49ers Mailbag: Comparing Kaepernick and Smith

49ers Mailbag: Comparing Kaepernick and Smith
August 15, 2013, 1:00 pm
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Thanks to the fine followers on Twitter, the 49ers Mailbag is stuffed on the eve of the 49ers' reunion with Alex Smith.

Here is Part I of the question-and-answer session:

Throuhgout training camp, how has Kap looked versus Alex's best camp while in SF? @JC_Boza
Comparing Colin Kaepernick and Alex Smith is a study in two completely different styles. Of course, Kaepernick's game pops out in practices. He drives the ball down the field with an arm that might be the strongest in the NFL.

In fact, you might be hard-pressed to find a quarterback in NFL history who has the combination of size, speed, strength and arm talent of Kaepernick.

Smith is more of a finesse quarterback who is not going to regularly test defenses down the field. His completion percent might be higher than Kaepernick's but his yards per attempt and rushing numbers are going to be lower.

That said, a year ago Smith was clearly better in practices this time of the year. Kaepernick showed the arm strength, but he was also inaccurate and quick to abandon the pocket and run when his first read wasn't there.

Kaepernick looks exceptional this summer. I can't imagine there are many -- if any -- quarterbacks who have been as impressive during their training camp practices this summer.

Leading receiver on team this year? @hudd07
That's easy. Tight end Vernon Davis will be the 49ers' leading pass-catcher this season. And it might not be close.

How likely is it that 49ers cut AJ Jenkins in 2013 as multiple national media suggest? @Tre9er
Not likely at all.

Now, could it happen? Sure, it could happen. (Ask me again in two weeks.) As pedestrian as Jenkins has been in about half of the team's practices, it's not like other wide receivers competing for spots have lit it up on a practice-to-practice basis.

Anquan Boldin is the 49ers' No. 1 wideout. After that, Kyle Williams is the most likely wide receiver to emerge as a starter. The 49ers are bringing him along slowly, but he looks very good in his limited action.

As much as Jenkins has not found consistency, he's not far from being the No. 3 healthy receiver on the team. And he's got two things working for him.

Jenkins has the advantage of having guaranteed salaries of around $700,000 this season and a little more than $1 million next year. But if the 49ers waived Jenkins, there's also a decent chance some team(s) would claim him and the 49ers would not be on the hook for that money.

Still, the 49ers would have to account for $2.6 in proration from his original $3.5 million signing bonus. So there's the salary-cap aspect of the Jenkins conundrum.

Also, general manager Trent Baalke has the final say on the 49ers' 53-man roster. Baalke will not force Jenkins down the throats of the coaching staff, but, if it's close, you can expect Jenkins to get the benefit of the doubt.

Jenkins has talent, no question. He still is the player most likely to make an exceptional catch on the practice field. But he is also too prone to disappearing acts.

I know Quinton Patton can't catch the ball but if he were healthy, would he be beating out Jenkins for the starting WR? @hitmaster5000
If he were allowed to catch, and if he were catching a lot of passes, the answer is yes. But those are two big ifs.

One of the things the 49ers really liked about Patton was his competitiveness and attitude. Baalke talked about it the day he was drafted. He said he liked the way Patton approached the Senior Bowl practices.

"He got off the bus ready to go, competed very hard, showed very well there," Baalke said.

Just the fact that Patton is out there running routes and making one-handed catches because the index finger on his left hand is still in a splint on it bodes well for him. Patton appears to have the kind of attitude the 49ers like. Jenkins needs to show that kind of fight and attitude to make an impact with the 49ers.

If Kyle Williams does indeed start opposite Boldin, what percentage of the snaps do you think he'll get? @DeSimone80
The 49ers' flanker position will play around 60 to 65 percent of the time. I do not believe the 49ers will play their second tight end -- most likely Vance McDonald -- as much as Delanie Walker played last season. But the 49ers will still use the two-TE formation as much as any team in the league because of the matchup problem that causes for defenses.