ESPN’s Trent Dilfer: Gap between Greg Olsen, Jimmy Graham ‘a chasm’

Trent Dilfer called to discuss topics related to the Monday night matchup between Carolina and Indianapolis. But after 15 minutes talking about Cam Newton, Andrew Luck and Panthers offensive coordinator Mike Shula, Dilfer had something else he wanted to get off his chest.

Dilfer, the former Tampa Bay quarterback and current ESPN analyst, thinks Panthers tight end Greg Olsen is a special talent. And Seattle tight end Jimmy Graham, who’s been to two more Pro Bowls than Olsen?

Dilfer says he’s not in Olsen’s league.

“I think the gap between (Olsen) and Jimmy Graham is a chasm, not a gap,” Dilfer said Thursday.

While Pro Football Focus views Olsen as the league’s worst run-blocking tight end, Dilfer believes Olsen’s blocking is better than Graham’s.

“The Seahawks running the football with Graham on the field are pathetic. Brutal. With him off the field, they’re dynamic,” Dilfer said. “Greg Olsen’s playing 90 percent of the snaps and they’re leading the league in rushing. And he’s a dynamic receiver.”

Olsen, who went to his first Pro Bowl last season, is third among tight ends (trailing Antonio Gates, Rob Gronkowski and former Panther Gary Barnidge) with an average of 73.2 receiving yards a game.

Graham is 12th among tight ends at 53.6.

Dilfer says the 6-foot-7 Graham thrived in the Saints’ offense because of Sean Payton’s ability to get him in isolation matchups. He says Graham also caught a lot of passes against soft zones “where anybody can get open.”

Dilfer doesn’t think Graham is a bad player. But he thinks it’s time Olsen received his due.

“This guy’s one of the most underappreciated players in football,” Dilfer said. “He is amazing.”

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