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NFL 18 Value of Kaepernick's activism aside, QB skills are suspect

Chris Wesseling has had it up to HERE with the faulty football logic he's seen flying fast and furious lately. President Trump has turned Kaepernick into a political football, playing to the crowd at a rally in America's heartland.

Several NFL teams reportedly view the free-agent quarterback as a "cautionary tale," a means to discourage other players from using their gridiron platform for polarizing protests such as taking a knee (a universal symbol of fealty and respect, parenthetically) during the national anthem.

Agendas aside, there's nothing mysterious about a fringe NFL starter with presumably grandiose monetary and opportunity expectations going unsigned two weeks into free agency.

Against that disheartening backdrop, a groundswell of outrage has erupted, thrusting Kaepernick into the role of activist martyr allegedly blacklisted by the 32 teams.

  NFL Network's Mike Garafolo explained earlier this week. "But some of the guys that are signing are taking a lot less money. They're also taking different situations ...Colin Kaepernick is still a guy that probably believes that he can still compete for a starting job and become a franchise quarterback, so that changes the dynamic a little bit with him. ...""Jay Cutler and Colin Kaepernick ... are more talented than some of the guys that are signing, there's no question about that,"

In the hierarchy of hurdles to the league's 32 coveted QB1 openings, the fallout from Kaepernick's polarizing protest ranks a distant third behind passing ability and scheme fit. If multiple reports of a Kaepernick-centric schism in the 2015 49ers locker room are given credence in NFL front offices, the protest factor drops yet another notch.

He's an incredibly gifted athlete with Superhero-like physical attributes that infamously led ESPN analyst Ron Jaworski to predict all-time greatness in the halcyon days of the 2013 read-option craze.It would be disingenuous to take the position that Kaepernick is not a uniquely talented quarterback.

Beyond the passing problems, Kaepernick comes with a red flag unshared by any other established quarterback: He has yet to prove he can succeed outside the cozy confines of the zone-read attack, a gimmick offense in need of a committed champion now that Kelly is out of the league.

"When he was good, he had a good team around him," NFL Network analyst Charley Casserly recently explained. "They could run the ball, they could block for him, they could pass-protect, they had an outstanding defense and people couldn't defend the read option.

 It became more [pronounced] when he had to become a pure dropback quarterback and the game depended more on him than it did [when he was a first-year starter in 2012]. That's what teams saw. That's what teams have said to me. And that's what I see, too.""People defended the read option, the offensive line fell apart, the defensive line fell apart, and they couldn't run the ball. He had problems reading defenses ... he had problems with his accuracy.

Now that Kelly and his zone-read attack have been banished from the NFL, teams are understandably skeptical that a quarterback riddled with deficiencies as a passer can refashion himself to operate within the structure of the pocket.

Scouts and executives are charged with evaluating the game, not the name. The dysfunctional 49ers teams have won just four of Kaepernick's last 24 starts. The last time he exhibited sustained success, Dak Prescott was a sophomore at Mississippi State and Peyton Manning was a legitimate MVP candidate.

No one should be surprised that Kaepernick has been met with tumbleweeds after opting out of his San Francisco contract. He began his protest on the 49ers' bench, taking a backseat to a notable draft bust under center. The 32 NFL teams told us what they thought of his potential before his protest when they left him languishing on the trade block for the entirety of last offseason.

Can pro football's leadership stand to learn a thing or two from the NBA's voices in the wilderness, bringing much-needed awareness to social issues? Absolutely. Are there NFL teams reluctant to sign Kaepernick because the drawbacks outweigh the potential benefits? No doubt.
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