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Kaepernick won't attend NFL draft

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Adam Caplan

Adam Caplan is our newest NFL reporter/insider at FOXSports.com. He has spent the past 10 seasons covering the league, specializing in player personnel, injuries and contracts.

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One highly touted quarterback prospect has turned down the NFL — well, sort of.

Former University of Nevada star Colin Kaepernick has declined the NFL’s invitation to attend the draft in person next week.

“It’s a definitely a great opportunity and I’m honored to be asked to go to New York, but at the same time that it’s something where I should stay at home and spend that time with my family,” he told FOXSports.com Tuesday. “It’s a once in a lifetime opportunity type of thing and going to New York, but my whole family wouldn’t be able to go, my whole support system. So I just thought it would be right to be at home with them.”

The right-hander, who was adopted by the Kaepernick family as an infant, also turned down a chance to have ESPN or NFL Network spend draft day with him at home.

“Once again, I thought it was something that I should spend with them. I want it to be a personal moment with my family," he said. "There was a lot of hard work by my family to help get me where I’m at right now. So, I wanted the whole day to be something that we could spend together and just really be ourselves and hang out.”

Shawn Smith, public relations and marketing director for X-A-M Sports, understands his decision.

“As a PR rep, it’s a dream to have a client in New York for the draft. That’s the 'big daddy.' But that’s just not Colin," Smith said. "He appreciates the honor of getting a call from Mr. (Gil) Brandt and the honor of getting respected in that way to be invited is there. However, just being to be able to have the moment of being drafted with his family around him where it’s not about the cameras. That’s Colin. I support him 100 percent.”

The on-the-field interest in Kaepernick really began to rise during Senior Bowl week when he displayed his outstanding arm strength and athleticism during practices leading up to the game.

“That week was good for me, to learn the NFL playbook, terminology. I learned how their practice runs and how quickly they expect you to pick things up,” he said during the NFL Scouting Combine. “For me it was a great experience and a great opportunity, working with some great coaches.”

While Kaepernick has a lot of upside as a passer, some personnel evaluators think he might be more of a project than some of the other top quarterbacks for this year’s draft because of the offensive scheme he played in college — but don’t tell him that.

“I don’t agree with that. I think the Senior Bowl week I showed how quickly I can pick up on an NFL offense, drop-back, read coverage. If it comes down to it and that is what a team drafts me for I’d be more than happy to do that for them,” he explained.

Kaepernick played in the “pistol” offense at Nevada. It’s one that’s quite different from anything in the NFL.

“The one thing I’ve heard from (NFL) teams is that it’s hard to evaluate it because they’ve never seen it before," he said. "They haven’t really had a quarterback come out of it. But for me, it’s similar to a spread style. We put our running back behind me so we don’t tip whether we’re running the ball or how our protection is set up.”

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But during his over 12 visits and private workouts with teams, Kaepernick, has been able to discuss the similarities between his college offense and pro schemes.

“Sitting down with coaches and meetings and going over plays, it’s really that not much different from what NFL teams are doing as far as route combinations, etc," he said. "We just call it something different. So, I think the more they see it and the more they talk to me about it, the more they get comfortable with me going through progressions and reading defenses.”

And reading defenses is a huge part of what he’ll asked to do at the next level.

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