SANTA CLARA, Calif. -- Alex Smith's Kansas City Chiefs are 5-0. Colin Kaepernick's San Francisco 49ers are 3-2.
Smith is a good fit in Andy Reid's offense. He is playing game manager and helping the Chiefs stay perfect.
Kaepernick's numbers are down this season after his spectacular 2012 run that culminated in a Super Bowl appearance. He is clearly suffering from injuries to receivers Michael Crabtree and Mario Manningham, but he has been far from horrible.
Some have questioned whether the 49ers would be better off with Smith, who was traded to the Chiefs in the offseason, as their quarterback. San Francisco got hot last season when Kaepernick took over after Smith was sidelined by a concussion.
The 49ers were good with Smith but believed they could be great with Kaepernick. I wanted to know what the experts thought: Is Kaepernick or Smith the better fit for the 49ers? I selected a panel of ESPN analysts who have professional scouting experience to discuss the topic. Here is what they had to say:
Gary Horton: "I find that argument absolutely ridiculous and frankly, embarrassing. Yes, we are not seeing the explosiveness from the 49ers and Kaepernick we saw last year but that's because of the injuries and plus, they can turn it on when they need to. The comparison is not even close. There are no limitations to where Kaepernick can go in his career. Alex Smith is good, but this is it. I can't see anyone making the argument in favor of Smith."
Louis Riddick: "Really, it is a matter of your personal taste when choosing a QB, as with any other position. Andy has always coveted Alex due to his intelligence, his conservative approach to playing the position in terms of valuing taking care of the football over taking chances, and his ability to make plays with his feet when needed. With Colin, I think you get the intelligence and ability to handle volume as far as the amount you can put on him mentally that gives you a lot of options week to week game-plan wise as well, with the difference being that he is willing to take more chances at pushing the ball vertically down the field, and not being so quick to simply take sacks or take off every time the read isn't clean initially. There is no question the upside lies with Colin in terms of who has the higher ceiling, and with both given equal weapons/protection, Colin would be the more explosive player, and the player I would choose.
Matt Williamson: I would way, way rather have Kaepernick. He is capable of extreme greatness. Smith is not. I am not worried about Kaepernick long-term. His weapons are really lacking.
My thoughts: Any talk that the 49ers would be better with Smith than Kaepernick if off base and a bit silly. The fact that the Chiefs are 5-0 has nothing to do with the 49ers. There is little doubt Kaepernick is the right quarterback for the 49ers now and beyond.