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 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:02 PM)
Tony (Richmond, CA)
How much will Aaron Murray's struggles in big games impact his draft stock, if any?
Mel Kiper (2:03 PM)
It certainly will impact it. You want a QB that will win games against top level competition. We knew that going into the game on Saturday. He'll have another chance this weekend against South Carolina. They've lost three straight games to SC. He has an LSU game coming up. They play at Vanderbilt. They have Florida in Jacksonville. They have some marquee games coming up. This game coming up is a big one. There is no question that could factor into the evaluation process.
Mel Kiper (2:04 PM)
He had that error at the end of the Alabama game in the SEC title game last year. That cost them a chance at that game and maybe at a national title. He's been close in the games, but you have to win them.
Dave (Redding, CT)
I know it was only one game, but your thoughts on Jameis Winston? What is his ceiling?
Mel Kiper (2:05 PM)
I think he has the No. 1 pick overall feeling. That's what he could be in the 2015 draft. He's not eligible this year, but he could be them. He's 6-4. He has a great arm. What really impressed me against Pitt was the poise in the pocket. That's one game. We want to see how he deals with the tougher competition. The Clemson game will be big. He's in the Heisman discussion and it wouldn't surprise me if he's in the No. 1 overall discussion in 2015 or 2016.
How does a perennial SB contender end up with 14 rookies, 7 of which were not drafted, make their opening day roster? Particularly notable: no salary cap constraints.
Mel Kiper (2:07 PM)
There has been a lot of turnover in personnel. They haven't won a Super Bowl in 2004. They were beaten again soundly by the Ravens at home. They had some injuries and some unfortunate situations. They have no problem bringing in an influx of talent. Brady tends to make everyone better on defense. They obviously believe in their talent evaluators. But they have to get better. They've lost too many playoff games the last 8 years.
How do you see the game tonight?
Mel Kiper (2:09 PM)
I think weather will be a factor. The heat will be a factor. The Ravens have a new look defense. How they come together. The worst thing is catching Peyton Manning when you're still trying to figure out your defense. Not having Boldin and Pitta hurt the offense, especially in the red zone. The Broncos are in revenge mode. But they have some injuries. I would be pleasantly surprised if Denver lost, because I'm a Ravens fan, but it would be a surprise.
What's your opinion of the Florida State O-Line? Any day one or day two potential draft picks?
Mel Kiper (2:10 PM)
Cameron Erving is on my Big Board. Josue Matias and Tre Jackson, both guards are outstanding players. Both have first round ability. Stork has a chance to be a nice player, he's my sixth highest rated draft eligible center. They are loaded on the OL, which will help Winston.
Brandon (Winston Salem)
MelI know UNC on the whole struggled last week, but did Hurst's performance against clowney, maybe help solidify a first round grade for him?
Mel Kiper (2:11 PM)
Hurst is a solid player. He's a great collegiate LT. He's a four year starter. He doesn't make mistakes. He's sound fundamentally. He's a guy that's a great LT in a great LT crop. There are three LTs ranked in the top 8 overall and four in the top 17. He's my 10th highest rated draft eligible player.
How much of an impact will Mingo have once healthy and back on the field?
Mel Kiper (2:12 PM)
They need an impact from Mingo. He's got potential to help them. Normally the edge pass rushers do well early in their careers. Eight out of every 10 you see will do a good job their first year, if they can stay healthy.
kenrat [via mobile]
is it over for ksu
Mel Kiper (2:14 PM)
It hurts when you lose to a North Dakota State. They'd be a competitive team in a number of conferences. It's not like you're losing to a middle of the road I-AA opponent. It's not a shocker. They've beaten teams from the Big 12 and Big Ten before. They're experienced. KSU has Louisiana-Lafayette this weekend, another tough game. KSU could be a 4-8, 5-7 tema this year.
Mel Kiper (2:15 PM)
They loss two key guys. Klein and Arthur Brown.
Bob (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
Can we see Matt McGloin start a game for the Raiders? Any impact on Coach Obrien and PSU's program for future recruits?
Mel Kiper (2:16 PM)
I would doubt it. Barring injury, the QBs that play are the ones that you feel are legit starters in this league. I don't know if you have one on that team. Terrelle Pryor has the physical skills, but is he accruate enough? Matt Flynn, I'd like to see what he can do in a game. McGloin is the classic overachiever. He found a way to win at PSU and he just has a knack for doing positive things on the field at QB. He's a factor, but it would surprise me if he were a starter at the start of the season. He's had a better camp than anyone could invision.
Any thoughts on Maryland's dynamic WR, Stefon Diggs?
Mel Kiper (2:17 PM)
Phenomenal talent. I saw him at Good Council High School in Olney, Md. He's a top 10 pick. He's bigger than Tavon Austin. He's a top 5 to 10 pick when he's draft eligible. He's a sophomore this year.
2014 could shape up to be one of the better O-Line draft classes of recent years. Who are your top rated Offensive Tackles and Guards and some under-the-radar O-Lineman that could move up the draft boards?
Mel Kiper (2:19 PM)
Right now, Jake Matthews, the OT from TAMU is the No. 1 OT. Followed by Cyrus Kouandjio, Alabama. Lewan. Irving. Antonio Richardson, Tennessee. Those are your first round caliber OTs. Gabe Jackson, MS State is one of the top OGs. Travis Swanson is the top center.
How about the Towson upset of UConn? Was Ambrose the brains behind the operation at UConn when Edsall was there?
Mel Kiper (2:23 PM)
Great win for Towson. Albert was a legendary coach at Towson. Followed by Ambrose. He was a key assistant to Randy Edsall at UConn. He's off to a great start. For UConn, they just have to find a way. They can't generate any offense. The offense has always been a problem. The defense falls back because they lost so many to the NFL. Next week, they play Maryland. Then, Michigan. You're looking at 2-10, 3-9 season. After 5-7 last year, that wouldn't be good.
Thoughts on the Browns this season? One of the surprise teams of the year?
Mel Kiper (2:25 PM)
Everybody seems to feel that they could be a surprise team, which means they're not a surprise any more. The imrpovement that Brandon Weeden's shown with Norv Turner, who's a QB guru. Weeden's 30. The OL is solid. They have weapons around him. You could see the consistency imrpvoe. Richardson has to stay at full strength. If they get to 8-8, that's a successful year.
What do you think of Ra'Shede Hageman? What's his ceiling in the 2014 draft? Top 15-20 pick?
Mel Kiper (2:26 PM)
He's got to produce. Production, week to week. Improving his technique. He's a rare physical speciman. You don't see guys his size moving the way he does at 6-6, 315. He came to Minnesota as a TE. He's a freak talent wise. If he produces this season, I could see him going high.
With the draft just around the corner, do you feel Austin Seferian-Jenkins can be drafted top-3?
Mel Kiper (2:27 PM)
He's a first rounder. He's my 26th highest rated player. The only reason he's 26 is he was suspended last week. He's got freakish talent. You don't see guys as big as he is with that talent. This is a kid that can really move. He has the agility of a WR. He can be a major, major weapon in the NFL.
Mel! Really impressed with LSU D-lineman Ego Ferguson during week 1. Moves really well for his size. Is he on scouts' radars?
Mel Kiper (2:29 PM)
He was a wait and see prospect. Based on the performance he had, he'll be a guy that has a lot more eyes on him. He had a heckuva game against TCU. You could make the case he was the best defensive player in that game. He's a focused young man. Works hard. He's a junior. He had the reputation as a run stuffer, but he showed he was more than that. Anthony Johnson is my 21st highest rated player, so having him there, he'll take some focus. Ferguson has a chance to move into the first three rounds of the draft if he keeps playing like this.
Rob (Wilkes-Barre, PA)
How long until Oakland turns this ship around?
Mel Kiper (2:32 PM)
First, you have to sort out the QB position. This is a QB driven league. It's all about the QB. Who will be the guy to step forward. Are any of the QBs on this roster capable of getting you to the playoffs? After McFadden, look at the skill position players, the receiving entities on this team. They are questionable. They have some talent on defense, but the offense has to help them out. If they win more than five games it will be a surprise.
Hey Mel, thanks for doing these chats. What's your feel on Mettenberger? Big arm, big build as we have have seen for years. Any chance running that offense for Cam Cameron helps his stock?
Mel Kiper (2:33 PM)
Yeah, it will. Cam has already done a lot of good things for him. He's got the size, great arm. Mettenberger was in great shape going into the year. He could be a guy you look at in the fifth round area.
He went undrafted and wasn't even invited to the combine, but Joe Vellano made the Pats 53. I know you must have seen him play at MD - undersized, but kept making plays. How did you have him rated?
Mel Kiper (2:35 PM)
I gave him a 6th round grade. My final comment on him was: "played DT and DE as a senior. Productive. Quick first step. Motor never stops. Lacks ideal size. But tough. Brings great effort and intensity every snap. Excellent lateral movement. Classic overachiever. Blue collar worker who will find a way to make an NFL roster."
Whats Up With JaDaveaon Clowny?!
Mel Kiper (2:37 PM)
You can't overreact to one game. He has to get himself to where he can go full steam every play. Chaz Sutton, the fifth year senior, the other DT had a heckuva game. Keep in mind that last year Clowney wasn't under the microscope. Whenever he had a sack or tackle for loss, he was on the highlights. But he wasn't under the microscope. He's No. 1 on the Big Board, but if his production is lacking, he'll move, but after one game there is no movement.
Which college quarterback do you think will improve his stock the most this season?
Mel Kiper (2:38 PM)
Ooh. Good question. Tajh Boyd, probably. I think he has a chance. He doesn't have prototypical height. He's off to a good start. He'll be a guy that some are higher on than others. He has a chance to rise. Bryce Petty, Baylor has a lot of ability.
Joseph (Alexandria, LA)
La'el Collins....you are not high on him now Mel. But you will be by the end of the year. You heard it here first!
Mel Kiper (2:40 PM)
I agree. That's a kid that has as much upside as any LT in the country. He's 6-5, 320. He moved from LG to LT. He has great feet, strong hands. Great leadership ability. He has a chance to get into the first round discussion.
What about Chase Rettig? Will he catch on as an UDFA/late round pick? Has been through 5 coordinators in 4 years, starts every game, strong arm with not much talent around him.
Mel Kiper (2:41 PM)
He could. He found a way to pull that game out against Villanova. He could be a guy that people look at as an undrafted free agent or late rounder. He's a veteran of collegiate wars. He's played a lot of football at Boston College.
What kind of prospect do you see Kenny Bell WR from Nebraska?
Mel Kiper (2:41 PM)
He's a junior who can really run. Good hands. Very effective route runner. He's about 6-feet and could add a little weight to his frame. He's an interesting kid as a junior WR.
Jeff (Mclean, VA)
Getting way ahead of ourselves, but what kind of pro prospects do you foresee for Christian Hackenberg?
Mel Kiper (2:44 PM)
I watched him in high school. I love his size and arm. I saw some good things against Syracuse, and he also made some freshman mistakes. Allen Robinson is one of the best offensive players in the country and he'll need to lean on him. The situation there is can he maintain it? It was a heavy QB competition for the job. Right now, that will be a kid that has a chance, with his size and arm, to be a factor down the road, but he's only a freshman.
You said Diggs is a pheomenal talent. What about WR Deon Long, who boasted a better game last week opposite Diggs?
Mel Kiper (2:45 PM)
He did come in and do a good job. They have weapons. Long was generating a lot of positive commentary during that game. Long has enormous ability. You have Diggs and all of this other talent around the QB. They had four wins last year, but they could go 8-4 very easily this year. They just had a ton of injuries at QB last year, where they played a LB at QB last year.
Justin (Montgomery, AL)
Best RB in the SEC this year is...?
Mel Kiper (2:47 PM)
You've got TJ Yeldon at Alabama, Todd Gurley at Georgia are the two studs. They're heads and shoulders above the rest. So, take your pick. One of those two. Jeremy Hill at LSU is also in the mix with a ton of ability.
Mel Kiper (2:47 PM)
It's a three horse race.
Kayden (Seaside, FL)
What do you make of FSU's backfield Mel? Wilder, Freeman, Green, Pender. Will we finally have a 1,000 yd rusher this season? And who will lead this pack?
Mel Kiper (2:49 PM)
Having an OL like FSU does, which is phenomenally talented. Having a QB like Winston, the OL will allow for some big holes to run through. They're in good shape with the running game. Wilder's fine, but he got a bit banged up, but they don't play this week. They have a week off. It's good to come off the first game and heal the bumps and bruises. Wilder and Freeman have a chance to put up some big numbers. If Winston plays like he's shown, they have a chance to be right there for the national title.
Mel--any reasonable chance Tommy Rees has a shot in the NFL? I am sure his physical attributes and statistics say otherwise but he seems to have a good head on his shoulders and above all wins games. Your thoughts, thanks.
Mel Kiper (2:51 PM)
I think that's the thing. He's been around football his entire life, and that's important for QBs. He's 215 pounds. He's a great leader. He's smart. He's not real tall, but he finds a way to move the chains. He finds a way to win football games. He's kind of like Matt McGloin.
Thomas (Ft Lauderdale, FL)
What do you expect from the Miami/Florida game this weekend? Looks like a decent matchup and potential mismatch of Miami's strong defense against Florida's unproven offense.
Mel Kiper (2:52 PM)
I'm a little surprised that Florida is a 3-point favorite. That's my upset alert game. They're favored on the road. Miami has a lot of talent. A veteran OL. This is a game Miami needs to win. This is the year they could get Florida. If they do, it could catapult Miami to a 11-1 season. I don't think they beat Florida State, but that could be a huge game.
Kayden (Seaside, FL)
GT slaughtered Elon last weekend! I realize it's Elon but you have to be impressed with GTs defense. Looks like its finally coming around.
Mel Kiper (2:55 PM)
The competition is a big factor in a lot of these early season games, both good and bad. Perspective is needed this time of year. But this is a team defensively that has some studs. Any time you can put out the talent they do.....Jeremiah Attaochu, sr., DE; Jabari Hunt-Days, soph., MLB; Jemea Thomas, sr., CB. Thomas has 7 career INTs. Outstanding player. Leader. Attaochu is a great talent. They've simplified things on defense. They could very easily be a 8-4 team.
Mel Kiper (2:57 PM)
I'm excited about tonight's game and into the weekend! Until the NFL comes back, it doesn't feel like a real football weekend. Some outstanding games. There are three big ones in college: Florida at Miami. It's great to see a high noon kickoff. I love to see that. South Carolina at Georgia. Notre Dame at Michigan at night. Finally, college football gets some spacing throughout the day with their kickoff times. We'll be back next Thursday to do it all over again!