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!
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
Brand new first round projection. Brand new Big Board. All up on ESPN.com.
Mel, how many OT's do you see going in the 1st round?
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
As of today's projection. I have five. And dispersed all of the way through. 5, 9, one in the middle and two late.
Olufemi Adepoju (Guantanamo Bay, Caba)
Mr. Kiper, why is so much emphasis placed on the 40 meter times especially since 50 year old Darrel Green just did a 4.43 recently?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
It's all about comparing and contrasting players. I've always said that you don't have to be great in all areas of the workout, but you need to be in the top echelon of one category. That will get you the attention of a coach. With the 40 times, it allows you to compare the players in the draft to past years. To see if they play as fast. Everson Walls fell on draft day because he ran a 4.7 40. Speed doesn't always determine who the best players are, but if you're comparing players equal in ability, it's a great way to separate them.
What should teams be concerned with before they draft Colt McCoy?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
Clausen and Bradford are in the top group and LeFevour. Tim Tebow will be in the mix too and Tony Pike. I have McCoy as my fourth QB after that top group.
Mel... I love your debates with Todd over Jimmy Clausen. I think the knocks on his maturity are ridiculous. So he's a little confident and cocky... name me a great player who isn't?? I happen to think Clausen is going to be a great NFL QB and will be looked back as probably one of, if not the, best players in this draft.
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
I think he has a chance to be great. His accuracy is outstanding. His leadership is exceptional. People keep questioning his size and I don't understand why. What's wrong with 6-2.5, 220. That's ideal size. In addition to that, his arm strength is above average. Some have said he's maxed out physically. I don't understand that. His arm strength will improve once he gets to the NFL. That's been proven. He's tough. He played with the flu and the toe injury. He played with a team that didn't have a great supporting cast. The defense was awful. He had four games where he won on the final drive.
Mel, what does the Stallworth signing do to the Ravens draft? Still go with Benn in the 1st? Thanks!
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
Yeah, it doesn't effect them at all. They need two receivers, not one. I think they draft 2 WRs and a TE. There will be a good TE available in the second around. You could see Hernandez or Gresham, Rob Gronkowski in the second round. Gronkowski averaged 16.6 yards per catch for his career and he's 6-5, 265.
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
He can block and he's the most complete TE in this draft.
Adam (Ocala, Fl)
Hey Mel, whats all this talk about the Bucs taking Jason Pierre-Paul over Berry? I see the need but that may cause a riot!
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
Pierre-Paul I've been talking about all year. He came over from the juco ranks. He transitioned from those ranks to the D-I level. I questioned the Heyward-Bey pick last year, but I wouldn't question Pierre-Paul.
Ben Chamberlain (Eugene, Oregon)
I have a question about running backs in the draft. What do you think about LaGarrette Blount draft chances?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
Big back. Powerful back. Big kid. If he interviews well and he runs a decent 40, I think he could be looking at the 3-4 round.
Both you and McShay now have Taylor Mays going to the Eagles in the first...I would have been ecstatic if that had happened last year, but everything I have seen and read tell me he is a big project after his senior year. Worth the risk, or just take the next best safety on the board?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
He's a risky pick in the top 15, top 10, but when you get into the late first round, you minimize the risk. What he needs is he needs to be coached. He's a guy that they say doesn't transition out of his backpedal well, but he needs to be coached and he's a hard worker. If he can be developed, then you have a decent player. He's either decent or very very good. I don't think he's a bust.
Hey Mel, any chance Kindle falls to the Patriots at 22?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
He could. Right now I have him going to the Giants at 15. He could be there at 22. It's a slight chance. He's a perfect 3-4 OLB for New England if he's there. I have them taking Brandon Graham.
Mel, which team do you see drafting DL Suh if the Rams go in a different direction with their first pick?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
Detroit. He would go to the Lions. Whoever goes one, Detroit takes the other.
Do you like the draft times for tv this year? I don't and I think they should have kept them like last year?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
I really like it, at least going in. I haven't experienced it yet, but I like the concept. It puts it in primetime, so everyone can watch. We've had a terrible winter, so if you have a 75 degree day on a Saturday in April, everyone would rather be outside. Longer days, sunnier days would prevent people from being inside. The people that are used to having Saturday as draft day, you're still getting all day Saturday. Then on Sunday, you're getting the draft reviews.
Sean (Bay Area)
I saw your mock where Spiller is going to the 9ers. Will 49ers pick him after picking Glen Coffee last year with their 3rd round pick?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
Well, Coffee is not CJ Spiller. Spiller is a different kind of back and he has return skills. That's huge for the 49ers. It would be like Dallas with Choice, Barber, Jones. They have Coffee, Spiller and Gore. You have the stable of complimentary backs and a great return man and receiver out of the backfield in Spiller. He's a great all-purpose performer.
Where do you have Perrish Cox ranked? Is he the next CB off of your board?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
Yeah. He's got good size, nice career at Oklahoma State. I like he had to go up against Dez Bryant in practice. Excellent return skills. He needs to have good interviews. And if he does, I think he goes in the second round.
Do you consider Trent Williams only a RT? if he is only a RT why should we spend first round money and a player who can only play RT?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
Andre Smith went in the top group last year as a RT. Steve Hutchinson was a guard and he went in the first round. He fills a key need at RT. He could play your interior offensive line positions. He fills a role. He could also play LT if you need him too.
Does Thadius Gibson get drafted in 1st 4 rounds?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
I'd say 3-4 round is possible. He's a 3-4 OLB. He showed the ability at Ohio State to have his hand on the ground or be on his feet. He lacked consistency, but the 3-4 round is possible.
Will (New Orleans)
if my Saints cut Reggie Bush, where would running back fall in their list of priorities? who would they target to replace him? not a lot of guys can play his role
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
You're not going to find a Reggie Bush in this draft. Jahvid Best is in that mold, but durability is the concern. Michael Smith from Arkansas could have a role similar to that.
What do you think of Fordham QB John Skelton and where do you think he will be drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
Great arm. Great size. He's 6-5, 240. What he needs to do is work on his mechanics and delivery. A good QB coach needs to work with him. He's a developmental guy.
Mel Colts need a 4-3 MLB that they can take in rds 2-4 who should they take?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
There are a couple of guys there. If Brandon Spikes from Florida doesn't run well and there are questions about his speed, he could be there. Pat Angerer could be a 5-6 round guy. Micah Johnson, Joe Pawelek, Mike McLaughlin, Andre Revele, Ryan D'Imperio, Darryl Sharpton.
Will Matt Lenart step up as a good QB for the Cardinals, or do they need to draft/sign a QB?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
They seem to feel like even through Matt Leinart was not drafted by this coaching staff, that they're going to give him a chance. Watching Kurt Warner should have benefitted Leinart. When he was pressed into service against Tennessee, he did a real good job in that game. Is he going to be like Warner? That's hard to ask, he's a hall of famer. You can win with Matt Leinart, but a lot will be seen. He's following a legend. The bar was raised so high in Arizona. He put up staggering numbers for the Cardinals.
Will there be any decent safeties around in the 3rd for the Bears to consider?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
They could use a FS and another CB. Darian Stewart from South Carolina; TJ Ward, Oregon; Barry Church; Kyle McCarthy, Notre Dame; Kurt Coleman, Ohio State; Cody Grimm, Virginia Tech. Some early to mid round guys at safety: Darrell Stuckey, Kansas; Larry Asante, Nebraska; Major Wright, Florida.
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
That's excluding the top 1-2 round guys.
Could you compare this year's crop of OT's to years past like Joe Thomas, Ryan Clady, Jake Long?
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
you don't have, right now the guy going 1, 2, 3, but you could have a guy like Anthony Davis go as high as 5. He could be the next Walter Jones. Great feet for a kid 6-6, 325. Bruce Campbell from Maryland has enormous physical ability. He's more of a late first round pick. The problem with OT is after the first round, then you have to be very very creative and do some good scouting. Some guys to watch out for: Tony Washington, Rodger Saffold, and OG Ramone Herwood.
Mel, what's the edge you gave Davis over Okung where you have the Chiefs pick Davis?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
I think Davis, physically, has off the charts ability. He's 6-6, 325, very light on his feet. He can mirror the DE in pass protection. Nice pop at the point of attack. If he's able to use those attributes more consistently, he could be a Walter Jones type player. Okung is very strong, athletic. The problem with him is he struggled early in the season.
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
Both will go in the top 10.
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
I still have Okung on my ratings board slightly ahead of Davis. They're basically side by side. I'm going to wait until after the combine to decide who goes ahead.
This WR class looks extremely weak to me. Am I wrong? Not much star power at the position.
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
There is only one guy in the top 15, which is Dez Bryant. After that, there are some good ones. Benn from Illinois is a top guy. The big guy after the combine will be Demaryius Thomas. He's tough. Averaged almost 25 yards a catch. Mike Williams has as much talent as any receiver in this draft. He has a ton of ability. But he was suspended in 2008 and left the team late this past year.
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
Carlton Mitchell, Chris Bell, Antonio Brown, Emmanuel Sanders, David Reed, Pat Simonds, Marcus Easley, DeMarco Sampson, Taylor Price, Donald Jones, Marc Mariani.
Mel, With the Buffalo Bills changing over to a 3-4 defense! Do you think Jerry Hughes would be a solid option at OLB for them?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
I think he would be a nice fit. He's a 3-4 OLB all the way. There are a lot of them in the draft this year. He's one of many. Eric Norwood, Sergio Kindle, Brandon Graham, Ricky Sapp, O'Brian Schofield. Buffalo has to get a LT. They could look at Okung at 9 and they have to think about a QB at some point.
Erica (Caracas, Venezuela)
Mel, who do you see the Steelers taking in the 1st round of the draft at no. 18? Do you think this is the year they should trade up and take a player like R. McClain, ILB, Alabama or trade down and get more picks?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
They could look at several options. CB, OT, NT, OG are their need areas. Terrance Cody, Kyle Wilson could be some guys to look at.
Seems like most good running teams have good center, how come more teams dont consider them a priority?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
They have been of late. Alex Mac went in the first round. Nick Mangold went to the Jets. Maurkice Pouncey is a late first round pick. I have him going to Minnesota at 30.
Wardi (Near Denver)
where is zac robinson going and where was zac before the season started?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
There were some games where I thought he could be a 5th round pick. He had some nice options around him in Dez Bryant, Brandon Pettigrew, Okung, This year, I thought when Bryant missed the second half, that his stock dropped. He's at best a 6-7 rounder, more than likely an undrafted free agent. But I think he gets into a camp.
carter (baton rouge)
who is the best WR coming out of the SEC and why?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
I would say it will be Brandon LaFell. He dropped some catchable balls at time. I also think Dexter McCluster, who's more of a situational RB than a true WR. He's a second round pick as well.
Brad (Bristol, CT)
Which TE has a better NFL upside - Hernandez or Gresham?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
They're both very similar in that blocking is not their forte. Gresham is coming off a knee injury. Hernandez, I thought had a heckuva season for Florida. He became the favorite target of Tim Tebow. With Hernandez, he's not a good blocker and he's only about 6-2, so he doesn't have ideal height. You can line him up in a variety of spots. I think he'll be a great second round pick for somebody. Gresham will be a good choice as well. He's about 6-5, 260. He's a wide receiver in a TE frame. He was an unstoppable red zone threat.
jay elkins (nashville)
where will be the best fit for donovan warren? and what round will he be drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
I thought Warren should have gone back to Michigan. From the junior class, he had a decent grade, but when you put him with the seniors and compare him to other classmates, he's behind Haden, McCourty, Kyle Wilson, Patrick Robinson. If he had gone back, I think he could have been a higher pick. The downside with him is that he takes a lot of risks.
Where do you think Tebow will land, and will he be drafted as a QB?
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
The chances of him being a first round pick are very slim. I think, at best, he's a 2nd round pick, but maybe a third rounder. After that Cincinnati bowl game, I would not have thrown again until my individual work out. Going to the combine, you have to go for the medical and the interviews, but I would not throw. Now you almost feel like you have to throw at the combine to make up for the Senior Bowl. But I wouldn't have done either.
In your latest mock, Earl Thomas was not in Round 1. Where do you see him going?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
Borderline. He's right on the cusp. I thought very seriously of putting him to Green Bay, Philadelphia or Dallas in the first round, but I just opted for the other guy at the position. The problem is that we don't have accurate measurables on Thomas, but he's not that tall. Outstanding player. He would be a great second round pick. The only thing preventing me from saying he's a first round pick is his size. When you're not that big, you have a Bob Sanders situation where you can't stay healthy.
Does Jimmy Clausen's ability to not practice hurt his draft stock or will he still stay a very low pick?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
No, not at all. He played all season with two torn ligaments in his toe. He couldn't have gone to an all star game anyway because he's a junior. And it wasn't guaranteed he would throw at the combine. He'll throw in April. He'll interview and they'll check out the toe in the medical. I think the interview process at the combine will help tremendously. It will highlight how NFL ready he is.
The Packers need more speed and catching ability out of their RBs, what 3-5 rounders fit that bill? Joe McKnight?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
Jahvid Best would be a guy you should think about. The only reason he's not a first rounder is because of his durability concerns. He would be a great pick in the second round. McKnight's a 3-5 round guy. There will be some backs who will be attractive. How about Toby Gerhart? If he runs well, he could be a very good third round pick for somebody.
What do you think of Rutgers other Tackle Kevin Haslam?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
Haslam has a 5-7 round grade. 6-5, 300. More of a backup type in the NFL.
Mel, great chat. How much of Aurellius Benn's disappointing season can you place on bad quarterback play?
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
You place a lot of it on the ankle injury. He had the injury from the first game of the year and it hampered him all year. Then you factor in the QB play and the struggles there. He was ranked 12th on my board in late August, early September. His first few years he was high on my list and productive. I think he goes in the late first round. Cincinnati, New England, Baltimore, Jets would be the possibilities for him.
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
We covered a lot of ground. We'll be back next week. The brand new first round projection is up right now. A lot of new players and some surprises.