At the NFL Combine this week in Indianapolis, 49ers executives, coaches and scouts will be studying the latest crop of quarterbacks available in the draft.
With the seventh overall choice in the first round, the Niners could potentially get one of the three current top-ranked passers at the Combine: Jared Goff of Cal, Paxton Lynch of Memphis or Carson Wentz of North Dakota State.
But this week there will be another quarterback on the minds of 49ers brass: Colin Kaepernick. And it will be his status with the 49ers that will impact whether the Niners decide to draft one of those three quarterbacks in the first round, or perhaps pursue another QB later in the draft.
According to Matt Barrows of the Sacramento Bee, it’s not certain what the team will discuss with Kaepernick’s reps this week, but one topic is likely at the top of a list of several.
“The 49ers’ top question for Kaepernick’s representatives likely is whether the quarterback wants to remain with the team,” wrote Barrows. “His three surgeries – to his left shoulder, left knee and right thumb – were performed by doctors in Vail, Colo., not by team doctors at Stanford Hospital. Kaepernick is doing his lengthy rehabilitation in Colorado, strongly suggesting he doesn’t trust the team.”
Also, there were reports recently that Kaepernick was interested in going elsewhere after his toughest season – and benching – in San Francisco in 2015.
But new head coach Chip Kelly runs a spread offense that emphasizes a quarterback’s mobility, and Kaepernick has long been thought to be a player suited to Kelly’s attack. Kelly and the rest of the 49ers leadership haven’t said much publicly on whether they want Kaepernick back, or if they favor Blaine Gabbert or want to start fresh with a free agent or rookie.
But this week’s get-together is probably the first step toward determining Kaepernick’s status, one way or the other.
Wrote Barrows: “Kaepernick’s future with San Francisco might boil down to whether Kelly can convince him his best opportunity to reboot his career is with the 49ers.”