Chris Biderman of Niners Wire is currently in the midst of ranking the top 25 players on the San Francisco 49ers according to his opinion of their current value to the team. "Before the start of training camp at the end of July, we'll rank the top 25 49ers based on production at their position, physical attributes, upside and expected impact in 2016," says Biderman at the beginning of each player reveal.
Where did quarterbacks Blaine Gabbert and Colin Kaepernick fall within his ranking? While the entire ranking it is not yet complete, Gabbert and Kaepernick's spots have already been revealed. Gabbert came in at number 19 while his competition for the starting quarterback job, Kaepernick, came in three spots lower at number 22.
Does this mean that the team beat writer believes that Gabbert will start once the season kicks off? He calls Gabbert "the favorite to start" for the 49ers this season.
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"Gabbert wound up averaging 254 yards passing while completing 63 percent of his passes – both career bests," says Biderman while comparing those stats to Kaepernick's career marks of 210 yards-per-game in 2014 and 62.4 completion percentage in 2012.
"Gabbert gets the edge in overall numbers last season, but Kaepernick is the more dynamic athlete. Gabbert has a quicker release and is more accurate, while Kaepernick is more aggressive and makes more 'Wow' throws down field," he continued.
As for Gabbert's competition, Biderman said, "For now, Kaepernick has a long road ahead before taking the starting gig from Gabbert, who has been operating like it's his job since taking over midway through last season." He would point out that Kaepernick's passer rating and QBR numbers have declined each season since he became the 49ers' starting quarterback. His passer rating has fallen from 98.3 (2012) to 78.5 (2015) while his QBR has fallen from 69.0 (2012) to 47.1 (2015), per ESPN.
"Kaepernick enters training camp as the clear long shot to start," says Biderman. "He also faces uncertainty regarding his health for the first time in his career."
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Earlier this month, Kaepernick spoke a little about his injury and playing through it last season. "At the time, I didn't realize how bad things were until I went and got a second opinion and really saw what had happened. But at this point, I'm close to being 100 percent healthy," said Kaepernick while addressing the media.
Kaepernick has also lost a good deal of weight mostly due to having a limited workout routine following his multiple surgeries. Now a vegan, Kaepernick looks to add weight during the summer. "I don't know exactly how much I need to put on but I need to put on quite a bit. But that's not something I've had a problem with in the past," said Kaepernick.
Biderman is not alone in his sentiment about Gabbert being the favorite to win the starting quarterback job. Other beat writers and members of the national media have been leaning toward Gabbert winning the job based on their opinions of the situation.
The two quarterbacks will fully kick off their battle in late-July when the 49ers gather for training camp.