Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, 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 Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:01 PM)
Mel is here!
Could Bridgewater performance drop him out of the 1st round?
Mel Kiper (2:03 PM)
I don't think it drops him out of the first round. I think it puts him in some ratings as the third QB. This is all contingent on Manziel's pro day in about a week. Bortles had a better pro day. But pro days don't define a players' ratings. If you like one player over another, it's hard to move another guy over him due to a pro day. But with a poor performance, it raises questions -- can he hand the pressure of a pro day? Bridgewater said he wasn't wearing gloves. That's an excuse. If you want to wear gloves, wear gloves. It's hard to make an assessment on a pro day, but right now, he's in line to be the third QB taken.
Ben O (NY, NY)
Mel, Merril's analysis of Manziel was really persuasive. Why would a team draft him in the first round?
Mel Kiper (2:06 PM)
You draft Manziel because he's such a competitor. He's a unique QB. He has tremendous improv skills. He deals with chaos better than a QB that I've seen in a long time. He's a great competitor. He hates to lose. He has the "it" factor. Those are the reasons to take him. The reasons not to take him is what Jaws and Merril said -- will his style translate to the NFL? I've said all along, teams are scared to take him and scared not to take him. What Merril and Jaws said is an argument. The chaos he thrived on in college will not be the case in the NFL. The speed of the NFL players is so much greater. He's got to be effective throwing in the pocket. You can see on tape that he doesn't always feel comfortable in the pocket. He'll either grow into it or not feel comfortable. You can't not feel comfortable in the pocket in the NFL and get away with it.
Mel, do you think the Raiders's trade for Schaub today shows that they will go away from QB in the first round?
Mel Kiper (2:07 PM)
I think it gives them an option to go away from it. If there's a QB that they love at 5, I don't think it precludes you from taking one. They might be saying that they don't love any of the top QBs and Matt Schaub gives them a chance to win this year. They gave up a lot of draft choices for Carson Palmer before. You better love another young QB to bring in a guy after getting Schaub. But more than likely, I think they get away from QB in the draft. They could look at LT. They could look at a WR like Mike Evans. They could definitely go away from QB at 5.
Al (Des Moines)
How much do scouts pay attention to improved measureables from a guy's pro day vs the combine?
Mel Kiper (2:09 PM)
You chart everything. You're trying to get an accurate assessment of a players' performance. But you factor it in. When all of the guys were competing at the combine, you look at that. And you know that everything improves at the pro day. You're used to the environment. You're comfortable. Your former players are around you. You dictate the pro day policies. At the combine, the NFL dictates everything.
So I'm thinking Steelers won't have a chance at Mike Evans and will pick from whoever is left at corner between Gilbert and Dennard. Then get a WR in the second. Your thoughts on that and whom would be around at wideout in round two for them? Thanks, Mel.
Mel Kiper (2:10 PM)
When you look at round 2, you'd be looking at, probably, Kelvin Benjamin, FSU; Donte Moncrief, Ole Miss; Davante Adams, Fresno State; Jordan Matthews, Vandy; Jarvis Landry, LSU; those are some guys there. Pittsburgh is another team that needs CB and in the first round, they'd be looking at Gilbert or Dennard.
Mel, Khalil Mack reminds me of Aaron Curry. (Same size, similar combine numbers) Everyone thought Curry was a can't miss OLB, then he flopped. How does Mack compare to Curry in 2009?
Mel Kiper (2:11 PM)
No. Curry was more of a 4-3 OLB. Mack is a 3-4 OLB. Mack is a pass rusher. He can impact the game in the backfield more. Curry was not a pass rusher. Mack can be a pass rusher in the NFL.
With the Packes having let ames Jones go via free agency, where might you expect the Packers to draft a wr?
Mel Kiper (2:13 PM)
The Packers have other needs. It's not about one position. It's about trying to solidify other areas. Their defense has a lot of needs: S, ILB. Offensively, they could definitely use a WR. The deepest position in the draft is WR. You'll see Martavis Bryant, Clemson; Paul Richardson, Colorado; Robert Herron, Wyoming; Allen Robinson, Penn State; Jared Abbrederis, Wisconsin all good WRs, will all go later in the draft.
Chris (Willis TX)
After Clowney there seems to be a big drop off at defensive end, for dallas is there a end worth taking at 16?
Mel Kiper (2:14 PM)
DT would be the position to look at there. Tim Jernigan. Aaron Donald would be another one.
Chris (Cape Cod)
Mel, given their now dire need at CB, do the Jets go Gilbert or Dennard at 18 and then get a pass-catcher in Rd 2 from a deep WR/TE class?
Mel Kiper (2:15 PM)
They could. They could go CB at 18. But they also have a big need at WR, despite bringing in Decker. If an Eric Ebron slides down, they could look at him. Or if one of the WRs are still available, they could go there too. I think it's either WR or CB.
Should the Bears look to trade down, from the 14th pick and acquire more picks with the amount of D help they need?
Mel Kiper (2:17 PM)
If Aaron Donald is the guy they target, they can't move down and get him. If he's there, they need to get him. They've already added some players on defense. The front has already improved in free agency. Houston. Young. They've added two DEs. Now, if you add an Aaron Donald, you've got a one-gap penetrator at DT. This is a team that completely reworked their OL last year. They added a LT in free agency and added a RT and RG in the draft. In a two year period, they could solidify the OL and DL.
Where do you expect ILB CJ Mosley to be drafted? I am hoping he lasts until the Packers draft, but am doubtful. Thoughts?
Mel Kiper (2:18 PM)
I would probably think somewhere around 12-21.
BE Henderson (Charlottesville VA)
Reggie McKenzie has made some interesting moves in free agency. How would you grade Oakland in FA so far, and Who do you think comes next?.............Owen Daniels?
Mel Kiper (2:21 PM)
This is Oakland. When you look at the Schaub move, that gives them flexibility on draft day. Donald Penn comes in at LT. They've got Austin Howard at RT. You've added bookends there, so it gives you flexibility. Now they can go with WR. That's their biggest area of needs. If they added Sammy Watkins, to go along with Moore, Jones and other guys. All of a sudden, you've developed a receiving group that was horrible into a pretty good one. At some point, they'll also probably add a RB. Justin Tuck. Woodley. They've added veteran defensive players. They've done a lot of things to give themselves some more options on draft day. They could get 4-5 more wins than last year.
Who's the next best small school guy after mack?
Mel Kiper (2:24 PM)
Mack is not small school. He's a I-A player. He's in the MAC. He played a great game against Ohio State. The MAC had the first overall pick last year. The non-I-A player that's the best is Jimmy Garoppolo, QB. Kendall James, CB, Maine; Kadeem Edwards, OG, Tennessee State; Terrance West, RB, Towson; John Brown, WR, Pittsburg State; Jordan Tripp, OLB, Montana; are the next guys on the list.
Dominic (Irving, Tx)
hey mel i think now the Dallas Cowboys after getting Henry Melton should move their focus to safety if all positions are of equal value with their first round pick. what are your thoughts please?
Mel Kiper (2:25 PM)
They could still use a DT. It doesn't preclude them from using a DT. They added another DE, but they could still use a DT. They could add Jernigan. They could look at a WR at some point. That's an area they could look at. They could look at a DB also, maybe at safety like Ha-Ha Clinton-Dix.
Jody (Northeast CT)
Mel- one last question as lunch break is over- Do you believe Sam Bradford has the "stuff" to get the Rams to an eventual Superbowl. I don't see it and think they need to go in another direction- but it seems a "waste" to have to use the #2 pick on a QB class that hasn't been all that impressive- but I like Bortles
Mel Kiper (2:26 PM)
This is the last year for Bradford to get it done. This is the final year for him to stay healthy and be consistent. They have to get him a No. 1 WR. They have to shore up the OL. The OL needs to get better. They have to protect him better. They have the picks to do it. They could be vastly improved after the draft.
Same question about the Texans, do you think signing Fitzpatrick says the Texans are leaning on not taking a QB 1st overall? Have you heard any rumblings on which way they are going?
Mel Kiper (2:28 PM)
No, I don't think so. Fitzpatrick is a backup. That doesn't do anything to impact their attitude toward QB going into the draft. To get this team moving along, they have to get better. They need a QB. That doesn't mean they have to get one of the top 3 QBs. They just need to get one. Fitzpatrick is a very good backup, but you're not going anywhere with him as your starter.
Chris Dion (Beijing)
Always great to chat with you, Mel! Am I absolutely absurd for thinking that three years from now Kevin Benjamin will be the best wide receiver in this draft?
Mel Kiper (2:29 PM)
I think that's a stretch. He has a lot of talent, but he needs to be more consistent and reliable.
Mel Kiper (2:29 PM)
I can't see him being better than Watkins or Evans.
Does this draft lack good interior Offensive Lineman or do they just not carry a lot of value?
Mel Kiper (2:30 PM)
The draft has some very good interior OL, but there just aren't a lot of elite guys. That doesn't mean that these guys can't become good players. You could have five OGs go in the second round. It's possible you could have 2 centers. 7 interior OL could go in the second round.
How big is the spread between the best and third best tackle in the draft? And will one be on the board when the Bills draft at 9?
Mel Kiper (2:31 PM)
They're very close. The top 3 are very very close. Robinson, Matthews and Lewan are all very close in their grade. On the Big Board, I have Robinson at 2, Matthews at 5 and Lewan at 7.
Nick W. (Indianapolis)
Mel the Chargers have to go CB or NT with the 25th right?
Mel Kiper (2:32 PM)
CB definitely. No question about it. You coud look at Bradley Roby, OSU. For NT, Louis Nix III would be the guy. But I think CB. You're in a division with Peyton Manning. You have to get to that level. You have to beat him. San Diego needs CBs to hold up against that passing game. You can find NTs in the mid and late parts of the draft.
Can Hageman step in for Vince from Day One if Patriots take him at #29?
Mel Kiper (2:34 PM)
Yeah, he could. Hageman has as much talent in this draft as anyone outside of Clowney. He's the second most talented DL. He doesn't always play up to his talent and that's why he's not a top 10 pick. He has a lot of raw talent. He's a late first round pick.
can Anthony barr play defensive end?
Mel Kiper (2:34 PM)
Yeah, he could. But I prefer him as a 3-4 OLB. I prefer him to play on his feet and play in space.
Mel Kiper (2:35 PM)
I think he could go to Tennessee in the first round. They could use him at No. 11. He's the kind of guy that will be very intriguing in the middle of the first. Going into this year, he looked like a top 5-10 pick. Now we're talking middle of the first. He'll provide some value. I think people are undervaluing him right now.
if you were drafting for the 49ers would you package your two second rounders for another first round draft choice?
Mel Kiper (2:36 PM)
A WR like Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans would provide a huge boost. Those would be the guys that really impact this team. You've got Boldin and Crabtree, but after that, not much. Or they could move up to Dennard or Gilbert at CB.
how do you feel about Trent Murphy, is he a starter or just a situational rusher?
Mel Kiper (2:37 PM)
He should be a starter. I see a lot of Jarrett Johnson in him. Murphy is a guy that can put his hand on the ground. He can play on his feet. He will get you coverage sacks. He's a great kid. He's smart. He'll be a 2-3 round pick. He'll present a lot of value. He plays hard and smart.
Do you see Lee being more than just a possesion receiver and is that worth a first round grade?
Mel Kiper (2:39 PM)
Lee is a first rounder. He was a top 10-15 pick going into the year. His stock dropped because he was hurt and he didn't run a great 40 at the combine. But he runs great routes. He has a good burst out of his breaks. He needs to put on some weight. If you get him from 18 and on, he provides great value.
jim va.beach [via mobile]
Mel, who do you have for the giants in the first two rounds?
Mel Kiper (2:40 PM)
If they can come out of the this draft filling some of their top need areas...TE like Eric Ebron in the first round and then Jordan Matthews, WR, Vandy, that's a nice start to the draft.
Please tell me the Panthers will trade up for a stud WR. All mocks have them taking OL in round 1. Thanks.
Mel Kiper (2:41 PM)
It's either WR or LT. They have nothing at WR and they have a hole at LT. They need to do a lot of work to solidify those two positions. And they need more than just one WR, they need two or three. They also need a CB. I could see them drafting 3 WRs in this draft.
I think the Falcons should stay at #6 and see who drops to them. Mack, Matthews, Robinson...
Mel Kiper (2:43 PM)
The big thing is they're a 3-4 right now and they've added some key guys. They've retained some players and they've added some. This team has to get a safety, definitely. And RT, TE, WR. Those are the areas they'd be looking to improve. At No. 6, they could be looking at Jake Matthews, Eric Ebron would be a little early, Sammy Watkins or Mike Evans would be hard to pass up.
Jeff (So Cal)
Mel, I don't understand all the negative stuff about Bridgewater. To me he is the most NFL ready QB. I understand Bortals has upside but Bridgewater is ready now. Agree or disagree?
Mel Kiper (2:45 PM)
No. I think they're all the same. They're all coming out of college. Is anybody coming out of college more ready than another? Bridgewater did not play against great competition. Bortles is bigger than Bridgewater. Bortles won big games, he beat Bridgewater. Manziel's had signature wins -- against Alabama. I'm not buying the "NFL ready" comments. These guys better all be ready, because they're being drafted to be starters. Look at Mike Glennon, he was drafted in the third round and he played the best as a rookie last year.
Hey Mel. When do you think RB's will begin to come off the board, and who goes first? Thanks
Mel Kiper (2:46 PM)
Carlos Hyde, Ohio State will be the first taken, somewhere in the mid to late second round. Eddie Lacy went in the second round. Andre Ellington went in the sixth round. I think you'll find some great value at RB. There will be some gems in the mid to late rounds.
Hey Mel. I don't hear much mention of Jeremiah Attaochu and his NFL potential. What's your opinion of him and what position is he projected to play?
Mel Kiper (2:48 PM)
He's a pass rusher. I love his ability and versatility. He can fit 4-3 or 3-4 teams. He's played on his feet. He's played as an end. He's been a sack artist. In high school, he played a lot of soccer. He's athletic. Smart. Doesn't have a huge ego. He's the kind of guy that I think can be an intriguing second or third round pick.
Chris Borland is in your top 25, but have you seen the length of this dudes arms, how is he going to shred blocks in the nfl?
Mel Kiper (2:49 PM)
I'm not concerned about that at all. There have been guys with similar arm lengths and played great in ILB. He stays on his feet. He gets through trash. He's an impact tackler. He can do anything you want him to do. He's a borderline late first, second round pick.
Are people overlooking Martavis Bryant? Someone will get a steal if he goes later than round 3. Tall and fast!!!
Mel Kiper (2:50 PM)
I would agree. And that's about where he'll go - third round. He's become more consistent this year. He's a good athlete. Playing opposite Sammy Watkins helped him. He has all of the talent in the world. He's big. He came into the season in great shape. He showed more focus and concentration. I wouldn't be surprised if he went in the second round. He's a first round talent that will probably go in 2-3 round.
Every year we usually know who's going to be the number one pick, but is this the first year we won't know who he will be until the commisioner comes to the stage?
Mel Kiper (2:51 PM)
It may well be the case. Right now, the players who are in play, and the options Houston has are: Clowney, Mack, Bortles or trade down.
Hey Mel. I know he lacks athleticism, but Taylor Hart out of Oregon is going to be a day 3 sleeper. Agree?
Mel Kiper (2:53 PM)
He could be. He has ability. I thought he was very underrated at Oregon. I thought he was one of the key pieces that no one talked about enough. He outproduced Dion Jordan in a number of categories. He's been productive and steady. He's one of those under the radar guys that got overlooked. If he's in a rotation or a backup, he'll give you everything he has. He'll be a nice Day 3 pick.
Tillman has a 1 year deal and we have a revolving door at safety. What are the chances that the Bears look for a Defensive Back with the 14th pick instead of a Defensive Lineman?
Mel Kiper (2:55 PM)
They could. You have one pick in the first round, but many of picks after. So you could solidify needs later in the draft. The issue with safety is that's a little high for Clinton-Dix or Pryor. It's not too high to go Aaron Donald. If you get Donald in the first, then you could go Jimmie Ward or Terrance Brooks in the second round. That might be a good way to go. If they did go with Clinton-Dix in the first, they could look at Brent Urban or Will Sutton or Dominique Easley at DT. It's just a little bit of a reach to go safety that high in the first.
Do the Browns take OT at 4?
Mel Kiper (2:56 PM)
I think they will go QB or WR. That's my opinion. I look at that team right now and getting Watkins or Evans to go with Gordon is a big need. WR or QB are the areas.
Is there any possibility that the Texans trade for a QB. Kirk Cousins or Ryan Mallet?
Mel Kiper (2:58 PM)
You could have that happen. Mallet is familiar with Bill O'Brien. You could get Cousins. Then you've got your backup in Fitzpatrick. Or you could still bring in Cousins or Mallet and still pick a QB on Day 3. It all comes down to whether or not Bill O'Brien really, really likes one of these QBs. If he does then he picks him No. 1. Or does he like one of the other QBs down the list. Jimmy Garoppolo is really hot right now. You could get him at the top of the second.
Mel Kiper (2:59 PM)
Manziel's pro day is coming next week. That should be fun. Once the pro days are all over, we'll be able to start locking in ratings and then start putting together final analysis on these players. It should be fun.
Mel Kiper (2:59 PM)
Have a good weekend!