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 (1:02 PM)
I hope you had a great Thanksgiving. We have a lot of conference championship games this weekend.
Clay Defayette (NY)
How is the NFL talent on TCU compared to that of Oregon and Auburn?
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
The only difference is Auburn has two great players. Otherwise, Oregon, TCU and Auburn's talent is very comparable.
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
Oregon's best player James and TCU has several players, like Marcus Cannon on offense and Wayne Daniels on defense are their highest ranked players. But Auburn gets the edge because they have two big time players.
Hey Mel, if Andrew Luck decides to stay in school, how do you think that will affect the draft and who gets drafted 1st overall?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
It would depend upon need. It's all need based at the top. If Luck stays, it would make DaQuan Bowers my No. 1 player with AJ Green No. 2. At that point, you would be looking at maybe a DE being the No. 1 player picked. That could still happen. There are teams that could be vying for the No. 1 pick that don't need a QB. Carolina right now has Jimmy Clausen.
Is Jake Locker still going in the first round?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
He's borderline right now. Some think he's a second rounder. There are some that think he could go in the first because of his potential. The Senior Bowl week will be critical for him. They have to beat Washington State on the road to even be eligible for a bowl. Right now, he's 21 on the Big Board with an arrow going down.
Do you see anyone from my Alma Mater (Kansas State) getting drafted this year and making a contribution in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
Daniel Thomas, the senior RB is the main guy. Hard nosed runner. He's still a work in progress because he has limited experience. Not real elusive, a little upright in his style, but he carries the highest grade in terms of their overall prospects.
Mel, Big fan first and foremost. Next, the Cards are a mess right now, but I believe in Whisenhunt. Defensively they have a lot of needs but would it be a reach to draft a quarterback early not named Andrew Luck?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
Where they're going to be picking, they would be in the mix for a Mallet or Cam Newton. Those would be two that would be in the general area of where Arizona would be picking. The most they'll win is 5 games. They could certainly look at at QB. Whisenhunt seemed to have a high opinion of Max Hall, who struggled mightily when he was inserted as the starter.
Mel, love your work. Do you see Michael Floyd as a top pick this year or would he be better off coming back to school next year?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
I think he would be better off going back. He wasn't healthy all year. He was never 100%. He has to lose a little weight, get a little quicker. He has a chance next year to be a first round caliber player. I would advise him to go back.
More NFL talent, VT or FSU?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
Draft eligible talent for each team: a slight edge to Virginia Tech.
How good is Landry Jones? Is he a potential starting QB at the next level? He makes a lot of accurate short and downfield throws.
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
He is still a work in progress. I have him, in the sophomore class as the third highest rated QB. He has very good size, about 6-4, 219. Nice arm. Accuracy is not as good as Bradford's, though it's hard to get to that level. He's still very precise. He has a chance to be a good prospect. Not as good as Bradford, but a good one.
Hanson (Ft Wayne)
Do you feel Peyton Manning is slipping or is it the o-line is so bad that teams don't even pretend to worry about the run and play more press coverage because the know he won't have time to throw the deep ball?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
I think exactly that. Peyton Manning is not slipping. He's keeping them in games. He brought them back against New England to make it a game. He doesn't have a lot of help. They have a lot of injuries, OL issues. The QB can't operate on an island by himself. He needs the components to help him. This is an Indy team at 6-5 and are very fortunate the schedule gets easier. Three of the last 5 are at home, the two road games are at Tennessee and at Oakland. They can still finish around 10-6.
John G (Wisconsin)
Mel, Love the work. Watching Boise and Nevada, I came away very impressed with a few players from Nevada. Kaepernick, I knew about and he performed well, but Vai Taua, Rishard Mathews, and Dontay Moch really look like good NFL players. Where do you have them rated?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
Moch is a senior. They moved him around very effectively in that game. They got him on his feet, kept Boise State guessing. He's an ideal 3-4 OLB and a second round pick. Mathews is a very interesting kid. He's only a junior. He's a juco transfer. Taua is only about 5-9, but a compact runner, quick. Kaepernick is an intriguing guy at QB. He has the unorthodox delivery, but he's a big kid. Green will get a chance as well. He's been an underrated player for Nevada.
Ken (Redondo Bch)
Mel, Other than WR Green, do you see any other Wr worthy of first round grades. Thanks
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
Definitely. Julio Jones is No. 10 on the Big Board. Blackmon from OK State is No. 13. Jon Baldwin from Pitt. Leonard Hankerson, Miami (FL). Ryan Broyles. There are a lot of WR this year.
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
Also there's Michael Floyd. Greg Little had the chance to be a first or second round pick, but he had the NCAA suspension.
Better rivalry? Ravens-Steelers, Pats-Jets?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
They're both outstanding rivalries. It's hard to separate those two. The Ravens-Steelers has become like the Yankees-Red Sox. They're close in proximity. Two teams with Super Bowl aspirations. Jets-New England is now a huge rivalry, because of what Rex has brought to the Jets. He's made it a rivalry. I'd got Pittsburgh-Baltimore over Jets-New England right now.
Erika (Miami, Fla.)
Mel, who are your top 5 OT's and who do you think would look great at LT to pair with C Maurkice Pouncey of the Steelers for the next decade of that group with Pittsburgh picking at no. 32?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
Nate Solder, Colorado, No. 19 overall; Anthony Castanzo, BC, No. 20; Derek Sherrod, Mississippi St., No. 22; Gabe Carimi, Wisconsin, No. 23; Ben Ijalana, Villanova, No. 34. They're all five seniors.
Mel, do you think there is any Notre Dame player worthy of being drafted in the 1st round?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
No. Nobody close. Michael Floyd would have been, but he didn't have the kind of year I thought he was capable of.
Mel, many people are comparing the 2010 bears with the 2006 bears, do you agree with them?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
I think the Bears right now are benefitting from a couple of things. They've benefitted from a very favorable schedule. Think about who they've played of late: Carolina, Seattle at home, Washington at home, Buffalo, Minnesota, Miami, Philadelphia at home. Also, Mike Martz has done an outstanding job as OC. He's done a great job with Cutler. They've improved the Ol with some position changes. Peppers has been a key addition on defense. The next five weeks, difficult schedule. After the Detroit game this week, New England, Minnesota, Jets, Green Bay. Their final four games are very very tough. Those games will tell you where they are. They're at 8-3 because of Martz and the schedule.
Mel, how far has Mark Ingram's stock dropped with the average year he had?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
Not that much. I still have him as No. 14 on the Big Board, the highest RB. He's a good football player. He was slow out of the gate, not 100%. Richardson is there as an outstanding RB. They were throwing the ball more. There were a lot of factors involved there. But he's still a very good back. He had the unfortunate fumble in the game against Auburn. But he's a very good player. He just doesn't have game-breaking speed, but then again neither did Emmitt Smith. If he does slide a little bit, he'll be a nice pick up for somebody.
J Treehorn (Malibu)
Are the Saints being overlooked in the NFC?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
I picked the Saints in August to play the Ravens in the Super Bowl. I don't think they were overlooked then or now. Having Bush out and Thomas out have hurt them. They've been injury plagued. But they're sitting at 8-3, nothing with that. They had the OT loss to Atlanta. The one bad loss was against Arizona earlier in the year. Their schedule the rest of the way is very difficult. They have the game at Cincinnati this week. Baltimore on Dec. 19, which is when we had that bad blizzard last year. A dome team going into a cold weather situation. Then they play Atlanta and Tampa Bay. I think they should be 11-5, no worse than 10-6.
Luck or Bradford?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
That's a great question. Outstanding question. Bradford was coming off the shoulder injury. Both are similar in age. Both have ideal size. Underrated athletes. Very similar. You'd be hard pressed to pick one over the other. Very cerebral kids. Very composed. The only issue with Bradford is coming off the shoulder injury. I would say it's a push. They might even end up with the exact same grade.
Mel - love all of the insight. Mallett's prospects as an NFL QB? Above average?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
Let's not say above average. That's a tough term to equate. I would say he's an intriguing prospect because of his size and great arm. He's very enthusiastic about the game. But he's a little inconsistent and he will make a key mistake in some games. He gets a little lax in his decision making at time. He's intriguing from the physical prowess standpoint. I have him at No. 9 on the Big Board and will be an early to mid-first round pick if he comes out.
Wes (Las Vegas)
Mel, what's more important for the MWC: Gaining Boise State or losing TCU? And I can't remember exactly when each is moving: Will there be a chance of a TCU-Boise regular season game in the next 2 years or so?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
I wish they had them both together. They'd be playing against each other on a regular basis. I think it's big for TCU to go to the Big East. Skip Holtz took over South Florida in a good situation. Syracuse is improving. Louisville is a big key to the conference. But I think TCU will be tough to handle in the Big East. Now the conference will be gaining a power in college football. TCU is a power in the game right now. It's good for the Big East. It's bad for the MWC and good for the Big East.
Do you see Randall Cobb being drafted this year or do you think he should return for his senior year?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
I always believe if you're not going to be a first rounder, you should go back. Get another year to learn your game, better your skills. He's not going to be a first round caliber, then he should go back.
With Jim Harbaugh having a successful year st Stanford, do you see him staying/leaving for another program (Michigan)/NFL bound?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
I think the NFL would be where I would think would come calling John Harbaugh is doing an excellent job in Baltimore. Andrew Luck has helped Jim Harbaugh. But it hasn't just been Luck. Stanford beat USC as a 41-point underdog in 2007, before Luck. If the NFL comes calling, then I think that's where the possibility lies. Whether it's this year, I don't know.
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
His decision to leave or stay could impact Luck's decision to leave or stay.
will michigan st kirk cousins get drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
He's only a junior. Right now he's only my 6th highest rated junior QB. He has another year at MSU with a lot of weapons coming back around him.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
Do you see anything encouraging in the way the Broncos are being run? Patching up a bad defense with free agents every year can't be the way to build a quality team.
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
I just don't see anything positive coming out of Denver. I don't. Their defense is awful. Their offense has some things happening, but their defense is just awful. Good teams just run them off the field. I would say it's going to be very very tough the rest of the way. You look at what St. Louis did with a rookie QB. The Oakland game. Denver just can't stop anybody. This is a team that gave up a lot. They gave up a lot of components. You can't do that. Too many players were let go. We have to see how Tebow figures in with Orton. Denver just doesn't have anything going on that indicates they'll get better. They're in a division right now with KC and Rivers in San Diego.
At this point, is there any team in the country that can stop Wisconsin's running game? How does TCU matchup if this is the Rose Bowl.
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
Wisconsin can run the ball against anybody. They have a stable of excellent RBs. They have a QB who is a gutty overachiever. They're just a lunchpail team. They're blue collar. They work hard. They just wear you out. They control the time of possession. When they control the game, they give their defense to get a breath and control the clock. They've limited 9 opponents to 23 or less points.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
In 8 of 12 games they've scored over 30. In six games, they've scored over 40.
I was upset with the drafting of McCourty last year but he is lookig very promising, do you think if he keeps progressing he could be atop the heap in the NFL at CB.
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
Definitely. He has a chance to be a really good player. Supports the run. Has good instincts for the game.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
OU-Nebraska? Who you got?
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
That's a tough prediction to make. OU is starting to play with a lot of confidence. They're starting as many true freshman as anybody. Bob Stoops has a lot of young players on the team, which is why they've had some consistencies. OU is a five point favorite. I think it's a pretty evenly matched game. I wish we could get back to having a great college game in the middle of the afternoon on Thanksgiving. We shouldn't have to wait until Thursday night. We should have a college football game off setting the NFL games. Anybody 45 or older remembers those great Thanksgiving Day games.
Squall (Balamb Garden)
Thoughts on Marcus Lattimore going forward in college and on into the pros?
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
I think he's got a chance to be a phenomenal NFL prospect. He has two more years after this. The great thing for college football fans, South Carolina and Steve Spurrier is that he can't leave school until he's a junior. He has good feet, good balance. He's a fear factor player. He has a bright future ahead, assuming he stays healthy.
Mel, are you done with Brantley? Have you seen anything this year that would make you believe he can live up to the offseason hype?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
You can't say you're done with him. The problem with Brantley is the system doesn't connect with his skill level. There's a disconnect there with what Brantley does well and what Florida asks its QB to do. Plus, all of the top skill players left. They lost a great receiving TE. They didn't have Pouncey the center. They're adapting to a completely new system. I think it was too much to ask. The wrong player for the wrong offense. It was a perfectly bad storm for Brantley. He was following a legend. He was in an offense that didn't fit his skill set. He had a bunch of new players around him.
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
We have the conference championship games this week. We have 16 games on Saturday. Then after this we only have one regular season game in Army-Navy next week. It's amazing how fast it's gone. We'll be back next Wednesday to do it all over again.