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 (1:48 PM)
Hey everyone, we're going to get started a little early with Mel today, so get those questions in!
If the rams/Bradford's struggles continue do you think they would release Bradford and take a quarterback.
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
There is an awful lot of money invested in Bradford. What they need to do is find a No. 1 WR. Austin went in the top 10, but he's not a No. 1. He's a piece and a good returner, but they don't have a No. 1. They don't have a quality RB either. When you don't have either a RB or WR, the QB bears the brunt of the criticism. I give Bradford the benefit of the doubt until they get more around him. I would give them the offseason and get some more pieces around him and then give him next year to make the final evaluation.
Do you think Abbrederis can become a Wes Welker or Jordy Nelson type receiver in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
He is a WR who has the ability to be a No. 2. He won't be the go-to guy, but he can be the No. 2. He has pretty good size. And he has great ability to use his frame to shield the defender. He's over 6-1. He's quicker than people give him credit for. He got the best of Roby and Ohio State last weekend. Roby was at times overmatched. I think he could help a team as a No. 2.
MEL 2 (ALA)
Mel, what if anything will be the hit to HA HA's draft stock? Also who are some other FS to watch for? Thank you.
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
When is he coming back? When does that happen? They have some cupcakes coming up over the next four games. Then there's an open week before LSU. Nov. 9, that's the big game of the year. If he's back for that and back for the rest of the season, you certainly want to finish out the year. We'll have to see the extent of the suspension. He still has eligibility remaining.
Bootney (Las Vegas, NV.)
Who would be a great hire for USC?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
It was time to turn the page at USC. Lane Kiffin has not been a successful head coach at any level. For the talent they had last year, they didn't live up to expectations. They lost to Georgia Tech in the bowl game. The defense is supposed to be their strength, but they gave up over 60 points to ASU. They have a great recent tradition. This is a great job. Jack Del Rio has been brought up. I've always been a huge supporter of Mike Riley. Art Briles. Kevin Sumlin. Those are some of the names we'll hear about.
Kenny Bx [via mobile]
If Hoyer continues this solid play does Cle stay away from a qb in rd 1? Does Giants draft a Left Tackle like Lewan or Matthews if they continue to be on their way to a 4-12 season?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
They could. Not stay away entirely, but in the first round and maybe second round. Then maybe look for one in the third round or later than that. No one thought the Rams had the answer in Kurt Warner when Trent Green went down. History tells us that you can strike gold with some of these QBs. I gave Hoyer a fourth round grade coming out. He gets the ball out of his hands quicker than any QB starting in the NFL right now. Ironically, the QB that held the ball the longest, it was Brandon Weeden.
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
All of these games, they'll be evaluating Hoyer.
I saw this morning in another publication that they have Lewan rated outside the top 5 OL in the next draft because of his play this year so far - do you agree ?
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
First of all, LTs will have some ups and downs at times. It's the nature of the position. Sometimes it's not the players' fault. You watch the tape to find out what exactly happened. He's had some games where he hasn't played well and others where he's been a top 10 pick. But right now Jake Matthews has moved up into the No. 1 LT spot. The keys games for Lewan are PSU, Oct. 12; MSU; Northwestern, Nov. 16; at Iowa Nov. 23; OSU. There are a lot of good evaluation games against some good pass rushers.
Do you see Alshon Jeffrey continuing to improve? He looked good last week.
Mel Kiper (2:01 PM)
He has a lot of ability. There were several points in time when he looked like a mid to late first round pick. If he remains consistent, opposite Marshall, there are some physical mismatches against the smaller CBs.
who is going to win Thursday NFL game bills or clev
Mel Kiper (2:02 PM)
This is a game where if you're Cleveland, you're at home. Buffalo ran the ball effectively against the Ravens. They benefitted from 5 INTs from Flacco. Both teams are riding a high. Cleveland has all of this positive energy from Hoyer. You can't underestimate that. They've had two big wins. It's a battle of two teams figuring out their QBs. It should be a fun, entertaining game.
Mel Kiper (2:03 PM)
Cleveland right now has to be thinking that it's not out of the possibility that you win this division. This division is struggling. The defense has stepped up. This is a team that could do some nice things in that division. But you have to win tonight.
Mel Kiper (2:05 PM)
Since 1990, when the expanded playoff format started, only 13.4 percent of teams with a losing record after five games made the playoffs. So, you don't want to be 2-3 or worse after this week.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
How much did Zach Mettenberger stock raise after his performance in Athens? And where does he project on your Big Board?
Mel Kiper (2:06 PM)
It's rising steadily. It's moving every week. You hate the prevent defense. Georgia attacked Mettenberger on that last drive, that's why the drive stalled. He's moved from a late round possibility to a early round possibility in one year.
Mel, what is your thought on why Tuitt has been sliding so far this year? Looks to have put up good stats, has a great body for a 3-4 DE at the next level, think he could slide to the end of RD 1? Thank you.
Mel Kiper (2:07 PM)
He hasn't slid that far. He's played two pretty good games back to back so far. It seems like he's in better condition than earlier this year. He has good pass rush. I've been pretty impressed with him. Now, he's kind of recaptured the skill level we saw early on. I have him No. 12 on the Big Board.
What do you think of the rookie tandem of Eddie Lacy and Jonathan Franklin?
Mel Kiper (2:08 PM)
Franklin had the unfortunate fumble. Lacy has to be durable. He has to prove that. And Franklin has to take better care of the football. But he's run well. They have a lot of talent. It's going out and being consistent and reliable. I'm going to be seeing them. Green Bay plays at Baltimore. There will be a lot of rookies on that field. It will be a fun game to see.
Ryan (Green Bay)
HI Mel, my packers might have to replace # 88 next year. I would love Jenkins out of Washington but feel he will go top 15. What are your thoughts about Eric Ebron? I feel he could be special as well? Thank you Mel.
Mel Kiper (2:10 PM)
Ebron is a gifted, gifted athlete. He'll test out off the charts. What he has to do is be more consistent catching the football. If he can do that, then you have something special for Ebron. He can run like a WR. He just has to be more consistent. His blocking is OK. He's the kind of guy who, in today's NFL, can be a big factor. He has a bright NFL future.
Which college freshmen do you see as future first round picks?
Mel Kiper (2:14 PM)
Howard, TE, Alabama; Robert Nkemdiche, DL, Ole Miss; Laquon Treadwell, WR, Ole Miss; Clement, RB, Wisconsin; Hackenberg, QB, PSU; Etling, Purdue; Kendall Fuller, DB, VT; Brandon Facyson, DB, VT; Johnny Mundt, TE, Oregon; Thomas Tyner, RB, Oregon; Jared Goff, QB, Cal; Justin Davis, RB, USC; Jaylon Smith, Notre Dame.
Are you surprised by the play of Bills rookie LB Kiko Alonso? Future Pro Bowler?
Mel Kiper (2:16 PM)
Gifted athlete. He can run. Very athletic. No question he could cover. He showed that ability in various games at the collegiate level. Right now, he's one of the best defensive rookies in the NFL. Check out my Rookie Big Board on ESPN.com. It's updated every two weeks. He's on there.
Whats your take on Tyrann Mathieus play so far this season?
Mel Kiper (2:17 PM)
He's had a couple of hiccups along the way. Overall, he's been outstanding. He makes his presence felt. He's a difference maker. Patrick Peterson has been a playmaker at CB. There have been hiccups, but overall, he's been one of the best 10-15 rookies so far.
Is Joyner from FSU a second rounder at best?
Mel Kiper (2:20 PM)
Joyner is a heckuva player. He's played safety, CB. He has a big matchup this week against Maryland. The only issue with Joyner is he's only 5-8. He has good recovery speed. He is another solid, reliable performer. Having Joyner is like having an extension of your DC on the field. Tremendously tough. Studies the game. Loves to play. Hits hard. That will be a good matchup Saturday against Diggs. Diggs will be a major prospect next year.
Mel Kiper (2:20 PM)
I think the second round is a distinct possibility for Joyner.
How does Braxton Miller project to the NFL?
Mel Kiper (2:21 PM)
He completed a high percentage of passes in the last game. Lots of TDs, no INTS. To come off the injury and play like that is a testament of his skill level. I would hope he goes back to OSU for another year and work on his skills. That could lead to him being a high draft choice. I think he needs to get back to where he was physically.
Mel, Do you think Jake Matthews has Joe Thomas type abilities? Will he be a Top 5 Pick in Aprils draft?
Mel Kiper (2:23 PM)
He will have an elite grade like Joe Thomas. What he did at RT last year and LT this year, he'll be one of the first players selected. Great blood lines. Tremendously talented player. He has an array of skills. He has excellent feet. He has real good balance. Good feet. Works extremely hard. This is a kid who works extremely hard to get the most out of his ability. Long arms. He has everything it takes to be a top 3 pick. At LT, if he continues to play like he has, he'll be a top pick.
Mel - the Giants have neglected their O line forever. That being said they love freak pass rushers and if they finish with a top 3 worst record do you see them going after Clowney and ignoring the OL?
Mel Kiper (2:25 PM)
It's not ignoring. It's a philosophy. It's been passed down from the last GM to this one and that's you can develop OL, you don't need to draft them high. The philosophy works, as they've won two Super Bowls. But they have had some key injuries. That's hurt. You have a philosophy that you don't ignore. It doesn't mean that it doesn't work this year.
Will Logan Thomas' performance against GT be the point where he turns the corner and finally performs at the level everyone was expecting. He's a tuff guy, playing hurt and still winning the game for Tech. There is no reason this team can't go 10-2 this year and end up in a nice bowl.
Mel Kiper (2:26 PM)
You saw some good things and you had some inconsistent moments. There are a lot of games to be played. There are a lot of key games coming up. You have the game against Miami on the road. An improved Maryland team coming to visit. He has the physical ability. He just has to be accurate. Make good decisions. It was hard not to improve from where he was. Now, hopefully, he's turned the corner.
Speaking of Giants O line... how has pugh performed at tackle? A lot of people thought he short arms would hurt him.
Mel Kiper (2:28 PM)
That's going to have to be evaluated. You've seen some good moments and some not so good moments. Will he have to move inside to guard? I've viewed him as a guard. You want to try him at tackle, because that's where he played in college and you want to try him there. But I graded him out as a guard. Doug Marrone did a good job coaching him at Syracuse. I thought Pugh could even be a center. I thought more late 1, early second.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
All the talk the Browns "punted" when it came to the 2013 draft, seems to make sense when you compare the 2014 draft. Would you give up a fourth and fifth round pick in 2013 for a third and fourth round in 2014?
Mel Kiper (2:30 PM)
The whole thing about the draft was the second round pick was Josh Gordon. That was a supplemental pick. Mingo had a high grade. He's been a difference maker. They only had four other picks. They have seven picks in the first four rounds this year. That's an opportunity. A great opportunity to really improve the team, especially with their GM Mike Lombardi who is a good evaluator of talent.
Shouldn't the Steelers GM and the Rooneys feel some heat? I don't think Tomlin wanted the OC (Haley) and their drafts have been terrible. They spent high picks on OL and DL that were virtually worthless and they don't have any playmakers. What are your thoughts?
Mel Kiper (2:33 PM)
I think everybody bears responsibility when a team struggles. I'm not one to blame any one person. You're not going to be perfect on your drafts every year. With this past draft, they got some players. Jarvis Jones is going to be a good player. Bell, if he can stay healthy can be a very good RB. Wheaton has shown promise. Thomas has shown promise. Williams is in the starting lineup as a late round pick. They got some good football players in this draft. With Tomlin, you have to give him the benefit of the doubt on just one or two years. They made the trade for Levi Brown to shore up the OL. Everybody knew going in that they weren't real deep in spots and that's shown. This will be a collective effort to get them back. The GM is proven. The coach has shown himself over the years. The ownership is a given. They're fine. They just need to look forward.
ted (cape cod)
What's the one thing you're most looking forward to during Washington-Stanford this Saturday?
Mel Kiper (2:34 PM)
The big thing for me is David Yankee against Danny Shelton. Also, Stanford has some good safety play. I want to see Sankey running against this Stanford defense. Keith Price, I want to keep watching him. Murphy on Stanford. But Shelton against Yankee is a big matchup.
Cordarrelle Patterson has obviously been electric on kick returns since he's leading the league in yards per return and has a TD, but would you like to see him given more snaps on offense? Just how raw of a route runner is he?
Mel Kiper (2:36 PM)
That's what we knew he had to work on. They assess their players every day. He has enormous physical abilities. The kick return, he's being paid to be a WR. A lot of kickers won't let him be a factor, they'll kick it out of the endzone. I don't like them taking the kickoff out of the game. You can't take the foot out of football, like Bill Parcells said. This isn't working. There are too many kicks out of the endzone. But with Patterson, he's being paid to be a WR. He needs to develop that part of the game.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
I agree 100%. Mingo looks promising. Gordon looks like a #1 WR, surely a high end #2. The #3 CB is a special teams guy, stay tuned. Trading picks in an average draft for selections in a better one is a great move. Pittsburgh's 3rd round pick could be a valuable commodity. Much better than the 4th round pick you traded for it. Could be a HUGE haul in 3 years. Cleveland is going in the right direction.
Bama Bob (T-town,al)
What NFL team is a good fit for A.J McCarron? And Does Northwestern have any chance to beat Ohio St.
Mel Kiper (2:38 PM)
Everybody has a chance to win when you kick it off. The late, great Beano Cook always said that homefield is a big advantage. And they're playing at Evanston. NU had the week off to get ready. OSU is coming off a physical, demanding game. When you have that and NU playing at home with Venric Mark coming back. The big question is can NU's defense stop the OSU offense? I think you're looking like a 49-39 type game.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Do you think the Cowboys should be targeting Dez Bryant more, even in double coverage? Is he as close to uncoverable as it gets, besides Calvin Johnson?
Mel Kiper (2:44 PM)
He's a major factor when he's catching the football. He has to eliminate the periods of inconsistency. He can't flash the ability. Calvin Johnson doesn't flash. He's as good from play 1 to late in the game. Great WRs pay attention on the field and off. Once Dez Bryant does everything he needs to do, he'll be dominant. He can be as good as he wants to be, I've always said that. Bryant is averaging 7 catches a game. He's had two games with four catches. He's been targeted a lot. I'd like to see him catch 8 passes every game. Minimum. Not have those two games with four catches for minimal yardage. Perform every week like against San Diego and KC.
How much better would the Browns have been if they would have drafted Tannenhill and Doug Martin in the 1st round vs. Trent Richardson and Weeden?
Mel Kiper (2:44 PM)
Tannehill has benefitted tremendously from going to Miami with Mike Sherman as his OC. You can't say he would have been developing as quickly in Cleveland as he has in Miami. He's still turning the ball over too much. But he hasn't gotten any help. He's been sacked more than any other in the NFL. To say he'd have the same success, you can't make that comment. With Richardson, now they have an extra first round pick. And maybe Hoyer is the guy. If they hadn't picked Weeden, they wouldn't have made the change to Hoyer and maybe found their guy.
Should the Eagles start lining Zach Ertz out wide more? Outside of Jackson, their receivers are bringing nothing to the table.
Mel Kiper (2:45 PM)
There is only so much you can do with him. He's a big target. I like the matchups you can get inside. If you want to treat him like Todd Heap, maybe. You don't want to lock a guy into one spot. You want to get those matchups any way you can.
Paul (Albany, OR)
Since Sean Mannion plays in a pro system at Oregon State, does that help the evaluators when it comes to projecting him? Does he have a chance to go in the first two rounds? He is lighting it up this year!
Mel Kiper (2:47 PM)
Definitely. He has great coaching there. I think Mike Riley is one of the best coaches in any level, college or pro. I think he belongs in the NFL. If I'm Pat Haden and USC, I'm talking to Mike Riley. Sean Mannion is a QB that has all of the ability you want in throwing the football. He's the son of a coach. Smart. He got hurt two years ago. He's a fourth year junior. He has size. Arm strength. He studies the game. Mike Riley's QBs always continue to impress and improve. That's the case with Mannion. He has a great receiving option in Brandon Cooks.
Mel Kiper (2:48 PM)
We have a great week in the NFL. Some huge games. The big game in college is OSU-Northwestern. UCLA-Utah is an under the radar game. Some good prospects in that game.