Chat with Mel Kiper
Send your questions now and join Mel this Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:01 PM)
We're getting Mel!
The Lions need help all over the place!! Where would they look at with the #1 pick?
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
I think obviously the concern moving forward is what is the organization going to look like. Who's the GM? Who's the coach? Who's directing this team? The whole front office structure. QB is an area they have to look at. There will be some junior QBs right in the mix. That's an area they'll have to look.
Jeff (Brooklyn, OH)
How did Chris Horton last until the 7th round? He looks like a perennial Pro-Bowler on Sundays.
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
We can go back to why. What I said about him, the question was his coverage abilities. He was a rugged, well coached player at UCLA. He was average in coverage at UCLA. He did run a 4.54 40 at the combine. That was a sign that maybe he would do better in coverage than at UCLA. He had 90 tackles as a senior and 95 as a junior. That's consistently being a factor in the box. That's what you're seeing, making plays on or around the line of scrimmage. They basically played to his strength.
Brian (Knoxville, TN)
Mel, Hunter Cantwell's performance on the field has to be killing his draft stock right? The guy has a huge arm but it seems like he has no time for touch passes and his accuracy is suspect due to his un-willingness to take anything off any of his throws. How do you see it?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
Obviously, there's been a big change at the top of the senior QB board, because of Curtis Painter and Hunter Cantwell. Now, you have Graham Harrell, Rhett Bomar and Nathan Brown ahead of them. This senior QB group as a whole is one of the worst I can remember. It's give two I-AA QBs and a Tech guy grab control There's an under the radar guy in Drew Willy as well.
Does Mississippi State upset Alabama this weekend?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
This is a home game for Alabama, after a big win. Mississippi State has some offensive issues. They only scored three against Tennessee and 13 against Kentucky and 17 against Vanderbilt. They were a team that only scored two against Auburn. This offense is bad. You have a very good defense for Alabama. I would say Alabama no question. This could be a 20-3 game, 20-6, 17-6. I would say Alabama wins this game because Mississippi State can't generate any offense.
How does Crabtree compare to one of the most recent premiere WR prospects (Calvin Johnson)?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
I think he's more of an Andre Johnson. He's a big, physical, tough, hard nosed WR. He'll catch in traffic. He's a power forward. He'll pick up yardage in the open field. He'll block. He's got big strong hands. Just an Andre Johnson player. If he were playing for anyone other than the Texans, everyone in the country would be hearing more about him. He's an underpublicized superstar.
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
But he's playing for a 3-6 football team.
Jonathan (Westerville, Ohio)
Did any of the Ohio State seniors actually hurt their draft stock by returning for their final seasons?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
Yeah, they did. They really did. That's why there's a risk in going back. James Laurinaitis has not made enough impact plays. Marcus Freeman, a finesse LB, his stock has dropped. Brian Robiskie has dropped a little bit. Not as much, because speed is the big question and he'll run faster than expected. But the two LBs are the big ones.
Brandon Phoenix, AZ
How high is FSU DE Everette Brown skyrocketing on your big board? He's been a man among boys the past few weeks.
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
He has. He's a junior. He's not on the Big Board, but he's on the listing. He's one of the juniors listed. The thing with him is that the junior DEs is pretty good. That group includes Jerry Hughes, TCU; Greg Hardy, Ole Miss; George Selvie, South Florida; Aaron Maybin, PSU.
BG (Miami, Florida)
Have the Canes and the Noles finally turned their programs around?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
Well, a lot of good young players at Miami. No question that Randy Shannon have a lot of players to build around. The big thing with them is they have two young QBs. That's the big thing you're looking at. To have two guys who both have a lot of football to be played. Harris and Marve. Harris has looked outstanding. They've been involved in so many close games. They're at 6-3 and they've been involved in a lot of close games. Their future is outstanding.
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
FSU, they have to feel that they have the right mix at QB too. That's the thing about these teams, they have gotten good QB play. They're a team that at 7-2 and should have been 8-1. They have BC at home this week and have three difficult games coming up. I don't expect they'll beat Florida. I think the worst they'll be is 8-4 and 7-5, 8-4 for Miami.
Matt Ryan hands down ROY
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
Well, I think Joe Flacco has to be in that discussion. No question that those two QBs are in it. Chris Johnson also. Ray Rice, Matt Forte, DeSean Jackson, Dustin Keller. I would say Ryan and Flacco because normally you don't see young QBs do this well. With RBs, you always see that. Jones and McFadden were off to great start until they got injured. Flacco has the Ravens with a 6-3 mark. He was not expected to be the guy. It's paid major dividends.
Will J (Portland, OR)
What was your impression of Brady Quinn's first start, and do you think it was the right move for Cleveland?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
They really didn't have any choice. This should not be viewed as an indictment of Anderson. He didn't have a lot of help. They lose the games when Winslow doesn't play. Braylon Edwards hasn't helped. How did Quinn play in that game, against a terrible defense? Keep in mind Denver has a terrible defense. He showed mobility, confidence. The question for him coming into the NFL was accuracy and for the most part he put the ball where it needed to be. In that environment, I thought he played pretty well. That's a nice start for Quinn. I want to see how he does at Buffalo. With the weather conditions. That's your Monday Night game. A good road test for Quinn.
Brian (Des Moines, IA)
Does Shonn Greene have a realistic chance to be drafted on day 1 of the draft if he comes out this year? Or would it be better for him to take the risk of another year in school?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
I think RBs have to look at how much tred on the tire you want to have. He didn't play last year and now he's having a great year at Iowa. He's getting a lot of carries. Iowa lost four games by 5 points or less. The losses were to bowl-caliber teams. This was not a mediocre team. This team was a lot better than their record indicated. For Greene, a RB, he's probably going to be a second round type of guy. Do you want to go back and risk an injury? Or do you want to move on? RBs, even though they're productive in college, still tend to drop a little bit in the draft. What made Chris Johnson was the combine. What made Rashard Mendenhall was the speed factor. That's what you have to see for Greene, what's your realistic 40 time? Look at Mike Hart, he dropped to late in the draft because he ran a 4.69.
Brad (South GA)
If we had an 8 team playoff, how would you rank your top 8 teams regardless of the present polls?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
I think Florida would be No. 1, USC, No. 2. I would put Texas No. 3; Texas Tech No. 4; Oklahoma No. 5; Alabama No. 6; Penn State No. 7; Boise State No. 8.
Clay (Oakland, CA)
Jeremy Maclin said he will leave Missouri for the NFL if he has a good shot at the 1st round...So Mel, Maclin is a 2nd rounder at best, right?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
Maclin right now would be the second highest rated underclassman WR and second highest overall. I'd say he'd be a mid first rounder. Heyward-Bey would be third and Crabtree would be No. 1.
Mel, Jets or Pats tomorrow night?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
I'm going to say the Jets, just for the sake of having a little fun. This is a huge game for the Jets, just from the credibility standpoint. They lost the last time they played. This is Brett Favre's spotlight game. The Jets have played St. Louis, Buffalo, KC, Oakland, Cincy. Outside of Buffalo, that's four of the worst teams in the NFL. In that stretch, they did lose a game. They are a team that hasn't been challenged. This is a big game. Next week, they play at Tennessee. You would hope that if you're the Jets you come out of this with a split. New England's a beat up team. They have a lot of injuries and they're a team that's vulnerable.
Bradford (Boise, ID)
Mel, Does anybody at Boise State have NFL potential? It seems like we've had more and more draft picks in recent years.
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
Yeah, they have a couple of guys. Their main guys, are underclassmen. Their best is Kyle Wilson, a junior CB. He has great recovery speed, great kid. You also have Jeremy Childs, junior WR. He's talented, athletic, skilled receiver. Ian Johnson, the senior RB is probably a late round guy. He benefits from the scheme, from the diversity of the offense.
Alex (Kansas City, MO)
Are there any elite pass rushers that will be available in the 2009 NFL draft?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
Pass rushing is the strength of this draft. Michael Johnson from GT; Orakpo, from Texas. From the junior class, Jerry Huges from TCU and Everette Brown from FSU. Greg Hardy has been banged up this year. George Selvie from South Florida. Those are your best pass rushers.
RE: Your top 8 for a playoff. Why FL and SC 1 and 2 over Tech and 'Bama?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
In terms of Texas Tech, it's hard. They're a team I want to watch. If they beat Oklahoma in Norman, I move them to No. 1. The reason I put them there is that I have a lot of respect for Texas. They lost on the last play of the game to the best player on the field. Texas had a tough gauntlet. Don't worry about where Texas Tech is ranked. If they beat Oklahoma, they go to No. 1.
Ron (Lee's Summit, MO)
Tyler Thigpen. What were your thoughts when he was drafted? What are your thoughts about him now?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
I liked him coming out of Coastal Carolina. He was a developmental QB. He had the skills you look for for a future NFL QB. Would he have the opportunity? Right now, it looks like he has a chance. He was kind of like Romo. Both had similar qualities. It will be interesting to see if he can keep playing well the rest of the year. It was a shame that they didn't take that game into OT. We'll watch him the rest of the way. He had promise coming out.
Mel, Seeing how the niners will be with another top 10 pick. Where do you see them going with the pick? Do they take another qb with the pick or should they take "best available" Thanks.
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
This is a team and you look at and say, Quarterback. They have to take a QB. They can't worry about Alex Smith. This organization has to identify a QB. Kansas City, with Thigpen, might be in a different situation. The Lions don't have anybody to move forward with and neither do the 49ers.
Mindy (Wilsonville, OR.)
Mel, do the DE's at Oregon, Will Tukuafu and Nick Reed have what it takes to play in the NFL?"
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
Nick Reed is going to be one of those 3-4 OLB types. He's an aggressive player. Comes off the edge. He has a great motor.
What's the difference physically between a TE and WR?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
The TE has become a glorified WR. You have a lot of H-Backs. The TE spot has become a pass catching spot and not a blocking spot. At WR, you have a lot of big guys. But a TE is becoming a glorified WR. We have a couple of guys this year, Travis Beckum and Cornelius Ingram. The No. 1 TE is Brandon Pettigrew. He's a blocker, receiver. He's going to be a potential top 10 pick.
Donald D (Eugene, OR)
Has USC's offense been slowly going downhill since the depature of Norm Chow?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
I think just the personnel. This team has a lot of young players. They lost Sam Baker and Rachal off the OL. Radovich. Fred Davis. Those are some big losses.
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
Hopefully for them Mark Sanchez goes back for his senior year. But this offense had a lot of changes. You can't change nearly your entire OL and lose your TE.
Jamie (Alexander City,AL)
Looking ahead to the SEC Championship game, Can bama beat Florida?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
No. Florida is playing great football. They're peaking at the right time. They found a conventional running game. Tebow is playing great. People forget that they're missing one of the their top options on offense in Ingram. Brandon James is a great return man. They can beat you on special teams, offense, defense. From a total complete team standpoint, it's Florida.
Mel, What are the Raiders gonna do. We know they are unpredictable but OL has to be a priority? Thanks.
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
The OL, WR, defensive front seven. Those are the critical areas of need for the Raiders. And they have to hope that Russell is the right QB.
Was Matt Ryan projected to be this good going into last April's draft?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
Yeah. Nobody was projected to be this good this early, but they were expected to be this good in time. Matt Ryan carried a very mediocre on his shoulders. There were no RBs of consequence, no WRs of consequence. Where would they have been without Matt Ryan? He has a great work ethic. There's no question that he was expected to be an outstanding QB. He's just been ahead of the curve so far. Same thing with Joe Flacco.
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
Flacco has a rocket arm. He has rare arm strength. It's every bit as strong as Jay Cutler's.
Do you see Duke continuing to get better and bigger in the future or will thy always be a 2 or 3 win team
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
It's hard for Duke. Steve Spurrier won there. Fred Goldsmith had some success there. They have had some good years. But trying to be there year in and year out is difficult. But David Cutcliffe has done a great job there. They've played above and beyond what they could have expected. They lost to Wake in OT. That game really hurt their chances. They lost to NC State. Now they don't figure to win any more games and they're at 4-5, needing two more to be bowl eligible.
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
Year in, year out is tough. Your man power, depth.
Giants or Ravens?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
That's hard for me, because I'm rooting for the Ravens. It's hard, because I'm a Ravens fan and I don't try to hide that. They don't get a lot of national respect. People dismiss the Ravens. I don't know why. Maybe it's the QB situation. The best I thought they could be was 8-8, but they have a shot to be better than that. It's because of their defense. Keep in mind their CB position is questionable at best. The Browns did some things against this defense and the Colts. But other than that....You have to attack that secondary, throw it early. Teams are reluctant to do that and they lose. They have the three RBs that can all get it done. Each week, they're getting Todd Heap a little more involved. Their OL has held up. I'm rooting for the Ravens, but it will be a tough chore. This is their third straight road game. Because of the rescheduling of the Houston game, this put them in a situation with their third straight on the road.
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
They have some tough home games as well. Maybe you're looking at 10-6. That's amazing, with a rookie QB that they could be 10-6. That would be an amazing feat with a QB from the I-AA level.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
It's been fun. This has been a great, great season, both college and pro. We don't have any marquee matchups in college this weekend, but we have some games to keep an eye on. We'll be back next week.