San Francisco 49ers: Ranking the 10 Best Quarterbacks in Franchise History

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Sep 20, 2015; Pittsburgh, PA, USA; San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) scrambles with the ball as Pittsburgh Steelers outside linebacker James Harrison (92) chases during the fourth quarter at Heinz Field. The Steelers won 43-18. Mandatory Credit: Charles LeClaire-USA TODAY Sports

8. Colin Kaepernick

This ranking will likely cause some angst and debate among the 49ers faithful, but you just can’t evaluate quarterback Colin Kaepernick based on his terrible 2014 and 2015 seasons.

Kaepernick was a second-round draft pick back in 2011 and was considered a superior athlete who just needed to be groomed into a NFL quarterback. After spending time as Alex Smith’s backup, Kaepernick replaced an injured Smith in 2012 and took the NFL world by storm — helping lead the team through the NFC Championship Game and into the Super Bowl.

In his first 29 starts, Kaepernick compiled an impressive 21-8 win-loss record. In a playoff game against the Green Bay Packers, he set the NFL record by most rushing yards by a QB in a game (181). He took the team to the Super Bowl in 2013. However, he is most remembered for throwing four straight incompletions when the game was on the line.

But don’t forget, Kaepernick is the only 49er quarterback in franchise history to win three playoff games on the road.

Defenses caught up to Kaepernick in 2014 and 2015 where he made a concerted effort to shorten his throwing motion and improve his footwork. However, it didn’t work as the 49ers fell to a 8-8 record and then to a sub-.500 record in 2015 before being replaced by Blaine Gabbert.

When you evaluate Kaepernick’s overall body of work, it is still superior — he has thrown for over 10,000 yards (10,030) and he has a winning record of 27-20. His touchdown-to-interception ratio is better than two-to-one (56-26).

There are several former 49er quarterbacks who would gladly take his career numbers. Whatever his future is, for this list, Kaepernick was an easy choice to fill in the No. 8 spot.

Next: No. 7: Alex Smith