Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. will be by to discuss the NFL draft.
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 Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:05 PM)
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
We've got the combine almost finished. A lot to report on that. To your questions.
Even after May's unofficial 4.24 40 and 24 reps, do you still believe he will be a late first rounder or will this showing vault him up into the 10-15 range?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
We have workout warriors and he was expected to be one of those. Bruce Campbell was another. You anticipate that. Mays had to really do what was expected. He's probably the fastest player pound for pound. His size to speed ratio might be the best in NFL history. He's 6-3, 230. He has an amazing leaping ability. He ran a 4.26 40. He's a great kid. Hard worker, great character. You root for a kid like Taylor Mays. He didn't have a great year at USC. He needs to be coached. Somebody may feel the need to take him in the middle of the first. I wouldn't rule that out. We saw that with Heyward-Bay last year going 7th overall. The teams that would make sense for him would be Pittsburgh at 18, Houston, Green Bay, Philadelphia. Miami at 12, if you want to look higher than that. San Fran at 16. Those are some teams there. Two weeks ago, I had him going to Philly at 24. He did what was expected. I didn't think he'd be that fast. I thought he'd be in the 4.30 range. But he doesn't play that fast. He misses some tackles. He doesn't have the impact breakup or interception. It's not inconceivable that someone would reach for him.
smooth cincinnati oh. [via mobile]
How did tony pike look this weekend and what round do you think he would be drafted
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
Pike is a developmental QB. He's coming out of a QB friendly system. He throws a nice ball. He can throw on the move. He's fairly accurate. He just needs to settle into a NFL offense. He needs to put on some weight. He needs to fill out and grow into that frame. He has the arm. He's a developmental QB. He's around the third round, but you have to work with him. You have to get him physically up to speed, but also with the NFL offense.
Why are so many people, you included, so high on Pierre-Paul when he has 6 career sacks, and went sack-less in 8 of his first 12 games last year, mostly against schools I've never even heard of. You are the expert, but to me he seems like a HUGE risk, and a 3rd round project pick. Please explain. Thanks!
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
He only played one year. He was a juco kid. His sack totals were outstanding and his hurries and pressures were exactly what you wanted to see. He wasn't a full time starter. He was rotated in. He has great explosiveness. He has long arms, long wing span. You can't teach his pass rush instincts. He's still raw. I put him in my top 15 in late September. I think he could go to Oakland. He's arguably the best DE. Everson Griffen from USC is gaining some momentum. He ran in the mid-4.6's and did 32 reps. Two weeks ago, I had him going 14 to Seattle. I think that's exactly where he coule end up. Morgan, Pierre-Paul and Griffen are my top 3. The player whose stock is dropping is Carlos Dunlap.
If Suh is comparable to Reggie White than is Gerald McCoy comparable to say Warren Sapp? I think he's more Tommie Harris.
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
McCoy is the quick guy. He's the quick, penetrating, one gap DT. He could play in the 3-4 as well. Suh is the incredibly powerful athlete. Suh did 32 reps and McCoy did 23. That's a big difference and they both ran about the same 40 time. I've said for months that they're even. The pash rush production for these two is about the same. Suh does his pass rushing differently than McCoy. The bottom line is they're both outstanding players. There is miniscule difference between them.
Does Mike Williams out of Syracuse attitude now coupled with a sub-par combine really hurt this draft stock?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
Mike Williams was probably going to be a third round pick either way. Now you're talking 3-4. He has a lot of talent. He's had some issues - he was academically ineligible, suspended for a game. But he has some talent with the pads on. He has a lot of athletic ability. There is other concerns, but he's an early Day 3 guy at worst. That's something I've never said before - Day 3 guy - Day 3 begins with Round 4.
Chris (Miami, FL)
Miami needs a playmaker at #12 - how convinced are you that Rolando McClain can be that playmaker without a dominant Nose Tackle occupying blockers in front of him? I don't doubt his work ethic or leadership but I feel as though a lot of his production had to do with Cody making his job easier. Agree / Disagree?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
You don't take a nose tackle at 12. Their needs are WR and LB. They could take a Rolando McClain. It would have been nice to see him run at the combine, but he didn't. He's a good player, he has that mean streak you like in a linebacker. We'll get that at his pro day. You would think he's the kind of player Parcells likes.
Does Haden's 40 time really hurt his stock? Last week he was the next Revis. Now what?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
He still could be. He'll run again during his pro day. I thought he'd run in the mid-4.4's and he ran in the 4.5's. His catch up speed is very important. You might not have a CB taken until the later part of the first round. You're talking about this year's CB class being very iffy. You'll see them go in the late first round. He has to run better. He's a heckuva player. He had an outstanding career at Florida.
He seemed to be a hot name the last few weeks, then he ran a 4.34. Where does Devin McCourty go?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
He's a great kid. He was a very good player at Rutgers in a number of ways. He was a great special teams player. I had him going 29 to the Jets. He's a great gunner on special teams. Now, you're talking about a guy that will go in the 20s somewhere.
If I was an NFL GM I don't think I would ever use an ealr round pick on a WR or RB. It seems increasingly easy to acquire productive players at these positions in the mid to late rounds. Why not reserve the premium (and costly) picks for players and positions that are scarce?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
I agree with you on RB. You can definitely find RBs. But on WR, where did Larry Fitzgerald go? White from Atlanta? Calvin Johnson? Andre Johnson went very early. Reggie Wayne. Randy Moss. Percy Harvin. Santonio Holmes. Michael Crabtree. Torry Holt. After that, it's a mixed bag. Guys that weren't highly ranked coming out. Ochocinco. Miles Austin. Brandon Marshall. Donald Driver. Wes Welker. Marques Colston. Steve Smith.. Louis Murphy. Vincent Jackson.
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
I wouldn't take a running back. You have three of them now and they always drop. Guys that aren't going in the first round that could be good WRs are: Jordan Shipley, Eric Decker, Andre Roberts, Taylor Price, David Reed, Blair White.
Does Wisconsin's O'Brien Schofield get drafted despite his unfortunate knee injury at the Senior Bowl? If so, what round?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
Yeah, he does. He would have been a late first round pick. I still think he could be a Day 2 pick, a third rounder. When you get a guy that could have been the 20-25 pick and you invest a year in getting him healthy, it's worth it. Tremendously consistent this year. Go back to the Iowa game.
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
He can't get past the third round.
Did Golden Tate's workout at the combine move him into the first round?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
Not firmly. He's one of those guys that doesn't play as explosive as he times. He runs away from people when he has a head of steam going. He doesn't get the separation. He's kind of a guy that fits the Colts perfectly. But they need help in other areas. I could see him with the Jets at 29. But I can also see him going in the second round. I'd say late 1 to early 2.
Dan (San Jose)
Ryan Mathews sure looked good. Chargers? Texans? Who else would spend a 1st rounder on him? No chance he makes it to the 2nd, right?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
He's a RB. There's always a chance a RB can drop into the second with first round ability. Mathews had a nice year. He's 5-11, 218. You watch him and he was a deceptive runner. You never thought he was a big home run threat, but he breaks a tackle and next thing you know, he has a 50-yard TD. He was good in the blitz pick up. He caught the ball OK. When you look at a team that could use him, San Diego at 28. There are not a lot of teams that need RBs.
Mel, how truly special was Sean Witherspoon's workout? I watch and just said "WoW!" 34 on bench, near 4.4 speed with what you see on tape!
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
You have to like his numbers. He was in the mid-4.6's with 34 reps. He was a good player at Missouri. Good player. There wasn't a lot of talent there. A lot of them from 2008 moved on to the NFL or graduated. He's an every down player. I still think he's a late one. New Orleans is a possibility.
Should the Ravens trade up and get Dez Bryant?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
No. I wouldn't trade up for Bryant. He missed half the year with suspension. You don't know his 40. He's a heckuva player, but I don't think you trade up for Bryant. Gresham, Benn, McCourty. I wouldn't give up all it takes to move up and get him.
Who do you think is the best fit for a 3-4 OLB in the bottom half of the 1st round??
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
Brandon Graham, Michigan. I don't think Kindle will be there. Jerry Hughes could be there. Schofield would have been right there, but the injury.
Mel, what's the best case scenario for the Vikings first/second round picks? who would be the best fit for them?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
If you look at the Vikings, they're kind of interesting. First of all, they have to know about Favre. Then, Chester Taylor. He was a key element in the passing game. I thought Peterson had a subpar year. Then in the secondary. Griffin is coming off of a knee injury. CB and then RB are need areas. You could go in the first round with McCourty, Marquice Pouncey, Wilson. If you're looking at second round guys, if you went with a CB, you could go RB in the second round. They could draft a C/OG type.
Mel, Who is the top OT now? Okung? Davis? Williams?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
The combine workout did and did not have an effect. Okung is the top tackle now. The 38 reps with long arms was impressive. Williams ran well, he had a 34-inch vertical. Bruce Campbell had a great workout, but he doesn't play as well as he works out. Then Davis, Bulaga. A guy that's moving up that I've liked all along and could carry the underrated tag - Rodger Saffold. He's 6-4, over 300 pounds. Very athletic. He'll be in discussion for late first, early second.
What kind of value do you think a Division-2 RB like Joique Bell has in this draft?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
He has some talent. He hasn't wow'd me over. He's not a back that you'd say you get a steal. He could be a 5-6 round guy. You could get a Joe McKnight in the third round. If that happens, I'm not going to put Bell in the third round. You could get a McKnight, Anthony Dixon, James Starks. Bell is more like a 5-6 round guy. He has some talent.
If the Bears go OL in the 3rd or 4th who should they go after? Also if they go safety or DE what are some names to look out for? Thanks in advance!
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
What they really need is they have to get a RT. In the third or fourth round, there are a lot of iffy guys. You could be looking at Capers from West Virginia, Chris Scott, Kyle Calloway.
Have you ever seen a off season like this? All the top elite running backs 2-3 years ago are being released.
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
Most of these teams have a significant number of backs. Look at Philadelphia, they've always been a pass happy team. They need a RB, they need a physical back, but you have to be able to catch the ball. You have to be a big back that can catch the ball effectively. San Diego, with Tomlinson gone, might have an interest in Mathews. But most of these teams have 2-3 backs.
Can Ricky Sapp from Clemson get into the 1st round? Also what do you think about DE Alex Carrington from Arkansas State
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
He could. The first projection I did this year, I had him late in the first round. He's had some issues staying healthy. While he was a defensive end, there were times he was a step short. He's probably a second round pick. If the durability issues wasn't there, I would say he was a solid two.
steve (portland, or)
Sean canfield-Does he have the tools to succeed at the nfl level and where do you see him landing?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
He's another guy. You look at him, he's 6-4, decent arm. You'd like to see him be more consistent throwing the football. He's a late round type of guy. Either draft him late or priority undrafted free agent.
Chris (Homdel, NJ)
Mel, how much did Dexter McCluster hurt himself with his 4.58 40? It seems that at his size, he absolutely needed to run a good time to compensate for his lack of size.
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
I thought he'd run a lot better than that. That's the thing, if you get wrapped up in these 40 times. I thought he'd run a 4.48, 4.46, but he didn't. If he can get into the 4.5 range, he can get into the second round. But now, I think he is more like 3-4 round. He can help in the return game, slot receiver. If you can get him in the fourth round, you've got yourself a good player.
What is Jahvid Best's stock now? Do you think he makes it to the 2nd round, maybe to the Lions?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
Another kid with a lot of ability. He can run, explosive. Game breaking runner. Excellent receiver out of the backfield. He became a better inside threat this year. He's a dynamic return man. The thing with him is the injuries. The durability is the concern. In the NFL he'll be a piece of the puzzle. There were other backs at Cal, but he was the chief offensive weapon. You always talk about explosive plays and he can help you with that. I'd be surprised if he got out of the second round.
Which player do you foresee being drafted way too early?
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
Bruce Campbell definitley falls into that category. He would be the main one. Taylor Mays too. I'll tell you what, a couple of other guys that I like that are moving up - Arthur Moats from James Madison. He had an outstanding career. He was a DE and will be OLB in the NFL. Powerful, productive. He'll be a terror on special teams. He could be a 3-4 round pick.
anthony (sf, ca)
hi mel, how do you think toby gerhart's combine affected his stock?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
I think he's a third round pick. I wouldn't be shocked if he went in the second round. What he's going to have to work on is his catching the ball. I think he's quicker through the hole than people give him credit for.
Do you see Dan Lefevour as more of a Big Ben or a Charlie Frye?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
I see him as a Chad Pennington. A poor man's Chad Pennington. He's not as accurate. He has the same arm strength - before his injury. Mobile. Smart. Very cerebral. Studies the game. Passionate about football. Marshall won with Pennington and Central Michigan won with Lefevour. They're both great kids. I could see Chad being a coach down the road. When you look at Lefevour, you see Pennington there. He could be the third QB taken, at worst the fourth.
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
We're wrapping up the combine. We can do some more next Wednesday. We'll have another first round projection next week. This Friday, free agency begins in the NFL. We'll be talking about the impact of that on the draft and these teams.