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Wild card: Colin Kaepernick

If you're looking for a wild-card pick for the Buffalo Bills at No. 34, consider Nevada quarterback Colin Kaepernick. I did not include him in our Billboard poll for the Bills' second-round pick because our expectation is most teams are going to have him rated around No. 60 or in the mid-60s on their draft boards. 

But if the Bills want to add a quarterback in the draft, he's worthy of consideration. Forget about TCU's Andy Dalton. The Bills already have a smarter version of him in Ryan Fitzpatrick. (We're not knocking Dalton's smarts; he's very intelligent, but there might not be anybody in Fitz's class.) There's no way Buffalo takes Arkansas' Ryan Mallett. Bills coach Chan Gailey likes his QB to have some mobility. Plus, there are the character questions with Mallett.

Why is Kaepernick intriguing? He throws a 93 mph fastball in baseball. (He was drafted by the Cubs.) You want your Buffalo QB to have a cannon arm. It's a Bill Polian decree. Kaepernick is mobile. Make that super mobile. He's the first QB in NCAA history to have 4,000 rushing yards and 9,000 passing yards. He's a high character, competitive guy. He's impressive in an interview. 

Now for the major concerns: He has a hitch in his delivery. He has very long arms, a big wingspan, which doesn't lend itself to a quick release. How much can be done to tighten that up? He gets passes batted down at the line. He played in Nevada's "Pistol" shotgun offense. He has a big transition to the NFL. He did complete 64.9 percent of his passes in 2010. He also has a bit of a thin frame. Can he stand up to the pounding in the NFL?  Chan Gailey acknowledged at the Senior Bowl Kaepernick would have to severely curtail his running in the NFL. So it's a projection to the pros. 

If the Bills stick to their pure draft ratings, Kaepernick isn't the pick. It would be a gamble. Of course, a lot of those teams that have him rated in the mid-60s don't need a franchise quarterback.

Finally, the last thing GM Buddy Nix said Thursday night is the expectation is the Bills can get another starter with the 34th pick. So I don't think Kaepernick is their pick. ... But it's something to think about.

---Mark Gaughan

 

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NFL Draft
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