Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. will be by to discuss the college football and NFL seasons.
Kiper has served as expert analyst for ESPN's annual NFL Draft coverage since 1984. His pre-draft predictions are frequently the most accurate. Kiper is also analyst for College GameDay on ESPN Radio. He also contributes to SportsCenter and ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join Kiper Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:00 PM)
We've got Mel!
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
Right to the questions.
Mel, what about Ryan Matthews. I haven't watch him play but his numbers are amazing. Draft prediction?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
There has been some talk this week about him maybe coming out. Pat Hill is an outstanding football coach. He wins games and has sent players to the NFL. Matthews has good balance through the holes. I like his vision and his balance. In the junior class, Jahvid Best, Joe McKnight, Jonathan Dwyer, Royster, Mathews. If he came out, I would look at him in maybe the fourth round.
Connor (Chicago, IL)
Mel, is there any quarterback in the country playing better than Christian Ponder? How do you project him to the next level?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
He's a nice QB. He's done a real good job. He doesn't have the talent around him. They are developing some players at the skill position. Rodney Hudson is my No. 1 guard and is helping him. Ponder is my 6th highest rated junior QB. Sam Bradford, Locker, Clausen, Snead, Keenum and then Ponder. That's a good junior class.
Paul (Bozeman, Mt)
In three years JaMarcus Russell will be ......... A) a pro bowl QB B) a serviceable NFL starter C) a career backup D) out of football, thus surpassing Ryan leaf as the biggest bust in NFL history
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
I'd lean more now to serviceable, capable starter or backup. He's not instinctive in the pocket. The key to being an NFL QB is pocket management. A lot of QBs come out and are ill prepared for pocket management. In the NFL, you have to slide right or left. Move up and step up in the pocket. You have to throw with guys in your face. How many times does that QB have to look down the gun barrel. You have to throw and throw it accurately. We all say the rules favor the QB and all that. That's true, but it's still a difficult position to play. To be accurate and precise with the football is hard. Russell doesn't have a very good OL in front of him right now.
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
Until he improves on that, he's always going to be an inconsistent QB. He'll have some games where he shows some flashes. Until he learns the nuances of the QB position, he'll be a shaky QB. His numbers will really struggle.
Jacob (Mobile, AL)
Could Terrance Cody by the #1 DT taken since he is the best option for a 3-4 defense at NT?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
He is a great NT prospect. He fits those 3-4 teams. He's one of the few that do. I've had him anywhere from 14-19 on the Big Board. Right now he's 18. He has a good attitude, good approach. His weight is down from where it was and he's been more effective. This is a great year for DTs. Suh is my No. 1 guy. McCoy is No. 3. You have some guys that aren't on the Big Board from the junior class. Brian Price is an excellent player. He could be the next junior on the Big Board. Joe Haden (11), junior CB; and Rolando McClain (15) from Alabama debuted on the Big Board today. In the next coming weeks, Joe McKnight, Derrick Morgan, Price are all juniors I'm thinking about adding.
Daniel (Bedford, TX)
Mel, How do you feel about the Dez Bryant ruling? Where do you see Dez going in the upcoming NFL Draft?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
My thoughts are is that it's not going to effect his draft status. To penalize him a whole year is a hefty price to pay. It's a little too much. They weren't going to let him on the field until October of next year. You're basically pushing him off the college field. You've punished him so severely that you've eliminated him from coming back. You've forced him into the NFL, which I thought he was going to do anyway. Someone will take him in the top 10-15.
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
It won't effect his draft status. There are a lot of guys that have had injury issues. In Bryants case, at least he's not hurt. He made a mistake in lying to the NCAA, which was wrong, but keep him out of this year, not next year too. But I still think he's the first WR taken.
Given the recent trend of Troy players becoming stars in the NFL, are Troy players getting a harder look? What about Bear Woods?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
Bear Woods and Brandon Lang are all going to get looks. Lang had a nice grade going into the year. Troy has a nice program. McKelvin, Ware, Umeniyora, Martin. They've always been looked at. Troy's been to bowl games and they've done a nice job of developing players.
Jordan (Pasadena TX)
Is Jordan Shipley of Texas a early Second rounder?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
I think he's a two or a three. It depends on how he runs. If he runs in the 4.5 range, he reminds me of Rickey Proehl. I'd say third round, maybe seond. He's my fourth highest rated senior WR right now. He's coming off a nice game against Missouri. He was shut down against Oklahoma. This will be a good matchup this week against Oklahoma State against Perrish Cox.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Which NFL team do you think would make a great fit for Oklahoma QB Sam Bradford?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
He's coming out of an offense, a spread offense, he'll have to learn to take snaps from center. He made some nice throws at Texas and Florida last year. I wanted to see him deal with the new OL this year. These are teams that could look QB: St. Louis, Carolina (but they don't have a first round pick), Washington, Tennessee, Seattle, Buffalo.
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
Shack (Charleston SC)
Is CJ Spiller a top ten draft choice? Any shot for CJ to be invited to NYC for the Heisman? All the teams Clemson play key on stopping him yet he still rips up plays that go for more than 50+ yds by run,rec and return on a regular basis
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
I'll tell you, he's probably a mid-first. I have him as the 12th highest rated player on the Big Board. He's going to test out as one of the fastest players in the draft. Maybe run a 4.28 range. I think he's the top guy for the Heisman right now. If I had to give it out today, I give it to him. The fact that Clemson beat Miami gives them more credibility. They've put up big points the last two weeks. They have a game this week that they should rout. He should end up with outstanding numbers from an all-purpose yardage standpoint.
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
If you're going for the best offensive player in college, Spiller catches, runs and returns. Everybody thought Best was going to be a Heisman candidate at Cal. He's had a good season, but he's had a game or two where he wasn't a huge factor. Best is No. 17 on the Big Board. Spiller's numbers have superceded everybody.
Chris (Gainesville, FL)
Which Miami players have the highest draft stock right now? Who starts up the 1st round streak again?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
Bailey, the DT, only a junior. Versatile athlete. Penetrator. Very productive. He would be the guy. From the senior class, nobody from Miami is in my top five at each position. A lot of young guys on this team. Orlando Franking is my 5th highest rated guard. Bailey is my 5th or 6th highest DT. Jimmy Graham, the TE will probably be an undrafted type.
Paul (Sacramento, CA)
Mel, was DeSean Jackson the steal of his draft class?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
He was in my top 25 all year. He was a guy that was one of the top junior WRs coming out. He's only 5-10 and 168 pounds at Cal. I thought he'd be a late first round pick. He ended up going in the later part of the second round. The main thing is his versatility. What he does with reverses, the return game. His speed and electrifying capabilities make him special. Andy Reid is an offensive wizard. His run to pass ratio is more pass than anyone in the league. He has Jeremy Maclin having a very good rookie year. He has the capability and scheme to help the WRs. They have a lot of pieces on offense and a lot of pieces with Maclin, Celek, Jackson, McCoy. Jackson went to the right team with the right fit. More important than when you're drafted is who you're drafted by.
Chad (Las Vegas)
Could someone like Brandon LaFell pass Dez Bryant as the best receiver in the draft with a stellar 2nd half of the season?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
I don't think so. I think Gilyard from Cincy has the versatility that LaFell doesn't. The problem with LaFell is the QB. Very streaky and inconsistent. The QB has been the issue at LSU this year. Gilyard has the versatility. He is right there with LaFell. But Dez Bryant is a heckuva return man. He's a big body and has quickness out of his cuts.
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
LaFell is in the 27-40 range, while Bryant is in the top 15.
How does Eric Decker's season ending injury affect his draft status?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
It's a case where Minnesota is a struggling football team offensively. They don't have a lot of weapons. He was really one of the chief entities they had on the offensive side. They've only scored 7 points the last two weeks. They're hosting Michigan State. They're 4-4 right now and they have to try and win the game to get to bowl eligibility. It doesn't effect his status. You know what you're getting there. He's a second round pick.
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
LaFell is one of those late 1, early 2 guys, but Decker is a 2 to mid-3.
Saturday's game against Oregon reafirmmed my belief that Locker should stay in school another year
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
I agree. I've said that all along. There has been a lot of hype surrounding Jake Locker. He's No. 8 in my Big Board. I've never had him at 1, 2, 3, and he's barely holding off Jimmy Clausen. Sam Bradford is at 5. If Clausen overtakes him, you don't want to be the third QB taken. If he returns, he'll have another year under Sarkisian. He is coming off of a year of relative inactivity, due to his injury. He could become more fundamentally sound as a QB. That completion percentage needs to come up. I know he doesn't have the players around him.
top 5 corner backs including seniors? Donovan Warren has to be in the mix
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
Warren is a junior. If you combine the juniors and seniors, the top would be Joe Haden, Florida; then Warren; Spivae; Patrick Robinson; Kyle Wilson; Trevard Lindley; Javier Arenas; Myron Lewis; Alterraun Verner.
What were Jared Allens weaknesses coming out of College?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
He had a very good scouting report. Very productive player. Great enthusiasm. He had a solid grade coming out. He was drafted about where he was supposed to go.
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
I pulled out my draft book for 2004...He was projected to be in the middle of the fifth round. He has lots of upside. A year in the weight room will be just what the doctor ordered and by his second or third season he could be a guy to watch.
Mel what do you think about the talent pool at Pitt? There are a lot of former Panthers playing on Sundays, with more to come!
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
Greg Romeus, junior DE, he is my fifth highest rated DE. Jonathan Baldwin is a stud. He's 6-5 at WR and a stud. He's right there with AJ Green and Jones in the sophomore class. He's big time. Deion Lewis has had a great year as a freshman RB. They have a senior WR who has come on, Oderick Turner. Nate Byham and Dorin Dickerson at TE both have shots to play in the NFL. I wrote about them in my Personnel Points column on Monday.
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
Their offensive line did a heckuva job against South Florida. They held that outstanding defensive line without a sack in the route of the Bulls.
Earlier this year you had Arrelious Benn as the 2nd WR taken. Is that still the case?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
He's right there. It's between Benn and LaFell and Gilyard. Benn had a minor injury early on. And the QB there hasn't played well. His numbers have dropped because they're just not a good football team right now. Now they're 1-6 and going nowhere. If they win one more game this year, they'll be fortunate.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
Benn is an excellent WR, but his stats aren't going to reflect that this year. He could be a real nice pick.
hey! do you think the vikings are going to the Super Bowl this year??
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
They are surprising me. I think I've been wrong on my feelings that they would be the third best team in the division. I thought Green Bay and Chicago would be better. But I am still not sold yet. They could easily have 3 losses. They're 6-1, but could easily be 4-3. They should have lost to San Francisco and they should have lost to Baltimore. The Ravens missed the field goal and the Hail Mary against the 49ers. They play at Green Bay and they could have been looking at 4-4. You could argue that they could have beaten Pittsburgh, so maybe they should have a 5-2 record. Their schedule has been very favorable. Four of their first five after the open week are at home. Detroit, Seattle, Chicago and Cincinnati are the home games. They play Carolina later in the year. They'll probably end up 12-4, 11-5. They will do better, with that record, than I thought they would. I thought they'd go 10-6.
Alex (St. Louis)
What are your thoughts on Mizzou WR Denario Alexander being a second day steal?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
We can't even get into days anymore. The first day is the first round. Day 2 is the 2nd and 3rd round. I think he's a chance to be a Day 2 guy, a third round guy. He's a big, tall WR. He had a productive game against Texas. I wrote about him earlier in the year on Personnel Points. You can go back and read about him. He's my 7th highest rated senior WR right now.
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
Sean Weatherspoon continues to impress. He's my 16th highest player on the Big Board and the only reason he's a couple of spots lower is because I moved some juniors on to the list. He's maintained that mid round grade all year.
Joe (Chico, CA)
Can the Oregon-USC loser still make a BCS bowl?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
I don't know. My main concern isn't about the BCS bowls. I only concern myself with the regular season. The postseason in college football stinks. They're consolation prize games. Do you like consolation prizes? I don't. They're good for evaluation, that's it. The thing about this game, is the winner is still in the national title hunt. The loss to Boise State hurts Oregon. USC lost to Washington. Who's the better team, Boise State or Washington? Boise State. The winner stays in the title hunt. Say Alabama loses in another two weeks and then Florida loses to Alabama in the SEC championship game. Does USC or Oregon jump Alabama after they lose? I think they could. But, the winner of the game is in the hunt and the loser is out of it. This is an elmination game.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
They'll get a nice parting gift as a consolation prize.
Mel Kiper (2:02 PM)
We have three big games this week. USC-Oregon, Georgia-Florida. Texas-OSU. The Georgia-Florida game has snuck on the radar a little bit. Usually we're talking about it more. The Texas-OSU game has lost some luster because of the Dez Bryant situation. USC-Oregon is the game of the week. It's at Oregon. USC won't have any excuses. Their only loss was without Matt Barkley. Oregon is an amazing story, with all of the losses they've had with graduation. This defense lost Nick Reed, Jairus Bird, Patrick Chung, TJ Ward, Walter Thurmond, Ra'Shon Harris, yet they have continued under Nick Aliotti and he deserves a lot of the credit. That will be fun to watch.
Mel Kiper (2:03 PM)
To recover and play the way they have, they've been the story of the year. After the negativity from the beginning of the year, that's been the story of the year. And they're only a field goal underdog.
Buzzmaster (2:04 PM)
Thanks for chatting Mel!