To me I like the trade more and more. Even for what we traded for. Some might say a 2nd pick and future 3rd is to much. Well if Chief's compete and make the playoffs the next couple of years. Well it was a good trade. Also with this years QB draft class not being as strong. At least strong in running the West Coast Offense (WCO). We need to have faith in Andy Reid that he knows what he needs for QB to run his offense.
Lets take a deep look why this trade is so good?
When drafted here is the scouting report on Alex Smith:
Age: 21 Height: 6'4 Weight: 218lbs
POSITIVES: Efficient and reliable passer that's done well in his college system. Accurate in the short field, leads receivers over the middle and places throws where only his target can make the reception. Solid timing on crossing patterns. Patient in the pocket, effectively reads the defense and does not make poor decisions. Goes through receiver progressions, waits for pass catchers to come free and throws to the safe underneath target if nothing's available down field. Sets up with solid fundamentals and passes with an over-the-top delivery. Keeps his feet active and easily gets outside the pocket, making the throw on the move. Displays outstanding wherewithal and knows where receivers are on the field. Throws tight spiral with good zip. Stands strong and poised in the pocket as it collapses around him.
NEGATIVES: Must improve his corner patters in the end zone as passes tend to be flat. Rarely threw the ball down field in the Utah system.
ANALYSIS: A natural leader that does an excellent job running the offense, Smith has been very productive the past two years. Stays away from mistakes and has a tremendous touchdown-to-interception ratio. Does not have a deep passing arm just yet but would be initially effective in a timing or West Coast offense as he grows into a pro passing game.
PROJECTION: Early First Round
Looking at all of the above. We see great things. But what everyone says “he's a game manager” also “he has no arm and can't throw it down field”. True he was never asked for him to do so. And if you look at how the KC Chief's are made. Is the same way are made. They have good running back. But of course people say “Andy Reid will ask him to throw more and down field”. That is not entirely true. Yes Andy Reid WCO throws more. Also WCO passes more than running. But the WCO does more dumps and crossing patterns over the middle between 10-20 yards down field. Not saying he is Joe Montana but good ol Joe made his money doing that. With Clark and Rice working the middle of the field and the great RB Roger Craig doing his thing. Joe was never known for slinging the ball down the field. But I understand that’s what everyone wants. If you watch tape on Joe Falcco he would under throw his WR's all the time this year. But he's got strong WR's that would take the ball away from the corners.
Now for why is everyone down on Alex Smith. Lets see?
“he's Cassel 2.0”
“he's a game manager”
“his numbers are just like Cassel”
“he can't throw the ball”
“he's got a rag arm”
“he gets sack to much”
“he doesn't throw enough”
“he can't be trusted”
“HE JUST SUCKS”
Well whatever it is. Let's take a look why he lost his job.
1: Alex Smith was sacked 44 times last year, more than any NFL quarterback in the league.If Smith can't find an open man down-field and cannot escape pressure in the pocket, he eats the sack. The problem with too many sacks, though, is that a team losses scoring opportunities and puts more pressure on its defense to win a game. Kaepernick has excelled at escaping pressure in the pocket and extending plays to create scoring opportunities.
A: TRUE but you need to realize that “can't find an open man down-field and cannot escape pressure in the pocket, he eats the sack.” thats a good thing. Well if the WR are not open then what do you do... Well Payton Manning would take a sack. Tom Brady would take a sack. JUST DON'T FUMBLE THE BALL!!! To me I read this is that the WR's were not open as much as they should be. The first time. Of course if you extend the play someone opens up. Like Big Ben does it better than anyone in the NFL. So does Kaepernick and another reason why he's the starter.
2: Smith biggest weakness was that he didn't throw deep passes as a quarterback in college or now in the NFL. Smith will regularly check-down to a running back or look for the nearest tight end. In 3rd-and-long situations, the deficiency with the deep pass is particularly glaring. Last year, the 49ers finished 23rd in the league on third-down conversions. Colin Kaepernick, has shown he can make intermediate throws down-field with high accuracy and velocity.
A: TRUE / KINDA can complain with that. What's crazy is 2 things. One is that why are the 49ers in at 3rd-and-long situations, well one is that they didn't move the ball enough on 1st and 2nd. Looking at the tape of 49er games they ran the ball a ton on 1st down. Well of course they got Frank Gore so why not. But here is the kicker with situations. Looking at 2012 stats check this out? Because Alex Smith and Kaepernick had the same amount of attempts.
Alex Smith in Bold
Colin Kaepernick not in bold
First down plays with 10 yards to go 63 comp 83 atts 747 yrds 75.9 cmp%
First down plays with 10 yards to go 64 comp 93 atts 841 yrds 68.8 cmp%
3rd (or 4th) down and 9+ yards to go 17 comp 20 atts 191 yrds 85.0 cmp%
3rd (or 4th) down and 9+ yards to go 14comp 27 atts 197 yrds 51.9 cmp%
3rd (or 4th) down and 3-8 yards to go 21 comp 35 atts 201 yrds 60.0 cmp%
3rd (or 4th) down and 3-8 yards to go 17 comp 31 atts 235 yrds 54.8 cmp%
3rd (or 4th) down and 1-2 yards to go 1 comp 2 atts 1 yrds 50.0 cmp%
3rd (or 4th) down and 1-2 yards to go 4 comp 7 atts 53 yrds 57.1 cmp%
Alex Smith in Bold
Colin Kaepernick not in bold
DOWN = 1 TO GO 1-2) 1 comp 1 atts 1 yrds 100.0 cmp%
DOWN = 1 TO GO 1-2) N/A
DOWN = 1 TO GO 3-7) 0 comp 1 atts 0 yrds 0.0 cmp%
DOWN = 1 TO GO 3-7) 2 comp 5 atts 9 yrds 40.0 cmp%
DOWN = 1 TO GO 8-10) 63 comp 83 atts 747 yrds 75.9 cmp%
DOWN = 1 TO GO 8-10) 64 comp 93 atts 841 yrds 68.8 cmp%
DOWN = 1 TO GO 11+) 5 comp 5 atts 99 yrds 100.0 cmp%
DOWN = 1 TO GO 11+) 2 comp 3 atts 27 yrds 66.7 cmp%
DOWN = 1 TO GO <6) 1 comp 2 atts 2 yrds 50.0 cmp%
DOWN = 1 TO GO <6) 1 comp 4 atts 3 yrds 25.0 cmp%
DOWN = 1 TO GO 6+) 68 comp 88 atts 846 yrds 77.3 cmp%
DOWN = 1 TO GO 6+) 67 comp 97 atts 874 yrds 69.1 cmp%
DOWN = 2 TO GO 1-2) 6 comp 7 atts 86 yrds 85.7 cmp%
DOWN = 2 TO GO 1-2) 2 comp 3 atts 19 yrds 66.7 cmp%
DOWN = 2 TO GO 3-7) 20 comp 34 atts 205 yrds 58.8 cmp%
DOWN = 2 TO GO 3-7) 10 comp 18 atts 117 yrds 55.6 cmp%
DOWN = 2 TO GO 8-10) 10 comp 18 atts 134 yrds 55.6 cmp%
DOWN = 2 TO GO 8-10) 15 comp 20 atts 232 yrds 75.0 cmp%
DOWN = 2 TO GO 11+) 9 comp 12 atts 72 yrds 75.0 cmp%
DOWN = 2 TO GO 11+) 6 comp 11 atts 84 yrds 54.5 cmp%
DOWN = 2 TO GO <6) 18 comp 26 atts 212 yrds 69.2 cmp%
DOWN = 2 TO GO <6) 10 comp 15 atts 100 yrds 66.7 cmp%
DOWN = 2 TO GO 6+) 27 comp 45 atts 285 yrds 60.0 cmp%
DOWN = 2 TO GO 6+) 23 comp 37 atts 352 yrds 62.2 cmp%
DOWN = 3 TO GO 1-2) 1 comp 2 atts 1 yrds 50.0 cmp%
DOWN = 3 TO GO 1-2) 4 comp 7 atts 53 yrds 57.1 cmp%
DOWN = 3 TO GO 3-7) 17 comp 29 atts 123 yrds 58.6 cmp%
DOWN = 3 TO GO 3-7) 13 comp 27 atts 1156 yrds 48.1 cmp%
DOWN = 3 TO GO 8-10) 12 comp 15 atts 169 yrds 80.0 cmp%
DOWN = 3 TO GO 8-10) 3 comp 9 atts 62 yrds 33.3 cmp%
DOWN = 3 TO GO 11+) 8 comp 10 atts 93 yrds 80.0 cmp%
DOWN = 3 TO GO 11+) 12 comp 18 atts 175 yrds 66.7 cmp%
DOWN = 3 TO GO <6) 13 comp 21 atts 79 yrds 61.9 cmp%
DOWN = 3 TO GO <6) 13 comp 23 atts 111 yrds 56.5 cmp%
DOWN = 3 TO GO 6+) 25 comp 35 atts 307 yrds 71.4 cmp%
DOWN = 3 TO GO 6+) 19 comp 38 atts 335 yrds 50.0 cmp%
3rd and long both had almost the same amount of attempts. Kaepernick had a +5 on attempts but Alex Smith had a better completion % all around. So that myth about that the coaching staff felt better about Kaepernick able to throw down field better than Smith is false. Alex Smith was better all around in % except when it was DOWN = 2 TO GO 8-10 but that’s mostly due to the duel threat factor with Kaepernick. Defenses didn't know how to play him. It came down to Smith doesn't present the same type of duel threat that Kaepernick does. Smith just doesn't throw the ball just to throw it. He throws it if the WR is open!
Another note is that when Alex Smith is able to trow the ball on 1st down (like in the WCO) Alex Smith number are way above average. But Harbaugh wouldn't use Smith enough because of Gore in the backfield. Harbaugh loves the run setting up the pass. But if Smith can keep up what he did in 2012 and set up the run for Charles. Well Charles will have open lanes and make it easier on the O-line running the ball on 2nd and short. Keeping the D off balance. No more eight in the box fronts! What the KC Chief's O has been lacking for a long time.
Smith is not a bad quarterback. On the contrary, he's improved immensely under coach Harbaugh. If you look at Smith career with the 49ers. It doesn't look great. But you got to keep in mind that 49ers were a bad team before Smith got there and after he was drafted until Harbaugh. Look at the 49ers roster sine Smith was drafted. There is not to many guys left on the team! When the team around Smith got better Smith got better. It's in the numbers. Keep in mind if Kaepernick wasn't around then Smith would be the starting quarterback, but the mobility, athleticism and big-play running ability that Kaepernick offers is too valuable and that's why Harbaugh is making the switch.