NFL Combine: 49ers GM 'absolutely' expects Kaepernick back for 2016

Many have speculated that the San Francisco 49ers will be investing the No. 7 overall pick in a quarterback, but general manager Trent Baalke stated that he "absolutely" expects Colin Kaepernick on the roster at the start of the 2016 season, an indication that perhaps the club will be prioritizing a different position with its first round pick.

Baalke said that the "main focus is [Kaepernick] getting healthy" and acknowledged that new San Francisco head coach Chip Kelly prefers big players at every position and that mobility at the quarterback position is a positive. The 6-foot-4, 230 pound Kaepernick ranks among the NFL's most athletic quarterbacks and has four years remaining on a six-year deal reportedly worth up to $114 million.

Baalke said that the 49ers "feel pretty good about the guys we have" at quarterback already but said that the club will "scour the position" in free agency and the draft.

Before a shoulder injury requiring surgery abruptly ended his 2015 season, Kaepernick completed 59 percent of his passes for 1,615 yards and six touchdowns (against five interceptions) -- the worst numbers of his NFL career.

Relatively-local product Jared Goff from California, North Dakota State's Carson Wentz and Memphis junior Paxton Lynch have each frequently been projected as a possible replacement for Kaepernick in San Francisco.

When asked generally about the perceived leap that players from an FCS program like NDSU would be making to the NFL, Baalke pointed out that he'd coached with the Bison as a graduate assistant and spoke about Wentz, specifically, stating that he possesses the stature and size NFL clubs are looking for at the position.  

Will Colin Kaepernick be a 49er in 2016? (USATSI)
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