Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, NFL draft Insider 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 Tuesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Barry (San diego)
Can San Fran Build a Dynasty with all the draft picks they've accumilated over the last 2 years?
Mel Kiper (2:03 PM)
You could say the same thing about Seattle with what they've put together. You could make a case that once Indianapolis gets established and gets better personnel, they could become a tough team to beat. Any time you have the great QB, Wilson, Kaepernick, Luck, that gives you the chance to be that type of team. But the 49ers haven't won the Super Bowl yet. In order to be a dynasty you need to win the big game. The 49ers have to get back there and win. Until then, and it will be a tough road, you can't talk dynasty.
I thought Chris Davis struggled last night for Auburn. (2 muffed punts, gave up the long pass on the final drive, interference call, touchdown pass), do you think that game hurt his draft position?
Mel Kiper (2:05 PM)
He got bumped based on the Alabama game. That was his claim to fame. In coverage, he was so-so. He'll go to the Senior Bowl. I thought he's always been a late round pick. So the Senior Bowl will help determine more where he would end up on Day 3.
How didn't the Seminoles win last year with a stack defense and a first round quaterback in manuel?
Mel Kiper (2:06 PM)
Well, because EJ Manuel isn't Jameis Winston. He's a special QB. EJ Manuel was a very good QB. When you get that elevation of the QB position to elite status, that helps them. And, remember, they had the redshirt kicker. That really helped. The emergence of Kelvin Benjamin. He had a career year.
Paul (Columbus, GA)
Wanted your take on Auburn's year. I'm a big Tigers fan, very disappointed today. However, I think this team will be remembered more fondly a decade from now than even the 2010 team. Just such a fun year.
Mel Kiper (2:08 PM)
It was a great turn around. They went 3-9 last year, beating a New Mexico State, Louisiana-Monroe in OT, and D-IAA Alabama A-M, all at home. They didn't win any road games. They'll be remembered for perhaps the single greatest turn around in college football history. Going from that season to playing for the national title and nearly winning it, that's something all of those kids should be very proud of.
Marc (Malden, MA)
Clearly the game changed in the 3rd quarter, and while everyone is talking about FSU's adjustments, nobody is mentioning that Tre Mason only got 3 carries in the 3rd quarter...3!. He had 31 carries in the other 3 quarters but only 3 in the 3rd, huge mistake by Auburn.
Mel Kiper (2:11 PM)
It's the way the game flows. The flow determines how many carries, how drives end up. The big play was when FSU got the INT and fumbled the ball and Joyner was right there to recover for FSU. The big play of the game was, FSU down 21-3 in the first half and they got a first down on the fake punt. That call was a pivotal play of the game. You go into the half 21-10, instead of potentially 28-3.
Tom (Jax, FL)
What are your thoughts on Benjamin (WR from FSU)?
Mel Kiper (2:12 PM)
I like him. I hope he goes back. I think another year would really help him. Improve his body physically. Improve in the weight room. He had a great year, so to put two great back to back years together would really help him. A lot of the juniors are coming out. There are 16 of them right now. I'm staying if I'm Benjamin. That would make me the elite guy next year.
Was it smart for Brett Hundley to go back to school for one more year?
Mel Kiper (2:13 PM)
Very smart. Just like with Mariota. He would probably have been a mid to late first round pick. Now he could be a top 5-10 pick. He needs help in his passing skills. That will help him move up.
mike (tampa Fl)
Number 30 from Auburn Dee Ford was really disruptive last night, can he be a good pass rusher at the next level?
Mel Kiper (2:14 PM)
He has a chance. He could be a situational pass rusher. He did a great job coming off the right side. He was the one pressuring Manziel in that game too. He could be in the 3-4 round mix.
Tre Mason didn't hurt himself last night...how high do you see him going?
Mel Kiper (2:16 PM)
He is one of many junior RBs that could come out. For him, with tread on the tires being an issue for RBs, the OT and center could come out. Based on the fact that he had a great year, career year, it comes down to if you want to be a high pick. RBs will always drop down. Even though he had a great year, he could still be a 3-4 round pick. I don't have a strong opinion either way if he should come out or not. It could go either way.
Is Manziel really thinking of coming of back?
Mel Kiper (2:17 PM)
I thought it was a forgone conclusion that he's coming out. It would be surprising/shocking if he comes back. He's losing some OL. He had a second great year. He got banged up this year. He's losing his top WR. I would be very, very, very surprised if he comes back, especially since he could be a top 10 pick, with 5 teams in the top 8 needing QBs.
Jeff (Tampa, FL)
Did Jameis Winston do more for his draft stock and cache in the fourth quarter last night than he did the entire season?
Mel Kiper (2:19 PM)
First of all, he was considered a lock, stock and barell No. 1 pick since September. You don't need that fourth quarter to cement that. But it was nice to see it. That's what you need to do, get the ball late in the game and take your team to the win on a final drive. That shows why everyone has the high grade on him.
Martin (New York, NY)
Will Sammy Watkins have a similar grade to AJ Green?
Mel Kiper (2:19 PM)
Close. It will be very close. Maybe not as high as Green and Julio Jones. Watkins could be the second pick to St. Louis, along with Jake Matthews.
FSU has 3 linebackers in the backfield on offense. Williams, Wilder and Stevenson. Will there be a better running attack next year than that?
Mel Kiper (2:21 PM)
No. They are stocked. They are loaded with one in a variety of positions. And they're loaded with young players that you haven't seen yet. They have a lot of guys waiting in the wings. They're fortified in terms of talent at FSU. If they get a few breaks with guys coming back, like Benjamin and Greene. How many linemen come out early?
Are their any players on Duke's roster that you see as day 1 or 2 picks? How impressed were you by their season given their personnel?
Mel Kiper (2:22 PM)
Not Day 1, which is the first round only. Day 2, the 2nd and 3rd round, not really either. Day 3, I could see, from the senior group, is Ross Cockrell, the CB.
Aaron (Leesburg, VA)
Which franchise is in more disarray, Cowboys or Redskins?
Mel Kiper (2:24 PM)
I would say the Redskins. They don't have the second pick in the draft, which they had to give to St. Louis. They have RGIII and Kirk Cousins, so they need to figure out the QB position. How does Griffin mesh with a new coach? I would say Washington, because of the uncertainty and question marks. And they don't have a coach right now. Bruce Allen becomes a more hands on GM, because Shanahan isn't there any more and he was acting as the GM.
Is Thad Lewis a potential starting QB or is his career basically a top flight back-up?
Mel Kiper (2:25 PM)
Right now you have to say he's a good backup. He did well for the Bills when he was pressed into play. He was a good QB at Duke. He can keep you competitive when your starter is hurt. In a 4-5 game period when your starter is hurt, he can keep you afloat.
Tom (Jax, FL)
What does the Center class look like this year? If you needed a starting caliber center... how late could you wait until you found a quality 10 year starter? Is there one in the 5th round or so? There always seems to be so few centers take each year.
Mel Kiper (2:26 PM)
The kid that came out from UNC, Bodine could be a second round pick. It's a very good senior center class. Tyler Larsen, Utah State; Zac Kerin, Toledo. Those guys are both Day 3 guys. There are probably 8 centers that can make it in the league this year.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
What kind of 40 time does TAMU's Mike Evans need to run to solidify a spot in the first round?
Mel Kiper (2:27 PM)
As long as he runs in the 4.5 range. He'll draw comparisons to Alshon Jeffrey or Anquan Boldin. He has great hands. Great concentration. You can throw him open. When he's covered, he's open. He's going to go in the top 15 of the first round, if he runs a decent enough 40.
New Day in Tampa Bay! What does Lovie do at #7?
Mel Kiper (2:30 PM)
With the Bucs, they have to figure out if Mike Glennon is their guy moving forward. Where does he fit in? Will they be satisfied with him moving forward? They have to get him better and keep him improving. You can't be the fourth best QB in a division. Brees, Ryan and Newton are already in the division. You can't be a distant fourth. They could add a pass rushing DE. They could add a pass catching TE, like Eric Ebron, UNC. He's a very good player, and will be attractive to teams drafting in the top 15. A lot of teams will want 2 TEs right now. He'll be attractive in the 7-14 range.
Seastrunk from baylor have first or second round talent?
Mel Kiper (2:31 PM)
Second round, I think. I wouldn't take a RB in the first round, I've always said that. But he hasn't caught any passes. Baylor doesn't throw to the RBs. He has great speed, explosiveness. He has to show he can catch the ball, like Gio Bernard from Cincy this year.
Tracy (Greenville, SC)
Who is the next WR drafted after Sammy Watkins?
Mel Kiper (2:32 PM)
It would be Marqise Lee from USC is the next one.
Are you surprised at Storm Johnson joining Blake Bortles in leaving UCF for the draft. Where do see him being picked?
Mel Kiper (2:32 PM)
No, not surprised. RBs that have the kind of year that Johnson did and Bortles had the great second half against Baylor. Those two are not a surprise.
What are the Steeler big needs this offseason?
Mel Kiper (2:34 PM)
OL help desperately. That's the main thing. Bell came through at RB late in the year. Defensively Jarvis Jones had a great game the final regular season game. He flashed at different times this year. CB, you can never have enough CB. You could add another WR, TE. If I'm projecting that 15th pick, maybe a Tayler Lewan, OT, Michigan.
Mark (Pasadena, CA)
Last night was the first time I watched a full FSU game this year. In the first half, I was extremely unimpressed with Jameis Winston and don't see why he is considered the hands down number one pick in 2015 (if he comes out) and would be the top pick this year (as you have said). He seemed very inaccurate with his throws and his mechanics were poor. He played better in the second half, but I still don't see him as being a great passer. He also isn't very quick in the pocket. Am I wrong in my assessment?P.S. I live within walking distance of the Rose Bowl. It was very cool to see all of the FSU and Auburn fans in the area yesterday proudly wearing their team colors.
Mel Kiper (2:38 PM)
Some of the first half had to do with him being a redshirt freshmen in a tight game. They came in as a heavy favorite and maybe their mindset wasn't what it was supposed to be. It took them a while to get settled down. But it doesn't matter what QBs do in the first half. That's why I say Blake Bortles had a great second half. He didn't really start playing until 10 minutes left in the third quarter. These QBs throw the ball 50 times, you're going to have bad throws. Look at Andrew Luck over the weekend. He threw 3 picks and still won the game. I don't care what your stats are, until it's money time. Now, I'm not talking about a Tim Tebow performance where you're bad for 3.5-4 quarters, until the final drive and catch lightning in the bottle. The bottom line is you need to be great 95% of the time and when you have an off game, rally the troops. The body of work tells you how good the QBs are. I've said all along Winston is a special QB. At the end of the game, he showed you why he's special.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you project FSU's returning junior defensive lineman (Goldman, Edwards) as Top 15 picks in 2015?
Mel Kiper (2:39 PM)
I don't know about top 15, but they'll have their chance. Jernigan is a stud. I saw Goldman play high school football. He's a big time talent. They have ability, but let's see who performs.
Brady (South dakota)
should the vikings pick up QB in the upcoming draft?
Mel Kiper (2:41 PM)
I would say with the 8th pick. They might have to be aggressive and move up to get the guy they want. Maybe up to 2 with St. Louis. The problem at 8 is you're the fifth team that needs a QB. Right now, there are only 3 QBs that could figure into the top 8. There is a chance that Bridgewater, Manziel, Bortles are all gone at No. 8. They'll have to maneuver to get the guy they want.
Keith (Seattle, WA)
How do you think Charlie Strong will fair in Austin? And how meaningful is it, that the two biggest programs in Texas, have African American coaches?
Mel Kiper (2:43 PM)
He's an outstanding football coach. What determines whether you're a great program is if you have a QB. They don't have a Colt McCoy at Texas right now. Vince Young was a great college QB. Teddy Bridgewater was a great college QB. If you get a decent QB at Texas, you win 8 games. If you're great at QB, you win 10-12 games. And 8 games won't cut it with the Texas fans, just ask Mack Brown. You need 10 wins, maybe even 11 or 12.
Does Matt Patchan end up being drafted? Talented, athletic kid who battled injuries earlier and had a very good season under Steve Addazio.
Mel Kiper (2:44 PM)
Yes, as a Day 3 pick.
Should the patriots think about taking a Quarterback since tom brady is getting to the end of his career
Mel Kiper (2:46 PM)
They only ones who know if they have the QB of the future in Ryan Mallet is Belichick and his offensive coaches. Mallet was drafted. He's sat behind Brady for a number of years. That's a good way to develop your QBs. They had Hoyer in New England. Brady's not hanging them up any time soon. He's playing at a high level. It's not like the old days when you needed to spend 3-4 years developing your QB. When Brady's done, you can go and draft your guy and he will be ready to play right away. Colin Kaepernick played in the Super Bowl in his second year. You don't need to concern yourself with developing a QB.
Jeff (Tampa, FL)
How many of the Stanford LBs are early round draft picks?
Mel Kiper (2:47 PM)
No guys in the first round. But, Trent Murphy, OLB, second round; Shayne Skov, ILB, 3-4 round. Those are the guys.
OL for the Dolphins? Any LT stars where they pick?
Mel Kiper (2:48 PM)
Elite? No. Jake Matthews could be the second pick. Lewan could be a top 10 pick. Greg Robinson could be in the top 10. Elite guys at 19, no. But Cyrus Kouandjio could be there if he comes out.
Mel Kiper (2:49 PM)
The intersting guy is Zack Martin from Notre Dame. Very durable. Very consistent. He could play LT, maybe OG in the NFL.
Ray L. (Chicago)
Does Shea McClellin have the skill set to convert to LB like the Bears think he will next year?
Mel Kiper (2:50 PM)
He's the one that sacked Aaron Rodgers and injured him in that game. He's shown flashes coming off the edge. He's one of those tweeners. He's like this year's Trent Murphy, one of those tweeners and combo guys. That move wouldn't surprise me.
Dean (Chicago) [via mobile]
Mel, does Darqueze Dennard go before Justin Gilbert in the draft? Gilbert seems to be better in coverage, where Dennard seems to be the better all around corner?
Mel Kiper (2:51 PM)
Dennard is a great tackling CB. Great run support CB. Very aggressive. Gilbert is the better cover guy. Better kick returner. I would think Gilbert goes slightly ahead of Dennard. Gilbert goes 15-22, Dennard goes 23-29.
Will C.J. Mosley size hurt his draft stock?
Mel Kiper (2:52 PM)
I think he has great versatility. He is very consistent. I think he's a mid first round draft choice.
kenny , Bx [via mobile]
Under over Noles in 1st round 3? Does ND get 3 1st rounders?
Mel Kiper (2:53 PM)
I would say under 3 for FSU in the first round.
Does the Munchak firing mean that the Titans will most likely take a QB with their first pick? They don't have an established QB right now and I think a new coach would probably like to bring in his own QB
Mel Kiper (2:54 PM)
I think they would have taken a QB in the draft regardless. Jake Locker hasn't shown he can be a starting QB in the NFL. He didn't have a great final year at Washington coming into the draft. You're in a division with Andrew Luck. You need to secure a QB. You can't fool around when you're Tennessee and right now, they're lagging behind.
Mel Kiper (2:54 PM)
You can't keep moving forward when you've got an average QB.
Keenan (Atlanta, GA)
What is the Falcons biggest need on defense?
Mel Kiper (2:55 PM)
Pass rusher. Edge pass rusher. They have to get after the QB better. Clowney would be perfect, but he'll probably be gone at 6. They're a team that needs OL help. They have to protect Matt Ryan better. Greg Robinson, Lewan. Jake Matthews will be gone.
Is Eli Manning still a franchise quarterback or should the Giants think about drafting an understudy?
Mel Kiper (2:56 PM)
They drafted Ryan Nassib last year. I think he's a franchise QB. He bested Tom Brady in two Super Bowls. He just needs better personnel around him. He needs help at WR. The RB position needs to be settled. The OL needs to be better. Eli Manning needs more help than he got.
Mel Kiper (2:57 PM)
This is a pivotal draft for Jerry Reese and Tom Coughlin. They're drafting at 12, much, much higher than they would have liked. This is a division that's there for the taking.
Mel Kiper (2:59 PM)
It's a big divisional playoff weekend in the NFL, with everyone in play. The elite teams are all playing. Who is the Cinderella team this year? Indy? San Diego? Who will be the surprise? There is always one. It will be a fun four games and a great weekend of NFL action. You don't get a better weekend of football action than we just had with the start of the NFL playoffs and last night's BCS title game.