Chat with Mel Kiper
Send your questions now and join Mel this Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Mel Kiper (1:01 PM)
Ready to give out some grades, look ahead to next year and get to whatever else you have!
Mel, I know I'm beating a dead horse here, but can you explain to me the Bear's rationale of trading out of the first round without redressing their needs at TE/WR?
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
First of all, they really like last year's second-founder Mark Bradley at WR, and Hester might even be able to see some snaps. I thought they might go TE in the third round, but things didn't fall right for them in terms of where other guys were taken. Bottom line, I like the guys they took. Mark Anderson was a steal and Manning was a great pickup while Runnels will start as a rookie. And based on the last game I saw from the Bears the upgrades on defense were the way to go.
Lee: Cleveland, Ohio
How do you think the Browns did in this draft? Do you think they addressed all of there needs with the 10 players they drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
Main thing was the front seven on defense, get a better pass rush. Wimbley and Jackson were good picks to bolster the LB corps, though Williams was a roll of the dice late. The key is Oshinowo at NT out of Stanford who could plug up the middle of the defense. Solid B grade when you factor in the later picks.
Do you think Tavaris Jackson will ever be a solid starter for the Vikings and why didn't the Vikings trade up for Leinart?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
I thought they were in a position to be a little more aggressive, and I thought Jackson was a raw guy who needs some work and was a later pick than the second round. He could be a starter a couple years down the road but it will take him some time. And he may have had the strongest arm in the draft.
Sean (Akron, OH)
Hey Mel! So how do you see Elvis Dumervil contributing in Denver? He's short but will his technique and long arms enable him to move into the starting lineup on a team that desperately needs a pass rusher?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
He's going to be a pivotal guy for the Broncos as their only defensive end pick. Dumervil is like Robert Mathis of Indy, who was also a fourth-rounder. He tailed off late in the year or he would have been a second-rounder. He has pass rush ability and will be a key on that defense.
Mel - do that put you back into a deep freeze now or what? Serious question: what do you think of Croyle going to the Chiefs? Seems like a system he could fit well in, and Trent Green isn't getting younger...thanks
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
Nice pick for the Chiefs, especially considering where Tavaris Jackson went. He played at a high level in the SEC and had a great Senior Bowl week, and his strong arm is an asset. He needs to get a little stronger but that's about it and he does have the potential to be a starter on the not-too-distant future.
Nick Shlain from WBloomfield, MI
What can you tell us about Lions first rounder Ernie Sims? Was it a good pick? How will he translate to the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
There were concerns about his past concussions with his rugged, hard-hitting linebacker and we'll have to see whether he can hold up. He needs to play more under control and be a little better technically, but he has the desire and toughness. My questoin is why pass on Leinart or Cutler? They have mediocre QBs on the roster and they are going to look silly if those guys become stars. They are not strong there and haven't been for a long time. But I really like the third-round pick of Brian Calhoun. He's a steal and could play for anyone.
Where do see Michael Robinson's talents being used best? Right now Coach Nolan has him as the 3rd down back.
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
He has a chance. I never saw him as a WR becuase of his hands so I don't know about catching the ball out of the backfield, but he is a tough, hard-nosed runner with good size so that may be where he finds his niche. He may have been taken a little early for a guy who projects to another position. But I liked the overall strength of their draft.
What did you think of the World Champion Pittsburgh Steelers' draft? How quickly will Santonio Holmes and Anthony Smith contribute, or even start?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
Holmes could contribute right away with his size, speed and toughness. Willie Colon was a reach in the fourth, Orien Harris was a nice pick later on, but they didn't get a running back or any help at linebacker, which is a concern.
Jason (Newark NJ)
Good afternoon, Mel! What did you think about the Packer strategy of repeatedly trading back such that they wound up with 12 overall picks? Though the Packers certainly could use the volume, when you use hindsight do you think that the Packers passing on quality players higher to get to 12 overall picks was worthwhile?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
As long as you don't lose out on players you need desperately it's okay to do that. I like moving down and coming out of the draft with 12 picks and guys who have character and toughenss like Hodge and Spitz. Colledge is a good pass blocker and WR Greg Jennings is an interesting guy in the second round. Overall, nine of the 12 probably have a future with the organization.
John (New Jersey)
Mel- What reasoning did the Giants have to draft Kiwanuka?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
Strahan is getting up there in age and you always need some kind of rotation at DE. They traded down to get that pick but I would have taken him in the second round. He does have a lot of athletic ability but is stats were inflated a little, so he needs a little coaching to get his pad level lower and getting a counter move. I didn't agree with the pick but I can see the reasoning behind it.
How many of the players the 49ers drafted do you think will start immediately?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
Five to six: Manny Lawson and Parys Haralson might both start, Vernon Davis will be a key, Brandon Williams can contriute in the passing game. Oliver can help at DE, Hudson will be solid. Robinson is a wild-card, and Delaney Walker is more of a project player.
Dave (Wolcott, CT)
Mel, what are your thoughts on the Patriots failing to draft a linebacker. Their corps is not getting any younger and depth is certainly an issue. Have you heard anything about last year's 5th rounder Claridge?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
They got the RB and WR they needed in Maroney and Jackson, but missed out on LB and CB help. I did like the pick of Dave Thomas from Texas at TE, but Gostkowski was a reach at K in the fourth round. I didn't think there was a kicker worth drafting at all, and he will be vying to replace a Hall of Famer in Vinatieri.
Johnny (San Diego)
Mel- Love the hair What kind of character does Antonio Cromartie have? If healthy can he make an immediate impact? Same for Marcus Mcneil?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
Cromartie is a great physical talent who needs time to learn his first year as he is coming off a year away from football. Just look at Mike Williams in Detroit last year. They will try to work him in and get him some special teams time. As for McNeill, he plays a little high and pass rushers might get the best of him because of that, but he has long arms and is a big, strong player. They didn't get WR help that was needed, though, and Whitehurst is a QB who runs very hot and cold.
Mel, what are you top five picks next year, players and teams drafting?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
Brady Quinn is head and shoulders ahead of all the others right now. OT Joe Thomas from Wisconsin, LB Paul Posluszny of Penn State, DE Gaines Adams of Clemson and DE Quinton Moses of Georgia round out the top five seniors heading into next year.
Brendan (Charlotte NC)
What do you think of Clemens that the Jets picked? I have heard a wide range of opinions.
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
He has a chance to be a decent to good NFL QB. He might have been a bit overrated coming in by some people, but he was in the top five in this draft and had he stayed healthy all season he might have been a late first-rounder. The Jets reached a bit late but they beefed up the offensive line and that was a big key for them.
3FF (Arlington, VA)
Who is this Addai kid from LSU and is he any good? He seems kind of small and a little bit soft to be helping the Colts?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
Addai showed speed in workouts and has always been a good blocker, which was a key to Edgerrin James' game. Addai is nota dynamic, elusive runner but he has some speed and is tough. Domonic Rhodes will be the No. 1 guy right away but Addai can be a very good all-around back in the NFL and contribute to this team.
I know there is not much to talk about as far as the Redskins go with the draft, but what do you think of Rocky McIntosh, was he worth trading up for?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
McIntosh is a very experienced, reliable, consistent player. I don't know about his upside and he may not be a WOW type player who makes highlight plays. But that's not what they want. They want a guy who knows he system and plays within it, who is fundamentally solid, and without the trade they would not have gotten him. And DeMeco Ryans would have also been off the board, so I like what they did there.
Mel, What did you think of the Cowboys' top two choices, Carpenter and Fasano? Why spend the 2nd-round pick on a backup TE when they had needs at S and OL? Are the two O-linemeen they picked up late any good?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
Fasano is a good football player and I understand why they did it, but not addressing FS is a risky move. They are very questionable there and lost games because teams went over the top on them, and they need a guy who can cover back there to complement Roy Williams. I wasn't crazy about the lack of OL help early, either.
Help all the Bengals fans out here...We're not use to drafting late. How long until Joseph will contribute at CB?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
He should help right away. He needs a little work after only one SEC season, but he has great raw ability if he can get coached up. Their draft didn't excite me overall, but they got athletes like Frostee Rucker and Reggie McNeal later on. I thought they could have used some TE help, too,
Do you project Jason Allen as a good FS in the NFL? What do you make of the Fins draft overall?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
Average draft. Allen was a good pick with Whitner off the board. Hagan is okay in th third but needs to get more consistent and Joe Toledo can develop at OT after moving from TE, and getting Aromashodu late was nice. Not overwhelming but okay considering the picks they had.
Matt (Vermillion SD)
Who are some of the undrafted free agents that could make an impact in the future?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
The Bears signed two TEs in free agency, including Tim Day who could have been a fourth-rounder, and Cooper Wallace from Auburn who also could have been drafted. So that might make Bears fans feel a little better. DE Mike Kudla from Ohio STate, LB Spencer Havner from UCLA, RB Andre Hall from South Floprida, UCLA QB Dre Olson, Alabama LB Freddie Roach, LSU LB Cameron Vaugh, CB Anthony Madison from Alabama and S Scott Ware from UCLA are among the guys who could be outstanding pickups among the undrafted players.
A couple of questions about the Eagles draft. Can Gocong make the transition to SAM LB? Do you think Avant was a good choice for the Eagles?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
Gocong would have been more suited to a 3-4 team, but he is smart and athletic and has a chance to compete for a spot there. As for Avant, at one point he looked like a second-rounder but he was hurt by some dropped balls at the Senior Bowl and a 4.7 40 in his individual workout. Andy Reid had a lot of positive things to say about him, though, and Jeremy Bloom should help out right away as a punt returner. He'll need some time to shake off the rust as a WR but will contribute on special teams.
Do you think these basketball players have any chance to be the next Gates or are these teams just wasting their time?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
They're not wasting their time looking at these guys as free agents, and this is a copycat league so teams will always be looking for the next coming of Gates or another lightning in a bottle kind of player. Gates is a once once in a blue moon guy and teams have to have all kinds of god fortune to find someone like that. It's hard to go from hoops to the NFL no matter who you are.
What no Raiders questions? What do you think of the Raiders draft, and can Huff, Bing and Howard help their sorry Defense?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
They will be a boost. Huff is an outstanding player and will be a big help. Howard has speed and athleticism but is not that instinctive when locating and breaking on the ball. McQuiston is a good upgrade on the offensive line and Bing was a good fourth-rounder. Howard will be the key. If he comes on and maximizes his athletic ability they can get away with not looking for DL help.
Is Mike Williams, WR of the Lions, going to be any good? I thought you were very high on him last year.
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
He has a chance to be a solid NFL wideout. You can't set this league on fire after a year away, to get into NFL shape, and WRs always need a little time to adapt. His struggles weren't surprising given the lack of talent around him in Detroit, and the criticism he faced last year was very unfair at times. He deserves a mulligan on that first year.
Mike ( Charlotte)
Who were the players who's stock dropped the most that left you scratching your head on? Are you off to the Caribbean now that the draft is over?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
Georgia G Max Jean-Gilles to Philly in the fourth round, Miami OT Eric Winston to Houston in the third, and Leinart dropping to Arizona at No. 10. The Cardinals also got TE Leonard Pope in the third. There is also DB Jimmy Williams to Atlanta in the second, Ashton Youboty to Buffalo in the third, Abdul Hodge to Green Bay in the third, Orien Harris to Pittsburth in the fourth, Zach Streif to New Orleans in the seventh, Sinorice Moss to NY in the second, Winston Justice to Philly in the second, Brent Hawkins to Jacksonville in the fifth, Chad Jackson to New England in the second, Mark Anderson to Chicago in the fifth and Jerome Harrison to Cleveland in the fifth. Those guys all came off the board later than I expected.
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
Thanks to everyone for an entire year of terrific chats! The support is great and sorry we couldn't get to all the questions. We'll be back in August to get things rolling again, so bone up on next year's top prospects and we'll see you in the late summer!