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 noon ET!
Buzzmaster (12:00 PM)
We've got Mel!
Mel Kiper (12:03 PM)
We've got a big trade today with Marshall being sent to the Dolphins. Denver makes another bold move. We knew it was coming. In two years, Josh McDaniels trades Cutler and Marshall. He fills a huge need for Miami, as far as assisting in the development of Chad Henne. Now, with the first round pick, they can focus on defense, NT, OLB and FS.
Josh (Myerstow, PA)
With the Trade of Holmes is it likely to see the Steelers go after a wide receiver in the first round and if not, who would you say the Steelers take with their first round pick?
Mel Kiper (12:04 PM)
Dez Bryant will be gone. Denver has to strongly consider him where they're picking. If he's there, he'll have to be in the discussion. There's great depth at WR into the fourth round. Benn, Decker, Price in the second round. Shipley, Sanders, Roberts in the third round. There's a lot of depth. Pittsburgh could take Pouncey and play him at guard. They could take Kareem Jackson. They don't have to take a WR just because of the depth.
Mel, great stuff. If Buffalo passes on clausen at 9, any chance Jacksonville takes him at 10? If notm how far does he fall? Thanks!
Mel Kiper (12:07 PM)
I just think the pressure on Jack Del Rio to win right now. Garrard is tied to Del Rio. They have to win this year. If they don't, they might go in a new direction. If you draft Clausen, you're drafting him for the next coach. Garrard is solid. He's a decent to good starting QB. He's not top echelon, but he's serviceable. It's not like that's a major need. They could use a versatile RB like Spiller, a pass rushing DE like Pierre-Paul, a MLB like McClain, a FS like Earl Thomas. There are a lot of areas to address. With this being a year of reckoning for Del Rio and Garrard that they have to win. There's a chance they could trade down in the first round and maybe look at Tebow late in Round 1. Spiller, to me, I brought it up about 3 weeks ago, would fit well in Jacksonville.
Billy (Weston, FL)
Do you think the Brandon Marshall trade will make the Jets more inclined to draft a CB with one of their first two picks? I hear Rex is of the view that a team can never have enough CBs.
Mel Kiper (12:09 PM)
They already have a shutdown CB with Revis. Then you added Cromartie on the other side. You still have decent nickel and dime situations. They could upgrade the depth. I could see Devin McCourty. If they sign Jason Taylor, then they would look more at a 3-4 DE. Jared Odrick, Linval Joseph would be two guys.
Marty (Chicago, IL)
Is S Chad Jones from LSU gonna fall to my Bears in the 3rd, and finally give them some quality S play?
Mel Kiper (12:10 PM)
He could. In my opinion, he's a third round pick. Stuckey would be another one if they want to go safety. At that point, they could also try to move up a little bit. Major Wright from Florida, if he happened to slide through. They've always liked Florida players. I thought a month ago that he could be there, but now I think he's a solid second rounder.
Gregg (Columbus, OH)
If Bruce Campbell were to have stayed at Maryland, where do you think he would project in the 2011 NFL draft? Obviously it seems that another year in school would have benefited him, but how much so?
Mel Kiper (12:12 PM)
He needs to improve in terms of his intensity, aggressiveness and a technique standpoint. He needs to show more fire on the football field. He's still a work in progress. He has potential and awesome talent. If he had shown what he didn't this year, with his talent, he could have been a top 10 pick. If he didn't, he'd still be an underachieving OTs. There were several games this year that I thought he played like a 4-5 rounder. I thought he could have gone in the first round, but now I think he's a second rounder. Todd and I agree on him.
Mel Kiper (12:14 PM)
Early on, Jimmy Clausen has to be on their radar. That would be if they trade down off of one. I think he's gained a lot of momentum on pro day. Before it was they liked him, don't love him. I don't think it's that way now. He's a fiery competitor. He has a lot of passion for the game. A lot of confidence. A lot of swagger. Bradford's more laid back. Clausen played through an injury, the mental and physical toughness he showed was immeasurable. To throw the ball the way he did on his pro day, to continue to play after being injured the way he was. To draft Bradford No. 1, you know the money it's going to take. If you want him, why not sign him before the draft? He's not signed yet. The fact that they might wait on him to sign him, tells me that they're waiting on other options.
Fred (New Jersey)
Mel always a pleasure for your insight....How big is the dropoff between Dez Bryant and Golden Tate? Is Tate a first round selection or is it a reach?
Mel Kiper (12:16 PM)
I'm not as high on Tate as some other people. He' not one of my top five. The guys I like over Tate are Demariyus Thomas, Benn, Jordan Shipley, Decker, Damian Williams, Taylor Price. There are a lot of things to like about Tate, but I graded him out as a second rounder. Andre Roberts, Dezmon Briscoe, Brandan Lafell, Mardy Gilyard, Emmanual Sanders, Carlton Mitchell are right on Tate's heals.
Mel, how close is Trent Williams to Okung? Could you see him going to KC at 5?
Mel Kiper (12:18 PM)
It wouldn't shock me. I think Trent has a ton of talent. I'd like to see him maximize it week in to week out. 10's my highest. I gave Okung a 9.3 and Williams a 9.2. Not a huge difference. I thought there would be more. Trent Williams is one of those guys that can be as good as he wants to be. The top players by grade, Okung is the 7th highest and Williams is 13.
Sean (Akron, OH)
Mr Kiper, can you please explain to me the reason that C.J. Spiller is so highly regarded, when James Davis appeared to be the better back when I watched Clemson with both of them there?
Mel Kiper (12:20 PM)
It's a different style of back. Davis was a straight ahead, north/south runner. Spiller is the change of pace back, more speed. Clemson's offensive line is not a star studded group of OLs. Spiller's been a great player since his freshman year. When Davis was there, he was clearly the better player. He was faster. He was the better player, but it was a complimentary style.
Dorian (Covina CA)
Mel, what do you think the niners will do with their first 2 picks? Haden & Anthony Davis or Haden
Mel Kiper (12:21 PM)
I think so. Haden and Davis. If they took Clausen, it would be the first team, that I can remember, and maybe even ever, to have three QBs that were former first round picks and two would be No. 1 overall - David Carr, Alex Smith and Clausen. But they have a need at CB and OL. If they could get Davis and Haden, that would be two needs filled right there.
Darryl (Oakland, CA)
Mel, a player whom I loved to watch at Cal was Tyson Alualu. Is he flying under the national radar? Do GMs recognize his talent? 6-3, 290lbs and can play DE or DT with production seems to be a good deal, no?
Mel Kiper (12:22 PM)
I think he's a perfect 3-4 DE. He's a great athlete. He can take on a double team. Uses his hands. Technically sound. If the Jets looked at him, it wouldn't shock me. I don't think he gets past Carolina in the second. He's been in my top 5 DEs for a while. Great versatility.
Was heading into work today and saw Aaron Hernandez walking into the Lions facilities. I heard he had a private workout scheduled. Does this mean that Pettigrew's recovery is taking longer than expected and he may not be ready for the start of the season? Would they use another early round pick on another TE?
Mel Kiper (12:24 PM)
Hernandez is a pass catching TE. He's almost a glorified WR. Pettigrew is a complete TE. Hernandez strictly a pass catching TE. He can do a lot of damage after the catch. He's more of a third round pick.
Jeff (Charleston, SC)
Hey Mel, what are your thoughts on the Falcons trading down from #19 for a 1st and 2nd and picking up TE Gresham late in the 1st and then highlighting an OLB with the 2nd?
Mel Kiper (12:26 PM)
Atlanta has to have a DE. Brandon Graham would make sense. In the second round when you look at Atlanta, not having that pick impacts their first round pick. They're not picking again until somewhere around 83. So they need to make sure of that first pick. DE is their critical need. TE is another area. Tony Gonzalez is 34, but still had 83 catches. At some point, I could see them adding the heir apparent to him, but I don't see it happening that early. They could look at TE later in the draft. They could maybe look at Clay Harbor, Andrew Quareles in the later rounds.
Scott (Sioux Falls, SoDak)
Mel - love the column - and the hair!! I am sure you are getting bombarded about questions for this year'd draft, but I have a wrinkle: If Ryan Mallett has another year similar to this past year, where would you see him potentially going in the draft? Is he 1st round caliber?
Mel Kiper (12:28 PM)
Mallett could go very high. But you'll be talking next year about Jake Locker. He could potentially be the No. 1 overall pick. Then you have Mallett and Andrew Luck. If I had to grade it out now, it would be Locker, Luck, Mallett. I think Locker might have gone in the top 4 if he had come out this year. I'm saying the same thing about Locker as I did about Bradford last year. Mallett has to work on some things. He made some questionable decisions. He has to round off his game.
Antwuan (LA, CA)
Back in August, You had Alterraun Verner as your #2 CB and a late first- early second round pick. Why has he slipped so far on your board and where do you see him going?
Mel Kiper (12:30 PM)
He's a nice nickel back prospect. He ran in the 4.52 range. Only had a 32-inch vertical. Kareem Jackson had a 37.5, Robertson had a 39 vertical. Jerome Murphy, 38. Chris Cook, 38. Myron Lewis, 37. Verner's only about 5-10, not physically imposing. But he will come up and make a tackle. As a nickel back, he would be a nice pick. I'd say right now the fourth round.
Adam (New Mexico) [via mobile]
Mel do the Broncos take Dez Bryant with the 11 pick? Or take Dan Williams then
Mel Kiper (12:32 PM)
The Broncos look to do it this way: they take Dez Bryant or Rolando McClain or trade down and take Pouncey. Those are their three major needs: WR, MLB, C. If they don't take Bryant, they have those two second rounders now, and they could look at Benn, Tate, Briscoe, Gilyard. Jon Asamoah could then be there as an OL.
Colt McCoy -- what round and where? Thanks for the chat, Mel.
Mel Kiper (12:33 PM)
He's a second rounder. An early second. I could see him being a very intriguing guy for the Browns, Bills. Those two. To me, he's an early two. I graded him out at the 28th best player. His arm strenght is underrated. He's bigger than people think. Great football knowledge. Loves the game. Great leadership. I think he'll be a good second round pick.
If you were a GM, would you lie as much as others do this week? :)
Mel Kiper (12:34 PM)
I probably wouldn't, because I think a lot of that is much to do about nothing. Teams know who they like and don't like. I would be less about smoke screens and more about keeping what I like in house. Too much of what teams know is made public. I would try to make sure I keep everything in house and make sure that no teams know our likes and dislikes.
Tanner (New York, NY)
Mel, can't wait for Thursday night! Do see the Redskins either trading down for more picks, or moving some of their players (JC, Landry, Fat Albert) for more picks? Thanks!
Mel Kiper (12:35 PM)
I think they could trade down. If they feel like Anthony Davis is someone who could be there, they might move down a little bit. They don't pick again until 103. But they definitely have to help the OL, right now that's a huge, huge question mark.
Mel, i'm always leery of players that move up after the season is over. it seems like the players that we're highly rated when the games were being played fare better than the players that move up because of workouts. Just seems like the bust potential is much higher with the workout warriors. Do you feel the same way?
Mel Kiper (12:38 PM)
I always have. You hoped that the work out warriers are also good football players. Here are some guys whose stock is dropping a little bit from where they once were: Anthony Dixon, RB, Mississippi State; Danario Alexander, WR, Missouri; Perrish Cox, CB, Oklahoma State. David Gettis, WR, Baylor has been a workout warrior. Very talented kid. Great size, great speed. He should have been an outstanding player. He's an underachiever. I could see someone reaching for him in the second or third round, but I gave him a sixth round grade.
Dee (Downey, CA)
Alot of talk about Suh & McCoy. Yet Brian Price seems 2 quitely be sneaking up closer on some draft boards. Do you believe he has the potential to be better than both Suh
Mel Kiper (12:40 PM)
No, I don't see it. I think Suh and McCoy are separate entities. Price is a quick, penetrating DT. In the right scheme, I think he could be a good second round pick for somebody. But his performance week to week wasn't the same as Suh and McCoy. I have Price as the 35th best player in the draft. Suh and McCoy are 1 and 2.
Mel Kiper (12:42 PM)
We'll do a chat next Tuesday, because I'll have meetings all day Wednesday in preparation for the draft. See you then!
Buzzmaster (12:42 PM)
Mel had to split a little early today folks. He's a busy man!