Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, 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 Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:01 PM)
We've got Mel!
The B-Unit (The Nasti Nati, O-H-I-O)
Who is the I-AA..errr, I mean FCS player in the draft that is most "NFL Ready" and could start from day 1?
Mel Kiper (2:04 PM)
The first one that will be drafted is Jimmy Garoppolo. He's solidly in the second round. He could be the fourth QB drafted. He's definitely No. 1. After that, Kadeem Edwards. Then you also have Billy Turner, OT, North Dakota State; John Brown, WR, Pittsburg (Kan.) State; Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern; Terrance West, RB, Towson; Howard Jones, OLB, Shepherd; Jordan Tripp, OLB, Montana; Kendall James, CB, Maine; Pierre Desir, CB, Lindenwood; Walt Aikens, CB, Liberty.
Drafting a bad QB in the 1st round sets your franchise back 3 years, right? Ponder, Locker, Bradford, Gabbert... you can't get a franchise QB if it doesn't exist. Aren't you better off grabbing talent rather than trying to force it at the QB position?
Mel Kiper (2:06 PM)
Yes you are. You definitely are. If it's a big gap between where you're picking and the players, yeah. If it's close, then you pick the QB. But it's a red flag. If you're picking third and the highest rated QB on your board is at 10, that's a big gap. If you're picking third, you should get a player in the top three on your board. You're passing up a lot of players that are better and aren't worthy. It's dangerous. Tannehill went higher than he should have. Ponder went higher. It gets into dangerous territory. Locker went higher.
Garoppolo vs Carr. Who is more NFL ready to play right away? Who has more potential?
Mel Kiper (2:09 PM)
They both have high ceilings. Carr has the stronger arm. Garoppolo has a quicker release. Carr is more mobile. Both played against less than stellar competition. At the all-star games, Carr played better. That's a battle. That's the battle for the fourth QB spot. You could make a case for Carr being ahead and for Garoppolo being ahead. Both have a chance to start. Carr is being hurt a little bit because his brother went No. 1 overall and didn't fulfill expectations. That's unfair. If he goes in the second round, that's not a bad pick. He can move, he can run, he's smart. There are some very good qualities there.
Mel Kiper (2:09 PM)
If he had played better against USC in the bowl game, he would be a first round pick. That might have cost him from being a top 20 pick in the first round.
Martin Mayhew (Lions Front Office)
How big is the gap between Sammy Watkins and Mike Evans? If the Lions can trade up and give up their 1st round and 3rd round pick this year in order to get Sammy Watkins would you make the deal?
Mel Kiper (2:10 PM)
It's closed. I have Watkins at 4 on my Big Board and Evans at 6. I think Watkins will be a better players because he can separate. He can run after the catch. Both will go in the top 5.
Billy (Eastchester, NY) [via mobile]
Who has the higher grade and why: Brandin Cooks or Tavon Austin?
Mel Kiper (2:12 PM)
Ooooh. As far as my ratings were concerned, I had Austin as the 15th best player in the draft. Cooks will have just about the same grade. I think Cooks could be a better pro. Cooks could be like Steve Smith. Versatility. High character kid. Great work ethic. I think he'll be the third WR taken.
Has KaDeem Carey dropped due to his subpar combine performance? I saw him as a possible late 2nd early 3rd rounder, but he seems to have dropped. Is that what you're hearing as well?
Mel Kiper (2:13 PM)
Yes. When you're a junior and you come out early, you have to know your measurables. When you run a 4.7 40, it will push you down to the Day 3 area.
raul (rio grande city TEXAS)
Mel, I know you've projected a safety to Dallas in the first round..but don't it make more sense to add a DL and improve the pass rush? Afterall a very good pass rush makes a secondary great.
Mel Kiper (2:14 PM)
Aaron Donald, DT, from Pitt would be an ideal fit. He's a one-gap penetrator. Great attitude. Great year. He had a great Senior Bowl week. He had a great effort at the combine, ran a 4.68. He's nailed every part of the process. I think Donald to the Cowboys at 16 or the Bears at 14 would be an excellent pick.
Do you think Tre Mason will get drafted in the top 3 rounds?
Mel Kiper (2:14 PM)
I think he goes in the third round. He's a Ray Rice type that goes in the third round. That's possible.
Mike (Oxford, OH)
Assuming the Browns don't take a QB at 4, who would be the best selection for them to win now.
Mel Kiper (2:15 PM)
Sammy Watkins would be the best pick for them if they don't go QB.
Any chance the Phins draft any position than OL? If so who would be their options?
Mel Kiper (2:16 PM)
They could take a Carlos Hyde, RB, Ohio State or a safety like Calvin Pryor or Ha Ha Clinton-Dix.
How far could Manziel drop if he makes it out of the top 10? And would that actually be the best thing for him?
Mel Kiper (2:17 PM)
I can't see him getting out of the top 10, not with five teams needing QBs. If he did and you're the Titans at 11 or the Rams at 13. The Titans would be the main one. And it would be tempting for the Cowboys at 16.
Is Khalil Mack an ELITE prospect? Who would he compare to in the NFL either currrent or former? Is he more valuable in a 3-4 than in a 4-3?
Mel Kiper (2:18 PM)
Yes, he's elite. He has freakish talent. He was productive and he has an outstanding work ethic. Third highest rated player right now.
Jean claude (Vermont)
With all the interest the 49ers have in Evans, how high do you think they will reach for him?
Mel Kiper (2:19 PM)
In order to get Evans, they'd have to move up inside the top 10. Which would be a move similar to what Atlanta did several years ago to get Julio Jones. They would have to get ahead of Detroit at 10.
Do you think that the patriots should focus this years draft on the defensive side of the ball?
Mel Kiper (2:20 PM)
I would say yes they will be defensive minded. But they need help at TE, OL and they could add another WR. They could take a DL and a DB, but they could look to those offensive positions. I think they need to balance out the draft this year.
What will Browns do with 2 first round picks?
Mel Kiper (2:22 PM)
Two good scenarios would be if they can get whatever QB they deem the best at No. 4 -- Bortles, Bridgewater, Manziel. Then come back at No. 26 to take a WR. Maybe a Marqise Lee. Or, they could look at Carlos Hyde at RB at 26. The other option is to take Sammy Watkins at No. 4 and then come back at No. 26 and get a Derek Carr, Jimmy Garoppolo. The third option is don't take any QBs and trade second round pick for Kirk Cousins, take Sammy Watkins at No. 4 and take the next best non-QB at 26.
Is Timmy Jernigan's stock dropping? I thought he was the most overrated prospect early in the prospect with most draftniks having him as a top 10 player in this draft.
Mel Kiper (2:23 PM)
He didn't test out as well at the combine. He's a good football player. Aaron Donald gained momentum, but Jernigan is still in the middle of the first. He's in play for the same teams that Donald is in play for.
Do you think the Colts address the WR position in Round 2 with their first pick? If so, who do you see being good fits for them there?
Mel Kiper (2:24 PM)
Free agency is always a possibility too. They'll be active there. I think they have to look at OL. Martin at OL. They could look at WR in free agency.
Jay (TN) [via mobile]
If Clinton-Dix is off the board by Green Bay's 21st pick, would you take Calvin Pryor to guarantee safety help or a LB like CJ Mosley and take a safety like Deonne Bucannon in a later round. How does Bucannon compare to NFL safeties as of now?
Mel Kiper (2:25 PM)
I thought Pryor was equally as good or better. I gave him a better grade for on field performance than Clinton-Dix. It's not like you're settling. Jimmie Ward is right there as well.
Justin (College Station, TX)
What's the latest your hearing about what the Texans might do with the first pick? Is trading down still an option?
Mel Kiper (2:26 PM)
They need a QB. You're in a division with Andrew Luck, so you better improve. I don't know what they're going to do. We're still two months away from the draft. It's still a long time. There are three QBs they have to evaluate. They're picking No. 1. They can pick whatever QB they want. Houston could take Clowney. If they love a QB, they take a QB at No. 1. If they don't, take Clowney as the best overall player. Or, trade out of the spot. I don't know if they've decided yet what they're doing.
Mata Usi (San Mateo, CA)
The Niners need corner help, who is a sleeper in the later rounds that they could target?
Mel Kiper (2:29 PM)
There are a lot of corners. Kendall James, Maine; Pierre Desir, Lindenwood; Walt Aikens, Liberty; EJ Gaines, Missouri; Kenneth Acker, SMU; TJ Lee, Eastern Washington.
is there anyway that the Eagles have a shot at Pryor or Haha Clinton-dix at 22? how much is the drop off from pyror and dix to the next safety? If neither falls do the eagles potentially look to trade back and pick up some extra draft picks?
Mel Kiper (2:29 PM)
I don't think there's a big drop off from those two to Jimmie Ward. You could say he's the best cover safety in the draft. They all have high grades.
where do you think Jeremy Gallon goes??? looks like a potential decent slot wr
Mel Kiper (2:30 PM)
He ran better than expected at the combine. I would say 4-5 round.
Woody (Kansas City)
Is Marquise Lee falling because of something he did / didn't do at the combine or did other receivers (M.Evans, O.Beckham, B.Cooks) just pass him? Can he possible fall to the Chiefs at #23? What a great fit!!
Mel Kiper (2:31 PM)
He only ran a 4.52. He didn't run as well as some of the other WRs. And he had an injury campaign. I still have him as a first round pick. But the others have moved past him. Now he's a possibility for KC at 23 or Cleveland at 26. Maybe Carolina at 28. Teams that wouldn't have had Lee there could see him now.
Biased Auburn fan here. How many Tigers get drafted? Robinson, Ford, Mason, Davis??? Anyone else?
Mel Kiper (2:33 PM)
Five to six will get drafted. The sixth possibility could be their punter, he's borderline. Greg Robinson, LT, could be the second pick overall. Tre Mason, RB, 2-3 round; Dee Ford, DE/OLB, Day 2; Chris Davis, CB, Day 3; Jay Prosch, FB, late rounder.
What have you been hearing about D'Anthony Thomas? Did his slower then expected 40 time hurt his draft stock at all?
Mel Kiper (2:34 PM)
That hurt, running a 4.5, not a 4.35. That plus, what position will he factor in at? RB? Slot WR? Can he be that wild card at the pro level? I think he'll be a third round pick. I like him. I think he'll be a good pro. But there is a little bit of a slight drop since the combine.
Been hearing rumblings that Gilbert isnt really a good cover corner, but also his predraft scouting report sounds just like Pat Peterson (elite athelete, stiff hips)... What are the chances of a top guy falling to Detroit at 10 like Fairley two years ago?
Mel Kiper (2:36 PM)
He's not going to fall to Detroit. That's the highest he could go. That's the ceiling. He could be there at Pittsburgh at 15. I don't know where that talk is coming from. He's a good cover guy. I've seen 13 of his games. I would like to see him be more aggressive against the run. He's a return man. He's an athlete. He had some battles against Justin Blackmon in practice as a sophomore. He's worthy of being a mid first rounder.
Does the lack of receptions for Andre Williams hurt his stock badly? He seems to have a similar skill set to Alfred Morris. Is he a zone blocking scheme RB only?
Mel Kiper (2:37 PM)
He's a runner. That's what he is. A very, very good runner. He runs with power, body lean. I think he's quicker than he times. You'd like to see him be multi-dimensional. I think in the fourth round is when you think about him. You'd like to include him in the passing game, but that's not him.
Who are the top 3 or 4 second tier OL's that the Dolphins should be targeting in rounds 2-3.
Mel Kiper (2:38 PM)
The next tier of OL at OT are Morgan Moses, Ja'Wuan James, Seantrel Henderson, Joel Bitonio.
With the Bears parting ways with Hester, would Dri Archer be the perfect replacement?
Mel Kiper (2:40 PM)
Archer is more than a return man. He had three kick returns for a TD a year ago. He's a guy that you look at that had over 1,400 rushing yards two years ago. He had 39 catches out of the backfield. His production comes in a variety of ways. I thought going into the year, he'd be a 3rd round pick. With the injuries this year, I thought maybe a 4th round pick, but with that 4.26 40, he could be a 2-3 rounder.
Matt Covington (Seattle)
Could 3 TE's go in the 1st Rd?
Mel Kiper (2:41 PM)
Right now, Ebron is the only lock TE. I could see him at 17. Niklas, Amaro, Seferian-Jenkins, those three guys will go in the second round, at worst. I could see one first rounder and three second rounder.
Jordan Matthews had a great college career at Vanderbilt. Does he get past the third round?
Mel Kiper (2:41 PM)
No. I don't think so. He had some unfortunate drops this year. He has nice size. He worked hard at his craft. I see the second round, but no worse than the third.
Who shoud the Giants draft at #12 and why?
Mel Kiper (2:42 PM)
CJ Mosely would be the guy. Versatile player. Great in the open field. Great in coverage. He would fill the role of what the Giants need. The other need area is the OL. They could use another TE. They also need a RB. A CB. They have a lot of needs.
As much as it would pain the media, is there a chance Michael Sam might not get drafted? He seems to have had a really bad combine.
Mel Kiper (2:44 PM)
A chance, but I don't think so. He had a productive year. He outproduced Kony Ealy, who could be a second round pick. Sam has long arms. Had he ran better than a 4.92, he could have gotten up to the fourth round with a 4.7 40. But I do think someone drafts him.
Outside of the QBs, which player is the most over-hyped at his respective position?
Mel Kiper (2:46 PM)
Good question...I don't think there's anyone right now. I think if there's hype, it's from me and Todd. We're the ones that are talking about the guys moving up and down the board. We see a guy we like and we talk him up. That's for others to evaluate what we're doing. We just talk about what we like and don't like. I'm not overhyping the QBs. I have them at 10, 11, 12. I have them lower than where they're going to go. We have to always separate our personal ratings from the mock first rounds.
John (New York)
Is Zach Mettenberger the most slept-on QB in this draft? Could he have went 1st round last year?
Mel Kiper (2:49 PM)
He's not slept on. Everyone is aware of what kind of year he had. He improved dramatically. He had two excellent WRs to throw to. He had a great RB to lean on. He improved leaps and bounds. He went into the year a 7th round pick and he played like a 2nd round pick. The injury hurts, but he could go in the 3-4 round.
Who are some DTs/DEs or interior OL that could be available for ATL in the early 2nd round?
Mel Kiper (2:50 PM)
First of all, it depends on what they do in the first. If they try to trade up to get Clowney, then they get a OL in the second. Marcus Martin is the best interior lineman in the draft. If you get Clowney and the Martin, you fill two holes immediately with two pro bowl caliber players.
Will Trey Burton be drafted? He is a great athlete and is versitle enough to play 4 or 5 positions.
Mel Kiper (2:51 PM)
Late. He has a chance as a versatile guy catching the football. Late or priority free agent.
Scott (Westminster, CO)
I've heard Mack compared to Von Miller..fair comparison in your opinion? Is he the elite of an athlete?
Mel Kiper (2:52 PM)
Yeah, he is. That's very rare that you see 250 pound OLB that can run as fast as he can and is athletic as he is. I could see him going very early. I could see him going No. 3 to Jacksonville. If they decide there is no QB that's interesting, I could see them taking Mack.
Where do you think Hageman goes and what is his best fit in NFL?
Mel Kiper (2:53 PM)
He has first round caliber talent. He has upside potential, but I didn't see the dominance on a game to game basis. I didn't see him taking on double teams on a regular basis. He is first round talent, but played like a third rounder. Probably goes in the 2-3 round range.
Jace Amaro was a hot name heading into the combine, but not so much since. Has he fallen behind ASF and/or Niklas?
Mel Kiper (2:54 PM)
He did not run as well as I thought he would. That lessens the enthusiasm a little for him. I thought maybe a late first round possibility, now, I'm thinking second rounder. The pro days will impact this process.
When the Vikings pick comes up at 8 and there is one of the three top QB's on the board and one of the top LB (Mack,Barr) could you see them passing on a QB and go DEF?
Mel Kiper (2:55 PM)
I can't see how Mack is there at 8. I think Barr will be. I think the QB has to be a priority. You're the distant fourth team in the division at QB. It's imperative that you get one of the top QBs. I don't know who will be there at 8. I don't know if they will love the guy or not. They're in the same spot as Oakland, Jacksonville, Cleveland. They have to get better at that position.
who will the rams take
Mel Kiper (2:57 PM)
I think they have to focus in on an OT and a go-to WR. I'm torn here, because I have them taking Greg Robinson at No. 2 and then Brandin Cooks. Even with them taking Austin last year, wouldn't you take Steve Smith in his prime if he's available? If they want a big, go-to WR, they're going to have to move up to get a Mike Evans, but they'll have to move up into the top 10. If you get Robinson and a Mike Evans, you've helped out Sam Bradford big time.
Mel Kiper (2:58 PM)
That's it for this week. Thanks for your questions!