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!
Mel Kiper (1:01 PM)
Hope everyone had a good week! Let's get to the questions!
Keenan (Atlanta, GA)
Did you downgrade any of the Georgia defensive players after they got steamrolled Saturday Night? I know the Bama line is top notch, but Jarvis Jones, in particular, looked very vulnerable against the run.
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
You run at great pass rushers. They made that point. The best way to beat Lawrence Taylor was to run right after him. Jones was getting double-teamed and they needed someone to step up. Nick Saban is a smart coach and knew what they had to do. He just decided to run - their bread and butter - and it paid off. It doesn't mean Jones isn't going to be a good player. I don't dowgrade for that. It was just smart football from Alabama.
Is it difficult to evaluate a player on a bad team? Torrey Smith is a good example. Seems like he didn't see the ball enough at Md. Or is it easier to steal a player in the draft who is on a bad team that doesn't use his skills?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
Sometimes the opposition focuses on the dominate player on a bad team. So you can impress that way. You can't focus on 3-4 guys, but sometimes a team will target one guy ... even a defensive lineman. If you are a great corner on a bad team, you aren't going to get much action. It's the nature of the beast and changed from position to position. A good RB on a bad team isn't going to get much running room, so if he does really well, it's a nice feather in your cap. It can be a good or bad thing for a player being on a bad team.
If your a defensive coordinator how do you stop rg3 and morris?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
I think you have to be sound in your fundamentals and can't overcommit. You have to find that balance. Once you get a read on what they are doing, you can adjust. It's like going through the batting order once in baseball. Second time around you can find success. This is part of what is happening with Cam Newton this year. Or Tim Tebow if he were starting. RGIII is finding success this year, but everyone is going to have a year to study him. It will be very interesting to see how teams react to him next season. Is it coincidental that a player's sophomore year tends to go down from rookie year? Defenses get smarter and they develop a book on players. They will find out how to take away your comfort zone. It's like giving Nick Saban a month to prepare for a game. That's a huge edge.
Steve in wichita [via mobile]
I am hearing more and more that Barkley is being considered an average prospect. Your thoughts?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
The bottom line is when you lack elite physical skills and don't have prototypical size ... Andrew Luck has speed and size and a 36 inch vertical jump ... that's what you are up against. Barkley isn't as tall, arm isn't as good and didn't put up the big numbers this year. He was teh starting QB for four losses. And the rest of the sked was pretty easy. They had no signature win this year. Put it all together and you go from a Top 5 pick last year to between 25-30 this year.
What do you think of Bryce Brown? How did he not get drafted before the 7th round
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
Even being drafted late is still getting drafted. He was a top recruit in the nation following high school. As a true freshman he rushed for almost 500 yards, had over 100 in a game, 3 TDs, etc. Then he sits out a year and you forget about him. Then only played in 2 games for 3 carries and decided to come out. So he never really showcased his talent in college. So it wasn't a surprise he was drafted low. He just didn't play that much, but that also means he didn't have a lot of tread on his tires and wasn't beat up. I called him the wild card in the draft. He showed a lot of potential, but we didn't have the production to put with it. So far so good. He just has to go to the Tiki Barber School of Fumbling. You cannot fumble the ball away and keep your position.
Eric (Long beach cali)
Do you think Larry Fitzgerald should demand out of AZ if they dont get him a quarterback?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
This has been the downfall of Whisenhunt. He went with Warner at first and everyone applauded that. They almost won a Super Bowl. Then Warner retires and they have nothing. So they trade for Kolb who got hurt. You draft Skelton and he gets benched. Then you go with Lindley who was never really an accurate passer. Watching that game Sunday, why didn't they pull him? It was one of the worst displays of QBing you will ever see. This team had high expectations. They beat good teams. 4-0 against a tough schedule. They may not win another game. To answer the question, yes, this impacts him greatly. He is possibly facing a coach change and an unsure QB situation. But everything can change overnight. Alex Smith, Michael Vick and others could be out there on the block. You can't give up just yet. It can all change very quickly.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Mel, Early NFL Rookie of the Year Prediction & other possible awards - RGIII who is putting up some interesting passing numbers or Andrew Luck who has the Colts at 8-4 and heading for the playoffs?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
What a tough call. So hard to determine. Is it stats or winning? I did a study on how many times QBs are hit. Luck has been hit 78 times in 12 games. Brady has been hit 45 times. Rodgers behind a struggling Packers line 65 times. A lot of Luck's completions have come with guys draped all over him. When you are getting hit all the time you are going to be throwing the ball away which will hurt your accuracy, cause INTs, etc. Being under durress will do that. He's also coming from behind a lot, but leading them to wins. Without Luck, they would have won 1 or 2 games this year. They could win double-digit games so he has brought tremendous value. RGIII is on a team that beat the Giants twice last year. Two years ago beat the Super Bowl champion Packers. Don't forget about Russell Wilson. It's just too close to call right now.
Mel, Seems like it might be a great year for TEs in this coming draft. Any Gronks out there? and do you think some of the junior TEs will come out.
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
We didn't know Gronk was going to be Gronk! Hernandez went in the 4th round! The whole first round passed on Gronkowski. That was a year where Jimmy Graham went end of 3rd round with the 95th pick. It was a great year for TE's. The only first round TE is Tyler Eifert from Notre Dame. He is my No. 1 TE. Zach Ertz from Stanford is my No. 2. Late first, early second round grade. After that, Dion Sims from Michigan State, Jordan Reed from Florida. They are all juniors. Chris Gragg from Arkansas is the top senion TE. Eifert and Ertz are the guys to watch.
jake, utah [via mobile]
With the chiefs looking at the # 1 pick and no quarterbacks looking worthy of a number 1 pick, who do u see going number 1? A manti teo to go along with a pretty good outside backer crew and trade for a Alex Smith or Matt Flynn or.give Quinn a.chance?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
The No. 1 pick, if it's the Chiefs, could be a left tackler like Luke Joeckel from A&M or Notre Dame's Manti Te'o. No QBs or WRs could go No. 1. No corner worthy of a No. 1. I think Joeckel or Te'o would be a good pick.
Is someone like the Jets gonna grab Clausen? I am with you he is NFL ready, especially now and someone needs to roll with his impressive talent. Jets, AZ?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
The league is not going to make that bold of a move. Jimmy is a guy I like, but a lot of people don't. The one team that seemed to like him was Seattle but they have their QB position set. Carolina drafted him, but they have Cam Newton now. It would be a bold GM to do that. Jimmy is in a rough spot right now. He needs some things to fall into place, a team with injuries, etc., to try and get that opportunity. He was written off as a QB who couldn't get it done, but I don't think it was fair. He probably would have been better served to stay at ND one more year. He had a nice preseason and works hard, but to take a flyer on him would be tough.
Mac (carlisle, pa) [via mobile]
I asked this question at the beginning of the season, but now I want to see how it changed. Where do you have Geno Smith on your big board after all of WVU's struggles?
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
Geno, what you see is what you get. This team coudln't stop anyone. Horrible defense. With a defense that bad, it puts pressure on the QB. They scored 49 against Oklahoma and lost. That kind of thing happened a lot this year. You can't blame the team's struggles on him. He has enough athletic ability to get outside the pocket, but he's not even close to RGIII in that area. He throws a nice ball and works hard at the game. The system obviously helped him, but he is battling Matt Barkley and Mike Glennon from NC State to be the first QB taken. Logan Thomas is there as well as a junior, but as a wild card. Senior Bowl weekend in Mobile is probably what will separate some of these guys.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
What's the upside of a Colin Kaepernick? Dude has a rocket arm and is fast, oh and he's 6'4"...does his upside rival a RG3 or Luck?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
I think he has a very exciting upside. When you are as big as he is, you have a lot of opportunities. We get lost in his unorthodox delivery, but he is a big kid who can throw. He had to tweak his delivery some and he will have to work on his accuracy. He may never be a great pure passes, but his size and athletic ability and leadership skills will help him be a really good QB. But it will all come down to his accuracy as to whether he can be great.
Hey Mel, love your work! Where do you think Te'o will be taken in the draft and how prohibitive would it be for the Bears to move up quite a bit to get him in the draft if need be? Is it different now compared to how it use to be because of the lower priced contracts?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
They would have to move up quite a bit. This is a playoff team. They have bigger problems on the offensive line. That line is not one that can get the team to a Super Bowl. Cutler takes hit after hit. He's getting pounded. You just can't have that. They thought they could develop some guys like Webb, but it just hasn't worked out. They have to shore up that line first.
Bill from Florida [via mobile]
What round do you think EJ Manuel may be drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
EJ is a guy right now that has kind of been teetering between being the 5th best senior QB and the 7th best. He's in the fourth round discussion. You see the size, decent arm, etc., but it seems he is missing something that doesn't allow him to take that next step.
Did you project Greg Mcelroy as a eventual starter in the nfl?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
He's got the mind for it. He is a tremendously cerebral QB and that will help him. He is a winner. From 8th grade until middle of 2010 he didn't lose a game. He is a great leader. I just question if he has the arm strength. Mobility is below average. In the right system he could maybe battle for a spot, but he's probably a backup. I just don't know if he can make some of the throws he will need to make in the NFL.
Mel, Theo Riddick has really had a great but under-valued year in the Irish backfield. Where does he project as a NFL prospect?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
I think he goes in the third round. He presents a lot of options for teams as to how they can utilize him. He can be a change of pace buy, a slot receiver, help in the return game. He has great value in this "new NFL". He has arguably been the offensive MVP for the Fighting Irish.
Mel, it seems like a lot of people have been down on Brandon Weeden since before the draft, and a lot of them still seem to be. Obviously it's still very early in his career, but have you been impressed or has your opinion of him changed at all based on some of his recent performances?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
I think the main thing is he is 29. The window is narrower for him. He has to be playing a high level right now. At some point you get diminishing returns. He has the size, arm strength, etc. It seems like he gets rattled when he gets pressured. He has missed some wide open receivers. That has to be eliminated. They have settled for FGs in a lot of situations where a TD could have been the difference in the game. This team could have easily been 6-6 with better QB play.
Do you think the Jets made the right decision in starting Sanchez?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
I don't have a problem with anything they are doing because they aren't going anywhere. No reason to obsess over it. They have a lot of decisions to make. They just don't have enough talent on this team. Do they completely tear down and start over or tweak it? My attitude with Sanchez is not long ago he was called Sanchize. I think bringing in Tebow hurt his confidence. The OC has to take a hit here. Sparano has left a lot to be desired. They don't have the receivers or running game. The OL has been a disappointment. Sanchez has had to deal with all of this. He's had guys completely unblocked, untouched coming at him. Sanchez has been terrible, yes, but when you have no confidence and nothing around him, it's a recipe for disaster.
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
This team has more question marks than any team in the NFL.
Butler (Arkansas) [via mobile]
As an arkansas fan, I'm extremely excited about the hiring of Brett Bielema, how do we'll do you think he will transition from the Big Ten to the SEC?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
This was a surprising move to me. I didn't see this coming at all. He's a great coach and always great to deal with. Pays great attention to detail. He was excellent at Wisconsin. But I just didn't see him making this move. Arkansas got a good coach, but you are still in the SEC. Petrino and Nutt had this team in good shape.. but you are in the mix with LSU, Alabama, A&M, etc. Ole Miss is going to be an up and coming team. Auburn has a chance to rebound with a new coach. It's an extremely tough division. For me, the Big 10 is an easier road, but I guess he wants the challenge.
Keaton [via mobile]
Any chance Collin Klein will get drafted? Kid has got terrific work ethic.
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
I think he will get drafted, but as a receiving entity. He won't be a QB. His passing skills are not good enough. He will have to be a H-back, TE, etc. He'll need to add some weight and show some ability. He should work out as a receiver at the Senior Bowl. Probably a fifth-sixth round guy.
John Hyatt (Indiana)
Who do you see winning the super bowl this year?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
My Super Bowl pick in August was Texans vs. Packers. Green Bay is struggling right now and facing a lot of injuries. They just can't get their whole team on the field at the same time. Houston has been injury plauged as well but are playing through it. In the NFC it boils down to Atlanta and Giants ... and can't factor out the Packers just yet. But I'd probably say Falcons at this point. In the AFC I'd have to go with the Patriots.
What is one key position that the colts are missing in their team that they should get in the 2013 draft?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
They have the franchise QB obviously. He has lived up to the hype. He has rookies everywhere around him on the offense yet he has been unbelievable. He's doing it on a bad team. Luck makes the team look better than they are. He has picked up where Manning left off ... carrying the team. They need help on OL desperately. That is the biggest area by far.
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
Thanks for the questions! I'll be back next Wednesday to do it all again! We have a great NFL slate coming up this week ... and Army-Navy as well! Next week we can really start digging into the bowl matchups! Take care!