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 (1:01 PM)
We've got Mel!
Even though Suh is the consensus top prospect in the draft, if St. Louis gets the #1 overall pick, don't they have to go QB? I know Suh is amazing, but can a DT really resurrect an organization like a franchise QB can?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
There's no question, they go QB. It would come down to two QBs, Locker and Clausen. Sam Bradford is the wild card, but we won't know about how he's recovered until the combine. St. Louis couldn't wait until the second round for a QB. They need one of the elites.
dev (fort wayne)
how many potential draft does iowa have this year?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
The main guys would be, of the seniors: Kyle Calloway, OT; AJ Edds, OLB; Pat Angerer, MLB; Tony Moeaki, TE. Those would be the main entities. All of those guys are in that 3-6 round area. From the juniors: Adrian Clayborn, DE; Bryan Bulaga, OT; Christian Ballard, DL; Amari Spievey, CB; Ryan Donahue, P. Of that group, Clayborn probably improved his grade as much as any junior DE. He's my sixth higest rated junior De.
Dave Melroy (Mt. Laurel NJ)
In your opinon what does Tebows draft stock look like as a QB and as a player at another position?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
As a QB, I would say he would be questionable in my mind. Somebody may take him in the second round as a QB. I wouldn't. I would have questions about his long delivery and the system he played in. I would think about him in the 3-4 round as an H-Back. But I really do think somebody will believe he can be an NFL QB and someone will take him in the second round as a QB.
struggling with thursdays game, steelers/browns who is your pick?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
The Steelers. If they can't win this game, they might as well pack their bags and go home. Kiss their season goodbye. They're a heavy favorite. Cleveland is starting to find some offense with Brady Quinn. He's had some pretty good games since he was named the starter. His accuracy has been better than some people thought it would be. That bodes well for their future. Even though it's at Cleveland, Pittsburgh with a four-game losing streak, they can't have that. Their schedule the rest of the way is tough. They better win. They're still borderline for the playoffs as it is. Every game is a playoff game. I'm assuming they'll beat Cleveland handily, with a chance at going 10-6 and a chance at the playoffs. If they finish 9-7, they have no shot.
Mel, do you believe in the idea that the recent success of Vince Young is helping Tim Tebow's draft position? Young also had a very awkward throwing motion when he left Texas.
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
I don't think there's any correlation there at all. Vince Young, you look at where he was his final year at Texas, he was a better prepared QB than Tim Tebow. He led Texas to that national championship. He's faster than Tebow. Arm strength wise and while the release was unorthodox, it was a quick release. Tebow has the long delivery. I don't think there is any comparison there.
Who are some athletic MLB's that might be around for the giants if they end up picking in the early 20's?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
A good MLB is Brandon Spikes from Florida, but the question for him will be speed. Daryl Washington from TCU. He's the most athletically gifted LBs in this draft. Micah Johnson from Kentucky and Darryl Sharpton from Miami. Those are your top four MLBs. The most athletic is Washington. I think Spikes is a second round pick. Washington is a second round pick, possibly late first. Those are all seniors. The MLB I would take in that position is Rolando McClain from Alabama. He's an outstanding player. Outstanding speed to the sideline. He's the best MLB by far. He's a stud.
Rather than try to make a media splash, should ND just hire a guy who can coach; like Mike Riley? (We Duck fans wouldn't mind).
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
Mike Riley would be a great choice. He's one of my favorite college coaches. I've been raving on this chat and radio shows and on TV about him. He has the NFL coaching experience behind him. The more experience you have in running a program, the more successful you'll be at Notre Dame. Charlie Weis had no experience with that. You need a guy that's dealt with the media, the pressure, recruiting. I think he'd be a great choice. Kirk Ferentz as well. They are two of the coaches are way, way underrated. But Brian Kelly is an outstanding football coach. I like his attitude and approach. He's demanding. He'll make sure the players produce. I think he brings that to Notre Dame.
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
How about Randy Edsall? He's done an outstanding job at UConn. They lost a lot of close games this year. They're bowl bound this year. They're playing South Carolina on Jan. 2.
What are your thoughts on Suh for Heisman. I agree that in a normal year there would be a QB or RB or WR with better stats and big game moments. This year is entirely different. Ingram had a big day against Florida but didn't get it done against Auburn, Tebow didn't have a "great" year, and McCoy almost made the biggest mistake in college football BCS history. He didn't really lead the comeback, a couple of Husker turnovers did.
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
I have him third. I put my top five on the radio show on Saturday. I don't have a vote, but I put them this way: Gerhart, Ingram, Suh, McCoy, Tebow.
Hi, enjoy your chats mel. A guy like Jerry Hughes would be perfect for the chiefs, do you think he could be available in the 2nd rd? What other pass rushing lb 3-4 scheme do you think could be available to us in the 2nd rd?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
He could be a second round pick. He's the kind of guy in a 3-4 situation that could be an OLB. He's quick, natural pass rusher. Right now, he's the 23rd highest ranked player on the Big Board.
I know CJ Spiller is the best RB but how does that Translate to NFL, elite RB potential? Who does he remind you of?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
The comparisons are going to be to Chris Johnson. He wears No. 28, as does Johnson, though he wore No. 5 at ECU. There is the speed. There is a chance Spiller runs in the low 4.3s. He has versatility. He has put up incredible all purpose yards. He's a TD maker. He's a great kid and a great character. I think he's going to get helped by Chris Johnson's success. Spiller is 15 on the Big Board.
How do you see TOBY GERHART doing in the NFL?????
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
He's an interesting evaluation. There will always be a level of doubt because he's an upright runner. He had a lot of elements around him at Stanford, the OL, the FB. He had everything around him helping him putting up big numbers. He has enough elusiveness. His quickness, vision, instincts. He reminds me of Riggins. You don't have to have him carry the ball 30 times a game. He would be your pounder, your rampaging bull. Gerhart with Michael Smith or CJ Spiller. Just a complimentary guy. I think he ends up a second round pick.
What do you think of Juice Williams hiring an agent? Definitely a guy that should stay right?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
He's a senior. His QB capabilities are questionable. Can he change positions? That's what a lot of college QBs tend to do to try and get to the NFL. Can he move to the WR position?
What is your take on Case Keenum? Product of the system or does he have next level talent?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
Case has great accuracy throwing the ball. He moves around well in the pocket. He can evade and elude in the pocket. He's tremendously accurate. The problem is that he doesn't have a great arm. His arm strength is decent, it's not great. The system is there, but he's not a product of the system, to take it to the level he has. From the juniors, he's my fifth highest rated QB.
LB (Baton Rouge)
How many LSU players can you envision in this years draft class? Would Rahim Alem go on the first or second day of the draft from the DE position?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
The top guys at LSU would be Brandon LaFell, SR, WR; Perry Riley, Sr, OLB; Charles Scott, SR, RB; Ciron Black, SR, OT; Rahim Alem; Charles Alexander; Jacob Cutara; Richard Dickson; Trindon Holiday; Keiland Williams; very underrated player in Harry Coleman, my fourth highest rated senior safety. From the junior class: Chad Jones, FS; Terrance Toliver, WR; Joseph Barksdale, OT.
Mel,Who are the top 3 OL coming out this year...Do you think this class is as good as the class from two years ago?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
We had three OTs go in the top 8 this past year. Michael Oher dropped all the way down to 23 and he turned out to be the best one so far. After that, Minnesota found a steal in the second round in Phil Loadholt, whom I thought should have been in the first round. So, you really should have had 5 OTs in the first round. This year, there is really only one top rated OT in Russell Okung. A guy, if he comes out, that could be a very good prospect is Anthony Davis, junior from Rutgers. He could be the second OT picked. Okung is 7th on my Big Board and no other OT on the list. This is a weak year for OTs.
how high do you see golden tate going?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
I'd say second round. I've said it all along. He's not that big. Speed will be determined at the combine. He doesn't get that much separation in college. But he has great versatility. Great run after the catch ability. He can help you on special teams, but he doesn't have great size. The comparisons to Percy Harvin are exaggerated. He's a Percy Harvin-type, but he's not the same player.
Mel, how do you see the seniors from Wisconsin, specifically Garret Graham and O'Brien Schofield sizing up at the next level?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
Schofield is a pass rusher, that will get peoples' attention. I think he's a guy that will have a chance to be an early round pick. When you look at Graham, I would say 4-6 round for him. His stock has dropped a little bit from earlier in the year. Some of their best players are underclassmen. J.J. Watt. Jeff Stehle. Jaevery McFadden. John Moffitt. Gabe Carimi. But J.J. Watt is the interesting guy as a sophomore DE.
mike in MN (Mn)
Suh is the best DT in how long? Ingram and Gerhart are good to great RBs. There are those kinds of guys EVERY year. How are they better than Suh? The Heisman should be renamed "the award for a QB or RB, with the occasional WR" award. Really, it has nothing to do with the best college football player at all.
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
First of all, for the Heisman, it doesn't go to the best player. It's not the best college football player, it's the best WR, RB, QB. And I don't want to hear about Woodson. I pushed for Woodson when he won it over Peyton Manning because he was such a versatile player. He was a kick returner, played some offense as well as defense. If he had just played CB, he wouldn't have won. Suh plays just defense and some people say he has no chance. He also played for a team that wasn't a top ranked team. I would have voted for Gerhart, but again, he's not on a top ranked team. Nebraska's defense almost won them the Big 12 title. With all of the great offensive players to have been on Nebraska over the years, that's what they were reduced to? If they had any kind of offense, they win that game. But I would vote Gerhart No. 1. But that's what the Heisman is. It's not for the best college football player.
Do you think CJ Spiller deserved to be invited to New York?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
It's hard. Personally, yeah, I think he deserved it. I would have put him in there over Tebow and McCoy. What hurt him is two games prior to Georgia Tech, he was contained. He had an outstanding game against Georgia Tech. The big thing that hurt him is they lost to South Carolina and then to Georgia Tech. Two losses to finish the season. I think he'll be a mid-first round pick.
Anthony (Baton Rouge)
Where do you see Colin Peek, Alabama's TE, going in the draft? I think his stock has been going up lately.
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
It has been going up. Big kid. 6-5, 250. Good hands. Good ability to adjust. He'll block for you. Very solid kid. Good character kid. Transfered from Georgia Tech. I think he could be a 3-4 round pick.
Ultimately, who do you think ends up as the best QB at the pro level --- Locker, Bradford or Clausen?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
I haven't made that decision yet. I have not yet decided how I'm going to rank them. We're way too early in the process to make that decision. It's like Manning, Roethlisberger and Rivers. I think this group will be judged in a similar manner. You'll have Bradford coming off the shoulder surgery. Locker should have stayed another year, completion percentage is low. Clausen doesn't have the great arm. I will probably have Clausen No. 1, but I haven't made that decision yet. I always like Bradford, but I want to see how the shoulder holds up. And I really do think Locker needed another year with Sarkisian. If he goes back, he'll be battling Ryan Mallett, who could also possibly come out.
Do you think this draft class is weaker than the past two or three years? I don't see that many potential stars in this class.
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
The success of this draft will be impacted by the juniors. Right now I have 11 of the top 13 as juniors. Suh is No. 1 and a senior. The other top level guys are juniors. Gerald McCoy, Eric Berry. you have three QBs. Okung. Joe Haden. Excellent DEs in Morgan, Pierre-Paul, Griffen, Dunlap. I didn't even mention Taylor Mays, who has freakish physical ability from USC. Aaron Hernandez, if he comes out early, outstanding TE. you have a lot of guys. There is a lot of talent there. Then you have some underrated seniors. Brandon Graham. Sergio Kendle. Toby Gerhart. Marty Gilyard. Jermaine Gresham. Greg Hardy from Ole Miss would have had a high grade if not for the injury plagued season. This is a good draft. Every year is a solid draft.
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
Last year's draft had some late round picks that are producing. Some of the better rookies this year are: Louis Murphy, fourth round pick; Austin Collie, 4th round; Johnny Knox, 5th round; Al Afalava, 6th round; Brad Jones, 7th round; Julian Edelman, 7th round; Jamarcus Sanford, 7th round; LaRod Stephens-Howling, 7th round; Ryan Succop, Mr. Irrelevant. Last year's draft, did anyone think they were going to be as good as they are? That's from the fourth round on. There are always late round guys that will help you.
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
Could you imagine the Raiders' draft if they had picked Crabtree and Murphy? They passed on Crabtree and picked Heyward-Bey. If they had taken Crabtree, they'd have two of the better rookie WRs this year.
He wouldn't be the sexiest pick, but I think Dan Lefavour can be a franchise qb. Do you still see him making an impact at the next level?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
Yeah, I think he can make an impact, but I don't think he's a franchise QB. He has good size. Good arm strength. Decent mobility. He really studies the game hard. He's constantly studying the game. I think that benefits him at the pro level. Probably a 3-4 round pick.
Chris (Minneapolis, MN)
Mel, who are your top prospects to watch in the Citrus Bowl (WI vs. U)?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
For Wisconsin, we covered those guys. Schofield is the main guy for Wisconsin. For Miami, Alan Bailey, jr, DE; Colin McCarthy, jr, OLB; Sharpton, I mentioned him earlier; Orlando Franklin, jr, OG; Jason Fox, sr, LT. Those are some of the guys that are draft eligible.
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
Also, Leonard Hankerson, jr, WR; Graig Cooper.
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
We have one more college game, Army-Navy. That impacts the bowl game. If Navy wins, Navy plays Temple. If Army wins, I believe it's UCLA. We have some really good I-AA games. The semifinals are this weekend. The D-II national title game Saturday night. Keep an eye on NW Missouri State RB LaRon Council. And great games on the NFL on Sunday. Should be a fun weekend.