We have been slaving over a hot keyboard, cranking out newspaper and cantonrep.com material from New Orleans.
One of the more fascinating items we came across today led to this item, which we have pirated from tomorrow's paper.
Call it the Kaepernick conspiracy:
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San Francisco head coach Jim Harbaugh apparently thought Colin Kaepernick was a No. 1 overall value, but he took a calculated risk in the 2011 draft.
The conclusion can be drawn from something Jim’s dad, Jack, said Wednesday.
As the elder Harbaugh’s story went, the first day of the 2011 draft had ended. The second round would begin the following day.
“Jim called on his way home and he asked what I thought,” Jack Harbaugh said. “He had not expressed to me who they were thinking about drafting at the quarterback position, so I said, ‘Jim, tomorrow in the second round, surely you’re going to draft a quarterback, but which one is it going to be?’ And it was dead silent.
“Then he said, ‘Are you talking to anybody?’”
That’s how wary Jim Harbaugh was about the 49ers’ big secret falling into enemy hands. He was grilling his own father.
“I said, ‘I swear, I’m not talking to anyone,’” Jack Harbaugh said. “He said, ‘We’re drafting Colin Kaepernick. I not only think that he’s the best quarterback in the draft, I think he’s the best football player in the draft, and we’re going with Colin Kaepernick.’
“And I thought to myself, ‘Wise decision.’”
Taking the story at face value, the 49ers ultimately thought they could wait and still get Kaepernick. Otherwise, why would they have risked losing him, as opposed to spending their first-round pick, at No. 7 overall, on linebacker Aldon Smith?
The 49ers got nervous when Cincinnati drafted quarterback Andy Dalton at No. 35 overall. Had someone from the Browns camp talked? Were the Browns ready to pounce on Kaepernick with the No. 36 overall pick?
Was the Harbaugh spy network getting busy? Jim’s brother John, the head coach in Baltimore, had been with Browns head coach Pat Shurmur and general manager Tom Heckert in Philadelphia.
Did someone alert Jim Harbaugh that Cleveland, which wound up going into 2011 with 2010 third-round pick Colt McCoy as its man, would pounce on Kaepernick?
Jim Harbaugh’s 49ers made a deal with Denver, trading up to No. 36 and snatching Kaepernick. The Browns went next, at No. 37, picking defensive end Jabaal Sheard.
Cleveland entered 2012 looking for an upgrade over McCoy, the upgrade, perhaps, that might have come from Kaepernick. With the No. 23 overall pick, the Browns took quarterback Brandon Weeden. Before replacing Heckert, speaking as a media analyst, Michael Lombardi called the move “panicky.”
Lombardi’s point: Weeden would have been available in the second round.
The unanswered question: Was the Weeden pick a Kaeprnick-induced panic?
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Alex Smith talked about Norv Turner today as if it is his fervent wish to play for him again.
That's the subject of one of the stories that should be up on cantonrep.com.
We suspect, however, that the Browns are leaning toward sticking with Brandon Weeden, partly because there would be a hassle and a price in trading for Smith, partly because Weeden has a bigger arm than Smith.
We also suspect the Browns' interest in obtaining Kaepernick was more hot and heavy than their interest in dealing for Smith.
The simple reason for that is obvious: Kaepernick is more talented than Smith, and is already a better player.