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Dilfer: Deshaun Watson is worth a top 10 pick


Say what you want about Trent Dilfer, but the guy has built an empire with his summer quarterback camps, specifically Elite 11.

Dilfer has been working with Deshaun Watson every summer since the Clemson quarterback was a 17-year-old. He’s gotten to know the newest National Champion pretty well over the years.

“On film, you’ll give him a B+. On film, he’s a late-first, early-second,” Dilfer said. “The analogy I’ve been using is if you’re making a great beef stew, there’s more to it than just the steak and potatoes. If you just did the steak and potatoes, it would be a crappy stew. That’s the talent part of quarterback.

“It’s all the other stuff. It’s the spices, the carrots, the onions. It’s the exact blend of it all that makes it a great stew. Same with quarterback. For him, he has off the charts, A+, he’s a 10 in the intangible category. That with — he is a passer that can run. And his body has gotten more mature and bigger. I think he’s a top 10 pick.”

The 49ers are expected to overhaul the quarterback position. Colin Kaepernick has an opt-out clause in his contract and veterans Blaine Gabbert and Christian Ponder are set to be free agents. Ponder said he expects the team to draft a quarterback in the first or second round, but said he hoped to stay with the 49ers.

Other draft experts are not in agreement with Dilfer on Watson, who threw 17 interceptions in 2016. Mel Kiper Jr. said he doesn’t expect the NFL’s scouting community to be fooled by one national championship game performance against Alabama.

“”He has shown that he can make every throw that an NFL quarterback needs to make, but his lapses in decision-making hurt Clemson in the middle of the season,” Kiper said via 49ersWebZone. “He didn’t play like a first-round pick. He was much, much better down the stretch of the season, including on Monday night, but scouts aren’t going to overreact to one game, good or bad.”

But Watson has the longer track record than any other quarterback entering the 2017 NFL Draft. Three seasons as a starting quarterback have produced 1,207 pass attempts to evaluate.

As teams get to know him better at the NFL’s scouting combine and individual pro days, Watson’s stock could rise into the top five of the draft.