2013 Jaws QB ranking: Kaepernick 11th

Another day, another young NFC West quarterback for ESPN's Ron Jaworski to praise in his 2013 rankings.

The San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick comes in at No. 11, one spot higher than Jaworski ranked the Seattle Seahawks' Russell Wilson on Thursday.

2013 Jaworski QB Rankings

Let's get right to what Jaworski said about Kaepernick during his "SportsCenter" spot:

"The 11th quarterback in my rankings is Colin Kaepernick. Normally 10 NFL starts is not enough for me to evaluate a player so highly, but this kid has special talent, is a dynamic dual-threat quarterback with a power arm and outstanding athleticism.

"Remember this? It was a signature play of the 2012 season. It was Kaepernick’s first touchdown run against Green Bay that really caught my attention. You see the press man coverage with two deep safeties. It turned out the Packers doubled Michael Crabtree. But the point is the same. This is what mobile, athletic quarterbacks can do versus man-to-man coverage, especially on third down. It forces defenses to rethink their concepts, it limits their tactical options.

"I remember Kaepernick's first start against the Bears. It was immediately evident that he gave the 49ers every dimension in the passing game. And I love the way Jim Harbaugh and Greg Roman set up Kaepernick with defined reads through the use of shifts and formations.

"Watch what happened here from the coaching tape. All that pre-snap movement was designed to get Vernon Davis matched on linebacker Lance Briggs. As favorable as the matchup was, that was still not an easy throw.

"That’s why Kaepernick has a chance to be very special. He has a complete throwing skillset with a powerful arm that I absolutely put at gun level. His ball comes out with a lot of energy and velocity. And Kaepernick can drive the ball down the field, on the move, with accuracy.

"Kaepernick dispelled that belief in his 10 games in 2012. That’s why he’s No. 11 in my quarterback rankings. Kaepernick is one of the four or five most physically talented quarterbacks in the entire NFL. It will be fascinating to see how he adjusts to the loss of Michael Crabtree, but the elite skillset is still there."

Jaworski loves a strong throwing arm and Kaepernick owns one of the strongest anywhere. Randy Moss attested to that after suffering a dislocated finger while catching one of the quarterback's passes -- something Moss said never happened to him previously.

Jaworski also singled out third down. Kaeperncik posted a 92.1 Total QBR score out of 100 on third down in the playoffs, up from a still-impressive 62.7 as a starter during the regular season. That was one area where Kaepernick fared markedly better than his predecessor. Former starter Alex Smith ranked second (80.8) and Kaepernick third (80.7) in QBR on first and second downs. Smith ranked 28th in third-down QBR at 32.9 last season.

2012 Regular Season QBs on 3rd Down (Starts Only)