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)
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
We're snowed in, but it's a lot of great time for me to evaluate some film.
What do you think the chances are that the Redskins will take an offensive lineman instead of a quarterback with the #4 pick?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
There is certainly a chance. They are one of several teams that could pass on the QB early and go for one in the second round. They could take Sam Bradford at 4 or take an OT. They could take Okung or Davis. Davis could be a Pro Bowler if he's consistent. If they want to trade down, they could do that and still get one of those OTs or Jimmy Clausen. Or, they could take the LT and look in the second round at Dan LeFevour. He's solidly become the No. 3 QB on the board. He's beat out McCoy, Tebow, Pike. He could be an early second round pick.
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
He reminds me a little bit of Chad Pennington.
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
He's not as accurate as Pennington, but he has a slightly better arm. Big kid. Very much a student of the game.
Chad (Las Vegas)
How about dem Saints?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
Very impressed. I thought they'd win the game. The Colts have not seen that kind of offense. The one time they did, it was New England and they put up some points on them. It was really a mismatch. The Saints offense against the Colts defense was a mismatch. They were not able to cover and get the pass rush. Brees did a good job of sliding, stepping up and moving around.
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
Garrett Hartley's long field goals early kept them emotionally in the game. Garcon dropping those two catchable balls was huge. One of them was a potential TD. I thought the decision right before the half to go for it was the right move. Had they kicked the field goal initially, they would have been 10-6, but given the Colts enough time. But by not getting it, the Colts had the ball deep in their own territory and turned them conservative. I was surprised that the Colts at the end of the game didn't call a timeout to set up a good fourth down play. They missed the pass and the game was over. I'm happy for the Saints.
If Taylor mays runs 4.4 at combine, is he back in top15? perhaps to NY Giants?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
No. Not in my mind. You expect that. That's a given. He has outstanding physical skills. We knew that all along. He's big, great speed for a big guy. But the fact is that this year he didn't play good football. He's a little stiff. Not real fluid. He looks more like a LB than a safety. He misses tackles. He's known for big hits, but I don't see a lot of them. I see more misses than big hits. He's a great kid. Very hard worker. The two players I've been the most critical are good kids - Tim Tebow and Mays. You root for both of them. I want Tim Tebow to be successful.
Paul Harmsen (Scottsdale, AZ)
Who could be possible trade partners with the Lions at number 2 and what would be the value of that pick?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
It doesn't have great value, to me, because of the money. That's just the nature of the business. We saw the Jets trade up to 5 to get Mark Sanchez. The top 2-3 typically aren't traded. It's too much money and too much to give up. The teams would rather have quantity than quality. I don't see the needs for anyone to move up. You have DTs in this draft. There are a lot of first round DTs.
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
There's no need to move up when the strength of the draft is on the DL.
Dylan (New York)
Who are some players who could really raise their stock with a good combine? And what are your thoughts on Gilyard?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
First of all, we don't know who will run at the combine. Who will participate fully in the workout. Some guys that need good combines are: Toby Gerhart; LaGarrette Blount; Brandon LaFell. Speed is a big question for Brandon Spikes. Whether it's at the combine or his individual workout. Javier Arenas has questions about his height and how fast is he. The same questions for Myron Lewis and his recovery speed. It may force him to be a safety in the NFL. Syd'Quan Thompson needs to run well. Jevan Snead. I was shocked he came out early. He needs to do well at the combine. Speed will be important for Dez Bryant. Mike Williams will need to have a good combine workout.
What are some possibilities for the Steelers? Oline, DB?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
CB, OT, NT. You could be looking at a CB like Kyle Wilson, an OT like Bryan Bulaga, a NT like Terrence Cody. Those would be some possibilities for the first round.
Do you see the Packers picking the best player available or specifically addressing the OL (tackle) with their first round pick? Who might they target in the second round, if you had to guess? Thanks!
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
They have several need areas. OT, S, OLB, RB. If you look at the Packers, if they wanted to take a guy like Mays, Earl Thomas. They could take a Bulaga. OT or strong safety would be the two need areas for them to address early on. But keep this in mind, Ted Thompson has drafted the best available player on the board, not getting wrapped up in need.
With a number of potential free agents, do the Saints have to hit on all their draft picks to sustain their excellence going into next season?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
They need to do a good job. They're a team that could look at DT, OLB, S. Odrick is a possibility. They have several need areas they can fill at 32, but they'll just have to wait and see who falls through the cracks. The big decision they'll have to make is on Reggie Bush.
RJ (Kansas City)
Where does Dexter McCluster go? Could he last well into the 2nd round. Any chance my Cowboys could grab him with their late 2nd round pick?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
I think he could. The size is the big thing. He's only about 5-8. But with this day and age in the NFL, guys like DeSean Jackson have made it. Darren Sproles out of Kansas State. McCluster can beat you in a lot of ways. He can help in the return game, in the slot, as a RB. I'd say anywhere in the second round.
More critical for the Jets --- getting Mark Sanchez more weapons on offense (like a Golden Tate) or finding someone to work opposite Revis? Jets were exposed by Manning throwing to all his seconday receivers...
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
They're both big. There, you have to look at Rex and say defense is going to dictate their success. His aggressive approach is not going to change. Revis is a shutdown guy. Kyle Wilson. Brandon Gee is a sleeper type. He could end up as one of the fastest CBs at the workout. He breaks passes up, just doesn't come up with a lot of INTs. But he'll get strong consideration for the first round. Or, they could take a WR like a Golden Tate, who can help in the punt return game as well. Or they could take an Arrelious Benn.
Assuming that the 49ers pick an OT with one of their two 1st round picks, do you think they will go OLB or DB with their other one?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
Yeah, those are the two need areas after OT. I have them taking, with the first pick, Trent Williams. He'd be an ideal RT. At 16, they could look at Earl Thomas, maybe a Sergio Kindle. Kindle is either a 4-3 end or 3-4 OLB. He's solidly in the top 15. He's moved up since my last projection.
Jose (White Out)
What are you hearing about my Fins at number 12? If Bryant falls to them, do you think Parcells will pull the trigger?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
That's the biggest need they have. They drafted some WRs last year, but they didn't get much. They need a big timer. They have enough serviceable WRs. I have them taking Rolando McClain from Alabama. I have Bryant going 10 to Denver, so I have him off the board before Miami picks. If he's still there, I'd like to be in that room listening to the discussion. People forget that Dez Bryant lives in the end zone. he's a touchdown maker.
Mel what do you see as the biggest needs for the colts in this years draft
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
The Colts' needs would be OT, DE, MLB and I've said all along that they need a backup QB. They're the most fragile team in the NFL at QB. You have to have a better backup than what they have. They're been lucky and fortunate that Manning hasn't gotten hurt. In the first round, they could look at Brandon Graham. O'Brien Schofield had a knee injury down in Mobile. He would have been a combo guy, but he's not coming off the injury and he'll get pushed down a little bit. Walter Thurman would have been a first round CB, but is injured.
Derrick (Saratoga, CA)
Can Derrick Morgan or Carlos Dunlap transition to a 3-4 OLB? Dunlap is listed at 290, but would he be able to lose some weight and still be effective?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
Morgan moreso than Dunlap. Morgan is an ideal 4-3 end. He's not just a pass rusher. I think he'll qualify as one of the safest picks in the first round. Dunlap at times showed Julius Peppers type ability. But when you combine his incredible inconsistency and off the field stuff, he could drop down. At times he looked like a top five pick. Very up and down this year. There are tons of 3-4 guys: Sergio Kindle, Schofield, Brandon Graham, Ricky Sapp, Willie Young, Christian Anthony, Antonio Coleman, Cameron Sheffield, Jarvis Geathers, Dexter Davis, Koa Misi, Adrian Tracy, Thaddeus Gibson, Jerry Hughes, Eric Norwood, Justin Cole.
Mel, What Pass rushers will be available to the Pats at 22, I love Sergio Kindle? And what do they do with those 3 second rounders they have? I like McCluster with one of them.
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
Of the OLB types, Ricky Sapp. Kindle would be the ideal guy to have there, but I think he's off the board. Those would be the two that would be the best picks.
Hero (Beaufort SC)
Mel What are the biggest need for the bengals and where do you see them going in the first four rounds?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
The Bengals need a true WR, even a slot guy would help. DL, S. A pass catching TE, depending on the development of Coffman. Where they're picking at 21, I don't see a WR to take at that point. Are they going to be aggressive and try to move up to get Dez Bryant?
Isaias (Los angeles)
What RB fits best in the Chargers System?Waht kind of RB is Ryan Matthews?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
A bigger back. That's why a Jahvid Best might not be a good fit. He might be the best player on the board when they pick, but he might not be a good fit. Jonathan Dwyer, Ryan Mathews. Then if they don't pick one early, they could look at a Toby Gerhart. Anthony Dixon, Charles Scott, LaGarrette Blount. Those would be the big backs that would be in the mold of that they need. Lonyae Miller.
Pascual (Bakersfield, California)
What are your thoughts on David Sills and all the media attention on his situation? Do you have any insight on his abilities yet?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
It's publicity for Lane Kiffin and USC. It puts a lot of pressure on this kid. The scrutinization will be there early on. He won't be an under the radar guy. It will be a story moving forward. Every writer out there will be charting his play. You watch him right now, he looks like a good QB for his age. You have to have ESP to know what kind of player he'll be. It gets exposure. It's more talk about USC and Kiffin. This is unchartered waters and you hope that the kid is able to handle it.
Mel, do you think that Holmgren and co. will be able to change the dreadful draft history that the browns have had in the past. Also, do you think the browns will package some of their 11 picks to gain another 2nd or 3rd rounder?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
Drafting is about good luck and good fortune and players being around when you need them that particular year. I've seen some good personnel people have bad drafts. Bill Polian at Indy has had some bad picks. Anyone will have their hits and misses. Phil Savage did some good things for the Browns. He didn't have a chance to finish the job. I thought that was a mistake from the ownership standpoint. You don't go from being a good personnel guy who built a Super Bowl winner in Baltimore to being bad at your job. I don't know what the Browns are going to do, but first they need to decide what to do at QB. I have them taking Joe Haden, but there will be a QB staring them in the face.
I'd love to see the Vikes solidfy their defensive backfield in the first round. Where do you see them going with their pick: S, CB, other?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
That's the biggest need - CB, OLB, DT, C/OG. But CB like Patrick Robinson, Kyle Wilson, Brandon Gee, Sean Weatherspoon.
Chad (Las Vegas)
Mt. Cody to New Orleans at 32, or is that too high for him?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
No, I think he could go as early as 18 to Pittsburgh. I think he could go 18 to anywhere down the line. He's an outstanding clogger. He's outstanding against the run. He occupies. He's a space eater. His weight will fluctuate.
How do Bradford, Claussen, and LeFaveur rank compared to top QBs from the last few drafts? Thanks.
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
That's debateable because of the injuries. The shoulder of Bradford and the toe of Claussen. LeFevour is gaining momentum because the other QBs are not finishing well. He's moved ahead of McCoy, Pike, Tebow. When we did our chats back in August, I've always had LeFevour ranked up there. He's benefitted from the struggles of other guys. Stafford and Sanchez had their critics too. There was no consensus that they were going to be top picks. There were questions about Peyton Manning. There are always questions about QBs.
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
We do more revisionist history at QB than any other in the draft.
SteveFitz (Cicero, IL)
Where do my Bears start Mel?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
Well, they don't pick until the third round, so you'll have to wait a while for them to pick. OL, DB, DE, DT, WR. They have a variety of need areas and don't pick until the third round. And now you have a new offensive coordinator.
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
They could also look at a RB at some point. A couple of interesting guys at RB: James Starks at Buffalo. Interesting guy. I thought he was a second or third rounder going into the year, now 4-6 with the injury. Michael Smith at Arkansas. Not big, but he could be a very good situational performer. Roy Upchurch. Montario Hardesty. Andre Dixon. James Mallory, from Central Connecticut State. Probably undrafted, but if he can get into a camp, he could have a chance.
Mel Kiper (2:01 PM)
We'll be back next week!