Chat with Mel Kiper
Send your questions now and join Mel this Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
It's an inbetween times for the draft. The all star games are over and we're waiting for the combine.
Chris B (Memphis)
How deep is each tier of talent in this year's draft? More tier 1 guys than usual/less? Would a team with a late top 10 pick be better off trading down for more picks? Or just too early to tell?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
I think this year, based on the rankings, the draft is really about 12 deep with super bluechippers. Then there are some guys in the next category that have some concern or a negative that prevents them from being a super blue chipper. Then there is a category with underachievers or one-year wonders.
In the middle of the first round, can the Bears pick up Sanchez or maybe a #1 receiver? Surely it will be all offense this year?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
It could be heavy on offense. But it could have some defense mixed in. The Bears defense was not good in some games. Sanchez won't be there at 18. A top notch WR? Doubtful. They might not be looking at WR, unless Percy Harvin is there. If they want to go QB and Sanchez is gone, they could go with Josh Freeman from Kansas State. He didn't have a lot of talent around him. He's a very intriguing QB prospect. Chicago, Tampa, Detroit could be looking at him.
Do you really think the Lions will take Stafford #1? Schwartz has already said he wants a lineman. May the Schwartz be with us.
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
At this stage of the game, he has to evaluate the players. He has to get caught up on who's out there. Matthew Stafford hasn't worked out yet. It's too early to say you're going to do one thing or the other. In some circumstances, it goes up until draft day. They might look to trade out too. But the main thing they have to do is get a QB. They have to decide who their QB is going to be. They have to identify who their QB is going to be. If you're with the first pick, Stafford has to be a part of the discussion.
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
There are three very highly rated LT prospects - Andre Smith, Jason Smith and Eugene Monroe. Theoretically, they could move out of the first pick and still get a good LT.
Andrew (New York, NY)
I heard the Chiefs may be looking to acquire Cassel from the Patriots. In your opinion, what affect would this have on the draft? 1st rounder, maybe a pair of two's or three's?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
With Tom Brady's situation, it's going to be difficult for the Patriots to not franchise him. They'll have a lot of money invested in Cassel as an insurance policy. With Tom Brady's status being somewhat questionable, Cassel will be a high priced insurance policy. Unless they think that he's OK, which is a high risk.
Brandon (Bartlett IL)
Mel, If you had to say Everette Brown is 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB, which would you choose? His spin move is Freeney-esque!
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
He's a 4-3 DE in my opinion. He's not tall, but Freeney isn't tall. Mathis isn't tall. That creates a leverage advantage against the tall OTs. Brown had some great games this year. He had some multiple sack games. He might be a good pick for Houston.
What's the perceived skill difference between Raji and Brace?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
Raji is a guy who this year is more dominant. I saw it this year at BC. You noticed it a lot at the Senior Bowl colleges. Brace can hold down the interior, he's not going to be moved off. But Raji can get some penetration and give you some pass rush from the interior. Raji is a guy that you have to consider if you're Denver at 12. Brace I think will end up in the second round.
Steve (Akron, OH)
Any chance the Browns would pass on defense in the first round and go with Crabtree? Quinn (or Anderson) will need some reliable weapons to build around.
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
They have needs. They need a pass rusher, RB, CB, RT. WR is a luxury pick at this point. I think they'll draft a WR at some point. At the fifth pick overall, Crabtree is the best player in this draft and I think he'll be gone by the 4th pick. But you could be looking at Aaron Curry, Jeremy Maclin. Speed at LB is something they just don't have right now. Maclin would draw some consideration as well.
SteveFitz (Cicero, IL)
Mel, how good can Devin Moore be in the NFL? What round do you see him going in and if you had to pick an NFL comparison who does Devin most resemble?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
Moore is an interesting guy because he played on a team that had a lot of struggles winning football games. I think he'll test out at the combine as one of the faster guys. He's 5-9, so he's not real big. He's fast. He always gives you playmaking ability. If he runs a sub-4.4 at the combine, you're probably looking at a 4-5 round kind of guy.
Who do you see the Colts taking in round 1?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
Late first round pick. DT is a need. Peria Jerry, a DT from Ole Miss. Brace would draw some consideration. Jerry is one of the most underrated players in thsi draft.
Travis (Ridgway, Pa)
Where do you think the Eagles go in the draft with their 2 1st rounders. Beanie Wells or Percy Harvin maybe or just OL and try to trade out of the first like usual?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
I have them taking Wells at 21 and Michael Oher at 28 with the pick from Carolina. A big back with speed, which Wells has, he showed game breaking ability. He's a little underrated right now Oher is a little inconsistent right now but he has some upside. If Harvin is there at 21, you have to think about him.
Ryan - Washington D.C.
What do you envision the Washington Redskins doing with the 13th pick?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
Couple of things. They need a pass rusher in the worst way. Either DE or DT. Preferably a DE. I have them taking Brian Orakpo. They also need OL and LB help. If Orakpo is there, and I think he could be, that would be a nice fit. That's why they picked up Jason Taylor last year in the trade. But that didn't work out. They have tried different routes to get DEs. They haven't had the Charles Mann, Dexter Manley on the team.
Joe (Aurora, IL)
Mel - why is Darrius Heyward-Bey so high on everyone's board? His production was overwhelmingly AVERAGE in college in the 2nd most prolific passing offense in the ACC last year. I've heard all about his measurables and how fast he is, but that clearly didn't translate into dominance on the field in college. What gives?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
Couple things with him. He has great talent. He was underutilized. The defense knew they had to stop him in the passing game. One game he had a 75-yard reverse for a TD and didn't catch a pass in the game. He had some huge games, where he was productive. But he needs to work on his route running. He's big, athletic. He can run. He can blow past CBs in the deep routes. He's just a little raw. He'll need about a year to transition to the NFL. He's coming out early. I think he's the kind of guy who you look at as a developmental WR. 25, 26, 28, 30 are all spots that he could go.
Do you think the Rams should go Andre Smith at #2 or a more complete LT like Monroe?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
Andre Smith is complete. He needs to keep his weight under control. I thought when his weight is where it needs to be, he's a great talent. Jason Smith is a former TE who is a great pass blocker. He's the best pass blocker of all the OTs in the draft. Monroe needs to play at a high lever snap after snap. I thought Monroe is the best player in the senior group. He's a talented kid. He has great footwork. Andre Smith, Jason Smith and Monroe, if I had to rank them right now.
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
Baylor has a safety that's coming up through the ranks, Jordan Lake. He's a senior next year. Very good player.
Is Kenny Britt ready to contribute to an NFL team next year?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
Kenny Britt should be. He'll probably go in the second round. He's coming out early out of Rutgers. Overall productive year, not as good as a sophomore, but a productive year. He can beat you deep. He's 6-4. He will come across the middle. He has a chance, with a good workout, there could be some buzz late in the draft process. He could be a very good second round pick for someone.
Do you really feel that the Vikes will take Nicks at 22, even with all the questions marks on the O Line?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
What you have to realize is needs are fine. Everyone has needs, but you can't just take a player to take him. You can't just automatically take a guy if he's a second round guy just to fill a spot. You don't always fill your best need in the first round. Minnesota needs a WR. Nicks probably has the best hands of any WR in the draft. He's a good route runner. He doesn't have the vertical stretch speed as some of the other guys. But he's got a little Michael Irvin in him. Physical, good hands, quick out of his break. He's not a speed merchant.
Chris Puy, Washington
Where do you think Brandon Gibson ranks in this draft?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
Probably in the third round mix. He has a lot of skills. Had he played on a USC, Cal, Arizona, on a better football team, you'd probably be looking at second round pick. He's probably a No. 2. He's probably a little underapreciated.
The Steelers didn't really address their OL problem in last years draft, I can't imagine taking a skilled player in the first 2 rounds again, so who do youi see them going after in Rd.1?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
Last year they took Rashard Mendenhall. He'll be like a bonus pick this year because he's coming off of an injury. Limas Sweed had a big drop against Baltimore. I look at Alex Mack, he had a good Senior Bowl week. I saw some people ranking Max Unger ahead of Mack. He's clearly the best center in the draft and has been. Mack gives you some versatility. I think Alex Mack, if he's still there, that's who I've targeted the Steelers to take.
Dan (Philly, PA)
What is the biggest need for the Eagles and who do they draft to fix that problem.
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
When you go to the Eagles, they need a big RB. They were terrible in short yardage. You have to make sure you own third and short. You can't be first and goal and get stuffed on four straight downs. They can't have that. They need a big back like Beanie Wells. They need to get younger at OT. They could use some WR. And another safety. Andy Reid likes drafting DBs. They have two first round picks.
Brian (Denver, Co)
Mel, Where else do you think the Bills need to address through the draft on Defense or offense other than a good DE?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
The big thing when I look at Buffalo, DE is a big need area. TE, center, interior OL. The TE is a big need. That's why I have them taking Brandon Pettigrew, a big 6-6, 262 and he's a very good blocker. Not just a one-dimensional TE. Big, big target. He would help out Trent Edwards. He would give them a presense that they don't have.
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
A DE that's helped himself is Robert Ayers from Tennessee. He's really moved up. He could be a second round possibility for a team like Buffalo.
Chris, Dallas TX
Ive heard alot of talk that the Cowboys need a QB behind Romo, do you think they will draft one?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
I don't think you can draft for that. I think you trade for that or sign a free agent. Garcia is out there. Kyle Boller is a guy you could look to bring in. Derek Anderson, is Cleveland going to keep him? I think it has to be a veteran. You can't draft a kid from college and bring him in as a backup. You need a veteran for that role.
chuck(San Diego, CA)
When you look at the cornerback class it seems to be full of talent, especially with underclassmen. Which underclassmen do you expect to go 1st and 2nd round?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
In terms of the first round, Malcolm Jenkins, maybe to Green Bay at 9; Vontae Davis; DJ Moore. Those are your first round CBs. Alphonso Smith from Wake; Darius Butler, UConn; Sean Smith, Utah are all second round possibilities. Cary Harris, USC as well. Third round possibilities are Coye Francies, Sherrod Martin, Jarius Byrd, Asher Allen.
Will this be a big year for draft day trades,I hear a lot of talk of trading down but does anyone want to trade up this year?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
You're not going to have a lot of trades in the top 10. There's not going to be a lot of movement there because teams don't want to have to give up the money to the picks or give up the picks to move up. Mid to late first is where you have the activity. You have teams that are looking to jump around and get back into the first round. Carolina did that. You'll have maneuvering like that.
Scott ( Fountain Hills, AZ)
Who's the biggest sleeper of the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
Mike Riley. Rashad Jennings. Dobson Collins. Ramses Barden. Brian Mandeville. Jared Bronson. Cecil Newton. Jason Williams. Lee Robinson. Reggie Jones.
Hey Mel, who else could the Bengals be, looking at with the 6 pick?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
They have needs in a lot of places. They need OL help. OT, DT, pass rusher, WR. I think they look at Jason Smith, the OT out of Baylor. He's a skilled LT. They could look at a WR like Jeremy Maclin.
Bryan (Montclair, NJ)
What about the Giants? What's most important, LB, O-Line Depth, RB, WR?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
I think LB. I thought that even last year. If they can get a James Laurinaitis. He can help the Giants at that position.
Ramses Barden - Real deal or small school inflated stats?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
He had good stats. They did play San Diego State and Wisconsin. Almost beat Wisconsin. He's a big receiver. He may grow into being an H-back. He doesn't separate that well. In the NFL, the worry would be that he might be another Mike Williams. He does have pretty good hands. He is a big physical presence. He's a fifth round type of guy.
Bill Parcells back in Miami. What direction do you see the Tuna, Ireland and Sparano going late in the first round? What do you think would be the smartest move?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
They have to get a WR. Their offense was not very good in some games. The short passing game with Chad Pennington, but at some point you have to look at Chad Henne. They need a WR to help out. A guy I have them taking is Darius Heyward-Bey at WR. They need some juice at WR. Ted Ginn has talent, but he's still inconsistent.
Brian (Philadelphia, PA)
Aside from Raji, who is the fastest riser right now?
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
There's really nobody that's jumping up. The Senior Bowl was kind of disappointing because not a lot of the top players didn't show up. Outside of that, you're not going to see much. People talk about Larry English, but I've always had him high. Clay Matthews as well, but he's always been a good player. He had a good one year. He probably gets called in the 22-24 range. He's a late 1, early 2 kind of guy. Right now, in the top 10 overall, six of the top 10 picks are underclassmen. The seniors that might jump up there didn't go to the Senior Bowl. So, I guess for one guy right now, I would say Clay Matthews. As for some others: Quinn Johnson, Shawn Nelson, Kraig Urbik, Scott McKillop, Coye Francies.
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
We covered a lot today. It's always surprising to see how much there is to talk about when there's not much going on. Players are all going through their drills in preparing for the combine. Free agency isn't going on yet. We're weeks away from free agency and the combine. Every week we're assessing team needs. We'll be back next week to do it again.
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
The next first round projection will be after the combine in late February or early March.