SAN FRANCISCO (CBS SF) – Could a simple game of catch be the reason 49ers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh decided to stick with Colin Kaepernick over Alex Smith two years ago?

This time of year many National Football League coaches and scouts are sitting on the sidelines trying determine how successful a prospect will be by watching their combine workouts or evaluating skills at a pro day, but  Jim Harbaugh has a routine that is every bit as old school as he is: he plays catch with them.

According to the Wall Street Journal, Harbaugh now makes a habit of walking up to potential picks and asking them to throw the pigskin with him.

“I’m not trying to look in their eyes,” he told the paper. “Just trying to see how they catch.”

As you would expect, the game of catch is said to be quite intense.

Team President Paraag Marathe said the tradition, which catches many players by surprise, helps Harbaugh test his chemistry with a player, and see how competitive they are when based on their attempts to outdo his powerful pass.

Harbaugh doesn’t just use the tool on prospects. Team officials confirm he even made veteran wide receiver Randy Moss go through the drill.

This year he says, despite having Kaepernick in house, he’s evaluating a number of college quarterbacks for the draft.



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