Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. will be by to chat.
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 (1:00 PM)
We've got Mel!
What do you think about the dolphins taking Dez Bryant at #12 if he's available? I've heard that his work ethic is not the best?
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
That's the question with Dez. Will he be a guy that's consistent and dependable? Can he thrive when things aren't going well? We saw that with Brandon Marshall last year. Randy Moss when he didn't play on great teams. You hope he's not going to be in that realm. But I think he'll be gone before Miami. I thought maybe Buffalo, but I think they lock into a OT. Denver at 11, if they move Marshall, might be looking for a WR.
Would the Patriots be better served by attempting to trade some of their picks for proven players in the league?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
I like to use the draft. Veterans can augment your roster, but you build through the draft. They have a lot of holes to upgrade. The 22nd pick, you could be looking at CJ Spiller. They need more explosive weapons on offense. They've slipped on explosive weapons. I could see them looking at Brandon Graham. Jerry Hughes, Sergio Kindle. I think Kindle will be gone. Graham might be gone as well.
Deanna (Washington, DC)
CJ Spiller, to me was the best college football player overall last year. Why is this guy not receiving top 10 publicity?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
Because he's a RB and RBs always faller farther than they should. Teams at the top of the draft already have two of them even three. The consideration for Spiller, Seattle at 6, Cleveland at 7, San Francisco at 13, Seattle again at 14, Giants at 15, San Franciscao again at 17, Atlanta at 19. He would be great for Atlanta, with Turner being hurt last year. Spiller will have a lot of teams discussing him.
Shanahan loves later round RBs. Any you see that would fit his system?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
Ben Tate, Auburn; Michael Smith, Arkansas; Brandon Minor; Michigan; Keiland Williams; Chris Brown; Roy Upchurch, Alabama; Joique Bell, Wayne State; Lonyae Miller, Fresno State; Darius Marshall, Marshall.
Sal (Miami via DC)
Do you think Eric Berry may slip in the draft? If so where do you see him going?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
Berry didn't have a great year. QBs identified where he lined up and they didn't go after him. He played in a new system in Monte Kiffin's defense. But the fact is that he didn't have a great year. I would be surprised to see him get past 5 to Kansas City. That's the farthest I see him falling. He could drop a pick or two beyond that, but I'd be surprised if he gets past 5-7. He didn't have a great year.
Hey Mel, do you think the Skins should target a NT with their 2nd rounder or do they have more pressing needs? Thanks
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
As far as the Redskins are concerned, they have a lot of needs. The front and center is QB. OL, RB, QB. If they do look at a NT player, a couple of players that are interesting are: Cam Thomas. He's very interesting, 6-3, 320. He was coached by John Blake, he's a heckuva coach. Al Woods from LSU is another guy. Torelle Troup, Central Florida is another.
Doddi (Vegas Baby)
Are you still a believer in CB Joe Haden even though his 40 time was a bit off?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
I hope his 40 time improves. I spoke to him last week and he was very confident that he'll go under 4.4. He said he had a little lower back strain going into the combine. He didn't want to make any excuses and he thought he could run in the low 4.4's. He has to make up for it in his pro day. He's very confident he can run in the 4.3's.
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
Right now, I have him going 13 to San Francisco.
Every year, there seems to be a DE who moves up the draft board. Anyone you see this year between now and the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
Everson Griffen from USC has been on the rise. Brandon Graham from Michigan has steadily been on the rise. Jerry Hughes from TCU has been going up the board. A good looking 3-4 DE, which are hard to find is Tyson Alualu.
Bruce (Shaker Heights)
Holmgren said he doesn't like QB controversies. Does the trade for Wallace and the release of Anderson mean he wants to give Quinn a shot?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
I would think Quinn deserves it. Holmgren had nothing to do with the drafting of Quinn, but there's an awful lot to like about him. He's not perfect, but he has a lot of talent. He's a good leader. He has that presence about him. He deserves that opportunity. He has shown flashes. They need to work on some things around him. They had Kellen Winslow, he's gone. They had Edwards, he's gone. They drafted some young WRs that they need to step up. Jerome Harrison finished the season well, but they need a full season out of him.
TE's that are improving their stock combine and post combine?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
Jermaine Gresham. He's solidly in the first round. Cincinnati at 21 or Balitmore at 25 would be good options. Dickerson from Pittsburgh, versatile, H-back type. Clay Harbor could be an interesting 5-6 round pick. Jimmy Graham from Miami is a former basketball player. He's very, very raw, but has some talent. We'll see what happens with him. There are some that have a higher opinion on him than I do, but he's very raw.
Earl (Princeton, WV)
who goes first Mel. Tebow or Jarrett Brown?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
Tebow. I think he'll go in the second round. Brown wows you over in a workout, with his size, rocket arm, good athlete, but he runs very hot and cold. To me, he's probably going to go a little higher. He might be overdrafted because of his physical prowess, I think he could go 3-4 round.
Given the post-combine fallout, do you see Rolando McClain slipping a bit in the first round? Or do you expect his pro day to help boost him back up?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
Just a little bit. Maybe instead of going 11-12, maybe he goes 15 to the Giants. It would be an ideal pick for the Giants. They desperately need an ILB. His stock has dropped a little bit.
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
When you really study McClain, he got credit for some tackles because he was in the area. He wasn't as productive as maybe he should have been. When you watched the tape, it didn't equate to the stat sheet. But he's a talented kid.
What type of draft pick do you think the Bears could get for Olsen? If you were them, would you trade him?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
Olsen's value as a TE with the Bears diminishes. In Mike Martz's system, the TE is not a factor. The thing is that Cutler likes to throw to the TE. He looks for the TE early and often. Olsen was a late first round pick. He's a pass catching TE. I'm not sure how much value he has on the market. The system might not fit with Olsen and it will be interesting to see. Cutler should improve in that offense. Cutler was always looking for Olsen, now that may have been because they didn't have any receivers.
davis (ny city)
was cromartie worth a 3rd? does it change the jets plans for the draft
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
It gets them a corner opposite Revis. With the first round pick, now you can look at a Mays, Earl Thomas, Benn, Demaryous Thomas. You could go safety, WR now.
Brian (Richmond, Ky.)
Kentucky's Pro Day was today, and Micah Johnson is said to have improved his 40 time from the combine. Where do you see him going in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
He was a productive guy at Kentucky. Very rugged. Strong. Plays with a lot of fire. But getting to the flanks is the issue. Little heavy legged at times. Chasing, catching from behind. He'll do fine in the box. But getting outside to the flanks. I think he's a 5-6 round guy.
Gus (Georgia ( The Country))
I really was impressed with Jahvid Best. Is he a certain 1st rounder, or do you see him elsewhere in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
No, he's not a certain first rounder. The durability questions are there. He's a great kid. He became more complete as a RB. He can catch the ball. His blocking improved. If he can stay healthy, he'll be a very good pick.
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
If they don't take Spiller, I could see New England picking Best with one of their second round picks.
Based on Ben Roethlisberger's current situation, do you see the Steelers drafting a QB later in the draft, just in case?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
That's always an option. You always have the ability to pick up a QB later. Matt Nichols, Eastern Washington; John Skelton, Fordham; Sean Canfield, Oregon State.
Tyler (The 'Ville, KY)
Where do you think a QB like LeFevour will go? Is he the biggest sleeper at QB?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
He's not a sleeper. He's been on the radar for a number of years now. Playing at a high level at Central Michigan. He has a great mind for the game. Very passionate about film study. Very well spoken, smart. Understands what it takes to play in the NFL. Decent arm. Accuracy is good, not great. I think he's a lot like Chad Pennington. I've said all along he's no later than a 2nd round pick.
Would you like Nate Allen at 24 for the Eagles? Seems like he has the cover skills to succeed at FS.
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
That's a little high, but he's a good all around player. The thing that he's not is he's not an enforcer. He has the speed necessary to cover ground. He's a pretty good tackler. He's around the action a lot. I think he played more like a 2 than a 1. 24 is a little high for him. He's a borderline first round guy. If you have an Earl Thomas sitting there, I think he's much better than Allen. Thomas was at his best in the big games. He'll hit you, cover. He's instinctive. He's a third-year sophomore coming out early.
Mel, we here in Cincy are all hoping Mardy Gilyard will be around when the Bengals pick in the 2nd round. What do you think the chances are of this happening after a sub-par combine?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
I think he's a 2 or 3. I think he might come off the board in the 3rd round now. There are a lot of guys in that second round mix. Guys like Damian Williams, Brandon LaFell, Eric Decker, Andre Roberts, Riley Cooper, Taylor Price.
Is Indy's desire to get more physical up front force them to look more at OL at the top of the draft than in the past,2nd rd guys Ugho and Pollack have not panned out though so which way should they go?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
I think the OL and DL. Both of those areas could be addressed. I think it will fall to defense. Odrick from Penn State. I think DT is where the Colts go.
Michael (San Diego)
Which college has the most 1st round draft picks this year? Florida? Oklahoma? OK State?
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
I think Oklahoma with 4. Bradford, McCoy, Williams and Gresham.
Mel, is it looking more and more like the top three picks will go: Bradford, Suh, McCoy?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
It looks that way. I have it Bradford, Suh, McCoy with Clausen at 4. The big one is Washington at 4. I think Clausen will be in the discussion. That's the first interesting pick. Seattle at 6, do they look at Okung or pass rushing DE? Four will be the hot spot and I'll be surprised if Clausen isn't the pick there.
J Treehorn (Malibu)
Dr. Kiper, who might "best available" for the Saints at 32?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
Sean Weatherspoon would fit the bill. They lost Scott Fujita. They need more big play guys. With Weatherspoon, the fit would be right. He's good against the run and the pass.
What is your thoughts on a player that grades out at say a middle 2nd round guy that fits your system,you pick at the top of the 2nd do you reach for him in the second or do you just let him go with the thought that hopefully he drop to the third and if he doesn't that's just the nature of the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
It depends. There's nothing wrong with doing that. If there's a player that you feel that you can't get in the next round, you grab him. You have to trust your board. You can't stretch too much. You need to adjust your board so that you have the players that you value the most. You put your board together for a reason. Teams that trust that board usually do the best.
Which of UGA's three DT's -- Atkins, Owens and Weston -- do you see coming off the board first?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
Weston had the better year, I thought. He was the most impressive of the three. I'd go Weston, Atkins, Owens.
Packers need a little more help on D. Does someone like Koa Misi or Jerry Hughes fit into their 3-4 D?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
I'd say Hughes would be a nice fit at that point. He's an outstanding pass rusher. They went with Clay Matthews last year. But they could also use Bryan Bulaga, OT out of Iowa. If Hughes doesn't go to Green Bay or New England, he could go to Arizona.
What do you think of Dennis Pitta? Could he be drafted in the first round?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
Too high for a pass catching TE. He has outstanding hands. He caught a lot of balls at BYU. One dimensional player. I think he's more of a 3-4 rounder.
what did you think of the bears signings
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
They got a blocking TE and he was with St. Louis with Martz. Taylor will be a good pass catching RB. That's a key loss to Minnesota. That hurts. He caught the ball so well and was a good backup to Peterson. And Peppers, when he's on his game, he's a feared pass rusher. They've improved their pass rush. They've improved their RB situation with Taylor. But they still have the OL question. They still have a WR question. They still have some work to do. They have to find a WR, some help in the defensive secondary, OL.
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
They don't pick to the third round.
Ryab (Maui, HI)
Hey Mel - Could you see Bradfor falling to the bottom of the top 10? Who could you see trading up for him at that point?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
No. Not right now. He could go No. 1, No. 4. There are too many teams. St. Louis, Washington, Seattle, Oakland, Buffalo. There are a significant number of teams that need a QB, 3 of the top 6.
Mel, who is the first tackle drafted? First Okung was everyone's top tackle. The Davis shot up the board and now Bulaga is moving up. Which one do you see as the best player in five years?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
I think it's Okung. Bulaga has some mixed opinion. Most feel he's a RT not LT. He struggled a bit this year. He got better late, but if you watched him in October, he struggled in pass protection. Late in the year, he was playing good football. There will be some mixed opinion on him. I think he could go, in my latest projection, 23 to Green Bay, but I almost had him at 18 to Pittsburgh.
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
I have Campbell going 8, Williams 9 to Buffalo following Okung.
Chuck N (Rochester Hills, MI)
Where do you see Blair White going? It looked like he had a good combine. Did he rise up?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
I like Blair White. I've always been a fan of this kid. Very productive. Very competitive. He has good size. Quicker than people give him credit for. I think he's a 4-5 round pick.
If Haden slipped to #10-12, and you were in the Steelers war room, how much would you advocate them trading up to get Haden (assuming the other team would be willing)?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
I'd move up a little bit, if he runs better. If he runs a 4.45, you'd probably have to get ahead of San Francisco. 18 to 11 or 18 to 12 would probably be a good move. That's assuming he runs better. He's a complete corner.
What was discussed on the podcast today?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
We moved it to Friday.
thomas (los angeles)
how many usc players get drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
For the first round, it will be Everson Griffen, Taylor Mays. Those are the main 2. Damian Williams, Anthony McCoy, Charles Brown, Josh Pinkard, Will Harris, Joe McKnight.
Any big WR's the Eagles could be looking at in the later rounds? I like Jackson and Maclin, but the Eagles could use some height at the position.
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
Denario Alexander, Missouri; Kerry Meier, Kansas; David Gettis, Baylor; Marcus Easley, Connecticut; Pat Simonds, Colgate; Terrell Hudgins, Elon; Bryan Anderson.
Mel, would it be better for the Bengals to sign TO and draft a WR to develop, or just sign Bryant instead?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
Couple of schools of thought, sign TO and still draft Benn or sign TO and draft a TE like Gresham.
Jared (Phoenix, AZ)
Is 28 too high for Terrance Cody? The Chargers really need a NT.
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
Yeah, that's where I have him going. He fits the bill of what they'd be looking for. He's a run-down player. He can clog the interior. He's a very one dimensional player. You could go and get Cam Thomas in the 2-3 round. If you can get a Thomas or Troupe in the 2, 3, 4 round area, then you don't need to take Cody at that point. It depends on their ratings for those players. I wouldn't have a problem with taking a shot with one of those other guys later in the draft.
Assuming Bradford goes #1, do you see any teams wanting to trade up to #2 to get Clausen?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
It's hard to trade up. We saw the Jets trade up last year, but I don't see anyone trying to trade up. I can't picture a trade up for one of those two QBs right now.
Hey Mel, I know the Bears are probably pretty low on your radar in regards to the draft. But could you give me a rundown of which positions you think they are most likely to address?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
RT on the OL, WR, secondary help. At that point in the draft, you have to wait and see. There are some WRs that could slide down. They did a decent job last year. They did come away with some good football players late in the draft. Knox, Afalava.
Mel- if rams draft bradford, how long does he sit? Can newly signed AJ Feeley help as a mentor...
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
When you look at Feeley, he will have to be. He hasn't attempted a pass in a regular season game since 2007. He's going to have to shake off some serious rust. He's a kid that Andy Reid had a high opinion of when they drafted him. Most QBs, they try to get him in there as a rookie. Bradford is coming off a year of relative inactivity with the shoulder. St. Louis isn't going anywhere fast, so why not get him in there. But you don't want to get him beat up. You have to be careful with him. They're going to have to evaluate their offensive line play first.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
We'll be back next week. Brand new first round projection goes up on ESPN.com later this afternoon.