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!
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
We have Jarvis Jones' pro day tomorrow. Te'o and Barkley are next week. We can talk about all that and more.
Is Tavon Austin a better prospect than percey harvin coming out of school?
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
He'll go higher in the draft. Percy was the 22nd pick to Minnesota. I could see Austin going 14. This is a different draft, a different year. It sets up perfectly for a 5-8 WR with versatility this year. His grade will be very similar.
If Geno is there for the Bills at 8, do they take him? if they go QB at 8, who would be a likely target at the top of the 2nd?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
They could take Geno Smith, it's something they could do. Ryan Nassib is the QB at Syracuse that Doug Marrone coached. They could take an OLB like Jarvis Jones if they pass on QB. They could take Mingo. They could reach a little for a WR. But Geno is a possibility. If they don't get Smith, I feel like Nassib is a better value pick. Their second round pick will be at 41, so they could get one there. They only have six total picks in the draft. There are five teams with five picks and four teams with six.
What small school qb that can be a solid nfl player?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
I don't know about solid. None of them have high grades that will be projected to be a starter going in. Brad Sorensen, Southern Utah is a guy I wrote about earlier in the year. He's got size. A pretty nice arm. Can throw on the move. He's the main guy.
Hi Mel , The Bears could really use some speed at wide receiver , who could you see available when they pick in both the 1st and 2nd round ?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
I don't think there's anything in the first. They have helped themselves in free agency, at LT and TE. Some guys that are more second round speed WRs, Markus Wheaton.
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
He's the main one.
Whats the difference/similarity between Dee Milliner and the first corner taken last year Mo claiborne?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
Very similar players. No question. When you look at their overall skill set, there is not much separating those two. You look at Milliner, he ran in the 4.38 range. Claiborne ran in the 4.4s. Milliner turned out to be faster and bigger. But he's going through a shoulder injury right now. Claiborne had better ball skills. Better hands. He was more of a playmaker in the secondary. Their overall grades are comparable.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Does it make sense for teams without a top tier QB to draft one every year in the middle rounds until they hit on their own Wilson or Kapernick?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
Always. You can never have enough. You have to try to catch lightning in a bottle with a QB. You have to try to do that. It's becoming more and more a QB league. Now they're making rules to limit what a RB can do. You can't power your way through traffic like you could. RBs have to become softer with their running style. It's become a finesse game. As it becomes 7 on 7 football, it's becoming a passing game. It's not like the old days. You could protect the QB by running the ball and playing good defense. Until you get a great QB, I keep drafting them. You're not paying the QBs huge money any more. If you miss, you have to cut and move on. I keep trying until I get a great one. Decent to good, I still move on. You want a team that has a great QB.
Whats your take on Justin Hunter? Do you think he has elite playmaking skills?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
He has elite talent. He's 6-4, run like the wind. He has tremendous leaping ability. He'll be 2 years removed from his knee injury this fall. I don't think he was at 100% last season. Now that he's 2 years removed, I think he'll be even better. If he had no prior injury, I think he's a top 10 pick this year.
Frank (New Orleans)
Should we be surprised if Alec Ogletree gets drafted before Jarvis Jones?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
It wouldn't shock me. I've said all along that Ogletree is an oustanding prospect. Two concerns: he's not a physical LB, not a traditional, throwback MLB. He's a finesse LB, coverage LB. He has tremendous range. He can get to the sidelines, get to the QB. I believe he can play OLB. He's also had some off the field issues.
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
He's worthy of being a top 10 pick on ability. Could he be a guy that goes in the top 10? Yeah, he could be. At worst, he goest 15-21.
Has Xavier Rhodes moved into the Top 10?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
No. There is some debate on whether he's a true CB or a safety. I don't grade him out as a top 10. On the way he played, I think top 20-32.
What Grade did you have on ed reed when he came out of miami?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
He was drafted in the first round. He was an elite prospect. He went 24 in 2002. I projected him to go 22 that year to the Jets. His grade was equal to the 22nd best player.
Lonny (Blaine, Mn)
Even with the signing of Jennings, do you think the Vikings need to reciever like K Allen with the first of there two first round picks?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
I think they will. They had a need even with Harvin. WR was their No. 1 need even with Harvin. He's gone now and you still need a WR. I think the Vikings could draft two WRs. They have 11 picks in the draft. They have the third most picks in the draft. They have 2 1sts, 2 4ths and 3 7ths. They have a lot of opportunities. They could use DT, CB, LB. They have an opportunity to get a lot of players. Plus it gives them some flexibility to move around.
Matty Nice (The Burg)
Mel, can the Steelers get Montee Ball in the second I think he is a perfect back for there system?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
Great fit. He's a complete back. He can run, catch and block. He's a Steeler type of back. He runs hard inside - though I'm not sure you can run hard inside any more. I'm trying to be fair in all of this, because of the injuries, but it's football. If you don't like the way it is, then eliminate the game. If it can't be played the way it's supposed to be played then eliminate it. You're going to have a game that's unrecognizable. I don't want to worry about in the last minute of a game when we're trying to run out the clock and my guy powers through for a first down but we get flagged for a 15 yard penalty because he's lowering his shoulders.
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
I'm not a fan of this rule. They're taking it way too far.
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
Think of how disgusting it's going to be as a fan watching a game and looking to see how a running back gets through trying to gain yards. I can't handle more penalties being thrown.
What makes Chance Womack the best guard you ever evaluated?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
Cooper is right there with him. They're two elite guards. They're both deserving to be top 10 picks. They won't be top 10 picks, because they're pure guards. Guards don't go that high. Cooper is the great athlete that could be 30 yards downfield making a block. Chance is a power guy who can pull. He's very underrated. They're both outstanding players.
Mel. the 49ers obviously won't use all their picks for players. Not 14 spots on roster. What would be your strategy if you were them? What players do they really want/need?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
Most of the picks are late. They can move around within the round. They have four 7th round picks. If they see a guy in the 6th or 5th round that they want to go get. Some teams would trade a5th round pick for a few extra 7ths. They have 2 2nds, 2 3rds, 2 4ths, 2 5ths, 1 6th and 4 7ths. They have flexibility. They could trade a handful of picks. Out of the 14 picks, I think they could end up with 9 players. With 2 2nds, you could see them giving up a 2nd this year to get a first next year. You could give up a three for a second next year. You could stockpile for next year. You could help yourself for next year.
Cory (Evansville, IN)
What do you see the Colts doing with their 24 overall pick? Do they trade it to obtain more picks in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
I think they have to look at two different places. They've added a RT and OLB. They could look at CB, like Desmond Trufant. They could continue to upgrade the OL, like a OG. But teams have to have four CBs that can cover.
How does the signing of Long affect the Rams regarding their 2 1st round picks? Know that Fisher doesn't like drafting OL in the 1st round but if Warmack or Cooper there at #16, can the Rams pass on either one?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
Not really. It effects that they don't take a LT. They weren't going to get a LT anyway, at 16 nor 22. All three LTs are going in the top 11. They needed a LT. By getting Jake Long, they can go after a WR, like Tavon Auston; a S like Kenny Vaccaro; TE like Tyler Eifert. Those are some options.
What two players or positions do the Vikes target at 23 and 25.
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
This is a team that when you look at where they are, they have 11 picks and flexibility. They have to come out with a WR. If they want to get the next Percy Harvin, they could move up to get Tavon Austin. If they want to move up, they can do that. They could hope that Justin Hunter is there. They also need a DT.
John.C (Bethlaham Park,NY)
Mel, If Matt Leinart and Mark Sanchez were in this years draft? Would you grade them higher or lower than Matt Barkley?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
Barkley's grade is still to be determined. He'll probably be a little lower. He would have had the highest of the three if he came out last year. Leinart and Sanchez were in the same grade area. Matt Barkley was slightly taller than Geno Smith at the combine. Both are about 6-2.25 for both. They both weighed about the same, with Barkley slightly bigger. I think Barkley will come into the draft underrated. A second round pick? You kidding me? He needs protection up front and he didn't get it in a lot of games. I think people will sleep on him. He'll end up in the second round and somebody will get a nice looking QB.
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
The last time something like this happened is Aaron Rodgers went from one to 24.
With the Browns giving big money to Kruger and Bryant, do you see them going offense with the 6th pick? Or maybe millner to team with Haden?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
They have to figure out their QB situation. You're in a division with three solid QBs. They all have confidence with their QBs, except Cleveland. They are playoff caliber QBs. You have to step it up at QB. Josh Gordon, they have high hopes for. They did some things at OL, but they could also use help at CB.
Who do you think the eagles will take in the 1st round? And do you think they should trade up in the second to get Elam or Reid?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
You think about the Eagles and everything they've done in free agency. They're going to be a 3-4 team. They added a OLB, DL, safety, CB. They could still get another CB. Patrick Chung played for Chip Kelly at Oregone. The OL will get some injured players back. They're a hard team to call, because they've done some things in free agency.
What round do you see Tyrann Mathieu being drafted in?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
3rd or 4th.
Where do you ultimately think Matt Scott QB of Arizona gets drafted? Buzz has been positive. 2nd rounder?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
He's got ability. He's helped himself through the process. He's 6-2. Mobile. Can beat you with his legs. Can pick up first downs with his legs. I think he ends up a 3-4 round pick.
Mel~ If the Dumervil situation in Denver is not resolved, what draft options do you think are available at DE, for the Broncos? Thank you.
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
There are a lot of guys who are combo players in this draft, a lot of 3-4 OLB, edge guys. A lot. Travis Johnson at San Jose St. is way off the radar. Brandon Thurmond, Arkansas-Pine Bluff. McCray, Florida. Steven Means, Buffalo. Travis Long, Washington State.
If a LT is sitting at 12 for Fins...is that a no brainier?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
Martin was drafted as a LT last year for the Dolphins, but they played him at RT. I thought it was an odd pick. With Jake Long gone, I think he can switch over to LT and they can look at RT. But the top three LTs will be gone in the top 11.
Whats teh biggest need for dallas in the 1st round?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
Dallas I would say the interior OL is a huge need. Secondary. Safety.
Mel, where do you see Patterson going? How do you rate him vs. a demaryius thomas coming out a few years ago?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
They're different kinds of players. Thomas came out of a run oriented offense at Georgia Tech. But he had a great average per catch. Patterson is a juco kid, didn't have a great year. Didn't have tremendous production. Wasn't consistent, but has phenomenal upside. Physically he has what you're looking for. He can go get the football. His route running needs improvement. He's raw. Thomas was raw because he played in a run offense. Patterson is raw because he's only played one year in major college. I think he can go in the middle of the first.
who are the prospects really starting to rise as we near the draft, and which are falling?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
Guys that are on the rise: Landry Jones, QB, Oklahoma; Matt Scott, QB, Arizona; Vance McDonald, TE, Rice; JC Tretter, C, Cornell; Kyle Juszczyk FB/HB, Harvard; Chris Harper, WR, Kansas State; Montori Hughes, DT, Tennessee-Martin; Robert Alford, CB, Southeast Louisiana; Jamar Taylor, CB, Boise State; BW Webb, CB, William & Mary; Shamarko Thomas, S, Syracuse; JJ Wilcox, S, Georgia Southern.
Is Eddie Lacy worth a 1st round pick? Or can you get similar value in rounds 3-4?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
I've always believed you can get similar values at any point later in the draft. Do you think Bernard Pierce in the third round was equal to a first rounder? Yeah. But Eddie Lacy deserves to be a first round pick. Either he or Montee Ball should be the first RB taken. They're the two elite RBs. Both are deserving of being first rounders.
What's your thoughts on UVA's Oday Aboushi?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
He's not a bad player. He's a RT in the NFL. He could maybe playe guard. He could be a starter in time. He's probably ta 3-4 round pick.
Is Landry Jones worth a 2nd rd pick?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
That's where he could go. I think 2 or 3 round. At one point in the year, I was thinking 4-5 rounder. But Senior Bowl Week and the combine went well for him.
If the Panthers go with Tavon Austin (as you indicated on your mock) is he instantly the best WR on their roster?
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
He becomes a dynamic performer right away, yeah. Just give him the ball. I saw him play at Dunbar High School in Baltimore. He was great there. Great at WVU. He's tough for his size. Durable for his size. He played in the secondary in high school. He's amazingly durable. He's slippery. He's diverse in talent. He has multiple big play skills. That's invaluable in the league right now. 5-10 years ago, he was a second round pick.
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
If Danny Amendola, Devon Bess, Wes Welker can put up huge numbers in this league, what can Austin do? Those three guys were all undrafted free agents. What do you think Tavon Austin can do? He should be able to be spectacular.
Should the NY Giants go for OL or LB with their first pick..
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
The Giants have always been reluctant to draft OL in the first round. LB is something they need to upgrade. The TE position. But definitely an Ogletree, Te'o. Or a Tyler Eifert at TE.
Do you see Ziggy Ansah being drafted in the TOP 10 picks? How high if so? Or Will his age concern squash that?
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
He'll be a top 10 pick. He's going to be a top 10 pick. Maybe even a top 5 pick. I had him going to Detroit on March 11 in Mock 3.0. Mock 4.0 will be coming out on April 4.
Is KC locked in with Luke J at 1, or do you think they will be able to trade down a few spots? Also, any recent news on trading Ablert for pick(s)? Appreciate the hour!
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
They've improved their secondary, their DL, their QB. They've done a lot of good things in free agency. They could get Joeckel and move Albert down the line. If they stay at No. 1, then I think it's a LT.
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
We got a lot of stuff covered today. Next Wednesday we'll be talking about Pro Days that have happened!