Programming note: Jim Harbaugh is scheduled to address the media this afternoon at 12:10 p.m. Watch the live stream right here.
SANTA CLARA -- The Cincinnati Bengals were looking for a starting quarterback with their second-round pick in 2011.
When they chose Andy Dalton, the 49ers acted quickly. The 49ers traded up to the No. 36 overall spot to grab Colin Kaepernick.
Washington coach Jay Gruden was the Bengals’ offensive coordinator at the time. Gruden's team is set to face Kaepernick and the 49ers on Sunday at Levi's Stadium.
On Wednesday, Gruden explained on a conference call with the Bay Area media why Cincinnati went with Dalton over Kaepernick.
“Yeah, it was a tough decision,” Gruden said. “It was two great quarterbacks on the board, we thought. I think the main reason we took Dalton was we thought Dalton was ready to go Day 1. We needed a quarterback to start Day 1.
"We didn’t have the luxury of having an Alex Smith, where he could come in and sit for a year and learn and develop a little bit as a passer and a runner.
“We needed a guy from Day 1, and from the college that he went to, the system that he ran, we just thought that Andy was a better fit to start Day 1. More talented? I don’t know.
"Obviously, you can argue that Colin’s been to a Super Bowl already and does some great things. Andy has done some great things. But just from the standpoint of being ready Day 1 to start, we just thought Andy was the best choice for us and what we were going to do moving forward.”
Dalton was a four-year starter at TCU, and ran a more conventional system. He completed 66.1 percent of his passes as a senior for 2,857 yards with 27 touchdowns and six interceptions.
Kaepernick was utilized in the pistol offense at Nevada, where he completed 64.9 percent for 3,022 yards with 21 touchdowns and eight interceptions.
Kaepernick also rushed for 1,206 yards (his third straight 1,000-yard rushing season in college) and 20 touchdowns as a senior. Dalton gained 435 yards and six touchdowns rushing in his final college year.
“As a coordinator, I wasn’t too involved in the read option and all the things that quarterbacks are doing now days,” Gruden said. “So I was looking for a true drop-back type passer to utilize A.J. Green and some of the other guys that we had a passer.
"Not that Colin can’t do that, but I wasn’t too in-tune with the read-option stuff. But, obviously, that’s a great weapon to have.”
Kaepernick is the NFL’s 15th-ranked passer with a 92.0 passer rating with 14 touchdowns and five interceptions. Dalton is 25th at 83.2 with 11 touchdowns and nine interceptions for the Bengals.