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 (1:00 PM)
We've got Mel!
what did you think of Mark Sanchez's arm strength coming out if college, and has your opinion changed at all since then?
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
Mark is not yet where he needs to be. On Sunday, he made a bad throw that was picked off in the end zone. But when he comes into a rhythm, he can make some throws. The skill positions around him, he doesn't have a young, big time WR there right now. The bottom line is there is nothing he has shown with the Jets that he didn't show at USC. His arm strength is what it is.
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
He's not yet an elite QB, but he's got a chance. He just has to keep improving.
Stephen (Granite, Ok.)
Where do see Ryan Broyles being drafted after his season ending injury?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
He had it in November. That's something where that's the issue being so late in the season. He didn't have ideal size or sprinter speed. He had a second round grade before the injury. I didn't have him as a first rounder. I didn't have him as my No. 1 senior WR or in my top 3 overall WR. Now his final draft position is clouded.
Coming into the season Cliff Harris looked to be a top 20 pick. If the draft was today, what round do you think he would be picked in, and do you think it will be a smart move for him to return for his senior year? (i am hopeful he will because the ducks return all but 3 or 4 starters next year)
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
He has a lot of talent. He had a pretty high grade coming into the year. You never want to come out in a year where you haven't maximized your ability. If he does, the workouts will be important. This is a very good junior CB group and not a bad senior CB. Janoris Jenkins from North Alabama is a senior CB. Chase Minnifield, Virginia, senior. Then the juniors, Morris Claiborne has been in my top 10 for weeks. Kirkpatrick is my second junior. Gillmore from South Carolina is another high rated junior. There are a lot of players ahead of Harris. He would have to have spectacular workouts. He won't fator into the first round. He's my 8th highest CB right now. You don't want to come out if you haven't maximized your ability.
Are you disappointed in what Coach Edsell has been able to accomplish in his first year at Maryland? Do you think he can make the Terps a serious contender in the ACC longer-term?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
Mildly disappointed, because you knew it was a new coaching staff. You knew there were going to be some tough times. From a discipline standpoint, Edsall has been a strong disciplinarian. He's been very demanding in doing things the right way there. The whole program's mindset has changed. After you beat Miami, yeah, I would say it's been mildly disappointing. They played Georgia Tech tough on the road. It's not like they've been noncompetitive. They had Clemson down. That's why I say mildly. They've started to slide the last few weeks. The last three weeks you're not satisified with the performances. They won't go to a bowl. They have Notre Dame, Wake, NC State. They've won two and at the most they could win is three games.
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
The one thing that's a given is Randy Edsall is a heckuva coach. I hope that he recruits heavily in the Baltimore area. I hope he puts up a fence in the Baltimore area and doesn't let any of these kids go to another school. If he does that, I think he'll be a lot better off.
jake (mclean, va)
with college offensive schemes becoming more and more sophisticated is the gap between being a college qb and an nfl qb closing, such that college qbs are more likely to be able to contribute in the pros as rookies as evidenced by newton and dalton?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
You're throwing the ball now the majority of the time. It's basically a fast break, pass oriented college football. Guys now have more of an ability to transition to the NFL than they did 10, 15, 20 years ago. Guys are seeing more, throwing more. They're seeing the field. The NFL is tailored to the QB too. Everything is skewed to the offense. The NFL has always been overly concerned by scoring. OL get away with more holding. WR can't get held up. You can't hit the QB high, can't him him low. It makes an environment where rookie and second year QBs can come in and play well. It's the perfect storm for QBs right now.
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
I don't see any offensive players getting fined in the NFL. Those are going to the defensive players with the hard hitting police.
Your thoughts on LSU and Bama. Rematch? Did anyone improve thier draft stock in that game?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
I hope not. The system is not set up for rematches. The system is set up for you lose and you're out, especially when you lose at home as a five-point favorite. They should have won that game. They should have had touchdowns when they had field goals. The TE let the LSU safety take the ball out of his hands at the goal line. Maze didn't field a punt and it cost them 20 yards of field position late in the game. Numerous issues for Alabama helped them lost that game. They haven't played a tough schedule. If you want to say, as the power people in NCAA would have us believe, that it's a playoff every week, then you can't have a rematch. Lose and you're out. Remember November, as they say. I really don't want to see a rematch. What are you going to have after that? How will LSU feel if they lose? Where would be the 2 out of 3? You have to have a playoff.
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
Is Texas Tech better than Oklahoma just because they beat them? No, they're not, but they did beat Oklahoma. Even the best teams have a bad day. That's the system. I don't want to see a rematch. I don't want any part of it.
Scott Hammond (Saint Amant, La.)
Have your evaluations changed of any of the top players in the LSU-Bama game? Sam Montgomery looks like a Will Smith type player, for instance, but hasn't gotten a lot of recognition.
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
He's only a third-year sophomore. He's draft eligible, but you won't hear much about third-year sophomores. Mingo is another talented third-year sophomore. Johnson is a big talent as a true freshman. They have some incredible talent. Montgomery could come out if he wanted to, but I would suggest staying for another year.
Nathaniel Kashdan (Anchorage)
So we already know who will be drafted first overall next year. Any thoughts on who will be drafted second?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
I think right now it's Barkley and Landry Jones and it will be there throughout the process. Barkley has had a very impressive year. He's thrown the ball well, if his receivers catch the ball, they beat Stanford. Barkley has played well. He's solidly my No. 10 guy on the Big Board and Landry Jones is at No. 4.
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
But those two guys could return for one more year at the college level.
Mel...in light of all that is going on at Penn State...do you think it was have a negative effect on Penn State football players come draft day? Would team stay away from a player because he is coming out of Penn State?...not that it's the players fault but becasue of the negative stain on the program.
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
No, I wouldn't think it would have any effect on the Penn State players. This is a team that's 8-1 and exceeded expectations. These are the three biggest games of the year for them. I don't know how distracted they are by all of this. The players are being graded by what they've accomplished. Devin Still has done a great job in that regard. The defense has overcome the loss of Michael Mauti, arguably one of their best defensive players.
What is your thoughts on Case Keenum? Just a product of the UH system? Not enough challenging Defenses to transition? Is he a Kolb or Andre Ware?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
I wouldn't say just a product, but it helps. It definitely helps to be in that offense and the receivers they have. Keenum is not that tall. He lacks ideal height and top arm strength. He had the knee injury last year in September. He's come back and put up big numbers. He redshirted back in 2006 and petitioned the NCAA for a sixth year and got it. What really helps him is the schedule. Their offense just overmatches the opposition. UCLA played them tough and UCLA has been a very average team this year. Since then, Houston hasn't played anybody. SMU and Tulsa are their two toughest games. What helps him is their system and he has good receivers to throw to.
Matt (Destin, FL)
Monte Ball of Wisconsin. where does he rank amoung your NFL ready RBs?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
He's my fifth highest rated junior RB. It's an outstanding junior RB group. Ray Graham would have been in there, but he's hurt. Ball is a good football player. He had 223 yards and 3 TDs. He is very adept at finding the end zone. He has 21 rushing TDs this year and 35 over their last 14 games. He has good vision. A nice burst. He has shown he can break tackles. He's a good cut back runner. He's shown when he's utilized in the passing game, he can make an impact, averaging over 17 yards per catch.
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
Going into this season, he wanted to drop some weight and he slimmed down from 230 to 210.
How close do you feel the Lions are to being a true contender?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
They already are. They're not close, they already are. They'll hit you on the defensive side. They have an intimadating force in Suh. And any time you have Matthew Stafford throwing the football.....he has one of the strongest arms I've seen. What concerns you is the OL. Stafford gets hit a lot. If they just keep him healthy, I think that OL is the key. They're a definite contender, definitely playoff caliber. I think they have a minimum of 10 wins. They only have 2 games of the final 8 that you would say they should win. Carolina and Minnesota at home. The other games are tough.
Which of the ND quarterbacks has the best chance of becoming a starter in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
I don't think any of them do. I don't see it. They're just trying to become decent college QBs.
Lance (Seaside, FL)
Georgia Tech vs Virginia Tech. What do you expect out of this game and who will win? Both come off of Bye weeks.
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
Georgia Tech is coming off of that huge emotional win over Clemson. Luckily they've had some time to get over it. It's very hard to go out and say this is how it's going to be and practice, kids just can't practice what they're going to see from Georgia Tech. This attack is very hard to defend for Virginia Tech. The extra time to prepare helps both teams. That win for GT was huge, knocking off Clemson whom many thought could contend for a national title. It's imperative for VT to get off to a fast start.
Can the 49ers win a Super Bowl with Alex Smith at quarterback? If not, what should they do next season?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
No. I don't think so. He's the kind of QB that right now is the game manager. They're able to run the ball with Frank Gore. Hunter gives them a good 1-2 punch running the ball. They have a good OL. They have some good WRs. The 49ers will build on this season. They've had an outstanding regular season. They're 7-1 and the only loss is in OT to Dallas. Games to watch for them: Giants, at Baltimore (Harbaugh Bowl), vs. Steelers. Everything else on the schedule is winnable. Arizona, St. Louis, Arizona, Seattle, St. Louis are the other five games. At worst, you're probably looking at 12-4.
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
A signature win was going to Detroit and winning. They won at Philadelphia and at Cincinnati. And they blewout Tampa Bay. Jim Harbaugh is a heckuva coach, but is Alex Smith the one to take you to a Super Bowl? I don't think so.
myles (cypress tx)
Ryan Fitz disappointed last week. how do you see the bills the next 4 weeks? do you think he can take them to the playoffs?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
That's a bad matchup against the Jets. The Jets just had their number, they matchup well against Buffalo. That's the bottom line. They have to play them again in a few weeks. They have a game at Dallas coming up. They have four very tough games at the end of the season and two that should be very winnable, Denver and Tennessee.
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
He's shown that he can get a team to the playoffs. The thing about the Bills, they traded away Lee Evans and they have a group of WRs that have had their moments. They would like to get more out of CJ Spiller. Fred Jackson is a heckuva back. He can get them to the playoffs.
will the pats make the playoffs?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
They just can't stop anybody. The thing that's been amazing to me is you'd thought they'd be better on defense. Dowling gets hurt, the young rookie that showed promise. They can't rush the passer. Bill Belichick hasn't been able to find a OLB to rush the passer. We all talk about Miami taking Jake Long and not taking Matt Ryan. In 2009, New England was picking at 26 that year. They ended up trading that pick to Green Bay and that pick became Clay Matthews. We talk about Miami not taking Matt Ryan, but how about that one? A pass rush can mask a bad secondary. But they can't rush the passer and they have a bad secondary. Clay Matthews would have helped them. The big problem with New England's offense is they had the vertical stretch with Randy Moss for a few years, but it's no longer there. They don't have the stretch game in the passing game. There's no fear factor WR. This is an offense that's really limited. They don't scare you any more. They're a team that's just trying to get back to winning a game. They've lost 2 straight. They're struggling.
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
After this Jets game, they have 6 of 8 games they should win. They're not guaranteed wins, but if 6 of those final 8 games should be wins. One of them is against Buffalo. You can't let Buffalo into your home and let them beat you after they've already beaten you this year. The Jets and Philly are the two tough games. If they split those two, they should go 7-1 over the final 8.
How much does Marcus Lattimores injury this season hurt his draft prospect for next season?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
You have to see how he comes back from it. He's only a sophomore and wouldn't have been in the draft any way. Next year he'll be able to showcase his talent and we'll see how her performs.
Adam (San Diego)
Whose on your list for top 5 3-4 olb pass rushers that are going to be in this draft coming up.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
No. 1 would be Ronnell Lewis, Oklahoma. Then Courtney Upshaw, Alabama; Bruce Irvin, West Virginia; Chase Thomas, Stanford.
Brian (New York)
can the eagles win 7 out of 8 games?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
It was a bad loss to Chicago. You have a chance to get to 4-4 and you drop to 3-5. That's a bad loss at home on a Monday night. You get the break with the Forte fumble and you have a bad loss. They have four remaining games that are very difficult. Four games that you have to win: Arizona, Seattle, Miami and Washington. Then you have the other four competitive games: Giants, New England, Jets, Dallas. If you can win two of those four, you're 6-2 in the final 8 and you're 9-7. They have to go 7-1 just to get to 10-6. The question is, will 10-6 be good enough? There is a lot of competition in the NFC. Giants, Green Bay, New Orleans, San Francisco are the division leaders. Dallas, Chicago, Atlanta, Detroit are the leaders for the wild card. I think the Bears game may have sealed their fate.
will the giants blow their chances for the nfc east title with their remaining schedule?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
I don't think they will blow it. The one thing you have to do is pressure the QB and they get after the QB. They are OK enough in the secondary that they have the time. Eli Manning is hot right now. He's proving Ernie Acorsi correct. He knows QBs more than just about everyone who knows the position. Eli already has a Super Bowl ring. He is playing the best of his career. They have some guys that can stretch the field deep. Guys have emerged. Their remaining 8 games are brutal. They get Philly at home. Green Bay at home late in the year. They're a good football team. 4-4 the rest of the way wouldn't be bad. 5-3 would be phenomenal, so you figure 10-11 wins tops. They have as tough a remaining 8 games as anybody. But 10 wins could be enough to win the division, Dallas is 4-4. They'll probably win this division. They're the odds-on favorite.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
We have a big game to look forward to this year with Oregon-Stanford. In the NFL, the great thing is that we have no byes. Some byes next week but that's it. We're coming down the home stretch. Before you know it, we'll be in Week 12. This is the money time.
Buzzmaster (2:00 PM)
Thanks for chatting Mel!