I love my Browns. Love ‘em, but if we would have drafted this guy with Pat Shurmur do you think he would be as good? Not a chance.

  6. ghent32 says: Jul 30, 2013 8:16 AM

    Andy Dalton completed 62% of his passes last year with 3700 yards, 27 tds against 16 int. I REALLY don’t think the Bengals are crying the blues, and no, I’m not a Bengal fan.

  7. steelbydesign says: Jul 30, 2013 8:16 AM

    Whenever people bring up stuff like the Bengals regretting taking Dalton over Kap I sort of roll my eyes.

    Yes, it’s probably true if they could do it over they would change the pick based on the upside of each guy… but it’s not as easy as saying put Colin on the Bengals and they’re Superbowl contenders.

    Give coach Harbaugh some credit. He turned Alex Smith (who nobody wanted) into a 2nd round pick. I’d say he might have a little something to do with CK’s development.

  8. deadeye says: Jul 30, 2013 8:16 AM

    Fans often forget that player development is as important as the player’s talent. I seriously doubt that CK would have turned out to be so good in only his second season for any coach other than Jim Harbaugh.

  9. michaeljacksonisback says: Jul 30, 2013 8:17 AM

    BUST

  10. ctiggs says: Jul 30, 2013 8:23 AM

    Well John, he is top 3 now.

    #goniners

  11. demolition510 says: Jul 30, 2013 8:27 AM

    Al was going to draft him

  12. 49erstim says: Jul 30, 2013 8:29 AM

    I feel bad for any QB drafted by Jacksonville, Carolina Oakland or Minnesota. At least Carolina had Steve Smith though. Honestly, Kaep lucked out. No first round pressure and he landed in a first class organization. Win win.

  13. bengalguy says: Jul 30, 2013 8:31 AM

    Cincinnati isn’t regretting a thing. They needed a QB that could start immediately. It has been said many times over Dalton was the most GAME ready. Now is Kapernik gonna turn out to be more dynamic, probably, but Cincy got there guy……. and 2 playoff appearances, a Pro-Bowl invite and 2 great statistical seasons later along with all the hype coming with this season……i’m sure the Bengals are MORE than pleased…..I know us fans are!!!!!! WHO DEY!!!!

  14. chris6523 says: Jul 30, 2013 8:38 AM

    If the Bengals are secretly regretting taking Andy Dalton over Kaepernick, I assume that means the Jags and Vikings are allowed to publicly regret not taking him.

  15. superyooper says: Jul 30, 2013 8:38 AM

    “This drafting stuff is HARD!”

    Signed by all past and current management of the Raiders, Jaguars, Bills, Browns, Chargers, Cowboys, Bucs and Cardinals.

  16. jmart1971 says: Jul 30, 2013 8:43 AM

    “depleted receiving corps”????, how many receivers has SF loss, one? geez

  17. eastcoastninerfan says: Jul 30, 2013 8:47 AM

    Mel Kipe, Todd McShay and the other draftniks didn’t put high on their board, so what should NFL teams do. NOT listen to those experts and create their own draft board?

    The top talent isn’t necessarily the ones drafted early.

  18. jda129 says: Jul 30, 2013 8:50 AM

    He can continue what he did in 2012 by losing to the Rams and Seahawks again.

  19. Patskrieg dot com says: Jul 30, 2013 8:51 AM

    He threw sidearm in college. I think most people deserve a mulligan for missing on Kaepernick.

  20. eastcoastninerfan says: Jul 30, 2013 8:57 AM

    People from the 2011 NFL Draft don’t understand why Kaepernick wasn’t more highly rated in Madden

  21. ridingwithnohandlebars says: Jul 30, 2013 8:58 AM

    He only had a Madden rating of 70 the last two years. Will be interesting to see what it jumps to this year.

  22. paythevig says: Jul 30, 2013 9:01 AM

    jda129 says:
    Jul 30, 2013 8:50 AM
    He can continue what he did in 2012 by losing to the Rams and Seahawks again.
    _______________

    There’s that – or – he could continue leading his team to the Super Bowl, and finishing strong. Super Bowl and 5 yards shy of winning it in your tenth start as a pro is pretty darn good.

    To the other – non-niner fan – depleated receivers; yes – Crabtree… Kyle Williams is coming off an ACL, Manningham off an PCL/MCL, and currently two others in camp dealing with injuries… so yea – depleated.

  23. norcalmafia says: Jul 30, 2013 9:02 AM

    Harbaugh is the master developer of qbs..Look what he did with J Johnson at SD State then Luck at Stanford then totaly turned around Smiths career..Now hes got a guy that has more raw talent then any of them.not good news for the rest of the league.

  24. norcalmafia says: Jul 30, 2013 9:04 AM

    Everyone cover your heads theres bound to be a group of Seagulls coming….

  25. theimmaculatedeception says: Jul 30, 2013 9:05 AM

    Florio! You failed to mention the Madden quote “What Jim Harbaugh did with the 2011 49ers will go down as the greatest coaching job in the history of the NFL.”

  26. ridingwithnohandlebars says: Jul 30, 2013 9:08 AM

    He was still drafted way higher than Brady.

  27. decon49 says: Jul 30, 2013 9:08 AM

    eastcoastninerfan says: Jul 30, 2013 8:47 AM

    Mel Kipe, Todd McShay and the other draftniks didn’t put high on their board, so what should NFL teams do. NOT listen to those experts and create their own draft board?

    The top talent isn’t necessarily the ones drafted early.

    lmao. do you really think teams listen to mcshay and the hair helmet? lets be serious

  28. larrydavid7000 says: Jul 30, 2013 9:11 AM

    At that time 2011 he was a nobody duh.!!!!! Its time for Madden to just walk away.

  29. decon49 says: Jul 30, 2013 9:18 AM

    paythevig says: Jul 30, 2013 9:01 AM

    jda129 says:
    Jul 30, 2013 8:50 AM
    He can continue what he did in 2012 by losing to the Rams and Seahawks again.
    _______________

    There’s that – or – he could continue leading his team to the Super Bowl, and finishing strong. Super Bowl and 5 yards shy of winning it in your tenth start as a pro is pretty darn good.

    To the other – non-niner fan – depleated receivers; yes – Crabtree… Kyle Williams is coming off an ACL, Manningham off an PCL/MCL, and currently two others in camp dealing with injuries… so yea – depleated.

    of course they are depleated…who wears pleated pants these days?

  30. robgilman says: Jul 30, 2013 9:19 AM

    “The nudge from Madden may have gotten Kaepernick on to Oakland’s Raider. Kaepernick has said he thought the Raiders would be drafting him.”

    radar? is this a bad pun

  31. sfniners4life says: Jul 30, 2013 9:20 AM

    I don’t image panthers and bengals are to upset with cam and dalton. On the other hand locker and ponder are looking below average. I’m sure glad niners got him and he got that year to develop and learn. I believe that’s a be key to his success. Just look at Aaron Rodgers was ready when he got his shot. I realize teams expect there rookie qb to play day one and be effective but there still something to say for the old system.

  32. sbchampsagain says: Jul 30, 2013 9:20 AM

    To answer Maddens’ question.
    One word.
    Maturity.

  33. raiderlyfe510 says: Jul 30, 2013 9:20 AM

    Scout Dave Razzano loved Kaepernick and raved about his downfield ball placement when evaluating QB prospects for the draft. Razzano was on it.

  34. flaccotoboldin says: Jul 30, 2013 9:20 AM

    I’m biassed, because I’m a Ravens fan – but ask yourself honestly – are things different in that Superbowl if there isn’t a 30 power outage right after a 20 minute halftime?

    If the 9ers and Harbaugh aren’t given almost an hour intermission to get their shi*t together, are we looking at Kaepernick completely differently, as a guy who player the worst game at QB in the Superbowl since Rothlisberger’s first Superbowl?

    I’m not saying Kaepernick isn’t good. I’m saying that the read option is kinda flavor of the month, and that if he doesn’t make the attempted comeback, perception would be a lot different.

    He played about 2 1/3 to 3 quarters of bad football in the Superbowl. A lot of terribleness, but enough highlight plays to keep the media interested.

  35. ranger40 says: Jul 30, 2013 9:29 AM

    So paythevig, have the receiving issues all been ironed out? After all they are “depleated.“

  36. mute617 says: Jul 30, 2013 9:29 AM

    I’m with Madden on this, no clue why Kaepernick wasn’t more highly touted. He was my favorite qb in that draft plus I used him to replace Cutler in my video game.

  37. Neftali Ramos says: Jul 30, 2013 9:33 AM

    Just think about that for a minute. Locker, Gabbert and Ponder….what an awful selection of QB’s in the 1st round. That’s what happened when you draft for need, not the best player available.

  38. Kaz says: Jul 30, 2013 9:34 AM

    Dalton had to start day one. Kaep got the chance to sit a year. Dalton took over a team that was ranked 32 by all pundits, Kaep took over a team that almost went to the Superbowl without him. Dalton 19-13, Kaep 5-2. Bengals are regreting nothing. Not until Kaep at least has a 2 full seasons under his belt.

  39. doubleogator says: Jul 30, 2013 9:35 AM

    What’s wrong with Andy Dalton? I’d rather have him than Newton, Gabbert, Locker and Ponder…

  40. Kaz says: Jul 30, 2013 9:47 AM

    Dalton just needs to shine in the postseason. Flash some of what he’s shown in the regular season in the post season and he’ll get more national respect. It’s hard for a young qb who doesn’t run the read option to get any respect nowadays.

  41. tennesseeoilers says: Jul 30, 2013 10:02 AM

    I guess I’m one of the odd men out. Yes, I think Kaepernick is the real deal. Definitely. But I don’t for a second regret my Titans drafting Jake Locker instead of him or Andy Dalton for that matter. Why? Locker reminds me WAY too much of the young unproven Steve McNair I loved before 90 percent of my fellow Titans fans g0t on his bandwagon. They both had the same struggles in their early seasons (accuracy and decision making) and the same uncanny natural talents (top tier toughness, country strong, great arms, extremely mobile) … Yeah, I’ll stick with Jake Locker, thanks.

  42. MDSisAtool says: Jul 30, 2013 10:21 AM

    eastcoastninerfan says: Jul 30, 2013 8:47 AM

    Mel Kipe, Todd McShay and the other draftniks didn’t put high on their board, so what should NFL teams do. NOT listen to those experts and create their own draft board?

    The top talent isn’t necessarily the ones drafted early.
    —————————————————————

    This has been true for YEARS. Kiper and McShay are god awful and its amazing they still have jobs. They may be the only people in the world that can be that bad at performing their jobs yet keep them.

  43. g2-f2dc7f46324ad37bfba8ee5d9c2cd44e says: Jul 30, 2013 10:28 AM

    “flaccotoboldin says:
    Jul 30, 2013 9:20 AM
    I’m biassed, because I’m a Ravens fan – but ask yourself honestly – are things different in that Superbowl if there isn’t a 30 power outage right after a 20 minute halftime?

    If the 9ers and Harbaugh aren’t given almost an hour intermission to get their shi*t together, are we looking at Kaepernick completely differently, as a guy who player the worst game at QB in the Superbowl since Rothlisberger’s first Superbowl?”

    You openly admitted that your head coach must be really stupid not to anticipate such things. Power outages or anything that will hinder a continuous flow especially a Super Bowl game or any games for that matter is always present. Both teams were given half an hour (another stupid claim on your part) to ponder their moves. It wasn’t just the 49ers on the sidelines planning adjustments. I’m sure the Ravens were given the same amount (maybe not… Doh!) of time to counter the opponents moves.

  44. oaktown49er says: Jul 30, 2013 10:33 AM

    flaccotoboldin says:
    Jul 30, 2013 9:20 AM
    I’m biassed, because I’m a Ravens fan – but ask yourself honestly – are things different in that Superbowl if there isn’t a 30 power outage right after a 20 minute halftime?
    ————————————————–
    As a Ravens fan, I think it’s not worth your time to wonder about what ifs. What if both holdings are called on the the kick off return TD? What if multiple defensive penalties are called on the 49ers last offensive series? Your team won the game. You can have your power outage back (it only helped the team who could take advantage) as for the penalties (yes the 49ers got a few too but not enough to turn the game) those changed the game. Take the W and – but ask yourself honestly – are things different if the Ravens don’t get those calls?

  45. wvuandsteelers says: Jul 30, 2013 10:33 AM

    Charles Davis on Path to the Draft loved him…kept calling him Optimus Prime. Sort of like his love affair with Eric Reid this past year. So, I don’t think he was overlooked. I just think there were a lot of QBs. Personally, I liked him way better than Gabbert, Ponder and Locker. Plus, you have to remember he went to Nevada…..not UNLV, the one in Reno. Small school. Small conference. These other guys were all from big BCS schools.

  46. 209erfan says: Jul 30, 2013 10:41 AM

    The reason he slipped down draft boards was because he was SUPER raw coming out of Nevada and that pure pistol offense…most experts said he was at least 3years away from contributing…his first 4 preseason games he threw like 8 interceptions, it was bad…but since then its been pretty incredible how far he’s come… Jim harbaugh knows how to develop qb’s and quickly

  47. marvin49 says: Jul 30, 2013 11:14 AM

    @flaccotoboldin

    Seriously?

    First off, Kaep had over 150 yards passing BEFORE the blackout. He threw a pick but it didn’t cost them any points. What killed them was not scoring TDs in the redzone, the LaMichael James fumble, the D not being able to stop the Ravens in the first half, and the KO return that had 2 guys OBVIOUSLY holding Bruce Miller.

    Enjoy the win, but lets not rewrite history. Kaep played well in that game. No team has EVER won a Super Bowl when they allowed as many points as the 49ers did that day. NEVER. Most of that loss is on the defense, not Kaepernick.

    Hell…listen to one of your OWN PLAYERS. Terrell Suggs. “That guy is SPECIAL. He’ll play in a few of these. I take my hate off to him”.

  48. flaccotoboldin says: Jul 30, 2013 11:26 AM

    @oaktown49er

    No need to get all butt hurt man. I’m just calling it like I see it – Kapernick is flavor of the month.

    Once he does it for a full season, I’ll be on here giving him the respect he deserves.

    But he played like dog-doo for the better part of that Superbowl.

    On top of that, we’ll see how he does with film on him out there.

    I’ll believe it when I see it. And I just don’t see it.

  49. flaccotoboldin says: Jul 30, 2013 11:32 AM

    @marvin49

    The interception didn’t cost you guys anything? It cost you a scoring opportunity. When you lose by 3 (5 points before we took the safety and free kick) that interception definitely matters.

    I get it. You’re a 9ers fan sipping the kool-aid. I ain’t mad atcha.

    But open your eyes. Kaepernick only had to make the miracle comeback because he played like such crap the first 1/2 to 3/4 of the game and dug the 9ers a hole.

  50. pop562 says: Jul 30, 2013 12:00 PM

    That was the first Super Bowl lost the 49ers had to deal with. However, it was a remarkable comeback that was cut short by bad play calling and ravens great red zone defense. The 49ers adjusted to the Ravens defense and Colin became more comfortable in the 2nd half. Ravens won and its over with. However the 49ers are the only team in Super Bowl history to have two 100 yard receivers, one 100 yard running back and a quarterback throwing over 300 yards.

  51. billb49 says: Jul 30, 2013 12:13 PM

    Why do Ravens fans keep pretending that power outage was a big favor to the Niners? You could just as easily point out that the Ravens defense was getting gassed and needed a break. Whatever. It’s over. The Ravens won. And, I don’t blame their fans for being bitter right now because that front office dismantled the team and ruined their cap space situation for years to come with that ridiculous Flacco contract. The Ravens won’t be within shouting distance of the playoffs for quite some time. This season, they’ll be sitting at home watching Colin Kaepernick roll in January.

  52. radrntn says: Jul 30, 2013 1:04 PM

    Go Wolfpack!

  53. joetoronto says: Jul 30, 2013 1:33 PM

    Cincinnati Bungaled the pick by choosing the ginger.

    He’ll keep the Bungals ring less and the idiot fans will be happy.

  54. kobekong says: Jul 30, 2013 1:34 PM

    What’s with the detractors? He showed what he can do already, if he gets a tiny bit better, he’ll barely be beatable.

  55. hackphx says: Jul 30, 2013 1:51 PM

    Name one other coach and GM tandem who worked out Kap personally. Harbaugh left, after throwing with Kap saying nothing. Kap even thought he was pissed. Fact is Jim knew what he saw, and drafted him, developed him and gave Alex the bad news. That’s coaching.

  56. mrpolarbear99 says: Jul 30, 2013 2:14 PM

    Can you imagine if the Niners had pulled out the win? Ravens fans would be forever crying about how the power outage cost them the game. As if the players had nothing to do with it.

    If you go back and actually watch the game, you’ll see that the momentum didn’t change after the power outage. It was Ahmad Brooks’ sack of Flacco and the subsequent crappy punt that changed the momentum, and from there the Niners completely dominated all aspects of the game. Had the Niners played that way from the opening kickoff, it would have been a blowout.

    Ravens should count themselves lucky for the James fumble and the kickoff return. Without those, Ravens lose.

  57. dallascowboysdishingthereal says: Jul 30, 2013 4:54 PM

    Oh everyone saw it coming now. yeah whaterver Madden. Boom!

  58. crownofthehelmet says: Jul 30, 2013 4:56 PM

    Didn’t Madden also say NE should take a knee with over a minute left in the SB?

  59. thestrategyexpert says: Jul 30, 2013 6:34 PM

    I understand why. There’s a sever lack of scouting talent to go around and most of these NFL GM’s couldn’t do a good scouting job to save their life. I consistently outperform all of these guys that get paid millions of dollars to scout players, and things like this happen when you have the scouting talent on the bench and not on the field!

  60. jamal1971 says: Aug 2, 2013 4:47 PM

    @joetoronto-Matt and Terrelle aren’t even close to Dalton’s status,so be careful because u need a QB-now.

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