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 (1:00 PM)
We've got Mel!
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
We are ready to go!
How far do think Greg Romeus and Marvin Austin will fall in this draft compared to their preseason projections of high first rounders?
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
Austin will probably end up being a second rounder. Romeus is still to be determined until the medical comes back. Austin wasn't an injury, he's coming off a year of inactivity. Romeus is coming back from an injury.
Mel, where do you project Rodney Hudson and Mike Pouncey in the draft and does either of these guys project as elite centers in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
Hudson is a great player who unfortunately is only about 285 pounds. That's the issue, the size. He's probably a second rounder. First round performance, second round size. Pouncey is a good player, same mold as his brothers.
Hi Mel, how do you feel about Joe Webb and his long (or short) term potential as a QB for Minnesota? Also, who do you think they should tagrte at that position in the first 2 or 3 rounds of the draft that would be a good fit for their style? thanks!
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
I thought he would be a projection to a WR position. I didn't see him as a defined QB. He was an athlete coming into the NFL. When you look at projecting him as a QB, he's 6-3, 245. He has the size and a strong arm. As a QB, he has some skills and is a developmental QB. But with his size and skill, I thought he projected to a WR.
Mel, what's your opinion of Alualu after 3 qts of the season?? worthy of the 10th pick overall?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
I thought they could have traded down. I had him as one of my top underrated players in the draft. It's not like he was way above and beyond everyone else. I didn't have any questions about his ability, I just thought he would be a late first round pick and projected him as such. But I did say in my final report that he was one of the most underrated players to come out of the Pac-10 in the last few years. I liked him, but I thought he would have gone later. I would have traded down if I were Jacksonville. I liked the player just not in that spot. I heard a long time ago, when you buy is just as important as who you select. He's shown flashes this year.
Mel, I am a huge Georgia fan so you know we really want AJ back next year. Is there really a chance he could come back?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
He's the third highest rated player on the Big Board as we speak. He had the suspension early in the year and sat out the first four games, going 1-3. They went 6-6 overall, so they went 5-3 with him. That shows you his value to this team. I don't see any reason for a top 10 pick to go back to college. He's been a three-year guy at Georgia. He's a great talent. I would be very surprised if he went back. He's in line to be the first WR taken.
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
He could be the second offensive player taken behind Andrew Luck.
Mel, what is your opinion on Cameron Newton? and where would be in the upcoming draft?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
I think he's an early to mid first rounder. He could go as early as the top 5, no later than the top 15. I understand he's not NFL ready right now, but he has all the skills you want. If he's allowed the time to develop at the pro level, he could be a good QB. That's assuming that all of the intangibles check out. Your QB has to be the hardest worker on the team. I've come to realize that now more than ever. The QB is such a vital entity in the league. Everything revolves around the QB. I'm almost to the point where if he's not the hardest worker on the team, I don't want him. He has to be the guy who sets the example. That's what Jim Harbaugh says about Andrew Luck. He studies so much that he can't throw anything at him that he's not ready for.
Mel,Is there a guy in the top five that can fix the Denver Broncos? I know they are more than one player away. But they have now had this high of a pick for a long time.
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
The Broncos have a lot of holes and they don't have a lot of talent right now. They have to decide what Tim Tebow's future is. They have some young players that have not developed. They made some bad personnel moves in the players they kept and let go. But the big question is what to do with Tim Tebow. After Andrew Luck, the best players are Bowers, Green, Peterson, Amukamara, Fairley, Mallet, Newton, Jones, Quinn - who didn't play this year due to NCAA suspension.
Brian (Charleston, Sc)
T. Pryor said if he were on a different team with a different system, he would have better numbers than Cam Newton. What's your opinion of that and will Pryor be as good as Newton in the Pro's?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
I don't think Pryor will be a QB in the NFL. I think he'll end up being a TE. He'll be like Ramsey out of Kentucky who went and was a TE. I think Pryor will be a TE and Newton will be a QB. Cam Newton did things that no one will duplicate, just like Tim Tebow. But Pryor's skills aren't as good as Newton. Mechanics, accuracy aren't good enough right now to show me he'll be an NFL QB.
Hi Mel, how many QBs do you see being taken in the 1st round? there seem to be a lot of teams with a strong need that might 'reach' and inflate the number.
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
I think three go in the first round defintely and maybe four. Luck will go No. 1 and Mallet and Newton will go in the top 15 and Locker battling to get back into the first round.
Mel, what's your take on the Muschamp hiring? Florida hiring a defensive head coach? Do you think Brantley stays or transfers?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
Not only Brantley, but they also recruited a QB Jeff Driskel, one of the top 25 recruits in the country. Brantley is a drop back pro style passer. The surprise to me is that Florida didn't get a proven entity as a head coach. Muschamp is a proven defensive coach, but he's not a proven head coach. I thought they'd get a Bob Stoops or Randy Edsall. That's not to say Muschamp won't be successful.
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
And Chris Peterson is another one that I thought would be in the mix.
Ant man (Md)
Mel, If carolina takes Luck with the 1st overall pick, you see them trading Clausen? and what team do you think is the best fit for him? Maybe a reunion with Weis in KC?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
Yeah, I think that's what you have to do. Luck has a super elite grade. I had a high grade on Jimmy, but Luck will have an even higher grade. Jimmy will be a good QB in this league, there's no question in my mind, but when you have a chance at Luck, you have to take him. If you can get a draft pick back for Jimmy, you do that and take Luck at No. 1. Luck has a super elite grade. In my rating system, 10 is the highest and no one has ever had a 10. John Elway had a 9.9. Clausen had a 9.3. Luck will probably grade out around 9.8. Matt Ryan had a 9.5. Stafford had a 9.4.
Alex (St. Louis)
Do you think the Rams can finish out and win the NFC West?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
It's a terrible division. That's a joke of a division. You're talking about an 8.8 team probably winning the division. That division is terrible. It's a joke. They have a chance. They have KC, San Francisco and Seattle. You have a team with a chance to win games and three games against very mediocre teams.
What do you think of the hiring of Al Golden at Miami?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
I thought they were going to go with Marc Trestman, who did a great job up in Canada. I have great respect for. I think he'll have a chance somewhere. And Temple's not even going to a bowl game, but they definitely should be. They beat UConn, who's going to a BCS bowl. They beat Army, who is going to a bowl. I don't know how an 8-4 team doesn't go to a bowl. They have several pro prospects on the team, like Wilkerson, Jarrett, Robinson. Golden's a good football coach.
Mel, who is you OROY and DROY?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
Defensive ROY is Suh. And probably Bradford for offensive ROY. He's changed the culture in St. Louis. He's had a great year for a rookie QB. ... Although Pouncey has had a great year at center. If you're going by how someone's played, it's Pouncey. But you go with the QB over center. But the overall best has been Suh, by far.
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
The two best rookies are Suh and Pouncey.
Thoughts on Ray Rice this year? More options = decrease in numbers, or not playing to last year's level?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
Right now he's only averaging 3.9 per carry. He's had some games where he's been contained. The line hasn't been able to open up a lot of running room for him. He averaged less than 3 yards per carry in 3 games. He averaged less than 3.6 per carry in 6 games. There are only six games where he averaged 4 yards or more. But a lot of that has to do with the OL not opening up holes. But he's been a good receiver out of the backfield. He has 57 catches on the year. He has had 4 or more receptions in 8 games. His versatility is a plus. The running room has been hard to come by.
Assuming VY is out in Tennessee, what do you see as their next logical move: trade for Kolb, free agent qb, or get either Mallet or Locker?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
Kevin Kolb will be a guy that you need to make a trade for. You could see Tavaris Jackson out there. We'll have to see what the Bengals do with Carson Palmer. The best option is to go the rookie route. But if you want an immediate hole filler, then you have to make a move to get a guy like Kolb.
Matt (Oxford, Ohio)
After seeing Colt Mccoy play in 5 games with the Browns what are your thoughts on him now? Is he somebody they can build around?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
I do. I like McCoy. I like the way he evolved. The way he managed the game. His poise. He has the ability to be an effective starting QB. I think you can win with McCoy. I thought that with him coming out of college and I think that now.
Are you at all surprised LaGarrett Blount is having a decent rookie season?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
Not surprised, no, because he had a decent grade in college. He could have been a 2-3 round pick. I gave him a similar grade to Hardesty and Ben Tate, who were both second round picks. My last comment on Blount was he has talent and can have a good career, if he stays focused. There is no doubt that he has talent running with the ball.
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
That speaks to my comments over the last 30 years that you can find quality RBs at any point in the draft. These guys can end up playing as well as rookies as 5-6 year veterans. There are examples like this every year.
you just said Qbs need to be the hardest worker on the team. and used Luck as an example. Using that statement as a reference point. Could Greg Mcelroy be considered as a mid to late round draftable Qb.
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
You also want to have the ability in addition to that. McElroy is the ultimate winner. He won in high school and up until this year hadn't lost a game. He won't be overwhelmed with anything thrown at him. But I think he's a career backup type.
Jake (Colorado Spring)
Mel, can you give me a analysis of Alex Smith? Is he better than we have seen or is this what he is?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
I think at this stage, what you see is what you get. If you look at this year, he is not at 60% completion. He's been out of the lineup, as long as he was, and come in there and go 17-27 after not playing since 6-7 weeks ago. But the problem with him has been his consistency. It's an inconsistency. Very intelligent young man, but he makes some bad decisions at times. He threw 9 INTs in the first five games this year.
Can Justin Houston play in a 4-3 at the next level?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
I think he's a 3-4 OLB. I think he has to play on his feet. There are a number of 3-4 teams now and I think he'd be ideally suited to be an OLB. Georgia switched from a 4-3 to a 3-4 this year. As a sophomore he was a down lineman. He's an impressive player. When he attacks the line of scrimmage, he can make his presence felt. He can be a really good OLB. He was in my top 25 this year but just lacked some consistency.
Paul H. (Chelmsford, MA)
Mel, where does McCourty rank on the list of this year's rookies? Plus, how sick will the Pats be next year with essentially three first round picks (theirs, Oakland's and Carolina's second, which will be the first pick of the second round).
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
He would be one of the top 10 rookies, certainly. He had a high grade. I liked him coming out. He was right there. My last comment on him was that he was a great character kid; great on special teams; versatile. Smart and versatile, that's what Bill Belichick likes. The only thing that bothered me about him was his ball skills. And people thought he had bad recovery speed, but then he ran well under the clock.
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
You see where placing an importance on the draft has helped the Pats and how not placing importance on the draft has hurt the Redskins.
Willie Blade (Mississippi State, MS)
Do you see Jason Garrett getting the Dallas job and where do you see these guys foucsing in the draft
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
I think he's shown enough to deserve it. I think he's shown enough to show that the team has fought for him. They had respect for him when they brought him in. They have some games coming up where they should be able to put up some numbers. There is no question that since he took over, it has been a complete attitude change on that team. He's proven that he's worthy, but if Jerry Jones thinks he's done enough, that's his decision.
Mel, can I get your thoughts on Oregon's Cliff Harris. 2nd team AA. He won't be eligible until next year but can you share your early thoughts?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
He's been a playmaker. He's been an outstanding punt returner. He's one of my top 15 sophomore CBs. He has some ability at CB.
Where do you see Von Miller going in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
I think he's a 3-4 OLB all the way. I think he goes in the top 15. He got off to a slow start this year, but once he got healthy, he's shown the form from 2009. He's no later than that 10-15 range.
More pressing need for the Steelers in the upcoming draft, o-line or cornerback?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
I think OL has to be shored up. You hit the jackpot with Pouncey. They haven't drafted a CB in the first two rounds the last few years, so they could go back to CB.
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
Those were their two top needs last year and will be again this year.
Do you think Robert Ayers is out of position as a 3-4 OLB?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
That's what he was drafted to be. I wasn't quite as high on him as others when he came out. A lot of people had him on the top 5 overall, but I wasn't quite as high. But I think he's a 3-4 OLB, but he hasn't developed into the player they want him to be. That was the year that really hurt this team. They drafted Ayers and then traded the next year's No. 1 for Alphonso Smith who they let go. Then drafting Tebow in the first round this year. They've had some personnel decisions that haven't been good.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
MK: What do you think of John Skelton? And if the Cards have no Luck (which they likely will not), which veteran QB out of Kolb, McNabb, Bulger, & Palmer do you think would be a good fit for the Cards to win next year as well as mentor Skelton?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
He's an interesting guy. He did a good job at Fordham. He had a decent grade coming into the QB. Developmental QB. Good arm. But he wasn't facing the sack artists at the lower level of competition. He forced some of his throws. He is a tough kid. He is 6-5, 243, that's a big kid. Good athlete as well. He competed in track in high school, as well as football, baseball, basketball. He has some talent. He is a long term investment. He needs to tweak his mechanics a bit to make the transition to the low level of competition to the NFL.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
Obviously, we have a huge week in the NFL. There are some tremendous matchups this week. We start with the bowl games on Saturday. Then we're creeping closer and closer to Santa Claus coming down the chimney. We'll be back next week for our pre-Christmas chat.