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 (1:02 PM)
Mel is here!
What is keeping Matt Barkley from being a top 5 pick?
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
First of all, he doesn't have elite skills. He doesn't have the big time arm strength. He doesn't have the wow you over ability. He's a traditional pro style pocket passer. He can throw on the move. But he's not a scrambler. He won't wow you over. He's not 6-4. Elite skills is what he's lacking. But he's a good QB. He'll be a mid first rounder.
Is Jared Crick a 4-3 tackle or a 3-4 end? Or is he better as a 3-4 linecacker?
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
No. I think he's best suited to be a 3-4 DE. He's struggling now with the injury. He hasn't been as productive because of it. He sat out a game. He hasn't been 100% this year.
Andy (KC, MO)
Do the chiefs still have an outside chance in the AFC West?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
I don't think so. They lost Moeaki, Charles and Berry to injury for the year. They were fortunate to play Minnesota and Indianapolis. They did play San Diego tough. They're in their bye week. I could see them winning maybe 5 games. No better. They won't win the West.
THoughts on Tebow starting?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
After the bye week they'll be against Miami. It's ironic he'll get a start in the state of Florida where he did so many good things for the Gators. The big test will be the following week against the Lions and then Oakland. They play the Jets down the road. Chicago. How does he deal with that? He has great mobility, but how will he deal with those teams coming after him? When you have to start the game, it's not the same as coming in when you're down 26-10. And he didn't throw the ball well against San Diego. He made a couple of nice throws but struggled for the most part. The big question is does he have the pure passing ability to make it in the NFL? I've said that for 6 years now. He has the best intangibles of any player I've ever graded. He just wills his team to victory. He's incredibly competitive. He has great instincts and awareness. He has a future in the NFL. If he's not a QB, he'll be a WR or H-back. He has a huge fanbase, but the fanbase can turn on you quickly if you don't produce.
Who are your top 5 3-4 outside linebackers for the 2012 draft class?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
They would be, in order: 1) Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma; 2) Courtney Upshaw, Alabama; 3) Bruce Irvin, West Virginia. Those are the top three.
It sounds like a lot of people are claiming Alex Smith's turn around in performance is from cutting down on mistakes. Is he/are they really or has he just gotten lucky so far?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
He's only had the one INT. He's been very efficient. Jim Harbaugh has him understanding that they can run the ball and a defense that's outstanding. He's convinced Alex Smith that he doesn't have to make plays. If it's not there, don't take it. That's what he understands. The Josh Morgan injury is huge.
Evan (Auburn, Ala.)
Mel: Even though they are only sophomores, who projects as a better pro prospect, South Carolina's Marcus Lattimore or Auburn's Michael Dyer?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
I would give Lattimore a slight edge. Dyer has really come on this year. He's breaking tackles. He's running with a lot of vigor. He runs hard. Lattimore has been contained in some games, but that's more that they don't have a good QB situation. They came out of high school neck and neck, but I give the edge to Lattimore.
Mel, do you see Landry Jones as a top 10 pick? When I watch him he doesn't seem to go through progressions and looks flustered when pressure is in his face.
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
Yeah, I do. I think he goes in the top 10. I have him No. 4 overall on the Big Board right now. He's a junior right now and he has some options. Jones won't be the No. 1 pick and he knows that. If he wants to be the No. 1 pick, he goes back to Oklahoma for another year. Robert Griffin III at Baylor debuts at 19 on my Big Board this year and he could go back again.
Who is the safest pick in the upcoming draft in your opinion besides Andrew Luck?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
I think Matt Kalil the LT from USC; Quinton Coples; Justin Blackmon.
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
Trent Richardson from Alabama too.
Jack (Scarsdale Ny)
Mel, What do you think of Penn State DT Devon Still and Penn State WR Derek Moye. Thanks
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
With Still, he picked it up last week with Iowa. He has size and quickness. He is one of those guys that has a chance to be in the mix as an early round possibility. He had a good bowl game last year. He's a good presence with his size. He goes 6-5, 310. He's big. Moye brings size to the position. Good experience. He's about 6-5, 205. You can get him the ball deep. He's their go-to guy. He's not elite. He won't be an early rounder, but depending on how he runs, he can be a mid rounder.
What did you think of Jean-Baptiste's performance for Neb on Saturday night after 2 weeks at CB? Does he have the potential to be a NFL starter?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
Yeah, he does. He's a former WR. He has great size. Very athletic kid. You look at him as a developing talent. He's only a sophomore. He's 6-3, 215. He has the skills. As a young developing versatile athlete, I would think he's a very intriguing prospect.
Mac (Tualatin, OR)
Mel, what's your take on the Duck's John Boyett?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
Tough kid. Very productive. Right now he's my fourth highest rated junior safety. The thing that jumps out with him is with the scheme he has a chance to read and react. He plays that centerfielder role and can use his striking ability. He's very physical. When he hits you, you know it. He's on the radar for the NFL. Physical player.
What are your thoughts on Robert Griffin III? Can he be a first round pick?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
Oh yeah. His passing skills are very much improved. He did have the one hiccup at the end of the Kansas State game. Gifted athlete. Tremendously smart. Very bright. Articulate. The thing with him is they have some great evaluation games coming up. They play OK State. They host Oklahoma. In December, they play Texas. The only concern with him is height.
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
But that height hasn't bothered Vick or Brees though in that 6-0, 6-1 range.
Russell Wilson? What round do you see him going? Do you see him being a starter in the NFL or is he more of a Senecca Wallace type?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
That's the thing, size is the only problem with Russell Wilson. He's about 5-11 1/2. He's a great football player at the college level. He was a great player at NC State. What we've seen with Russell Wilson is what we've seen all along. He's accurate. Athletic. The schedule hasn't been all that tough. They played Nebraska, sure, but they had them at home and Crick wasn't 100%. Their toughest game is at MSU then at OSU and at Illinois. Their schedule is not that tough. It's been very favorable. That's why they have a chance to be 12-0.
Mel, Is there any sure fire studs like Suh or Fairly coming out in this years draft.
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
Not to that level. There is nobody there at that level. The best DT is Brandon Thompson from Clemson. He's more of a mid first rounder.
Fred (Walla Walla)
What would The Rams, Eagles, Colts or Broncos do if they ended up with the first Pick? Looking at the standings, it could happen.
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
Rams would probably trade the pick. They feel secure with Bradford. The Eagles won't have the first pick! They have Vick! The Colts would have to take Luck. I would think they would. The Broncos, that's why they have to see what Tebow can offer. But if I were them, I take Luck. And if I'm Arizona, I take Luck. If I'm Jacksonville I'm taking Luck. Kansas City, Miami, Minnesota, Cleveland, Seattle all definitely take Luck.
Whos draft stock has dropped the most for you this year?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
Good question...Jared Crick, DT, Nebraska; Brandon Jenkins, DE, FSU; Dre Kirkpatrick; Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon.
Will any of the Houston WRs get drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
Patrick Edwards would definitely be one. He would be the guy.
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
He's averaging 17.4 ypc. Justin Johnson would be next. He's averaging 14.6 ypc. Tyron Carrier would be third. He's averaging 11.7 ypc. Edwards is also a good punt returner.
Who's the top prospect from the suprising Illini?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
AJ Jenkins is their top guy, senior WR. He has 46 catches in 6 games. He has 33 more receptions than the next Illinois WR. Good hands. Very experienced. Good deep threat. He's 6-1, 185, runs in the 4.4-4.45 range. He has some kickoff return experience. He's the main guy at WR. Then you have Jeff Allen at LT. Smart kid, hard worker, good leader. He's more of a mid round guy. The senior CB Wilson. He's got a chance to be a mid to late rounder. Good size. Decent speed. He could be a safety/CB type. Very versatile. Currently leads the team in tackles.
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
And also Ian Thomas, senior MLB as a later round possibility.
Its an honor Mr. Kiper! What do you think is the most thin position in the 2012 draft?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
A lot of it has to do with the juniors. In some positions, they're thin with the seniors, but we don't know until the juniors come out. The juniors impact the draft every year. That determines which positions are and aren't the weakest.
Is there a consensus number 2 pick assuming Luck goes first? If not, who would be in the running?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
No, not right now. Quinton Coples, Matt Kalil, Landry Jones, Justin Blackmon. Those are the guys that you'd consider for the second pick. A couple of guys moving up are Luke Kuechley, Morris Claiborne.
What is Andrew Luck's biggest weakness?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
HA! He doesn't have one. He really doesn't have a weakness. You'd be hard pressed to find something that he doesn't do well. Some people say he won't be Steve Young or Michael Vick running the ball. But he's mobile. He's an underrated athlete. He made that great catch last week. He's faster than what you'd expect for a guy his size. He's right there with John Elway.
Mel, has there been a small college guy this year that could be a first or second round pick?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
We'll take the top non-IA players: Janoris Jenkins, CB, North Alabama will be a first rounder; Rishaw Johnson, OG, California (Pa.) formerly of Ole Miss; Trumaine Johnson, CB, Montana; Brian Quick, WR, Appalachain State; Amini Silatolu, OG, Midwestern State; Micah Pellerin, CB, Hampton; Asa Jackson, CB, Cal Poly; Justin Bethel, CB, Presbyterian; Jeff Adams, OT, Columbia.
Assuming the Packers have one of the last 4 or 5 picks in round 1, who might they look at. I would think it would DL or OLB, correct?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
They don't really have a lot of needs. They're a great, great football team. They could, if they want to, challenge that Miami Dolphins record of going undefeated. You have to see who gets hurt and how it plays out. We'll see. It's too hard to really define needs on a team that's stacked like that.
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
A lot of their young players really didn't come on until late in the season. Guys like James Starks.
Who is the top guard/center prospect likely coming out this year?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
The top guard is a guy playing tackle right now in Cordy Glenn from Georgia. He's an unheralded standout in the SEC. He started 42 games in his career and he's had 39 straight starts. He's outstanding. In the NFL he could be a RT, a OG. He's an outstanding player. He goes 6-5, 325. He's the guy. He's the main guard.
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
If you're talking guard/center, the best center is Mike Brewster from Ohio State, a senior and the top junior is Peter Konz.
phil (VA Beach)
Hey Mel, what is your insight on the redskins, do you think they can really win the division and make a push into the playoffs
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
I do. I think right now they have a chance. They have a shot at it. This game this week will tell us a lot. This week they have the Eagles. They embarrassed Washington last year on a Monday night. This game will make or break the Eagles' season and tell us a lot about the Redskins. If they win this game against the Eagles, they can finish 10-6. If they lose, you might be looking at 8-8.
Do you see Clemson having a let down performance on Saturday night against a Matyland team that played GT tough?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
If they were going to have the big let down it would have been against BC. They were coming off of three successive big games. Boyd got hurt but they did enough to win. Boyd has the strained hip that he sustained against BC. They played Cole Stout in his place. They've had a lot of trouble against Maryland over the years. Fortunately, Boyd is going to play. He probably won't be 100%. The game is at Maryland, but they've having all sorts of problems, especially at QB. This is a game where they could play spoiler.
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
Clemson has to be ready to play. They're not good enough to just throw their helmets on the field and beat you.
What is your evaluation of Maryland's Kenny Tate? Is the move to linebacker hurting him?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
Yeah, I think he looks like he's just a little unsure of what he's doing right now. He hasn't been productive. He has great talent, but he's been too quiet in some games. He's their fifth leading tackler right now. He hasn't wowed me over this year. And he's kind of a tweener. He doesn't have a defined role. He needs to finish strong. He has missed some tackles this year. He has to pick up the intensity. He's missed some tackles. His rating has dropped a little bit.
why has dre kirkpatrick dropped in your eyes?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
He has some inconsistencies in man coverage this year. He was beat a couple of times in the Florida game. He's played the run real well. He's sacrificed his body. But you don't go in the first round due to run support. He hasn't done as well in coverage as I thought he would. He's talented, but he has to remain focused. He has another year too, if he wants to go back and become that shut down CB.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
We got a lot of bases covered with the questions. Back next Wednesday!