Colin Kaepernick led San Francisco fans to insane levels of excitement during the 49ers’ Super Bowl run in 2012, but he nearly ended up entertaining fans on the other side of the Bay.
The Oakland Raiders were in heavy pursuit of Kaepernick ahead of the 2011 NFL draft, and they were dead set on snatching up the dual-threat quarterback by almost any means necessary. However, the Patriots squashed those dreams, Peter King wrote in his weekly Monday Morning Quarterback column for Sports Illustrated.
The Raiders had Kaepernick as their top-rated quarterback, even ahead of first-round picks Cam Newton, Jake Locker, Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder, in the draft. But, having traded their first-round pick to the Patriots for Richard Seymour the year before, they would have to wait until the second round (48th overall) to have a shot.
In an attempt to jump ahead of some other teams in order to get Kaepernick, King writes that the Raiders called the Patriots, who held the first pick of the second round (No. 33 overall), to try and make a deal. But the Patriots rebuffed the offer, instead deciding to draft cornerback Ras-I Dowling.
The 49ers also tried to deal with the Patriots, offering two third-round picks in exchange for the 33rd pick, but Bill Belichick and company shot them down, too. The Patriots apparently wanted at least one second-round pick in exchange, but Niners head coach Jim Harbaugh and general manager Trent Baalke wouldn’t relent on their offer.
Unlike the Raiders, the 49ers were quiet about their interest in Kaepernick ahead of the draft, giving them a distinct advantage in trading up to acquire him. Eventually they traded up to No. 36 (with the Broncos) to select the quarterback. Two years and a near Super Bowl title later, the 49ers appear to be set with their quarterback of the next decade. Meanwhile, the Raiders have four quarterbacks on their roster with a combined three starts and 11 touchdowns — to which only Matt Flynn or Terrelle Pryor contributed.
So, as much as it might hurt for Raiders fans to watch at their team on the field this season, it will hurt even worse to see Kaepernick constantly kissing his bicep in the stadium just across the Bay.