Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:01 PM)
Mel is here!
Chad Henne needs weapons in Miami. Who do you see the Dolphins going after in the later rounds?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
In terms of weapons he needs is wide receivers. They have a lot of guys but no stars. Later round WRs they'll be looking at. In the 3-4 round, you could be looking at Andre Roberts, Riley Cooper, Taylor Price, Eric Decker, Jordan Shipley. There will be a lot of WRs taken in the third round. As for later round guys, Marcus Easley, David Reed, Naaman Roosevelt.
Redskins seem to have a need at RB. Who do you see them taking as that 4th, 5th or 7th round value guy that Shanahan has had success finding as a sleeper? Would Ben Tate or Hardesty still be available?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
I think he'll try to go late. James Starks in the middle rounds. Charles Scott, Joique Bell. Those would be some guys.
Love your work Mel,My Question is about Major Wright. I wanted to know where he fits amongst the safeties in this class and where he might go in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
I think he's a third round type of guy. This year he wasn't the huge factor he was in other years. It depends on the schemes in your secondary. He was a nice player at Florida. He was surrounded by quality players. He needs some coaching. I think he could be a guy that gets better once he's in the NFL. A third round guy.
Hi Mel! I hear people are calling Okung a "Project". Is that true?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
No. He's not a project at all. He has good feet. Incredibly long arms. Very fiery. Very intense. He struggled early in the year and he got better as the season went along. He's not a super elite LT, but he's the best LT in this draft. With the need of LTs by some teams, like Washington, they might take Okung over Clausen.
Ramsey (Washington, DC)
Mel, my friends and I think you are the best in the draft business. We buy your books and listen to your analysis. Two questions: How good can Jimmy Clausen be in the NFL? and How good do you predict he will be? In other words, what's his ceiling and will he reach it? Thanks
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
I think he can be very good. He has the ability that you look for. He might not have the strongest arm, but it's strong enough. He's 6-2.5. People have been trying to say he's not tall enough. They've also said he has a violent throwing motion, but he had foot problems. He takes snaps from under center. He plays in a pro style offense. He's a very good leader. Very competitive. I want somebody to tell me why he shouldn't be a top 5-10 pick. I don't see evidence that he wasn't a good leader. I've talked to players, coaches and guys who have played against him. This notion that he's not this or that, I don't believe it. Some people might just have a problem with Notre Dame or Charlie Weis. They're saying that he will just be good, not great. But no one thought Tom Brady would be great, or Brett Favre. But I do think he could slide. If he gets past Washington, KC, Seattle, Cleveland, Buffalo, Jacksonville, San Francisco and he's sitting at pick 18, 19, 20, then I don't know where you go then. Does New England look at him? Where does he end up falling to? It would be hard for me to believe that all of those teams would pass on him. Carolina gave up their first round pick last year to SF, the No. 17 pick. If Carolina could have gotten Clausen there, that would have been a good pick. There are guys like me that like him and there are guys like Todd McShay that don't.
Do you think Eric Berry will fall to the Cleveland Browns at #7. I believe he is a Ed Reed type of safety who would be vauable to our secondary
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
I'd be surprised if he got past the 5th pick overall. KC is desperate for a safety. They have nothing resembling a big time safety on that roster right now. If he falls in their lap, I don't see him getting past there. Cleveland would love to have a ball hawking FS. KC has other need areas, but they desperately need a top flight safety.
Vic ((Ok st) )
Is Dez Bryant better than crabtree was when he came out last year?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
No chance. He's not in Crabtree's league. People wanted to take a lot of shots at Crabtree. He was coming off his foot injury, he didn't run, he played for Texas Tech, his route running. But he had a heckuva year, after sitting out as long as he did. In my rating scale, Dez Bryant won't be as high. Crabtree was one of the top 3 players in the draft last year. Bryant won't be in my top 10.
Champ (Mt. Pleasant)
Mel, do you know which teams are interested in 2nd-3rd QB's like a McCoy or LeFevour?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
No chance they go in the middle rounds. I think McCoy goes in the late first, early second. Dan LeFevour goes in the second round. Some teams looking at those two players - Washington for McCoy, Cleveland, Oakland, Buffalo. There are a number of teams that are going to be interested in a QB in the 2-3 round.
How much has Dennis Pitta improved his stalk coming off of his prd day?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
He had a heckuva year. He's a talented pass catching TE. Good body control. Outstanding hands. Good feel for getting open. I think he'll be a good second round pick for somebody. 2-3 round. Baltimore, Cincinnati.
Mel, if all the elite tackles are gone by pick 13 do you think it would be a reach for the niners to grab kyle wilson at 13? and maybe like anthony davis at 17? Since wilson he could be gone by the time the titans pick.
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
A little early for Wilson. To me, he didn't play up to his level of talent this year. He had a great Senior Bowl week. He struggles on the deep ball. Joe Haden will probably go in that mix, but he's a good CB, not great. Anthony Davis at 17 is a little high for him right now. If I'm looking for a CB, I'd rather take a Kareem Jackson or Devin McCourty in that 18-25 area than to reach for Kyle Wilson.
Which former Iowan players have the best chances to be drafted, in what order do you think?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
There are a lot of them. Bryan Bulaga will probably go in the top 10-15. Kyle Callaway. Tony Moeaki. AJ Edds, Pat Angerer. Amari Spievey.
I'm not saying he's no good, but what makes Sam Bradford any different or better than Jason White?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
It's arm strength. Much better passer. Bradford has the size. He can see the field. His ability to maneuver in the pocket needs to improve. How he manages the pocket was a problem when he was pressured. That's something he needs to work on. Trent Dilfer made this point, his accuracy is not always phenomenal. His accuracy when he goes to his No. 1 target is excellent. When he goes to that 2-3 option, that's when it drops. That's what the NFL is all about, going to the 2-3 option. That's a very valid point. When you look at his size and smarts, he's a competitor. He needs to learn how to command a huddle. He needs to learn how to deal with guys coming at him from all directions.
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
I think Washington will have an interest in moving up to that No. 1 spot. Whether they can do it or not is another thing.
Eric (San Diego)
How much of a distance talentwise is there between R. Matthews and Hardesty?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
Not much. That Mathews ran so well for a 218 pound RB is good. I think Mathews is going to go higher. He's more productive. He's a much better home run threat. He has the ability to break off those long runs. Hardesty was a productive guy this year, a guy that you take in the 3rd round. Mathews is a guy you take in the first round. He could go to Green Bay at 23, San Diego at 28. That's where he would make the most sense, to San Diego.
Why aren't more teams in the top 12 looking at Dan Williams? Unlike Cody, I think he can stay on the field in passing situations, plus he can swallow up the run.
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
He's a guy that has a chance to go in the top group. I have him going to Miami at 12. I could see Buffalo taking him, but they have major needs on offense. I think he's a perfect fit for Miami.
Justin (Houston )
After going MLB in the first round, what do you see the Giants going second round? a running back or maybe cornerback for more deoth?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
They're a team that could look RB. It would not shock me if they took Spiller and took a LB down the line. If they take Spiller, you could look midround at LBs like Mike McLaughlin, Pat Angerer, Darryl Sharpton.
J Treehorn (Malibu)
When does Everson Griffen get drafted? What teams might target him?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
He's a first rounder. The earliest he could go might be to Seattle. Tennessee. Atlanta. Philadelphia. Indianapolis.
You grade Clausen higher than Bradford. I completely agree. How does Clausen grade out against the QBs in last years draft?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
I haven't finalized that. I will do that on Sunday. But I'd say right now he's behind Stafford, right in there with Sanchez. I was really high on Stafford last year. He won't be as high as Matt Ryan from a few years ago.
Now that the Saints have shown the blueprint to beating the Colts, how many teams will make it a point to draft for that same approach?
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
You have to look at the Colts. They're a changing team. When you look back at that game, Stover's missed field goal was a key part. The Colts' defense is an area where you can attack. They have a depth problem at DE. They need to upgrade at DT. Their CB situation is not great. Offensively, their OL, you have to watch. They do get Gonzalez back. You can take some things from that, but New Orleans have an elite offense. They're loaded with weapons, most teams don't. Defensively, Gregg Williams is a heckuva DC.
Minnesota has consistently picked the best player available regardless of position. Given their draft pick could you see them picking up a sliding WR (Bryant) or TE (Graham) with their 1st overall? Or do you think that given they are already deep at those positions that they would go for need?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
It will fall where there's a pretty good CB still there. I have them taking McCourty. Kareem Jackson or Wilson. They could fill the need at that spot with one of those guys. I don't think Bryant drops that far. And TEs tend to drop anyway. Gresham is more of a pass catching TE.
Can Sergio Kindle excel in ATL's 4-3 alignment or is he strictly a 3-4 OLB?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
He could do both. I think he's more of a 3-4 OLB. He could be perfect for a number of teams in that top group. Miami, SF, Tennessee, Atlanta. He would be perfect for New England at 22. I don't think he gets past New England. He could be a very good strongside LB in a 4-3. One of the best DE/OLB I've seen against the run in a while. He's outstanding at the point. He might not be a great pass rusher, but he's a good pass rusher. He's certainly deserving of going between 12-22.
For the bears 3rd round pick would you pick WR Taylor Price, OG Zane Beadles,or S Chad Jones Thanks so much
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
I like Price. I think he'll be a very good third round pick. Beadles is a good third rounder as well. They're going to go heavy on the defensive backfield. There are some nice guys that you can get at certain points in the draft. Parrish Cox, Jerome Murphy, Darrell Stuckey, Barry Church.
How could of a return man is Spiller? Could he be a top KR and PR in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
Yes he could. He's a top echelon return man. The 49ers have a big need of a return specialist. They really need a big time return man. If they didn't take Spiller, they could look at Holliday, James, Banks in the 5-6 round as a return man. They could also use a change of pace RB. They have that luxury of having two picks. If he's there at 13, they could take him. He fills two need areas right away. And he's a great receiver out of the backfield. Spiller, to me, is one of the top 10 players in the draft. I'm never one to take a RB in the first round, but he's so versatile. And he's a great kid. I was told by someone at Clemson that he will go down as one of the most respected student-athletes in Clemson history. Great character.
Peter (San Jose, CA)
Mel, there is a lot of movement on your Big Board and I can't wait to see your next mock draft. It seems like a few offensive linemens' stock is falling. What gives?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
You look at the whole totality of evaluating a player. Interviews, work ethic, approach all work in unison with talent. Some of these kids haven't done well. The next first round mock should be up early next week. You will see significant movement. Offensive line will be very volatile with some of these guys moving up and down.
Would you say it's better for the Chiefs to draft a technically sound OT like Bulaga or one with more upside potential?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
I think this for KC, they could use a LT, get the LT and then move Brandon Albert to OG. When you look at him last year, very average. You move him to OG and you've improved that position and gotten a LT. I think that's a little high for Bulaga. Do you take him over Berry? I wouldn't. But Bulaga's going to go in the top 10-15.
What do you make of Earl Thomas' blazing time today at the pro day? Will that solidify his spot in the top 15?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
I made more of his great performances with the pads on. He played fast. He's aggressive. He's a ball hawk. He's consistent. He showed up huge in the big games. In coverage, he's outstanding. He's not the biggest safety out there, but he's big enough. It wouldn't shock me to see some teams look at him, for him to go No. 10 or 12.
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
Even 11 to Denver.
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
We covered a lot of ground today. The next first round protection will come out next week. I wish everyone a Happy Easter Weekend. Great weather coming to the East Coast this weekend. I go to press with my draft report. A lot of good stuff coming out. My new Big Board comes out tonight or tomorrow. We will be back next week!
Buzzmaster (1:47 PM)
Mel had to jet a little early today folks, but we thank him for stopping by!