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!
How high will the DE's at Oklahoma go in the draft, Frank Alexander and Ronnell Lewis?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
I think Lewis, depending on if he comes out or not, is No. 17 on the Big Board and could be in the mid to late round mix. He's a talented kid coming off the edge. For Alexander, he's been in the discussion of the top 5 overall DL from that class. He's probably the 6th highest rated senior DE. He's shown some explosion off the edge. He's been a productive player for Oklahoma this year. His stock is rising.
Maximus (Coliseum )
Hi Mel, what do you make of Andrew Luck's arm strength? I love Luck, but he does seem to have a pretty weak arm, and guys like Simms and even Mayock have seemed to question it.
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
It's not a weak part of his game. You don't need to have a Howitzer of an arm. Peyton Manning doesn't have a great arm. Joe Montana does not have a great arm. Luck's arm strength is well above average. His arm strength is not an issue. Will he have one of the five strongest arms when he comes in? No. But his accuracy, anticipation, awareness....Not having Owusu in that game with his speed really impacted their offense negatively against Oregon. The only thing you can say about his arm strength is it isn't elite.
Where does Arkansas QB Tyler Wilson project for next year's draft? Assuming Barkley comes out this year, is Wilson the top QB available?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
He's only a junior. He's had an outstanding year. He's my fifth highest rated junior QB. He's got excellent weapons around him. He's had a good year even though Knile Davis has been hurt. Not having him, you would think the offense would fall back, but it hasn't. He can throw on the move when he has to. He's got the arm strength. Very, very tough.
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
With Wilson, very cerebral, very smart. Very calm. Very poised. He can make throws on the move. Nice mobility. The thing I really like about him is his toughness.
Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)
What happens with Mark Sanchez? Will he succeed? Rex Ryan is getting nervous...
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
Yeah, he can definitely succeed. They don't have a dynamic presence at WR. Holmes and Burress, Keller at TE. I don't see a phenomenal WR in that group. You don't have the great supporting cast and that's created some of the inconsistencies. They don't really know what they want to be. They want to be the ground and pound, but then they put it on Sanchez's shoulders. They just want to find their way as an offense now too.
What round did you project DeMarco Murray in, and did the Cowboys get a steal of the 3rd round?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
So far he's a RB. RB's historically going in the second round on have done fairly well. I had him going in the third round to the Falcons. I had him graded out as a second or third rounder. He was the 71st pick overall in the third round and I projected him to go 91.
Phil (SF, Ca)
Aldon Smith for Defensive ROY?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
Yes. I think he's been exceptional. He came out as a third year sophomore. This is a kid that's an outstanding talent. He has a ton of ability. He's just touching the surface. They hit the jackpot with this kid. What New England is lacking, what the Jets are lacking, that pass rushing presence, the 49ers have.
Jamie (BFE, Kansas)
What do the Chiefs need to get to the playoffs next year, since they probably won't win another game this year??
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
It won't happen this year. They're not a very good football team. They were able to get back into the mix with their struggles early because they had the schedule. They got back into the mix with Minnesota and Indy. The big thing was losing their big three players before the season even began hurt. Now you factor in Matt Cassel's injury. If you have to give someone a mulligan, it's the Chiefs. Think about their schedule the rest of the way: New England, Pittsburgh, Chicago, Jets, Green Bay. They're a 5-11 team at best right now.
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
They haven't been able to get Dexter McCluster going enough. Next year could be a better year just because of the injury factor.
Who's a better fit for the Redskins...Landry Jones or Matt Barkley?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
Still to be determined. It's too early. You want to see Oklahoma against Oklahoma State for Landry Jones. Matt Barkley has a big game coming up this week with USC at Oregon. How does he handle that? Those are two tough road games. Two good evaluation games. Jones has a lot of talent. He struggles a little bit with pressure. His accuracy is not what it is when he doesn't have time to throw. And with Barkley, how tall is he? They're battling for that second QB spot. I haven't yet made my decision.
Jon (Mason City)
Hi Mel, I can't help but think how good Denarius Moore has been at times this season. With a full season of Carson Palmer I have to think he's one of the bigger steals in the draft. I didn't think he would be this productive. Certainly should continue, should it not?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
You hope he doesn't regress. You hope kids keep developing. Some show flashes of brilliance and then don't develop. The thing that fooled people last year was once the second half of the season with Tennessee began, he got better and produced big time results. He ran a 4.33 at the combine. 18 catches the first 7 games last year, in the final 6 games, he caught 29. If you saw him at the wrong time last year, you might have had a different evaluation.
How do you see lienart working for the last 6 games?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
Matt's had time to sit and watch and learn. That's been a good formula for a lot of QBs. He's watched Matt Schaub. He could have gone other places to be a starter, but he stayed and watched. Matt has to maintain this team on their playoff run. They were able to overcome the injury to Mario Williams. Andre Johnson is coming back. Matt just has to maintain this team on that playoff track. They are 7-3 with six games to go. He has to lead them to a 4-2 record to get them to 11-5. It's a manageable schedule. You can cruise in this division. Matt has a chance to resurrect his career. Denny Green drafted him, but he was let go and the new staff didn't have faith in him. Matt Leinart should have a little chip on his shoulder.
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
He should be able to perform to prove the Texans' faith in him was valid. Houston stepped up and liked him. Leinart has a chance to show their faith in him was warranted.
Jeremiah (Elko, NV)
Hey Mel thanks for chatting! What are your thoughts on Dontari Poe from Memphis?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
He's a big strong kid. He's a huge physical speciman. He's my fourth highest rated junior DT. He's 6-4, 345 pounds. 8 tackles for loss this year, 4 hurries, broken up a couple of passes, forced a fumble.
Mel, this seems like a big year for 4-3 LBs (in the middle and on the outside) - a departure from previous years. Am I correct in this evaluation?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
Yeah, I like the 4-3. I've always been in favor of the 4-3. If you can get guys up front that are technically sound and get their hands up and wreck havoc, you can do well. If you have strong LBs like the Steelers or Clay Matthews like the Packers, you're in good shape. But if you have the right components, you're in good shape. If you have 7 guys you can feel confident in and rotate them in, you're in a good spot.
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
Right now Luke Kuechley, Manti Te'o, Vontaze Burfict are the three MLBs that have the high grade. And that's the order I have them in.
Can Oregon step up past Alabama as the best 1 loss team in the Nation if OK State and LSU stay undefeated? If LSU or OKST lose a game, could Oregon get back to the BCS National Championship?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
They can. That will create some chaos. Then you're evaluating one loss teams. Oregon lost to LSU, but if LSU loses, that takes them off the record. They should be able to get no problem to 11-1. They only lost their first game of the season. Their offense is so hard to handle. Oregon can definitely launch into the discussion if they can beat Stanford and USC in back to back weeks. These were the only two games, other than LSU, that should give them any trouble. If they can get by this game, sure, they'll be a one-loss team with a valid argument.
What do yo make of the Chargers strugles? You gave them a good grade for this years draft, is it a personal promblem or coaching? How do they turn it around?
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
The Chargers struggles are for a lot of reasons. The OL has had all sorts of problems in protecting Rivers and letting him scan the field. Not having Sproles and that dynamic performer has hurt and not having him in the return game. And there's been some inconsistency with the recievers. Rivers has been off target. Not a vintage Rivers years. He's had some pick-6's. He's been off on his throws. Norv Turner is definitely on the hot seat. They're playing at Chicago this week. That's a tough game. You don't want to be playing Chicago when you're OL isn't playing well. The schedule does get a little easier, but they have to play Baltimore still. It's going to be tough for the Chargers to be a playoff team this year.
Could the Bills be looking for a new QB to develop if they continue to slide?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
There was all of that talk that if Luck had come out and gone No. 1 to Carolina that Buffalo would have been interested in Cam Newton last year. Depending on where the Bills pick, they're not going to be looking at an Andrew Luck, but more like the second tier of QBs. The top guys are the juniors and the second group are the seniors. Second or third round, they could look at a QB.
Mel, Last year a number of players that had first round grades went in the second round due to injury or other issues. Who will be that player or players in the coming draft.
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
The guys that are going to slip a little bit because of injuries or other issues this year: Jared Crick, Nebraska; Cliff Harris, CB, Oregon; Ryan Broyles, WR, Oklahoma.
Steve (San Francisco)
Who are the top "stretch the field" receivers coming out this year?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
Chris Owusu, Stanford; Kendall Wright, Baylor.
what are your thoughts on VT's draft eligible players?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
In the order that they'd be ranked: David Wilson, junior, RB; Logan Thomas, QB, sophomore (third-year); Jarrett Boykin, senior, WR; Danny Coale, senior, WR; Bruce Taylor, junior, LB.
J Treehorn (Malibu)
LSU has struggled recently vs. Arkansas. Can the Razorbacks spoil the Tigers' season?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
They could. They lost at Arkansas last year. They beat them in OT in 2009. They lost on the road in 2008 and lost at home in 2007 in OT. They beat them on the road barely in 2006. Arkansas has been a thorn in their side. Bobby Petrino is a tough coach in a situation like this in a big game. That Arkansas-Auburn game last year but Arkansas put up 43 points. It will be a great matchup of Tyler Wilson and the WRs against the LSU secondary. Should be able to score some points.
Joe (Oak Park, IL)
What is keeping Michael Floyd off your big board? Is it a character thing or do you see something in his on-field play that may be a red flag?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
Actually, I've moved him up to No. 25 this week. He has to just keep producing. Make big plays. He's close to being on it, having been at 26 or 27 for the last month. More big plays down the field. Notre Dame doesn't get great production from the QB, but he has to put up big numbers. I want to see the week where he goes out and takes over a game. If he can do that, he'll be solidly in the top 25.
Tyler (St. Louis)
Did you really expect this kinda leadership from Jim Harbaugh and do you think 49ers are contenders....
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
It's been pretty amazing what he's done this year. To transform this team into one of the best in the NFL. Their only loss is to Dallas earlier in the year. To have Alex Smith be able to become a game manager like he has. Obviously Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter has helped the strong running game. Prior to Harbaugh's arrival, they addressed the OL with their picks in the first round. Vernon Davis is a first round pick at TE. Michael Crabtree is a first rounder at WR. Their defense has been their staple. If you have a strong running game and a defense, you have a chance. The secondary benefits from all of the harrassing of the QB.
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
He's taken a team that many didn't have much hope for and made them into one of the best teams in the NFL. Cincinnati, Philadelphia, Detroit, Giants have all been statement wins. We'll see Jim against John on Thanksgiving night int he Harbaugh Bowl. You're looking at a team that should be 13-3 very easily. And that's probably the worst scenario.
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
Nobody could have seen that coming.
What does Ryan Broyles injury do to his draft stock?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
It puts it questionable. He was not a first rounder, I thought, anyway. He was a second rounder prior to the injury. Now you have to see what the medical reports are. It certainly negatively impacts his ability to be a second round pick. Now you're looking at pushing him down a bit. Players come back from injuries. You're still going to take him. We'll see how much impact he can have with the doctor report.
Alexander The Great (Roma)
What do you make of this years draft class compared to the prevous years? It seems like a down year especially in the 10-120 range. Thoughts?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
You don't know any of that until the juniors come out. Right now, I have 12 of the top 13 players on my Big Board are juniors. There are a lot of underclassmen that can be in the second round mix. Last year's draft, you think about the impact of the underclassmen there. Aldon Smith is one of the best rookies and he was a third-year sophomore coming out early. AJ Green was an underclassmen last year. So was Patrick Peterson, Marcell Dareus, Cam Newton, Julio Jones, Tyron Smith, JJ Watt, Nick Fairley, Robert Quinn, Blaine Gabbert. All of those guys were underclassmen and could have been in this draft.
Mel, how far have the pair of UF running backs fallen?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
Speed is going to help them. You can't drop them too much, but speed will help those two kids. They're versatile. They have the ability to do a lot of things for you. They're both in the 4.3 range. You're talking about guys with game breaking speed.
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
They will be two of the fastest players in the draft.
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
We have the Thursday night football going on now. Big game Friday with Oklahoma State. It's amazing how quickly it's gone. Back at it next Wednesday!