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!
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
The combine is coming up this week. They start working out Saturday. The NFL brass is in Indianapolis. The medicals will be important for 15-20 players.
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
We just had Demaryius Thomas breaking his foot last week. He's similar to what Michael Crabtree was last year.
Matt (Ewing, NJ)
Mel! Bruce Campbell. Will he be good? I mean with all that ability can't a good coach turn him into an All-Pro?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
I think they'll think they can. An OL coach will think he can take his tremendous physical ability and turn him into a pro bowl OT. Playing at that level week in week out, you really didn't see with Campbell. You're projecting ahead 2-3 years down the road that you can get that player. He's certainly a guy in the late first round, teams like Green Bay at 23, Dallas at 27. Those are two that would be interesting for Campbell.
Jeff (Atlanta, GA)
Mel, how seriously do you think the Rams would consider taking Bradford or Claussen at #1? Would you be okay with that selection?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
I would be. I feel like Clausen and Bradford are in the 4-6 best player area. There will be guys rated a little higher. But when talking QBs, you don't have to worry much about that, as long as they're elite and I think those two guys are elite. If Bradford had stayed healthy all year, he would be for sure the No. 1 pick. Clausen played through that painful toe injury. Had he been healthy, he would have played better. You could make an argument for either one at No. 1. In the old days, you would have been able to trade off of No. 1 and still get that QB. Now, those kinds of trades are minimal. Now, you have to make a choice. Certainly the QBs have to be in the discussion at least. Billy Devaney in St. Louis is a great personnel evaluator. You have to trust he makes the right call.
Mike (Madison, WI)
In your opinion, what is the single most important part of the combine? Conversely, what is the most overrated part?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
The most important part is the interviews and medical. It's more so this year than ever. The medical will have a lot to say about where players go in the draft. The other important part are the underclassmen. We don't have accurate measurables until the combine. That's important. The overrated part of it are some of the overall numbers. The benchpress is important, but even with that, is it much different with a guy who has 28 reps vs. 32? But it is a great tool if you have three guys that you like equally, the workouts will help you rank them. The combine has a lot of value. It's a vital part of the process. I don't think there's not a lot of it that's overrated. You can't overreact to a guy dropping a couple of balls.
Who needs to have a good combine?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
For different reasons, the guys that need a good combine are: Toby Gerhart, RB, Stanford; LeGarrette Blount, RB, Oregon; Brandon LaFell, WR, LSU; Jerry Hughes, OLB, TCU; Corey Wooten, DE, Northwestern; Hall Davis, DE, La-Lafayette; Brandon Spikes, MLB, Florida; Javier Arenas, CB, Alabama; Myron Lewis, CB, Vanderbilt; Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State; Brandon Ghee, CB, Wake Forest; Devin McCourty, CB, Rutgers; Taylor Mays, S, USC; Dez Bryant, WR, Oklahoma State; Arrelious Benn, WR, Illinois; Dezmon Briscoe, WR, Kansas; Golden Tate, WR, Notre Dame; Mike Williams, WR, Syracuse; Aaron Hernandez, TE, Florida; Carlos Dunlap, DE, Florida; Everson Griffen, DE, USC; Donovan Warren, CB, Michigan; Kareem Jackson, CB, Alabama; Amari Spievey, CB, Iowa; Earl Thomas, S, Texas.
Josh (Lincoln, NE)
Impressed that Suh decided to attend the combine instead of just Nebraska's Pro Day?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
He's got a lot of confidence in his ability. He didn't go to the Senior Bowl, which I thought was smart. Gerald McCoy is going to be there. It's kind of a dead heat between McCoy and Suh to who is the No. 1 pick overall. He's going to wow you over during the interview. Whether you do it at the combine or at the pro day, you have to show you his skills. He has nothing to hide and he's showing it.
Where do you see Ark's Michael Smith being drafted? I was bummed to see that he isnt at the combine, although im not positive he is 100% healthy yet...
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
That's the thing. I call him a diminutive dynamo. He's never afraid to take on defenders, despite his size. He's also a reliable pass catching option. When you look at him, he's a 5-6 round type of guy. I'd take him in a heart beat. He's a great kid too. Works hard, plays hard.
Considering RonnieBrown&Ricky Williams injury history and age; why wouldn't the Fins consider CJ Spiller at 12. Could you compare the skill set of Spiller vs. Reggie Bush and Chris Johnson.
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
I look at Miami, they have other needs. You think of WR, ILB, NT, FS. They could be looking at Rolando McClain. They could be looking at Dez Bryant, if he's there. Spiller will be there, I think at 12. He's an excellent receiver out of the backfield. But you have some backs there and you have other needs. I'd say right now, they would probably LB or WR. RB would be a luxury pick and I don't think they can do that. You need to help Chad Henne and to do that, you take a Dez Bryant or a McClain. I think McClain is a Bill Parcells type of player.
Tim Tebow (FL)
Can someone really change their release after college or is it too late?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
I think it's never too late to work on your delivery. That's something that's necessary that needs to be changed. It needs to be shortened up, if you're going to be an effective QB in the NFL. Your delivery has to evolve. It would have been nice if it was changed back in August. But any team that drafts him will have to work on that with him. You have to see how his accuracy is effected by that. That's why Tim's a very interesting prospect. There will be a wide range of opinion on him. I have said all along I draft him in the 4th round as an H-back, but I think a team drafts him before that.
Mel, In the rumors it says if Gerhart runs a 4.4 40 he could possibly be a first rounder, where do you think he ends up?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
No. I think he's at best a second rounder. RBs always drop more than he should anyway. Teams looking for that complimentary workhorse back, I think he has more quickness than people give him credit for, San Diego would be a good fit for him. Green Bay, Giants, Houston, New England, Seattle.
Youve ranked joe haden as the best corner coming out of the draft, but haden is a converted safety. Maybe a team is getting a two for one deal?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
He's a CB. You draft him as a corner only. He was matched up against Louis Murphy, Riley Cooper. He's about 5-11, 190. The thing I like about him is that he's such a complete player. He's effective on the corner blitz. I have him going seventh to Cleveland. It wouldn't shock me if he went higher than that.
where do you see Jason Worilds going and in what round?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
I thought at the beginning of the year, if he comes out early, he could be a second round pick. He was one of the stronger players pound for pound at his position. But this year, he wasn't the game changer that we saw previously. I thought his stock dropped this year. If you look at '08, second rounder. If you look at '09, you're looking at a 5-6 rounder.
Ray (New Jersey)
Mel:Is the first pick of the second round for the Rams too high to grab Dexter McCluster? I think he would be perfect change of pace compliment to Steven Jackson. Thanks for your time.
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
It's borderline. I think second round is where I could see him going. He could be a return man, but they didn't use him much because they wanted to keep him healthy. Very tough to tackle in the open field. I think he has second round value. First pick in the second? That's a little high. If I were thinking McCluster, I would wait a little bit. He's not a full time player, but he'll put some all-purpose yards up there. If I were looking at him at that point, I'd look to trade down.
Travis (Columbus, OH)
Are there any UFA's that you think could be starters in the future?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
Tony Washington; Mike Kafka; James Starks; Blair White; Casey Bender; Sean Canfield; Adrian Tracey; Torrell Troup; Nate Frere; Marquis Johnson; Robert McClain; Cody Grimm; Kendrick Lewis.
Where do you think Navorro Bowman lands? Could he be a late first rounder? Go PSU!
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
I think more of a two than a one. The thing with Bowman is that he has good instincts. He played well in coverage. The interview process for him will be very important to him. Late in the year, he was reverting to his form of '08. He had some off the field issues.
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
It wouldn't shock me if he's a late first round pick, if he has a great combine and answers some of the questions about him. But I say second round.
Joe (New York)
Im curious to know in your opinion what attributes does Eric Berry have that was lacking in Michael Huff? (who corerect me if I'm wrong, turned out to be a bust after being scouted as a future franchise saftey.
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
Huff has been a major disappointment. That happens. Every player that has a high grade doesn't become a pro bowler. He had an excellent career at Texas, but it hasn't panned out. Sometimes it's inexplicable when guys don't develop like you think they will. Berry is a playmaker. He's a ball hawk. He excels in all aspects of safety play. The only thing is that he's not that big. What that tends to lead to in the NFL is durability concerns. Can they stay healthy with that physical, aggressive style. But he's certainly deserving of being a top pick.
John (Chicago, IL)
Which player do you see being the biggest reach in the draft aka who will the Raiders draft high that they probably shouldn't? Jason Pierre-Paul?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
Good question. Reaches are usually hard to predict. The surprising pick is surprising because no one saw it coming. Some might say Jimmy Clausen could be a surprising pick. I think if Mike Iupati goes high, that would be a little elevated for him. If someone took Bruce Campbell higher than the late first round, that would be a surprise. If Tim Tebow went in the late first round, that would be a shock to me. If someone took Taylor Mays in the top 10-15 that would surprise me. Anthony Davis from Rutgers, the top 5-7 is high for him, but he could go that high. I don't have him rated that high.
Who do think will hurt their draft stock at the combine?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
The guys that I think would be questionable workout guys...Colt McCoy has to be careful, coming off of that injury. He doesn't have great physical ability, even at 100%. We'll have to wait and see on him. Selvish Capers, OT, WVU had a lot of problems at the Senior Bowl. He needs a good combine. George Selvie, DE, South Florida doesn't have great measurables. Brandon Spikes, big questions about his speed. Javier Arenas, the combine doesn't seem to be his cup of tea - he's not tall and he doesn't have a lot of speed. Myron Lewis, speed is the question for him. Syd'Quan Thompson, speed is also a question for him. Harry Coleman, he's going to have to show that he's fluid enough to turn and cover. Can he transition from his back pedal? Jonathan Dwyer, his weight's been fluctuating. He doesn't have a lot of elusiveness. Dezmon Briscoe, speed for him. Golden Tate, if he runs well, he's a late first rounder, if not, he's a second rounder.
Mel, someone you don't hear anything about is Myron Rolle. What is the story on him and where do you think he lands?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
He was a Rhodes Scholar. I thought his career at Florida State, he was a little overhyped, a little overrated. He's a great kid, tremendously smart. I thought he played at FSU like a 5-6 rounder. At the Senior Bowl, he looked physically as he ever had. The concern for him will be his dedication to the game of football. Will he be a 12-month a year football player? Will he do what he needs to do to get ready for the seaon? That could effect him going in the 2-3 round versus the 5-6 round. He'll be an interesting guy.
Do the patriots draft a wide receiver, or defense?
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
I think it would be OLB, WR, ILB, RB. The guys they'd be looking at are Brandon Graham. If they want WR, they could go Arrelious Benn. I would think about a Graham, as OLB is their most pressing need. If Sergio Kindle is there, he'd be very very attractive to New England.
After Dez Bryant at WR who are the next guys to go?
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
Demariyus Thomas was going to be the next guy off the board, but he had a broken foot working out late last week. He's projected to go 6-8 weeks from now. But the medical is going to be very important for him. I still think he could still be a first round pick. He could be ready by training camp. Crabtree broke his foot and still went high. Thomas is big, very tough, huge hands. Averaged almost 25 yards a catch this year. He's a physical mismatch against the CBs that he'll face. He played at Georgia Tech with the wide receiver screens and go deep and the QB threw it up. NFL routes, he has to adapt to. He has enormous talent. The Ravens at 25 might see him on the board. The Jets at 29. I could still see him going in the late first round. He'll need some coaching and some time, but he has great upside. After that, you're looking at Benn and Tate. Brandon LaFell is another borderliner.
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
We've got the combine starting up this week. The workouts start Saturday. We'll have a change in the schedule next week, when we do the chat Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET. The combine will be wrapping up then. Then we'll be back the following Wednesday.