Dilfer slams Seattle’s draft, sings San Francisco’s praises

Former Niners quarterback Trent Dilfer doesn’t appear to let past allegiances cloud his judgment as an ESPN draft analyst.

For example, the ex-Seahawk was less than complimentary regarding Seattle’s draft.

“It hurts me to say this, because I love Seattle and want them to succeed,” Dilfer said Saturday on ESPN. “But there were better players available at almost every choice they made.”

Dilfer also said Seattle did little while the 49ers and Cardinals, NFC West rivals, “got exponentially better.”

During an interview on KNBR on Monday, Dilfer gave San Francisco’s draft a thumbs-up and discussed some of the picks. I did a blog on Dilfer’s thoughts on Colin Kaepernick here.

Here’s Dilfer (I added some comments in italics for background/context):

Aldon Smith, LB, Missouri: “Aldon Smith’s going to be a great player. Now, he’s a young guy. He may not have an immediate impact next year. But I believe he’s got the potential in two of three years to be the most dominant pass rusher in the NFC West. He’s that type of player.”

Smith is transitioning from college defensive end to 3-4 outside linebacker. But you already knew that.

Chris Culliver, CB, South Carolina: “He’s going to be a really good player, a versatile guy, once he gets coached up.”

Culliver began his college career as a wide receiver, played safety as a sophomore and junior and jumped to cornerback for an injury shortened senior season. Seven of his 32 college starts were at cornerback.

Kendall Hunter, RB, Oklahoma State: “I think Kendall Hunter might have been the steal of the draft … I had a second-round grade on him. A lot of people I talked to that I respect thought he was one of the best runners in the draft. There are some size issues, some durability issues, some ball-security issues. But as a change-of pace back to be a replacement for Frank Gore, to work well with (Anthony Dixon), he’ll be a tremendous asset.”

Size issues (he’s 5-7). Durability issues (had 89 carries as a junior due to an ankle injury). Ball-security issues (he had 10 fumbles during his college career).

More Dilfer on Hunter: “What I like most about him was the film that I watched on him as a pass protector. A lot of young backs are good runners … they don’t like to pass protect. This guy has the want-to. He’ll stick his face in there to protect his quarterback. He’s got tremendous will. He reminded me a ton of a guy I played four years with in Tampa named Warrick Dunn.”

Daniel Kilgore, G-C, Appalachian State: “He’s a guy that has tremendous upside. He’s a big man. A project. But he can be a really good interior lineman in this league.”

The 308-pound Kilgore will play guard and center in the NFL. He hasn’t played center since high school.

Ronald Johnson, WR, USC: “(He) was one of my favorite guys. Looking at receivers, I look at receivers based on fit. In terms of slot guys, I thought he was a crafty little slot guy at USC. He can get open, he catches the ball well. He’s got run-after-catch in him. If you’re looking for your Wes Welker … maybe if you’re looking at Stanford’s offense, if you’re looking for your Ryan Whalen, a possession guy, a guy who can work the middle of the football field in the NFL, I think (Ronald) Johnson is that guy.”

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