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. On Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon ET, Kiper co-hosts "Dari and Mel" with Dari Nowkhah. He also appears on ESPN Radio's College GameDay as well as SportsCenter and on 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 (1:01 PM)
Thrilled to be back talking football, with the regular season already started in college. We had some great games this past weekend. And we're previewing the NFL this year.
felix (austin, tx)
can robert griffin III be a legit qb in the NFL or is he WR bound. he did show he can catch the ball in traffic.
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
I think he can be a QB. You think about how cerebral he is. He's an incredibly smart kid. He wants to go to law school. He's persuing his masters degree. Smart and super athletic. His passing skills have improved from where they were. What I like about him is he made some very good throws into tight coverage against TCU. His delivery is a bit elongated. He was lights out against TCU and is off to a great start. Of the junior QBs, he is No. 4. The three ahead of him are Andrew Luck, Matt Barkley and Landry Jones, who are 1, 3 and 6 overall.
What do you think of Kelly benching Crist after 1 game? He had the entire summer to evaluate his QBs and pulls the kid after 1 game.
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
That's a hard one. That had to be a tough decision. Even on game day. The RB coughed it up early when it should have been 7-0. The INT in the end zone was tough. All of the mistakes mounted and prevented them from putting points on the board. Then you look at what Rees did and it gave them a spark. Now you're facing a Michigan team that should be improved. I like their coaching staff. Players have to improve at Michigan. I would think Notre Dame should have the upperhand.
Tony S. (KY)
Mel, do my Michigan Wolverines have any top level NFL talent?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
Denard Robinson I think will end up being a WR. He's the guy that's one of the most exciting players in college football. What he's going to be asked to do this year is to run a more pro style offense. Greg Mattison and Al Borges are two excellent coordinators. Ultimately, Robinson, a junior will be a WR in the NFL. He's only about 5-11, 200. The best pro prospect is Mike Martin, DT. Real quick. Former high school wrestler. Not real big. After that, you probably get into the most intriguing guy one day, Taylor Lewan.
Bonnie R. (minnesota)
After K. Moore's sparkling performance, will he be drafted in the first couple of rounds, like A. Dalton?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
The difference with Andy Dalton was bigger. He's 6-1, 215. Moore is 5-11, 190. Size will be a big factor moving forward. He's like a Ty Detmer, a great, great college QB. Even though they lost Petis and Young to the NFL, they had some guys step up at WR.
If everyone remains healthy all year, can the Detroit Lions contend for the division?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
I don't think they can beat out Green Bay. I think the Packers are so superior in personnel. But I think the Lions can remain in contention. They need to keep Matthew Stafford upright. They have some playmakers around the QB. The defense in the front seven has made some strides. They're a borderline playoff team. The Packers are the class of the division. You have to put the Lions in there with the Bears for second. Stafford, they have to keep him healthy. He has all of the arm strength in the world.
Mel, looks like Brantley might have his swagger back in the Weis offense, but how about Demps and Rainey? Think they could be the top rushing tandem?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
You can't go by one game where they were able to outclass the opponent. You can't overreact to the big first games, when teams are big favorites. Florida went into the game as a 35-point favorite. They were supposed to win. But the thing you like about Demps is he averaged over 8 yards per carry. Rainey had 6 catches. The production of those two was very good. Brantley in this Weis offense, they're going to run the ball with the screens and wheel routes. It will prepare Brantley for the next level. Rainey, he's fast. Quick out of the blocks. Elusive in the open field. He's one of those guys that's going to catch a lot of balls.
Which ACC QB do you see being a better NFL QB, Danny Obrien or EJ Manuel. Thanks.
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
I think Danny O'Brien impresses me with the way he throws the football. He has the size. He'll fill out more. He has a chance to be a guy that the NFL is looking at closely. He's only a third year sophomore. He made a bad decision in the end zone when he could have walked in. He's still developing. He has a chance to be a guy that's an excellent pro prospect. As far as Manuel, this is his year. He's on a team that has a chance to be in the national title game hunt. He's got the size. He has to show the consistency that you need. He has the weapons around him. This is the year he has to show up week to week. The Oklahoma game on September 17 will show where he's at as a QB. After Oklahoma, if they win, the final 8 games they will have a chance to win. The final game against Florida is tough and the ACC championship after that.
Ryan (Medford, OR)
Is Oregon as bad as they looked? If I remember correctly they had the lead until James and Barner went out. Any Pro guys on their team?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
I made this point last week and we talked about it all week. The biggest loss in that game was Cliff Harris, not Jordan Jefferson. He was the best pro prospect on either team. He's an outstanding cover corner and he's a brilliant punt returner. Barner fumbled a punt and that was a key play in the game. You can't take the best pro prospect off the team and not expect them to lose a lot. Plus they lost Casey Matthews and Jeff Maehl. Harris has great punt return skills and can also take an INT and return it 60 yards for a TD. Plus the OL has issues. They're a very young team. They were fortunate last year to not have many injuries. I picked LSU in the game for those reasons. Oregon can rebound from that. It was more critical of a game for Oregon, I said that from the beginning. They don't really have a statement game on that schedule until Stanford and USC in November. But USC barely hung on to beat Minnesota.
Rich (Bayonne, NJ)
Great to see you again on here Mel! How deep is this year's CB class. It seems there are at least 7 really good to great prospects that can go in the first 40 picks with Kirkpatrick, Gilmore, Harris, Hosley, Dennard, Minnifield, etc...
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
There is no Patrick Peterson in this draft, when you look at the CBs. That just says how gifted he was. But there are certainly many first round possibilities. In the senior and junior classes, there are 9 first round caliber players. But nobody that's higher 20 on the Big Board. But from 20-32 there are 8 CBs.
T.J. (Norman, OK)
With the contract extension to Chris Johnson and the added veteran QB leadership by Matt Hasselbeck, how do you foresee the Tennessee Titans doing this year?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
So-so. I'm not big on the Titans. When you look at them, Hasselbeck has to prove that he can stay healthy. In that division, you're talking about Houston. I've said that for months now. I'll hold to that until I'm proven wrong. Indy is based on when Manning is back 100%. Tennessee is in the mediocre area.
Mel - Be honest...what did you think of the Terps' uniforms? I think they made Oregon look classy...thanks!
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
I think for Maryland it created a buzz. They were talked about nationally. Regis brought it up on Regis and Kelly this morning. It created a buzz. Maryland is trying to recruit. From that standpoint, it was a positive. I'm a traditionalist, but I understand others like them. My daughter loves them. Her friends liked them. A lot of the young kids like them. It's a young man's game. The traditional powers aren't changing their uniforms. But for Maryland it works. If this was Ohio State or Michigan or USC or Texas or Oklahoma or Notre Dame or Alabama ... I hated what Georgia did. They had a great uniform. Everyone knew that Georgia uniform and that helmet. There are certain uniforms that you don't touch in college football.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
So Mel, are the Razorbacks flying under the radar or are they destined for another 9-3 type of season with some fan-infused hype though disappointing on the big stage?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
They have Bobby Petrino so you're going to have a coach to put you in big games. What hurt them is before the season even began when Davis had an ankle injury and is out for the year. He's one of the top RBs in college football. Now you're more of a one-dimensional offense. They have some stars on defense, on the line, at LB and at safety. Tyler Wilson is a nice QB. He's not Ryan Mallett, but he'll make throws on the move that Mallett couldn't. This is a team that has a chance. They could be pretty good. I could see them going 8-4.
Who do you like in the ND vs. Michigan game?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
Notre Dame. They're a team that will come back with a chip on their shoulder. They're a team a little bit better personnel wise. The difference maker in this game is Denard Robinson. He's the one player that gives Michigan a chance. Notre Dame lost to Michigan last year and can get some revenge. It's at Michigan. It's at night. Michael Floyd has to be a difference maker for the Irish. The kicking game has to be better. Unless Denard Robinson is Superman, I go with Notre Dame.
Mel let's say hypothetically Peyton Manning misses a good portion of the season (10+ games) and lets just say they somehow manage to land the top pick in next years draft. They have to take Luck for sure right? Or move the pick for a gigantic haul?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
Any time you get a chance to get Andrew Luck at that point, with Manning at the stage of his career that he's in, knowing the physical situation about Manning moving forward. I think you have to consider Luck at that point. I don't think they will be picking No. 1. Remember, Luck has another year of eligibility left.
Sorry to piggy back on the Kellen Moore question, but, don't you think he is similar (in terms of intelligence and raw accuracy) to Drew Brees? Brees is a little more athletic to be fair, but he is only about an inch taller and 15 pounds heavier.
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
That inch is a lot. There's a cutoff point when trying to beat the odds. Moore is 5-11, 5-11.5. Brees is 6-0, 6-0.5. Moore's arm strength has improved. Size is a big thing. At 190 pounds, 5-11, that's tough. Someone will roll the dice with him. He's in that mold of a great, great college QB with a limitation. He's going to have to beat the odds. Joe Theisman was only 6-feet tall. He had a great career. Drew Brees. Michael Vick. you can count on one hand the number of starting QBs that were under 6 feet tall over the last 30 years.
Should Packers' fans expect any production this year from Randall Cobb outside of special teams?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
I think he can. He's so versatile. You can move him around. Running the football, throwing the football, catching the football. He gives you a lot of creative ways to use him and move the football around. You'll see a lot of gadget possibilities with him on the field.
Bing (denver, co)
I read that harbaugh gave Garrard a high round grade when he came out of college...what did you give him?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
With Garrard in 2002, I gave him a fourth-fifth round grade. My final comment: "if you see him in the right game, when he's operating at an optimum level, he will appear to be a definite early round draft choice. However, the lack of consistenct figures to push him down the draft some. Overall, I wouldn't count out an athletic talent with his arm strength and the ability to keep the chains moving. With that in mind, I certainly wouldn't be shocked if he surfaced downt he road as a starting signal caller."
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
I actually projected him as an early 6th round pick to Jacksonville at 171. He went fourth round at 108 to Jacksonville. I had him as the 155th best player.
The moment of truth is at hand...who do you like...Saints or Pack?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
I'm going to stick with the Packers. They're still the class of the NFL. I don't have a reason to feel any other way. I have the Pats and Packers in the Super Bowl. Houston is my big surprise team to go a long way in the NFL.
Kevin (San Diego)
How does USC S T.J. McDonald project for the NFL? Do you think he'll be inclined to leave early? Obviously the bloodlines are there.
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
Right now, he's the second highest rated junior safety. For him, he's got the physical skills that you look for. He's got great bloodlines. Certainly a rangy, athletic kid. He'll be a guy that will be worthy of early round consideration.
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
The safety position this year is 1,000% better than last year. The No. 1 is Ray-Ray Armstrong, Miami, but presently suspended; No. 2, Mark Barron, Alabama; No. 3, Markelle Martin, Oklahoma; No. 4, Tramain Thomas, Arkansas; No. 5, McDonald. There are a couple of other safties pushing McDonald: John Boyett, Oregon; Delano Howell, Stanford; Tony Dye, UCLA.
Mel who is one guy taken outside of the top 2 rounds in this past NFL Draft that has either caught your eye in the preseason, or a lot of people are buzzing about?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
There have been a few guys that caught my eye early: Greg Little, WR, Browns; Lance Kendricks, TE, St. Louis; Doss, Ravens; Jason Pinkston, OL, Browns; KJ Wright, LB, Seahawks; Kendall Hunter, RB, 49ers.
The Jaguars need downfield weapons for their QB of the future in Gabbert. Who are some WR's to watch over this college football season that would help Gabbert next year?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
The top WR is Alshon Jeffery from South Carolina. Then Justin Blackmon, OK State. They're both juniors. Next would be Michael Floyd, Notre Dame; Jeff Fuller, Texas A-M; Ryan Broyles, Oklahoma; Juron Criner, Arizona; Chris Owusu, Stanford; Rueben Randle, LSU; Marcus Davis, VT; Mohamed Sanu, Rutgers. Randle, Davis and Sanu are all juniors as well.
Who are the top RB's available for the 2012 draft?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
Right now, Trent Richardson, junior from Alabama is the top guy. But I want to see him step it up against Penn State. This is a big game. Against Kent State, he only had 13 carries for 37 yards. He scored 3 TDs, but I want to see him step it up. The next highest guy would be Cyrus Grey, Texas A-M, senior. Then it's LaMichael James, Oregon, junior; Edwin Baker, Michigan State; Andre Ellington, Clemson; Chris Polk, Washington; Dan Herron, Ohio State; Isaiah Pead, Cincinnati; Doug Martin, Boise State; Jeff Bents, Florida.
Brian (Richmond, va)
with the Giants injuries will they be able to pull it together?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
They're decimated. That's just a shame. It started with Prince Amukamara. Then Terrell Thomas. Osi. They're devastating injuries. I don't know how you overcome that. Tom Coughlin will move on. He's got a job to do. That's tough. And they're in a division with the Eagles who are loaded with talent. They start with the Redskins, who are silently confident. They'll be a tricky team. Rex Grossman led the Bears to the Super Bowl. Someone has to finish fourth in that division and it won't be the Eagles.
Tony S. (KY)
Is Marcus Lattimore a top 10 pick when he comes out?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
I think so. He's only a true sophomore, so he can't come out now. After the 2012 season, it would be clear cut. If you put him in this draft, he's by far the best RB. He'd be No. 2 on my Big Board behind Andrew Luck if he were eligible this year.
Mel Kiper (2:01 PM)
We covered a great deal of ground today. I can't wait until next week when we can talk about the first week of the NFL in addition to Week 2 of college. Check out ESPN Radio every Saturday with College Football Tonight from 7:30 p.m. ET to midnight. I co-host with Freddie Coleman, though this week Chuck Wilson is filling in this week. Can't wait until the start of the NFL season on Sunday!