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 (1:02 PM)
Mel is here!
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
This is what you look forward to. Football on Thursday. Friday, college football all day. Then a big Saturday of college football and Sunday and Monday NFL. Two great games Sunday night and Monday night. We also have a traditional high school rivalry game here Thursday morning. And a lot of good eating with the turkey, pumpkin pie, dressing and all of that.
Do you think Weis desewrves to stick around for one more yr.? He seems to come closer every yr. I understand the prestige of ND. I have been a fan all my life. But to get rid of him do you already have to have another BIG name in the works?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
I think the decision's been made. I think Charlie defined the Notre Dame job when he took the reins when he said 6-5 is not good enough. To be 6-5 on the cusp of 6-6 with a loss to Stanford. I think he'll go back to the NFL and do a good job there. The beginning of the tenure was good the end was not. They couldn't build a defense. What surprised me was Urban Meyer being proactive and saying no to Notre Dame. If I were him, I'd leave to go to Notre Dame. How many times do you have four full years of a player as good as Tim Tebow, arguably the greatest college football player of all time. You could never duplicate the success you've had with Tim Tebow. Add in Percy Harvin and the great defense. Am I ever going to find another Tim Tebow? Maybe, but I'm not counting on it. National recruiting at Notre Dame. They're down right now and there's no where to go but up. I would jump at the opportunity to go from Florida to Notre Dame. So, that was surprising to me. It opens up opportunities for Brian Kelly, Pat Fitzgerald, Chip Kelly, Jim Harbaugh. Also, Jim Harbaugh, he's beaten USC, who Notre Dame plays every year. Recruiting with the high academic standards, recruiting nationally. Pat Fitzgerald same thing. And he has the Northwestern background like Parsigian did.
Tashard Choice could be a stud running back if given 250 carries a year say 1200 yds and 10 TD's. Agree? Should Dallas hold on to him?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
He's a good back. I don't think he's a great back. They have three very good backs there with Barber, Jones and Choice. Choice went from Oklahoma to Georgie Tech. I considered him a Heisman candidate at Tech. He could be a very productive back. But you don't have teams using fulltime backs any more. It's a shared workload of complimentary players. You have the guys who can catch it, the blocking guys, the elusive guys, the explosive but not big guys. With Choice, he's in that group of a good group of running backs.
Hunter (Little Rock, AR)
Do you think Ryan Mallett will enter the draft this year? Where would you have him projected? Thanks.
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
That would surprise me. It wouldn't shock me, but another year with Bobby Petrino would make him hands down the No. 1 pick in the draft. With his size and strength, they've been unbelieveably productive. Petrino and Mallett have been putting Arkansas back on the map. He's got a good football team. If he came out, he'd be in the discussion in the top 10-15 overall. He'd be in there with Clausen. He's only played this one full season. NFL teams are leery of that. They want more of a body of work than that. It's asking a lot of Mallet of dealing with the pressures of being a high pick with the limited experience. I would say go back for another year.
Is Jimmy C and Golden Tate gone for sure now?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
I think they were before. I said that a month ago when we were doing the chat. Jimmy Clausen will be a top 10 pick in the draft. That OL is a question mark. It was a disappointing line this year, especially the LT position. I don't know if it will be any better next year. Golden Tate is not a first round pick in my mind. He's a 2-3 round pick. If he comes out, he has to be OK with that. And I don't think that changes next year.
Happy Thanksgiving to and yours. Is their anyone in the draft, that could jump up into the first round and make a difference next year?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
Happy Thanksgiving to you and your family as well. To everybody, a Happy Thanksgiving to all those being loyal to the chats over the years. Thank you for your loyalty. Happy Thanksgiving.
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
For those guys moving up, Derrick Morgan, junior DE from Georgia Tech. He's at No. 10 in the new Big Board. Brian Price from UCLA. He debuted at No. 11 on the Big Board. Those are the two making moves on the Big Board. Danario Alexander, WR from Missouri; Dexter McCluster, RB/WR/KR, Ole Miss; Anthony Davis, OT, Rutgers; Marcus Cannon, RT, TCU; Allen Bailey, DE, Miami; Adrian Clayborn, DE, Iowa.
Steve (west Hartford CT)
You take so far on jacory harris at UM? Does he have big upside as he matures or not?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
I think he has upside, I don't know about big upside. I think he regressed a little this year and that's probably because he's been injured. He's made bad throws in certain games. He's only a sophomore, so he has a lot of growing and maturing to do. Leonard Hankerson, junior WR, has really stepped up this year. They have some RBs in the mix. Damien Berry had a really good game last week against Duke. But for Harris, I thought earlier in the year, he got off to that great start. He's a hard working young man. He has the right attitude, right approach. By the time he's a senior, he could be an interesting player for the NFL.
Do you see the Browns clearing house this off season and who do you think will be hired for head coach? (hopefully by Mike Holmgren)
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
I think the owner has to really start making better decisions. Randy Lerner needs to think this out. Don't make knee-jerk reactions. He had a great GM in Phil Savage and let him go. And the new GM he let go after just a few games. This is unbelieveable. In the span of a year and a half you got rid of two GMs and now you have to hire another one. You're not showing loyalty to the people you hire. The big mistake he's making is you don't hire the head coach before the GM. The GM has to be hired first. He has to make that hire. He has to be the one that builds the organization. For Cleveland, it's been mismanaged there and the owner has to take responsisbility for that. How can you know anything about a GM after a year or two or 6 games? You have to hire the right GM in your mind. If you hire him then you have to stick with him.
Lewis (Destin, FL)
Which ACC RBs do you see making an immediate impact in the NFL next year?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
CJ Spiller is the top RB in the country. Right now he's No. 16 on the Big Board. He'll have an impact with his versatility. He'll probably be one of the fastest guys in the draft. If he comes out early Jonathan Dwyer at Georgia Tech, he'll go in the second or third round mix. Here's a good back, he's a big back, a full back, a powerful back, Rashawn Jackson. He can run the ball, solid lead blocker. He's a guy you might think about in the 3rd round. Ryan Williams, redshirt freshman at VT had a phenomenal year. He's had an exceptional year for the Hokies.
I agree with you there was no reason to fire Savage. He put together a 10-6 team and he did a great job in the 07 draft
How does Jacquizz Rodgers project to the pros? Is he too small or is MJD a good comparison?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
He's an electrifying kid. He's behind Mark Ingram. When you see guys the less physically imposing RBs, they're not small, just short. MJD is just short, but look at him. Rodgers is only a sophomore. Keep in mind this Oregon State team, if they beat Oregon, they win the Pac 10. Mike Riley is one of the elite coaches and he doesn't get talked about much. He's not at UCLA or USC, he's at Oregon State. They're playing for the Pac-10 championship. He's producing NFL prospects. He's sent guys to the NFL. Al Afalava was sent to the Bears. He's got guys coming out this year. Sammie Stroughter was the 233rd player taken and he's had a nice year. Afalava was a sixth round pick and he's starting at safety. There are two players who produced right away. If you're going to do that, you have to be prepared. I've been talking about Mike Riley for years. The two coaches that I have respect for and are class jobs. They're not going to be self promotors, not looking for the spotlight. Kirk Ferentz and Mike Riley. They're just pros. Like professional hitters in baseball, they're professional coaches. They let the program take the spotlight and not try to steal it.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Mel, do you think Mike Riley should try to coach a bigger program? What he's done at Oregon St. has been tremendous, and the fact that he rarely has a top 25 recruiting class shows that he is a tremendous coach.
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
No question about it. I can't speak for Mike. Remember these guys have families. They settle into an area. If you're happy with a program and how a program is going. Sean Canfield is a guy right now who will get some looks at the NFL. He developed him. I can't speak for if he'll get another job or move on, but Oregon State has a chance for the Pac-10 championship. It didn't work out for Dan Hawkins. Chris Peterson is undefeated at Boise State and Hawkins' job is in question at Colorado. Notre Dame is a destination job. That's a once in a lifetime job with all that history. But if you're doing a great job at Oregon State and he has a chance to win the Pac-10 championship and he's in a major conference.
Where do you think Kyle Wilson will go in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
Kyle is probably a second round pick with his speed and versatility. He's been a little inconsistent this year in coverage. He's not a real big corner, not very tall. But he's a tough kid. Very passionate about the game of football. Plays with a lot of emotion. I think he goes in the second round.
Lewis (Destin, FL)
How often do you see a 5 star blue-chip recruit turn into a NFL star? Take USC's Joe McKnight for instance. Will he be a NFL stud?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
He's only junior and has a lot of talent. If he can put together that one great year next year. You see flahses of brillance and then he'll get nicked or have a fumble. He has great talent. I'd like to see him come back another year. Percy Harvin was the No. 1 recruit in the nation. He had a great career at Florida. He didn't go in the top 10, but he's going to be the rookie of the year. He won a national championship at Florida.
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
There were a lot of questions about Percy coming into the draft. We don't hear about that any more do we? There was talk about him being in "Percy Land." And now those people are nowhere to be heard. It's amazing how many people shut their mouths now. I haven't heard one person talk about Percy Land.
Ed (San Diego)
Taylor Mays' stock has sure dropped, he cant cover ANYONE.
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
The problem with Taylor Mays is the way he's being utlized at USC is an issue. His missed tackles has been an issue. I've seen him not show up at the right spot at the right moment. You can't have it both ways and say you're playing centerfield to prevent you from being an in the box buy but then not make plays in centerfield. I've seen him not come up big in games where safeties need to come up big. He's a great kid. Great abilities. Hard worker. But instinctively, he's not there. Ed Reed, Brian Dawkins, Troy Palomalu. He has freakish ability, but his performance doesn't always match that ability. He's at No. 12 on my Big Board. His stock has dropped.
Don't you think Urban Meyer was using "coach speak" when he brushed off the ND rumors earlier this week? Even if he wants the job he wouldn't say anything before the SEC and possible national championship games? You're right about you're comments regarding him and Tebow. I think if he wins his 3rd national championship at Florida there's good a chance he'd leave to go to ND. He'd have nothing left to prove at Florida and I think the opportunity to rebuild ND would be difficult to pass up. Your thoughts?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
Then why address it? Why feel the need to address it. If it comes up from somebody else, then just say, I'm coaching Florida. Charlie Weis is still the coach at Notre Dame. It's not good protocal to talk about a position that's not open. I have a huge rivalry game coming up. I have an SEC championship game coming up. You don't have to say anything about it. You've effectively taken yourself out of the running. Now he can't go back on that and take it, so I take him at his word. If he has even 2% interest in the job, you don't say that. So, I take it that he has zero percent interest in the job. Even if it's 0.001 percent, you don't say it because if you do take it, it looks terrible.
do you think auburn will beat alabama
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
I think they could. I don't think they will. I think Alabama has their eyes on the prize. They're tremendously well coached. They play defense and run the football. If you can do that, you can win a lot of games in college football. They have some big time players on both sides of the ball. McClain, Cody, Dareus, Jones, Ingram, Barron. They have a lot of stars on this team. I respect this rivalry. Auburn has some athletes. Several players who will play in the NFL. Auburn doesn't usually separate much from their opponent. They had close games against LSU, Tennessee. If it gets into a 13-10 type of games, anything can happen. It needs to be 27-3, 27-9, 24-10. If it's 10-6 in the fourth quarter, you could be in trouble. It's great that it's on Friday. I love that. We don't need Colorado and Nebraska on Friday. If Nebraska's playing, you want them playing Oklahoma. You have to have that big rivalry game on Friday.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
It should be a phenomenal atmosphere. Should be a fun environment. A lot is at stake. If Alabama or Florida did lose, both teams are locked into the SEC title game. So if the team with a loss wins the SEC title game, there are a lot of other undefeated teams out there. I would love to see other teams shut out. I hate this system, so I want to see the SEC winner and Texas playing. I would like to see it and see the system come to a screeching halt. We need a major controversy to happen to destroy this system. The college football system is the worst.
Steve Dallas (Murray, Ky.)
Toby Gearhart, is he a NFL Starter? Where does he go in the draft??
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
He has another year, if he wants it. He could go back for the 2010 season. You don't want to have too much tread on your tires. You could get an injury. Is he going to be able to duplicate what he did this year? The argument to stay would be he has Luck coming back. The FB Owen Marecic is coming back. Both WRs. The majority of the OL. If he comes back, Stanford's offense would be prolific. If he leaves, he's probably a 2-3 round pick. Powerful back. Not real elusive. But he can change direction just enough. Very determined, very powerful. You wonder how much resistance he gets in the NFL. They have a young RB in Taylor who looks like he's going to be a star.
Can you discuss a little bit on UNC's defensive prospects please.
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
They have a lot of guys. They are really loaded. I'll highlight the top 5 guys. Robert Quinn, sophomore DE, great pass rusher; Bruce Carter, jr. OLB; Quan Sturdivant, jr. MLB; Marvin Austin, jr. DT; Deunta Williams, jr. FS. Another guy who has had a very good year with multiple INTs is Kendric Burney.
If Alabama,Florida.and Alabama each were to lose and one of them still get in the national championship game would that be enough for fans to finally say enough is enough with this whole BCS garbage?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
I don't know why it hasn't been said years ago. Why has it taken so long? If I'm a fan of college football, I'm screaming for years. I've been howling at the moon for years. You can maintain the bowls and still have a playoff. There are 34 bowl games, including the national championship. 33 of the bowl games are consolation games anyway. You're eliminated. That's like having the playoff games in the NFL with the Super Bowl already determined. If I said right now we're going to take the Saints and Colts and they're going to play, then why are we playing the other games? The college football system is so utterly ridiculous, why more people don't scream about it is beyond me. Nobody has given me a valid reason that would make me rethink my position. I've had nobody come to me to tell me that this system should remain in place. The reasons they give are laughable. The last time I checked, consolation games are not important.
Greg (Las Vegas)
Any off the radar skill position guys (RB/WR) that you could see making there way into the 1st or 2nd round the next two years?
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
Not off the radar, no. Andre Roberts of The Citadel. He's probably a 4-5 round guy. You look at the guys that are off the radar and they're not from the major schools. James Starks, he was injured. He was a RB from Buffalo. He had an injury before the season. He didn't play this year with the injury. Jermain Gresham, people forget about him, because he was out the whole year. He could be a first round pick. Those are the main guys.
Mel Kiper (2:01 PM)
Happy Thanksgiving to everybody. We'll have a lot more answers to some questions this week, especially in the NFL. The Giants and Broncos on Thanksgiving night. It's a shame that Matthew Stafford won't be playing for the Lions. He's proven that he's an outstanding QB developing for the Lions. For all those people that had questions about him being No. 1, he showed last week what he can be. We'll have a great week ahead. We'll be back next week to do it all over again. Happy Thanksgiving!