Chat with Mel Kiper
Send your questions now and join Mel this Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:00 PM)
We're getting Mel!
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
Let's get right to the questions!
Wannstedt has done a good job getting recruits, and the play on the field seems to be showing that. Besides McCoy, are there any potential 1st rounders on the Pitt squad?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
He's the main guy. He's definitely the main guy. McCoy is a big time prospect. He's a third-year sophomore. He has better ball security of late. He's the kind of guy that's an obvious first rounder. He's a third year sophomore that's draft eligible. He's a top echelon prospect. The other kid is Scott McKillop, who is an ILB and is very productive. He's the kind of guy that you think of 3-4 round. Also, their fullback has halfback skills as a fullback. Those are the guys that are the most intriguing.
Eric (Chapel Hill, NC)
Mel, with the injuries to his ACL and MCL, what do Brandon Tate's draft hopes look like?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
He should be fine. It's how he checks out right before the draft. He won't be in any all star games. As long as he's ready to go for training camp. He looked to me like a second round pick. But he was a tremendous return man. It's a shame he got hurt, because he was climbing. He had really enjoyed a meteoric rise. You have to wait and see. Had he not gotten hurt, he was a second round pick.
Jerry, Thomasville, Georgia
Mel, what potential NFL players does Florida State University have this year? Are there any first rounders?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
Senior-wise, they have no highly regarded seniors. The best of the seniors, you're probalby looking at maybe Antone Smith, the RB; Tony Carter, the CB; Greg Carr, WR; and a guy that's really come on is Graham Gano, a PK. He was a former punter who has really come on as their kicker. He's come on. Really strong leg. Outside of Janikowski, a lot of kicking issues for FSU. The top overall player is potentially Everette Brown, junior DE.
Jeff (St. Catharines)
Mel, if you were the Lions GM, what positions/prospects would you be looking at to get us back to our typical mediocrity?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
The main thing is you have to decide on a QB. Drew Stanton was a second round pick of the old regime. Orlovsky is a young QB. They have to go the QB route. They need to get a big time QB prospect into this program. A few years ago, they had a chance to get Leinart or Young and they passed on them. If they take a QB and if a San Francisco or KC take a QB, it will be determined by who comes out. There are no first rounders in the senior class. Stafford, Bradford, Sanchez could all go very high. Bradford or Stafford could be the No. 1 overall pick. If you're Detroit, KC or SF, you're looking QB. If they can't get a QB, they have to decide on which veteran they want to go after. Is a guy like Derek Anderson available? That's a wait and see. Anderson is going to be a very interesting guy. A lot of what's gone on in Cleveland is not his fault. He was a Pro Bowler last year. He has an outstanding arm. To me, let's watch and see how the rest of the season unfolds.
Darril (New Hampshire)
Is Boise's Ian Johnson going to fine employment in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
He will. He has a chance to play in the NFL. the issue is that he's not that big. He's got good quickness. He's been productive. He has shown NFL ability. He's a guy you might think about in the 5-6 rounds.
Ryan (Madison, WI)
Will there be any true blue-chip RBs in the '09 draft? I don't see any Jonathan Stewarts or Rashard Mendenhalls, much less Petersons or McFaddens.
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
There are going to be. The same thing that created McFadden, Mendenhall were that they were juniors. All those RBs last year were juniors. Stewart, Mendenhall, Jones, Slaton, Rice, McFadden, Jamaal Charles - all those RBs came out early. That's why the senior RB class this year is not that strong. The junior class is outstanding. THe top sr. RB does have a first round grade right now - Javon Ringer from Michigan State. The others are all down the line. When you look at the juniors Knowshon Moreno - third year sohpomore; Beanie Wells; McCoy; Shonn Greene from Iowa; Donald Brown from UConn.
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
Those are the backs taht will get the attention. They are the elite backs.
Jack (Louisville Ky)
So Mel what do you see in Louisville's Hunter Cantwell and his NFL dreams?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
He's got a chance. He has the arm. He has the longer delivery. He's got the height going for him. From a week to week, he needs to perform at a consistent level. Then the all-star games. It's going to be tough to find four QBs to go to an all-star game. Those games are all for seniors. In the Senior Bowl, they're going to have to look at two D-IAA players. Rhett Bomar and Nathan Brown. They're both from the Southland Conference. Their two teams played each other on Oct. 11. Those two guys may be Senior Bowl material. Painter has struggled. Cantwell is OK. Cullen Harper has really struggled at Clemson. Chase Daniel, Graham Harrell, products of the system. Willie Tuitama from Arizona and Chris Crane from BC are interesting. Keep in mind Pat White will end up being a WR prospect in the NFL.
Chad (Los Angeles)
Mel, are all of Penn State's senior defensive backs good enough to get drafted? (Scirotto, Rubin, Sargent and Davis)
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
The guys that you start out with are Anthony Scirrotto, the safety; Lydell Sargeant, CB, who came on late last year, former WR. Those are the two guys. More like mid-to-late-round guys.
Who do you like in the PSU vs OSU matchup?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
This is OSU's opportunity. They can redeem themselves for what happened against USC. PSU is still a heck of a football team. And it's a credibility game for PSU, because when you look at their schedule, they haven't had a game yet that was a signature win. They beat Illinois, Purdue, Wisconsin, Michigan, who are all having down years. You have the young QB for OSU and Clark who has come on for PSU. The edge goes to PSU, Clark has had a heck of a year. Wells is always going to be the best back on the field. The way they've played this year, PSU's WRs have played better than OSU's. OL - you have some stars on the offensive line. Cadogan is big on the line. Defensively, the line edge goes to PSU. LB edge to OSU, because Sean Lee is out for a knee injury. Secondary, because of Jenkins, I give to OSU. Thsi is an evenly matched game on paper. To pick a winner? This is a flip of the coin game. There's hardly anything separating these teams.
Paul (Washington DC)
Mel, Do you think Jamarcus Russell is a victim of being in Oakland or was overrated?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
First of all, he was not overrated. He's going to keep improving. You can't teach the arm strength that he has. He's learning to recognize defenses and game management. They're working in a new back. You have a WR core that's all over the place. He doesn't have a team from week to week. Russell, as long as he keeps his weight where it needs to be, he has a chance to be a very good starting QB in this league. Certainly a QB that you can build around.
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
It will be interesting to see him against the Ravens defense. I'll be at that game.
Troy (La Plata, MD)
What are your thoughts on Maryland? Being a Florida State fan having to live in MD I went to root on the Terps against Wake Forest and must say I was very impressed with Darrius Heyward Bey!
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
Finally. I've been screaming all year - every chat I do and every radio show I do - you have to get the ball to Heyward-Bey. He had one touch against Clemson, which was a reverse. That's not going to get it done. Against Wake, they were feeding him the ball. He was not getting enough touches. He's a first round player. The problem with Maryland is that their offensive line is overrated. They have these big imposing seniors, but they're not moving people off the line. They've gotten good play out of their defense. The guy that's really played well is LB Alex Wujack. I think they'll end up being 8-4, 9-3.
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
The one thing that's been consistent for Maryland is their inconsistency. It's homecoming against NC State. They finish the season with four tough games. This is a must win game for them. It will determine if it's a good year for them or a disappointing year.
Jeff (Houtzdale, PA)
If Pittsburgh beats the Giants does that make them the best team in the AFC or are the Titans still the best?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
I still think Pittsburgh is. They're always able to survive when they don't have their stars. This team has a lot of leadership. It's a very mentally and physically tough team. You see how physical Hines Ward is. They have all the injuries. This team finds ways to win. At Jacksonville, Moore ran the football. What a great addition to this team he is. They hang on to beat teams. They hang on to win the close games. They win when they dont' have their top personnel. They beat the teams they're supposed to beat, like Cincinnati this past week. This is a big game this week. These next four weeks will tell us a lot about the Steelers. They play at NE, home against Dallas, at Baltimore, then at Tennessee.
Joseph (Toms River, NJ)
How do you think Notre Dame can finish up in this season? Do you think they have what it takes to run the table in the last couple games that they have?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
Let's go back over them. I stressed their swing games. Their four separate games that we knew what would happen - San Diego State - they have bottomed out, they lost to Cal Poly and New Mexico, but they almost beat Notre Dame; Navy; Syracuse; lose to USC. Those were the four separate games and go 3-1. Then the swing games. They beat Michigan, lost to Michigan State, beat Purdue, beat Stanford, lose to North Carolina. I thought Washington was going to be a swing game, but they don't have Jack Locker. This is not a swing game. It's a huge game for Notre Dame, now it's a game that they should win. Pittsburgh at home, at BC. Those are the 8 swing games. So far in those they are 3-2 and 1-0 in the other games. So they're 4-2 and of the remaining 6 games, 3 swing and 3 separate. I'll predict 8-4.
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
That would mean that they went in those separate games, they go 3-1 and 5-3 in the swing games. That's not too bad.
Rob Pittsburgh PA
Who do you think is the most underrated prospect in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
I'd say Shawn Nelson, TE Southern Miss; Willie Tuitama, QB at Arizona; Rashad Jennings at Liberty, formerly at Pitt; Andy Levitre, OL, Oregon State; Scott McKillop, MLB, Pitt; Coye Francies, CB, San Jose State; Jerry Hughes, DE, TCU; Brandon Hughes, CB, Oregon State; Michael Smith, RB, Arkansas; Russell Okung, LT, Oklahoma State; Mark Herzlich, OLB, BC.
How high is Brian Orakpo's stock right now and is he a potential top 20 pick?
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
Definitely a top 20 pick. He's No. 1 on my Senior Board. Here are the juniors that have the highest grades in no order: Sam Bradford, Matthew Stafford, Mark Sanchez, Moreno, Wells, McCoy, Crabtree, Maclin, Heyward-Bey, Harvin, Gresham, Andre Smith, Greg Hardy, Selvie, Antonio Coleman, Jerry Hughes, Terrence Cody, Sen'Derrick Marks, Brandon Spikes, Vontae Davis, Taylor Mays. All of those juniors would be very highly rated. Then if you look at Orakpo, as the No. 1 senior. Then Michael Oher, Michael Johnson, Eugene Monroe, Jason Smith, Aaron Curry, William Moore, Ray Maualuga, Brandon Pettigrew, James Laurinaitis. Now, where's Orakpo? He would still be a top 10 guy. He's a DE that can pressure the QB. He has tremendous sack totals this year. I think he's a top 10 pick, no matter which juniors come out.
Clay (Oakland, CA)
Missouri has no problem recruiting great skill position players, but why can't the Tigers lure linemen on offense and defense to matchup talent wise with Texas and Oklahoma?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
It's Missouri. Let's realize who we're talking about here. They did the same thing when Loren Powers was there. They were unsatisfied. Realize who you are. You're not Oklahoma. Keep it in perspective. You're not Texas. You have to realize who you are in college footblal and be happy where you are. Missouri's recruiting classes are not up to the same as Texas and Oklahoma. They landed a good QB in Daniel and they've had some good TEs. They haven't gotten the OL. They have some good defensive players in Sulak and Ziggy Hood. Sean Weatherspoon is a good LB. Brock Christopher. William Moore is the best safety in all of college football. It's just not enough. They are not going to get the overall top level of recruits that Texas and Oklahoma are going to get. You're not going to be as talent laden as them or as deep. Those top teams have enormous depth and Missouri doesn't have that kind of depth. This is the first year since 1978 that Missouri has won at Nebraska.
Nick M. (Atlanta, GA)
You've done underrated - now who's the most overrated in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
That's hard because it's still so, so early. From a pro prospect standpoint, Chase Daniel, Graham Harrell. Those are two. Marlon Lucky, RB, Nebraska; Aaron Kelly, WR, Clemson. I'll give the defensive overrated guys next week.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
College football has had one heck of a year so far. And we still don't know the best teams in the NFL so far. We're all anxious to see the PSU-OSU game. From a prospect evaluation standpoint, that will be a big game as well. We'll be back next week.