What if Colin Kaepernick was in AFC West?

As the 2011 draft approached, no division in the NFL was more connected to Colin Kaepernick than the AFC West.

Kaepernick visited nine NFL teams prior to the draft. Three of them -- Denver, Kansas City and Oakland -- were from the AFC West.

Then, on draft day, there were reports that Oakland was trying to trade up from the No. 48 overall pick to the No. 33 pick to take Kaepernick. The trade didn’t happen.

The Nevada quarterback and California native went to the Bay Area, but to the San Francisco 49ers with the No. 36 pick that was acquired in a trade with Denver for three picks.

Now, Kaepernick and the 49ers are on their way to the Super Bowl.

Denver wasn’t totally sold on needing a new quarterback in April of 2011. The Broncos were still open to Kyle Orton and Tim Tebow. But if Kaepernick was the choice in Denver, I wonder if the Broncos would have pursued Peyton Manning. San Francisco did with Kaepernick on its roster.

If Oakland had gotten Kaepernick, I’m not sure Kaepernick would be readying of the Super Bowl. But a lot would be different.

First, Oakland very likely wouldn’t have spent a third-round pick in the 2011 supplemental draft on quarterback Terrelle Pryor if Kaepernick was in the fold.

Perhaps Oakland would have seen enough from Kaepernick in practice that Hue Jackson wouldn’t have felt the need to mortgage the future on trading for Carson Palmer when Jason Campbell was injured in the 2011 season.

Perhaps Kaepernick would have caught fire like he did this year when he took over for an injured Alex Smith. If that was the case, perhaps Jackson would still be in Oakland.

Who knows what would have happened had Oakland or Denver been able to snare Kaepernick before San Francisco did. All we do know is the quarterback path for Denver, Oakland and San Francisco has been franchise forming since the events of the second round of the 2011 draft.