No matchup in the NFL is more highly anticipated entering the 2013 season than the two meetings between the San Francisco 49ers and Seattle Seahawks, making a battle between Colin Kaepernick and Russell Wilson the best place to start this year’s “Be The GM.”
Kaepernick and Wilson have combined for just 30 career starts, including their five postseason games last season, but their budding rivalry figures to be one of the best in the NFL.
Wilson finished 2013 with a 100.0 passer rating after a somewhat tepid start over his first eight games in which he had a 4-4 record. Wilson had a 128.6 passer rating in November and 115.2 in December while going 7-1.
Wilson completed 64.1 percent of his passes and threw an interception in just 2.5 percent of his attempts, showing remarkable poise for a rookie. Wilson also added 489 yards on 94 attempts and four touchdowns.
Wilson instantly took command of the Seahawks’ locker room and his leadership abilities are remarkably advanced. Wilson would have been in the conversation with Andrew Luck and Robert Griffin III for the top overall pick in the 2012 NFL Draft if he were two inches taller and he proved in his rookie season that it doesn’t even truly matter. Wilson may not have as much pure upside as Luck, Griffin or even Kaepernick, but he is one of the surest bets at quarterback. Wilson will undoubtedly get better at more than a year younger than Kaepernick and he may be the most durable of the four.
Kaepernick’s body of work is even smaller than Wilson’s, but the production has been even better. Kaepernick completed 62.4 percent of his 218 regular season attempts and threw an interception in just 1.4 percent of those. Kaepernick’s decision-making and accuracy was far more advanced than expected and the strength of his arm puts the entire field in play vertically and horizontally.
Like Wilson, Kaepernick is gifted as a runner but is on another plane. Kaepernick ran for 415 yards on 62 attempts (6.6 yards per carry average). His 181 yards and two touchdowns on 16 attempts in the Divisional Round against the Green Bay Packers was one of the most dominant performances from a quarterback in history and even 25 percent of that production would make Kaepernick a future Hall of Famer.
These two teams have an entire collection of players that would have been the best nominee for a large handful of other teams with the likes of Aldon Smith, Patrick Willis, Mike Iupati, NaVorro Bowman, Earl Thomas, Bobby Wagner and Richard Sherman.