Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, 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 Thursday at 1 p.m. ET!
What do you think of McClellin's rookie season so far? If he develops an array of moves, I think the sky is his limit. What do you say?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
Great motor. Shows natural pass rush instincts. In this pass happy league you have to have pass rushers.
daniel [via mobile]
What do you think about Tyrann Matheiu entering the NFL Draft and what round would he go in if he even gets drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
He'll get drafted. He was projected to be a 2, 3 round pick had he played. Now, after not having played a year and the off the field concerns...he lacks prototypical size. I will say fourth round. Maybe third round if he has a good draft process, the interviews, shows maturity. Then the best scenario is third round.
Very disappointed in the Seminoles this year. They seem to have no identity on offense. Should Jimbo relinquish play calling duties?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
The offense is still trying to develop talent. Their RB got hurt late in the year. It would have been a different year entirely if they had not lost to NC State and they only lost that game because they got conservative after getting the lead. That would have made the Florida game different. I don't think they need to change, they just need better personnel. It was a young OL. The defense is what let them down against Florida. And then they lost Tank with a knee injury and he was their best defensive player.
Jake The Snake (AZ)
Hi Mel, what are your thoughts about Johnny Football as a QB propsect? Isn't he elible after next year?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
He's a redshirt freshman so he would be a third year sophomore. He doesn't have great size. He doesn't have great passing skills, though they were better than we thought. Right now he looks like a tremendous collegiate QB. His passing is better than advertised. He was supposed to be a running QB. I will reserve judgement on his pro prospects. I wouldn't think that he would be thinking about the NFL after this sophomore season.
Any top10-15 safety in this draft. teams like dallas, eagles, rams, and jets. all need safeties
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
I would say that's correct on those teams. The Jets certainly are a team that could. This year, there is not a safety that's projected in the top 10. Kenny Vaccaro is the best and he's at No. 20. He'll be a mid to late first round pick. Matt Elam, Tony Jefferson, Eric Reid are the top junior safeties. Tre Boston from UNC has also had a great year. Those four junior safeties are good, but Vaccaro is the best.
Can Alfred Morris be the long term answer at RB in DC??
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
Running backs, you don't think long term because RBs shelf life is not that long. It's the easiest position to find coming out of college. Morris is a great example. Florida Atlantic, late round pick and he's one of the best rookie RBs right now. Mike Shanahan has had the magic touch with QBs and RBs during his career.
Which Oklahoma Sooner has improved his draft stock the most the last month, Landry Jones or Kenny Stills?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
I wouldn't say either one, necessarily. Jones is still a fourth round type of guy. He has ability, but he's had inconsistencies. I don't think either one that much has dramatically improved. Stills should be a decent player, he should be a No. 2 WR in the NFL.
William (West VA)
Would Chip Kelly be a good fit in carolina with cam newton running his offense?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
I think Chip Kelly will have an opportunity to go. He had a chance last year with Tampa Bay. He'll have opportunities. I think San Diego would be a good spot. Certainly Carolina too. He'll have the chance again, will the right spot be there?
Who are your sleeper QB picks in this year's draft?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
Brad Sorensen, Southern Utah, is the top one.
Alan (South Bend)
Everyone knows how highly touted Notre Dame's Manti Te'o and Tyler Eifert are, but are there any other Golden Domers gaining any NFL Draft buzz?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
Yeah there will be a couple of them. The guy that's improved the most is Kapron Lewis-Moore, senior DE. He's improved by leaps and bounds over his career. He's been getting after the QB. Plays the run well, showed some pass rushing ability this season. He's in that mid round area. Louis Nix, 3rd-year sophomore NT. Motta, senior, S. Braxston Cave, senior, C. Cierre Wood, junior RB. Theo Riddick, senior, RB/WR, I thought he was the MVP against USC. Those are some of the guys. Zack Martin, we have to see if he comes out early. Prince Shembo, junior, OLB.
Archie G (C-BUS)
OSU would beat ND by 10+ Agree???
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
No. No, they wouldn't be favored by 10. If Alabama plays Notre Dame, they'd only be a 8-9 favorite. If Georgia plays ND, they'd be a 1 point favorite or so. OSU struggled in some games. I don't think they're as good as their record indicates they are. They had to go into OT to beat Purdue. They struggled against Cal. It would be a pick 'em game.
What do the Dolphins need, besides a WR? A lot of talented LB's in the middle of round 1. Could they go that way?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
If you look at Miami, WR to help out the young QB. I give Hartline credit. They could use help at DB. A big time WR is the best scenario for them.
George (Warwick, RI)
Most draftable talent on current roster...Notre Dame/Alabama/Georgia?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
The one that has the most is Georgia. They're loaded with NFL players. Jarvis Jones is my No. 1 player on my Big Board. Alec Ogletree is No. 10. John Jenkins is No. 18. Three defensive players in the top 20. Not to mention Aaron Murray has an NFL future. King at WR. Sanders Commings, senior DB. Shawn Williams, senior, S. Bacarri Rambo, senior, S. There are a lot of guys. In terms of numbers, they may have the most.
Vic Fiebig (Virginia)
Bears need to address OT early. Assuming they pick 26 or later, which left tackles are rated that high that might be there for them to pick?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
They could also go OG. They're looking at LT, because Webb struggles. Eric Fisher, Central Michigan is a nice option. He would be your best possibility, where they're going to be picking. I don't think Taylor Lewan slips that far. The top LT is Luke Joeckel. He could be 1, 2, 3 overall.
Do you thing william gholston comes back for his senior year?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
I think he needs to. Another year would benefit him. He needs to be more of a factor as a pass rusher. Work on his technique, his explosion. I think another year would certainly benefit him.
Paul (New Jersey)
Will Cal's Jeff Tedford find another job soon? He reminds me of Kirk Ferentz. Good coach, maybe even great with the right talent around him.
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
He could land a job as an OC somewhere, rather than going to a lesser program as a head coach. A top 10 type of team that's looking for an OC, he'd be a great asset to the program. That could lead him back into a head coach.
was Mathieu as good of a cover guy as Claiborne was at LSU?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
Not even close. Claiborne was significantly better as a cover guy. Mathieu made plays in a variety of ways, but he wasn't as good of a cover man. Then you factor in the off the field concerns and his time away from the game and that's why I think fourth round.
papworth (Brooklyn, NY)
Al Davis was often criticized for reaching in the first round but it seems his reaches (Janokowski, Heyward-Bey) have been much more productive than his 'safe' picks (McClain, Gallery, Russell) Is it just bad luck that these highly rated picks haven't panned out or were there questions we didn't know about?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
When they picked Janikowski they already had a kicker on the roster. The better pick was when they picked Lechler in the fifth round. As far as Heyward-Bey, he's not even close to being worthy of a top 10 pick. There's really no such thing as a safe pick in the first round. They all bring a certain amount of risk. Outside of that, every player presents some risk. You're going from one level of competition to the next. For the Raiders, it's a variety of issues to what's contributed to where they are now. It seems I've been more critical of the Raiders and the Cowboys than most of the other teams.
Jacob (Lewiston, TX)
How many more mediocre seasons will Texas put up with Mack Brown for? I wouldn't be shocked if they lost this weekend.
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
The last two seasons, they're 13-13 combined. From 2001-09, they won 10 or more games. This will be the third straight year they failed to win double digit games. They've been outscored 118-38 by Oklahoma the last two seasons. They haven't hit on the QB. When Colt McCoy got hurt in that championship game, they were sunk. They had a chance in that game but McCoy got hurt and they've had QB issues ever since.
Mel which OT's will go in the 1st round? thanks
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
I would say five.
Chilly (Wasted, Po)
Hey Mel - If there was a redraft of all the 1st and 2nd year starting QBs, how would you rank them now? I'm assuming it would go Luck, RG3, Newton, Kaep, Tannehill, Wilson, Locker, Dalton, Ponder?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
From this year: Luck, RGIII, Tannehill, Wilson, Weeden, Foles, Osweiller. From last year, I would go Newton, Dalton, Kaepernick, Ponder, Locker.
Big WRs out there 6 ft 3 and up?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
No. 1 is Cordarrelle Patterson, Tennessee; Terrence Williams, Baylor; Keenan Alan, Cal; Justin Hunter, Tennessee; Cobi Hamilton, Arkansas. They're all over 6-1.
Timothy (Meridian, MS)
Who has the brighter future? Ole Miss or Miss State?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
I think they're both on solid ground. They're both led by very good coaches, Dan Mullen has done a very good job there, no question. And Hugh Freeze has gotten that team bowl eligible. He's done a very good job. Ole Miss could have been a lot better. They're the best 6-6 team that you'll find. They lost by 3 points to Texas A-M, 1 to Vanderbilt, 6 to LSU.
David (Bethlehem, PA)
Did most people miss on Kaepernick because of his throwing motion? His arm and speed are game-changers. Has his motion changed substantially since college?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
A little bit, but that was the big issue. That and accuracy. The unorthodox delivery but he also had to improve his accuracy a little bit. He had a phenomenal collegiate career. He was the first QB in NCAA history to have 4,000 yards rushing and 9,000 passing yards in his career. His senior year, he completed almost 65%. But his windows in college to throw were much bigger. He was at 54.3 percent in his sophomore year. So, he got much better. He was a pitching prospect in baseball. He was drafted by the Cubs in baseball. He has a strong arm. So far, so good that he's tweaked his mechanics. He's got great character, smart, articulate. My thought was if he could get around a quality QB coach, he could make some noise and he is. They're a run first team, a great defense, great run game. This same team allowed Alex Smith to establish himself as a good NFL QB. He was called one of the major busts of all time and he's establishing himself as a winning NFL QB. This is a very QB friendly offense.
I think Kenjon Barner could be an impact player in the NFL. He has great ability to get to the corner, which is obviously much harder to do in the NFL. Do you think he's a better pro prospect than fellow Oregon RB LaMichael James?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
Yes, more complete. He has 4.35 speed and he can catch the ball better. He's just as dynamic a runner. James was a late second round pick and that's probably where Barner will go, but he's a more complete player.
Do you Matt Barkley going in the top 15? How many QB do you see going in the 1st round? Also, are Chase Thomas and Shayne Skov top 50?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
I would say Barkley goes between 20-25, that's my projection right now. In the first round? I say three. The ones that will be in the mix are Logan Thomas, VT; Barkley; Geno Smith; and Mike Glennan, NC State.
Mike (San Diego)
If you were an NFL team, who are you taking first? T'eo or Jarvis Jones?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
It depends which team is picking No. 1. Luke Joeckel could be in the mix too if you need a OT. Damontre More, DE. Pass rushing OLB in Jones. The great ILB in T'eo. It all depends on need. Any one of them are worthy of being the No. 1 pick.
Do you see the Steelers taking a QB in this year's draft? I know they have higher needs on the defensive side of the ball but they need to get the QB of the future in there soon.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
Sure they could. They have to get better at the backup QB spot. Leftwich and Batch aren't getting it done. Ben has had injury issues the last few years. When he misses games, they lose. It's ironic that he got his job when Tommy Maddox got hurt. But no competent QB has stepped in. They have to get better, no question. That might be in a veteran that they bring in. They need a quality backup, no question.
If your the Packers, they have invested 2 of their last 3 1st round picks on OT's. Both are on IR. Do you draft another OT high or focus more on the G/C position?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
They need a center, they could use a RB. They went heavy defense last year and some of them have contributed and some haven't. They've been plauged by injuries again this year. They have to look at center and OT, as well as RB.
Mel, tell about where you see some of the Ohio State seniors and juniors going in the draft.
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
The top guy is Johnathan Hankins, DT, who I would have liked to have seen be more dominant. He's not great, but he has great physical ability. He's like Poe last year, he wasn't extremely productive, but he was very physical. Hankins is at No. 16 on the Board. Boren will be interesting. He was a FB when the year began, even though he's playing ILB right now. John Simon, senior, DE. He could be a situational 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB. Those are the guys that are draft eligible.
How high could a guy like Mike Glennon go with the great size and arm he has in a bad QB draft?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
I think he could go anywhere between 20-32. Weeden was a first round pick last year and he went pretty high. If you look at the player Glennon could be with better players around him, he has a lot of talent. If Weeden went 22, Glennon, no question could go in the same area.
Harry Henderson (CA)
My Chargers look to have a top 10 pick for the 1st time in a while. I'm thinking 3 positions make sense OL, WR and CB. So am I thinking correctly about guys like Joekel, Lewan maybe Allen, Patterson, Rodgers as WR's and Milner
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
CB opposite Brandon Flowers they could use. They could also use a WR, OT, ILB. They could look at Te'o, Joekel.
Will there be a center in the late first round for the ravens to replace birk with.
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
Gino Gradkowski, they drafted out of Delaware last year, he's the replacement for Matt Birk. What they really need is ILB. They could also use an OLB. They need a DL. Manti Te'o would be the perfect Raven, but they'd have to trade way up.
James (New York)
Do you think Geno Smith's accuracy numbers at WVU translates to the NFL? What do you think he has to overcome at the combine and all-star games to get in the conversation for a top 5-10 pick?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
He throws a nice ball. He's a pocket guy. He was playing 7 on 7 football early in the year. When he faced better defenses, his numbers dropped. He is not going to be a runner like RGIII. He has a strong arm. The system helped him. There will be a transition period to the NFL. I think he's a late first, early second round guys.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
We started the season on Sept. 1 and ending basically on Dec. 1. The only game before the bowls will be Army-Navy on Dec. 8. We'll know who's playing for the national championship after this week. It's amazing that this weekend ends the season. For all of the major sports, it's amazing that the best one has the quickest season.