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!
What would it take for KC to move from 10-11 to 3rd and pick RGIII?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
For KC, you're talking about giving up your first pick and some picks after that. They'd be in a position where they could make that move up. But they'll be in competition. I think the team that could move up is Miami. For Cleveland, I keep hearing that maybe they make a move for Matt Flynn. Green Bay will probably franchise him and trade him. Cleveland has that extra first round pick from Atlant. Washington might be interested in Peyton Manning. St. Louis and Minnesota could be looking to trade down.
Boyd (Nashville) [via mobile]
Mel, where do you see the Vandy defenders in this draft (Heyward, Marve, Richardson, Fugger)?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
First, Heyward is the kind of guy that could be a third rounder. Marve, more of, right now, like a sixth rounder. For Richardson, probably 5-7 round.
Which player does Quinton Coples most compare to?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
He's not Julius Peppers. They played at the same school, but he's not as explosive. His technique waned a little this year. He lost an edge. He could be a good pass rushing DE. I don't know if he'll be a great player, that's why he dropped to 7 on the Big Board. I thought he was much better as a junior than senior. I think he'll be a good, solid DE, not the great player we once envisioned.
Hi Mel, I really tried to get into the NCG but I just couldn't do it. Bama's D was nasty, but that was some terrible offense. Maybe I'm just BCS'ed out. Please tell us the odds of a plus 1?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
I hope we'll have a final four. I would rather call it football's version of the final four. You rotate two bowl games as the final four and then the winner plays a week later in the NCG. What that would do, where we had a 37 day layoff for LSU, 43 days for Alabama, now you play that first game on New Year's and you'd have a game before you play the NCG. You'd get the rust out of the way and help the two final teams bring their "A" game. I like the final four format. You have the build up. These teams haven't played since early December. I like that scenario the best.
db (Lansdale, PA)
The Philadelphia Eagles need a LB! Who will be a good fit for them at pick 15?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
Where they're picking, there will be. A MLB type would be Luke Kuechly, Vontaze Burfict. Two very good types there.
If the Rams do end up getting Kali with the 2nd pick could you see Jason Smith moving inside?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
If they got Kalil, they have options. Saffold probably moves to RT. Smith could move inside. You have options then. They could go that route, or they could trade down. Justin Blackmon would be great for them. If they could move from 2 to 4, that would be a good scenario for the Rams.
I have said this for the last decade...the Bears need a go to #1 WR again this year? Please tell me Michael Floyd will be there at 19th overall? Who will get drafted higher...Floyd or Jeffery?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
Yes, I think that's a possibility. He's at No. 20 right now on the Big Board. There's a chance that he's still there. I agree, the Bears have tried to live with a lot of No. 2's and 3's at WR. They need that No. 1. It's nice to have a QB like Cutler, but it would be nicer to have a fear factor No. 1 WR. They don't have that. Alshon Jeffery could also be another possibility.
Peter (Atlanta, GA)
Should the Jets look to get rid of Sanchez and try to get one of the QBs in this year's draft or go after a veteran who can win immediately with the team around him?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
I think the big thing with Sanchez is getting better talent around him. He has to be coached up better. The OL had some issues this year. They had some problems at the RT spot. Santonio Holmes and his melt down at the end of the year. They didn't have the WR entities. They have to be better at surrounding him with talent. Does Peyton Manning go to the Jets? You've heard that as a possibilty. You either stick with Sanchez or go with Manning. I don't think they try to go with another young QB. Sanchez is a young QB. He only started 16 games at USC. But he doesn't get all of the blame. Shone Greene has regressed. They don't have the ground and pound they had before. They had a lot of penalties too.
Ken (nova scotia)
Dre Kirkpatrick a corner or Safety at the next level?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
He's a CB. His coverage ability is something that still has to be answered. He's had some inconsistencies. Coverage is not spectacular. What impressed me more this year was his tackling ability. That showed in the BCS title game this year against LSU. I don't see the consistent top flight ball skills this year. I have him at 22 on the Big Board. Some people feel he's a top 10 pick and he could be. We've seen some reaches in the past.
Jon (Baltimore )
What's your take on Prince Amukamara moving forward? I know he battled injuries in the beginning but he looked very shaky at times. What should Giant fans expect from him next year?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
He had the injuries. Then the confidence lags a little bit. He didn't have any minicamps or true lead in to the season. So, give him a mulligan and get him healthy. Hope Year 2 is better than Year 1. Next year, I think you can expect him to pay much better dividends than this year. A team with that pass rush you'd thought could mask the problems with the secondary, but the secondary had issues.
Ryan (Medford, OR)
Mel, Can I have your take on Matthew Stafford's season?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
I thought he had a heckuva year. He doesn't have a great OL in front of him. Little consistency with the running game after Best got hurt. Kevin Smith was off the radar and brought back. He did OK. But Stafford, I thought did a great job. He has everything you want a franchise QB to have. His accuracy continues to improve. His decision making improved. He'll take some chances. But the bottom line is they got the right QB.
Jeff (McLean VA)
Mel, are there any 4-3 Defensive Tackles with a Top 10 grade?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
No, but there are some guys that are close. Jerel Worthy, Michigan State is a mid- to late first. Still from PSU. Thompson from Clemson. There are a lot of guys that go mid to late first, from 10-32.
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
If a couple of the juniors come out early, you might see a couple of more in the mix.
Gary (Los Feliz)
Mel, What are overall thoughts of OLB Courtney Upshaw?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
I've always liked him. Been a fan the last couple of years. People compare him to Lamarr Woodley and there's some truth to that. He was the most destructive player on that Alabama defense. That speaks volumes. The question is, is he a tweener? Can he carve a nitch at OLB? There will be some discussion on him. I have him at No. 16 on the Big Board. He was the best player on a great defensive unit.
Malik (Tucson, AZ)
Mel, bigtime Raider fan here... Do you agree with the firing of Hugh "Mr. Bubbles" Jackson? Sign of moving in the right direction, or should he have been given the chance to use a "heavy hand", as he said? Biggest draft need...cornerback AGAIN??
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
Agree? No. I don't agree letting someone go when you have all of those injuries. They lost Darren McFadden. Carson Palmer was coming off a year of inactivity. That's a tough road. When Palmer came, McFadden got hurt and then Ford got hurt. You have an incoming GM and he wants to bring in his own people. I don't think he deserved to get fired, but they had a new GM.
Will Ryan Tannehill move up the board since some teams are in need of a QB?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
There's a chance he goes late first. He's a guy with Nick Foles that belong in the late first, early second. But if Andy Dalton isn't a first, then I don't think Tannehill is. I had Dalton as the 32nd best player in the draft and he went in the second round. But if there's a reach in the first round, they could go then.
Is chris Polk a 1st round talent?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
Yes. But first round talent doesn't mean you're a first round pick. He can beat you with speed or power. He's 5-11. He's a big back. Good natural runner. Good leg drive. Picks up a lot of yards after contact. He can get to the perimeter. I also think he can be an asset to the passing game. He might be a second rounder, because teams don't prioritize RB. I can't see him getting out of the second round.
The Lions will probably go Secondary right? but is Dennard or Jenkins really worthy of a first round pick? Doesn't seem like it to me.
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
Dennard is worthy of a first round pick. He's my No. 17. Jenkins, the off the field concerns are the only issue with him. What you have to think about there is there any chance at moving up? Claiborne will be there if you do. Dre Kirkpatrick could be gone by then. The Senior Bowl will be very important for these veteran CBs.
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
It will be interesting to see how many of the senior CBs will go down to Mobile. Trumaine Johnson is the best non I-A CB outside of Jenkins.
Matt (Needham MA)
Mel,Who are the Tight Ends in this year's draft that will be the next Rob Gronkowski or Jimmy Graham?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
Neither one of those guys went in the first round, interestingly enough. Right now, the best TE is Allen from Clemson. He's a big kid, 6-3, 255. He established a single season school record for TEs this year. Excellent hands. He could go in the late first round. Does he have the upside of a Gronkowski or Graham? Maybe he doesn't present that phenomenal physical upside, but he'll be very good. An interesting junior is Joseph Fauria from UCLA, he's 6-7 and the nephew of Christian Fauria, former NFL TE. Also, a third-year sophomore Tyler Eifert from Notre Dame is one to keep an eye on. Dion Sims, MSU as well. There are a lot of good young TEs out there.
Is Jeff Fisher really that good or is he the fastest horse in a slow race?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
I think he's a good football coach. He did a good job at Tennessee all of those years. St. Louis would be a good fit for him. He's a highly regarded coach. He didn't win a Super Bowl. He was inches away from winning.
Where do you believe Lamar Miller will go in the first round?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
We don't know he will go in the first round. He's a third year sophomore coming out early. This could be a strong RB year. He has an awful lot of ability. He is a 215-pound back with game breaking skill. But RBs tend to drop. I think he'll be the second RB drafted behind Richardson.
Dwight Jones (Sc)
if the colts shop payton manning what type of market is there for him and could they get a 1st round pick for him?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
He's going to be free. It seems like they're going to keep him or cut him loose. If they cut him loose then it looks like Washington might be a team to make a big play after him. But he's coming off a big injury. There is some risk there. He's been in the league since 1998 and he's coming off a big neck injury.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Is Tyler Wilson capable of going in the first round as a reach, and is he graded higher than Ryan Tannehill?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
He'll be right in that mix. He played great a couple of years ago when Mallet was injured. What hurt him was he didn't have a big time running game. For a lot of the year they were one-dimensional. What impresses me about him is he is as tough as nails. He was able to extend plays and find the open WR when the pocket collapsed. He took a lot of hits. I would probably put him ahead of Tannehill and Foles.
Do you see Dan Persa being drafted, and if so, approximately where?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
No. He's had injuries. He's a tough kid. He was an outstanding college QB. He's only about 6-foot. I think he's an undrafted free agent. If a Chase Daniels is undrafted then I think he is as well. He's my 22nd highest rated QB. But he was a heckuva college QB.
Ben (Newport Beach, CA)
What are your thoughts on Stanford TE Coby Fleener? Where will he be drafted and which teems is he a good fit for?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
He's the No. 1 senior TE. He has excellent size. He's 6-5, 247. He has the speed to stretch the deep middle. He had a lot of plays his senior year. Blocking won't be his strength. He didn't play well in the Oregon game this year. If you saw him play then, you weren't as high on him after. But I think he'll be in the second or third round mix.
Demarco Murray lead all rookies in rushing, why did he get so overlooked in the draft last year?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
He was projected to go exactly where he went. He had some injuries at Oklahoma. Two of his injuries came as a kick returner. He wasn't tremendously elusive. He got tripped up at times. But that was it. He ran a 4.37 at the combine. He went right where he should have. I projected him in the third round and he went in the third round.
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
Based on the way he played, he should have gone higher. But he's a great example of RBs going lower than they should. Kendall Hunter. Roy Helu. Dion Lewis. Evan Royster. There were a lot of guys like that this year. You can always find good RBs in the 3-7 rounds.
Dave (San Diego)
Is this the year the Ravens take a middle linebacker to replace Ray Lewis?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
This is the year they could, sure. That's what everyone in Baltimore is talking about. A guy that could fit the mold and could be there is Vontaze Burfict, Arizona State. He got called for a few too many penalties at ASU. But he's a talented, physical kid. He's a wild card. Right now he's at No. 21 on the Big Board. He has a possibility to be there.
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
He also might be a guy they move up to get.
Mosc (Rhode Island)
Do you think Chase Minnifield has better potential than his teammate last year Ras-I Dowling?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
Dowling had the injury. He was the first pick in the second round because he was hurt. That's why he wasn't a top 15 pick. Minnifield is the son of former Brown Frank Minnifield. He has good blood lines. He has good size. He had a good senior year. Good cover guy. Decent in run support. I don't think he's elite. I don't think he's a guy you'd say would be a top 15 pick, but someone you look closely at in the second round. It depends on how he does at the Senior Bowl and combine.
When will Lamicheal James picked, and what teams do you think would be interested in him?
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
He's kind of like a Darren Sproles, but not as proven. He showed he could be a good return man. He needs to improve his receiving ability. He runs with an attitude. Sproles was a third round pick, so I think he could be right around there, maybe a second rounder. He will be an excellent all around performer.
What do you think of Justin Blackmon's potential? Can he be the next Fitz, or better?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
Yeah, he could be. He has a higher grade than Dez Bryant had. I have Blackmon at No. 5 on the big board. He doesn't have excellent speed, but he has strong powerful hands. He has 224 catches over a two year period. He was phenomenal. Great blocker. Plays well without the ball. He's not that diva WR. He's a team guy. Mike Gundy raves about his work ethic.
Brett (Washington DC)
Do you think the success of Tebow, Cam, and Dalton will change the way NFL scouts rate the potential of spread option QBs?
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
They're all running the spread. Most of these QBs are running spread offenses. I think Tebow still changes positions. You have to evaluate what's going on in college football, it's about the spread. It's what these QBs are doing. It's why Luck and Barkley are highly regarded, because they are running pro style offenses. It is what it is. You have to evaluate them as they are and not holding against them what offenses they run.
What's your best guess as to how Washington will approach fixing the QB position?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
Peyton Manning is the big option. You keep hearing they make a push for him. Mike Shanahan can't afford to misfire on another QB. His evaluation of QBs has been shaky. They went out to get McNabb. He gave the job to Rex Grossman. They went with John Beck. That all didn't work. Do they go after Matt Flynn? They might not go after him. RGIII in the draft is someone they'd have to move up to get. AFter him, there's no one else to go get. Mike Shanahan needs to start winning some games.
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
When you have three QBs in the division much better than yours, you're not going to win the division that way.
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
They finally brought in a quantity of players via the draft last year. That's a step in the right direction. But they have to bring in a better QB. Shanahan has to do a better job of evaluating QBs than he has the last few years.
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
We have another nice round of the NFL playoffs coming up this week. The junior declaration day is Sunday. Next week we'll have my first First Round Projection will come out. By mid week, it will be up on ESPN.com. We can talk about that next Wednesday!