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Grant Cohn: Cam or Kap? Still a tough call

  • Cam Newton will lead Carolina Panthers into Candlestick Park on Sunday. (Mike McCarn / Associated Press)

SANTA CLARA – “Merrill Feuerborn was adamant that we had to get Cam Newton and he was the future of the NFL,” Jim Harbaugh said at a recent press conference.

Who in the world is Merrill Feuerborn?

He is Harbaugh's father-in-law.

“You've got to give him credit, he saw it,” said Harbaugh, grinning. “I think the whole football world saw it at the time. My father, Jack Harbaugh, was championing Colin Kaepernick. The two fathers championing their champion.”

So, Harbaugh was experiencing family strife, father vs. father.

Luckily for him, the Panthers drafted Feuerborn's champion with the first pick in 2011. End of strife.

If the Panthers could do it over, would they take Kaepernick, Jack Harbaugh's guy, over Newton?

Two years ago, that would have been a silly question. Most people thought Newton was better than Kaepernick because Newton won the Heisman Trophy and he played in the SEC, the toughest conference. Kaepernick played in the WAC, which doesn't exist anymore.

But Kaepernick went to the Super Bowl last season and Newton has not even been to the playoffs.

So which quarterback is better – Cam or Kap? They're so similar their names are almost identical.

“They're both big, strong, athletic quarterbacks,” said 49ers' third-string quarterback McLeod Bethel-Thompson. “But that's not the way you look at it. They're two totally different players.”

Let's focus on those differences. McLeod, you can start us off.

“Look at the way they run the ball. The first thing you look at is Cam is more of a downhill, almost a power runner. And Kap is around the edge. He's got that speed. He's got that dynamic disconnect ability where he can break out when he's out in the open.”

They're both elite running quarterbacks with different running styles. Obvious. Their passing styles are even more different.

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