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!
Were you high on Nick Foles coming out of school, and can he be a solid satrter in this league? Remember he didnt have much talent around him in college
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
Yes he can be a solid starter. He's a very talented QB from a pure passing stand point. He's big, has a powerful arm. He can throw accurately rolling left or right at Arizona. He had some inconsistencies which was an issue. He has first round talent, but the inconsistencies was what prevented him from going in the first round. He went in the late third round instead.
Hi Mel, My question is, who is the next top tier QB in college football right now if there is one (Freshman, Sophmore)? What I'm trying to get at is, Barkely and Smith aren't the normal #1 pick caliber QB's ala (Luck, Stafford, Bradford) so who is the next one?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
Right now, there isn't anybody that has that type of super elite status in college football. It's nobody. Maybe somebody evolves into that but right now there's nobody that you say, wow, this guy could be the No. 1, 2, 3 pick in the draft. Logan Thomas has the size, but his performance hasn't shown it this year. Braxton Miller is an interesting sophomore. Teddy Bridgewater is another one. But there aren't any Andrew Luck's or RGIIIs out there.
Darren W (CT)
Comeback player of the year in your opinion AP or Peyton?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
I would say Peyton Manning, for what he's accomplished. It's remarkable. He was expected to be a work in progress. But he has them poised to win the division and go into the playoffs. They could win 12 games. Their schedule is very favorable. 12 wins. They'll win that division. You could make the argument that they're the second best team in the AFC.
Will Chip Kelly coach in the NFL next year?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
I think he'll be in the NFL in the next year. He could have been at Tampa Bay this year. With so many possibilities opening up. There could be Dallas, Cleveland, San Diego, KC, Carolina, Philadelphia, Jets, Tennessee. There are a lot of teams that could be opening up. There will be possibilities for him this year, definitely.
Bill Gates (Seattle, WA)
Mel, you're a genius. Here's my question. Is there an extremely low shelf life on a player like Russell Wilson? He's having a decent season, but we've seen decent play out of very similar players to him before..even in Seattle! Seneca Wallace played amicably for the Seahawks when Hasselbeck got injured, but he was unable to keep it up for long. Teams adjusted and he was just too small. What about Russell Wilson will lead to different results?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
I think there are a couple of things. He has that high delivery. The scouting report on him was that very rarely he had passes batted down at the line. He's accurate on the move. His TD-INT ratio was exceptional. Very smart. Very articulate. Great character. He plays taller than 5-10.5. He's had a solid year on a playoff caliber team. I think he's going to far, far exceed what Wallace was. The jury is still out on whether he can be a starting QB longterm. He's played good football so far. Good defense, good running game. He doesn't have great WRs, but he's made some plays.
The Heisman is supposed to go to the most outstanding player in college football not the best player on an undefeated team. Tebow and RGIII were on three loss teams when they won their Heismans and I am on pace to break the SEC record for total offense. After the way I made Alabama's defense look silly how I am not the Heisman front runner? Sam Montgomery agrees with me, what say you?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
Texas A-M offense was contained against LSU and Florida. Those were two games against quality teams that they were shut down. The fact that they were able to beat Alabama puts him No. 2 overall right now. Klein, right now, is the winner. If I had to say right now, he'd win the Heisman. Manziel is a solid second.
Shane (New Jersey)
Any Corners coming out this years That are as good as Peterson and Claiborne were coming out?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
To Peterson's level, no. Claiborne? Possibly. Dee Milliner is a very good all around player. Very good cover corner. He's close to Claiborne. After him, there isn't another CB that's worthy of being a first round pick. A guy's stock that's rising is Logan Ryan. David Amerson's stock has fell this year.
are the steelers done?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
Not done. This team has been able to fight through injuries at the QB position before. Leftwich has had some success has a starter before. It's a significant dropoff between the two. But they have to get healthier. They're 6-3, but unfortunately for them that the timing of the injury couldn't be worse. They play Baltimore two of the next three weeks. They have to play at Dallas. Three of the next 5 games is against Baltimore and Dallas. They have a tough road. Are their playoff hopes over? There is too much pride in that organization to say that, it will just be tougher.
Tom (Albany NY)
Any good draft prospects on Syracuse?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
Ryan Nassib is the main one, the QB. He's improved this year. His accuracy, made good decisions. Shamarko Thomas, senior, safety is draftable.
Kyle (Lincoln NE)
Say Oregon, Notre Dame, and Kansas St finish the year undefeated. Who do you have playing for the Ship?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
I'd have Kansas State and Oregon.
Chris (San Diego)
What is Colin Klein's draft stock for 2013 draft?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
He's not a QB. He will be a WR entity in the NFL. He played at WR a few years ago and caught some passes. He'll have to go to the Senior Bowl and show he can be a receiving entity. You're not evaluating him as a QB, it will come at the Senior Bowl and combine.
Does McGahee's recent fumble performance suggest Denver should be on the lookout for a new runningback?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
Hillman is a good young player coming along from San Diego State. You can find RBs at any point in the draft. McGahee has a lot of talent, he's just left the ball on the ground some during his career. But they have other needs. They need help at DT, the interior OL, CB. A RB is something maybe in the mid to late rounds.
Who are the top draft eligible Free Safeties?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
Kenny Vaccaro, Texas is No. 1. Then Tony Jefferson, Oklahoma; Eric Reid, LSU.
Kevin Colbert (Heinz Field)
Hey Mel! With Roethlisberger's injury,is it time for the Steelers to select a QB in a early rd? Also what position should we draft in Rd.1?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
It could be. That's always something you can look at. There are some QBs this year that might fall a little bit. Landry Jones could be in the 3-4 round discussion. Ryan Nassib could be in the mid to late rounds. EJ Manuel.
Joe Vellano is a beast in the ACC, yet not on many draft boards. What makes him so unattractive to pro scouts?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
His size is the issue with Vellano, the only big issue. He's not that big, imposing DT. He's had a phenomenal career. He'll be in the rotation. He's got scheme versatility, a high motor. Tremendously quick. Great effort, great hustle. Just undersized. He's been a tackling machine, last year and this year.
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
You get into the fifth round area and he'll be a nice pick.
Who in your top 10 are the most polished, NFL-ready propects as opposed to raw, high potential prospects?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
Jarvis Jones is a 3-4 OLB that's NFL ready. Manti Te'o as a 4-3 MLB. Luke Joeckel is a OT. Chance Warmack.
Hans (Solo, Missouri)
Is there a coach that hasn't won a championship that deserves one more than Bill Snyder?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
Chip Kelly would be a guy too. Bill Snyder certainly is in that category. He's had two great eras with Kansas State and done a great job. Of the top guys, I think those are the guys.
What was your assessment of Colin Kaepernick coming out of college? He seems to have all the physical tools, and appears to be a very bright guy. What did/does he need to work on to become an NFL starting QB?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
He's an interesting kid. He has tremendous running ability. He gives the defenses a lot to think about with his ability to run and use his speed. Gifted athlete. Wasn't a great pure passer and has that unorthodox delivery. He can make any throw you need him to make. Very competitive. Great drive. He needed a quality QB coach. I said in 2-3 years he could make some noise and here he is in Year 2 making some noise. He had to adjust to throwing into tighter windows. He was an interesting, long range guy.
Is Alec Ogletree the same caliber of team leader that Manti Teo is? Is he suited for both 3-4 and 4-3 D's?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
Te'o is in a separate league. You don't have Ray Lewis types come along that often. Same with Andrew Luck. Te'o is a rarity. Every year, 5 years, you don't see a Manti Te'o. That's why we compare Luck to Peyton Manning. He's a rarity. Te'o is a rarity. You don't have to compare him to anyone else. Ogletree is my No. 16 player on the Big Board.
Dave (Wayne, NJ)
The Jets look awful, and while their schedule is weak the rest of the way, they'll struggle to win six games. Where do they need the most improvement (QB, OL, LB, S, WR, TE come to mind), and who shoudl we keep an eye on? Thanks so much!
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
They need a WR, RB. They need help for the QB at the skill positions. They could use an upgrade on the OL. On defense, it's OLB.
Haven't seen much on Arthur Brown's draft stock. Really productive in college, but do you see him playing inside or outside at the next level?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
It depends on the scheme. I could see him as a 3-4 ILB or OLB in the right situation. He brings some versatility to the NFL. I think he's a 2-3 round pick.
Hi Mel, what do you do if you are a QB needy team like the Chiefs and have a top 3 pick and Barkely and Smith are out of your top 10 prospects? Lets say you are the GM on the clock for the Chiefs, what do you do?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
You don't take the QB. You can't force that. You have to go with the guy you feel is the best player at that point in a position of need. There also won't be a WR ranked that high either. They have to assess things and figure it out. Maybe it's a Manti Te'o that you bring in. They're a 3-4 team. You could trade down, if you get an offer. It's just falling right this year for KC. That's why it was so lucky for the Colts last year.
Mel (Scottsdale, AZ)
Hi Mel, First off great name! My Chargers have degressed every yeay it seem slike under Norv Turner. If you are the GM what do you do to turn things around in San Diego?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
You have to get help at CB. Their CBs become free agents. You need help at OL, OG or OT. WR too. Those are positional need areas. And who will be the new head coach? You could have a new coach and GM coming in.
What RT's do you think can be had in the 2nd-3rd round range that might be able to start as rookies?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
There are a couple of RTs that are projected to be first rounders: Jake Matthews and DJ Fluker. They're in the late first round mix, which means they could be second rounders. They're both juniors. Brennan Williams, Brian Winters.
Craig (Braintree, MA)
Vikings are supposed to be on a four year improvement schedule. Are they ahead of schedule or just having getting good bounces? What do positions will they be looking at?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
They're 6-4. They had the big win over Detroit, which was huge, especially going into the bye week. That's the second time they've beaten Detroit. They have some big divisional games coming afte the bye, like two of three against Chicago and the third is against Green Bay. Houston is in there too. Their remaining 6 games are difficult and four are on the road. They could very easily go 2-4, 1-5 and still only be a 7 or 8 win team. They need help at WR. They just have Harvin. They need a couple of WR. CB, DE, DT.
Can Mauti make the NFL transition as Lee did?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
Yeah, I think Mauti has a chance to be a 2-3 round pick, depending on how the medical turns out. He's athletic. He has good sideline to sideline range. He's smart, athletic. But the prior knee injuries is what will have to be checked out medically.
Mel, What NFL team has the fewest quality players?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
Good question....on offense, because it's not whole teams that need help, the teams that need the most help are: the Jets, Cleveland, Arizona, Jacksonville, KC. Defensively, the teams that need the most help are: Oakland, New Orleans, Tennessee, Detroit.
Is it comical now to look back at the 2012 draft and laugh when we realize that we drafted a punter while Russell Wilson was still on the board? Looney tunes over here.
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
Again, everyone had mixed opinions on Russell Wilson. He wasn't an easy evaluation. In hindsight, maybe, but remember they had just drafted Blaine Gabbert a couple of years ago. You have to show a committment to your young QB. That's why they didn't address the QB position. But they could have had Sanu, Hilton, both nice WR options at that point. There are other players that could have helped the team. Russell Wilson was a third round pick for a reason. He was a difficult evaluation.
Raul (the RGV TX) [via mobile]
hey Mel would it be wise of the cowboys to draft OL (G or C) with their first 2 picks of next years draft?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
Yeah, the interior of the OL. Maybe one, because they also need an impact safety desperately. Big time safety and interior OL are at the top of the list.
Joe (South Bend)
Is Louis Nix a first rounder if he leaves this year?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
He's a third year sophomore. He's 6-1 and 325. He was up to 365, but got his weight down. He's in the best shape he's ever been. He's an occupier. He frees up Te'o. He's a guy that might figure into the early rounds, sure.
Lee (my computer)
When Luke Joeckel and Demontre Moore line up against each in practice, who do you think wins the battle more often then not?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
I think both are great players. Joeckel has been phenomenal at LT. Jake Matthews at RT also has a first round grade. They're both underclassmen and they're playing at a high first round grade. Moore has been the most productive DE in the nation this year. He can play on his feet, as a down DE. Joeckel, a true junior, as is Matthews. They're the best OT tandem in the country. Moore will probably be the best DE taken. Moore is also a true junior.
Clifton (Virgina) [via mobile]
Mel, do you think the giants will be able to gather themselves after the bye week and keep their lead in the nfc east?
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
Yeah, I think they can. They got, maybe, a little complacent, watching the struggles of the other teams in the division. They're the defending champion and are 6-2 at one point. They had Pittsburgh down 21-10 in the fourth quarter and now they're in the bye week with another loss. Tom Coughlin will shake things up. They come out of the bye week against Green Bay at home. They can't have another loss. They're a team that doesn't have a big homefield advantage. They've already lost 2 games at home. They have to come out and re-establish themselves against the Packers. They're at Atlanta and Baltimore late in the year. Their final six games are very very difficult.
why is rex so stubborn? if you were a head coach would you start tim tebow ? pr does sanchez give you the best chance of winning?....oh yea love you guys!!z on
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
I would be starting Tebow and I've always felt Tebow was more of an H-back. But you brought him in, you have to use him. If you're not going to use him now, why did you bring him in? I'll defend Sanchez, because this team has more issues than at QB. Who was responsible for Tebow coming in? I think maybe it wasn't the head coach. They have 5 winnable games the rest of the year. I think this is the time you find out if Tebow can play QB or not. If you're bringing him in just to be a cameo role guy, it wasn't worth it.
Craig (Braintree, MA)
So you think that Ponder has earned himself another year?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
I think the organization drafted him, so they'll stick with him. The jury is still out on what kind of QB he can be. They need some players around him. They need some WRs to be brought in. They got a boost from Jarius Wright, who gave them a little boost in the receiving game this past week. They have to help the QB a little more moving forward.
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
The season is winding down. A new Big Board up on ESPN.com today. Five new players on it today. Check it out.