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!
Is Kellen Moore much of an NFL prospect? He's not that big, and not terribly mobile (it seems), so my guess would be not a great one, but I've not heard much discussion.
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
Great college QB. Phenomenal college QB. He is lights out with his accuracy, tremendously intelligent -- all the intangibles. Tim Tebow had intangibles through the roof. His arm strength has improved over the years, but it's not great. The issue is size -- 5'11", 190-200 pounds, it's not what the NFL is looking for. He could be a career backup, possibly, but not the guy you want as a starter in the NFL.
Ryan (Medford, OR)
Mel, this question is inevitable. Can you give us a brief thought on the Carson-OAK trade?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
I think the Bengals benefited tremendously. Phenomenal deal. Carson Palmer was never going to play there again. He could have shown up two days before camp to get his money, and had no future with them because of Andy Dalton playing well. They didn't even need him in Cincinnati! These are bonus picks for the Bengals. The two reasons this trade occurred -- Hue Jackson had a history with Carson Palmer and David Garrard was injured, and the Raiders are probably a playoff-bound team. It wouldn't be a deal they would make it they were a bottom-tier team. They're thinking they will be picking in the 20s and want to take a shot at doing something in the playoffs.
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
Giving up a first-round pick this year doesn't scare them as much. The Bengals got the better deal, but I understand why the Raiders did it. They can give up a couple early round picks because they've drafted exceptionally well in the mid to late rounds as of late.
Scott (Salt Lake City)
Do you think there is anyway Andrew luck is not the #1 pick this next year?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
I'd say it's a thousand percent if he goes out in this draft, although he's a 99 percent chance to go in this draft.
Kyle (Cranston, RI)
Mel, Will BC's pathetic record affect Luke Kuechly's draft stock. Where does he rank with recent MLB prospects and where will he go in the draft in your opinion?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
It will not affect him at all. He has 99 tackles through six games. Just a remarkable player. He's averaging ten solo tackles a game. Right now he's my eleventh-highest rated player and No. 1 MLB prospect. Remember he's a junior, so he may not come out.
Is Keith Price (a sophomore) a legit NFL prospect if he keeps progressing? 21 TD's and only half way through the season and he's been unbelievably accurate.
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
He has. He's been a very good player. It's amazing -- Jake Locker moves on and they're a better football team. You think about Chris Polk, the junior RB and one of the best in the country, great all-around back. The thing about Price is that he's only about six feet, 190 pounds. He's thrown the ball a lot better than people thought this year, and they have weapons at the receiving positions. He can run and throw and is a good leader, and is poised to have a great year in Washington. They could surprise Stanford this year as well. Great matchups there. The guard for Stanford, David DeCastro, will be matched up against DT Alameda Ta'amu, a senior. One of the more intriguing games of the week.
Where do you rank Russell Wilson as far as QBs go? Is he worth a third or even a second round pick?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
That's too high. Again we talk about another great college QB. That's what will work against Russell Wilson -- his size. He can throw on the move and is a good leader, very accurate, but at fewer than six feet, it'll hurt him and push him way down the board.
Dustin (Stanford CA)
Hi Mel, love your work and look forward to April every year. What do you think of the Logan Thomas of VT to Cam Newton comparisons? Do you think Thomas could be the dynamic weapon Cam is given another year or two?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
I'd never go the Cam Newton route. Cam is a special entity. Logan Thomas is a guy who at 6'6", 250 pounds, with a strong arm and poised and intelligent, needs to develop a little more touch, is a guy who will be followed closely going forward. His size and overall physicality are similar, but the comparisons end there.
How much has Dan Persa's injury affected his Draft status? Also, he is not the running QB like he was last year, but he passes very well. He still can run though. How much will that help his draft status?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
Another QB in the 5'11", six foot range. He's thrown the ball very well against Iowa. There are a lot of guys this year that fall into that category this year -- outstanding college QBs. He had an Achilles injury, back playing now, brought them back last week, throws a lot of short passes to Jeremy Ebert.
Is there a possibility that Justin Blackmon or Ryan Broyles fall to the 49ers? What are the chances the 49ers pick a WR first round?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
The Josh Morgan injury has affected their offense. Ryan Broyles would be a guy who would slip into their offense. Blackmon could go as high as A.J. Green, so he won't be available for the 49ers. The guy that could be there for the 49ers -- Broyles, Michael Floyd from Notre Dame, Nick Toon from Wisconsin. I think Broyles is more of a second rounder.
Jeff (Charleston, SC)
Mel, given the shift in the NFL to a more wide open offense, how high could Trent Richardson go in the draft if he comes out this year? Is he your #1 back? If so, how does he rate to the backs taken in the 1st round the last 3-5 years?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
He's up there with the best. Sixth-best player in the draft. Clearly the No. 1 back. Can do everything you need a back to do. Has taken his game to a new level. He'll go very early -- marquee guy. He's a throwback to a workmanlike back -- he could handle 25 carries a game. The running game to complement that passing game is still important, especially on third and one and goal line situations. The biggest asset a team can have right now on those situations is a big powerful back like Richardson. I think he can go in the top five, certainly in the top 10.
Kyle (Cranston, RI)
Mel, one more question: Are you re-evaluating your OT rankings from last draft class? Solder and Smith went head to head last week and I think Solder outperformed him and has the higher ceiling.
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
They all had similar grades, I think. We knew Solder had the most upside. As much as any tackle in this draft! Only played left tackle for three seasons, still learning and light on his feet for his size. Needed a little more power in his lower body, but nothing surprises me in terms of what Solder does. And hey, Smith was already gone by the time Solder was drafted.
3 great OCs in the B1G this year, in Brewster, Molk and Konz. How do you rank them? (Badger fans are hoping Konz stays in school.)
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
Konz one, Brewster two, Molk three.
Carl (San Diego) [via mobile]
Mel, any chance Jonathan Martin replaces Matt Kalil as the #1 offensive tackle prospect?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
They're close. I'd give an edge to Kalil because of his consistency. Excellent pass-blocker, major asset for their running game, uses his hands well in pass protection, great punch. He can dish it out and is a fiery, tough guy. Riley Reiff, the tackle from Iowa, is right there too. All those guys are right in that top 10-12 ranking.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
Who's the first player from the Crimson Tide defense to get picked in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
Probably Courtney Upshaw as a 3-4 outside linebacker.
Philip (Columbia, SC)
Mel, Who are top TE prospects coming out this year? Do you think Dwayne Allen leaves early?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
Right now, Dwayne Allen would be the top-rated TE if he came out. Coby Fleener has been brilliant this year as a senior. He's 6'6", 245, with great hands and speed. He averages 23.9 yards a catch with six TDs. A lot of Rob Gronkowski in him. Orson Charles as well, a junior at Clemson. Very talented football players, all of them. Fleener has been the most impressive deep-middle type of TE. For a team at Stanford that has three excellent tight ends -- Fleener, Ertz, and Toilolo -- Fleener is the best of them.
Brett (Conshohocken, PA)
Better DT, Jerel Worthy or Devon Still? Who do you see going higher?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
Worthy has a chance to go a little higher. Still has done a nice job as of late. 6'5", 315, and still a talented kids, making his presence felt along that PSU defensive line. A great bowl game against Florida last year, sixth-highest rated senior DT.
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
Four tackles and a tackle for a loss last week against Purdue, also broke up a pass. For the year, he has 34 tackles in seven games, ten for a loss, two sacks. He's done a nice job. Very active. Early-rounder.
Eric (Baltimore, Maryland)
When LSU Saftey Mathieu decides to come out, how high can you see him going?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
First-rounder. It's remarkable what he can do. Wearing No. 7, Patrick Peterson's old number, and is a dynamic player. Doesn't have prototypical size at the CB position 00 about 5'9", 185, but he's a great player.
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
He's getting some Heisman talk this year. Gets into the backfield, makes plays in coverage and in the return game. One of the most dynamic players in college football. Will be eligible next year.
Max (New Jersey)
What are your thoughts on Mohammed Sanu?? Do you think he could sneak into the first round??
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
I wouldn't say the first. He's caught a ton of balls this year, a heck of a weapon in the short-medium game. Huge impact on that offense. Fifth-highest rated junior WR. He can throw the football, good hands, can run the wildcat, strong, runs with a lot of ferocity. He runs with an attitude. He'll surprise DBs in the open field with his power. 6'1", 220, and very powerful. He could be fourth, because Denard Robinson is in there as a projection. He has had a very impressive year.
Frank (Minneapolis) [via mobile]
Mel, how do you think Christian Ponder will fare? And is it smart to put him out there against Green Bay?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
They have to put him out there. No choice. You're going nowhere and are clamoring for the new QB. All these other new QBs are playing. McNabb as an NFL QB had a great career with the Eagles, but nothing with the Redskins or Vikings. The move has to be made. They get the Packers two of the next three games, so you can't avoid them due to the bye. I've always compared Ponder to Chad Pennington -- cerebral, accurate, not a big arm but underrated as an athlete. Can he be good? Yes he can. If you like Chad Pennington, you'll like Christian Ponder.
What are things looking like for AJ Jenkins? He was completly off the map coming into the season but has finally started to perform. I don't know how his measurables stack up, but he catches the ball with his hands...thats got to account for something.
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
He's done a good job for them. Good speed, a definite deep threat. He's been an impressive senior. Real good hands, can stretch the field vertically, 54 catches and 7 touchdowns with almost 17 yards per catch. He also helps out in the kick return game. Nice player. Early Day 3 category.
Barkley, Jones, and Luck...which one has the most bust potential? Why?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
Jones or Barkley, take your pick. Luck is a guarantee. Barkley doesn't have elite skills, just doesn't have a big-time arm. Great mechanics. Landry Jones will get comparisons to Bradford. He has good size and is accurate but is not quite accurate.
In a perfect world, what would be the best defense for Vontaze Burfict. I'd love to see him in Baltimore.
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
Yeah, he's a definite mike man. Throwback middle linebacker. Great size and athletic ability. Intimidator, multi-talented, can take on centers firing out, can get through traffic. HE just needs to control his emotions better. Too many late hits. These personal foul penalties have to end. You have to be fiery, like Ray Lewis, but you can't hurt your football team with penalties. It's not just one game, it's many.
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
You can't come in late and drill guys after the whistle, and it will hurt him in a year with Luke Kuechly and Manti Te'o in the draft.
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
Burfict has the most upside, but there's hesitation because he plays out of control.
Mel, if Heisman voting is today, who gets 1st, 2nd and 3rd from you?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
Luck No. 1, Trent Richardson No. 2, and three would be Russell Wilson.
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
If it's going to the best player, it's gotta go to Luck. Richardson has a realistic chance to get it as well. What will determine Luck's fate in terms of the Heisman: how does he play against USC on the road, at home against Oregon, and at home against Notre Dame. That will determine his Heisman fate, but not his draft status.
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
Thanks everybody! We'll be back next week to do it all over again.