Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:01 PM)
Mel is here!
Where will Geno Smith be drafted in April?
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
The draft is not a yo-yo back and forth. You try to react to things that have happened over a 3-4 week period not one week. I can site numerous examples of college QBs that have had subpar games. He's 7th going into last week and he's 7th now. It was one football game. It's not like they were a huge favorite. We knew it would be a tough environment.
Does Justin Hunter have Julio Jones type ability
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
He has potential to be a very good NFL player or a great NFL player, he's just not at the point that Julio Jones was at this point in his career. He's only a year removed from that injury. Usually it's 2 years removed where you're back to where you want to be. He also needs to get his weight up a little bit. Julio Jones was 6-2, 222. Hunter is 6-3, 190. They'd like him to be around 200. You're talking about a guy giving up over 30 pounds in weight.
Mel, do you think the Aggies have a chance at upsetting LSU this weekend? Also is Damantre Moore a first rounder and better at OLB or DE?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
It's an SEC game and you're sitting there in a situation that A-M is. It's a noon kickoff, 11am local time. LSU is coming off of an emotional win. They had two tough games back to back. They do have the week off next week. I would still favor LSU. A lot of firepower. Moore has been spectacular lately. He's got to get some heat on the QB and he can. A-M has a lot of issues. They gave up a ton of points the last few games. They had the second half collapse against Florida. LSU defensively will contain A-M. This is the best defense by far that TAMU will face all year.
Do you see Barrett Jones going very high in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
Not high. I thnk he's a versatile kid. He's got short arms. He's a little limited from a pro standpoint, but a great college player. He has the versatility to be a good swing man, maybe starter at center. I don't think he has better than a 3-4 round grade.
Darryl (Oakland, CA)
Hi Mel,I've noticed you've not put in the most dominate DE (certainly on the west coast) in college football on your top 25 or even top 5 junior DEs: Arizona St's Will Sutton....I've seen the guys from LSU, Sutton is light years better and a better prospect in my opinion. Will we see him soon on your list?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
First of all, he's a young guy. He's had a great year. He's been a very difficult player to block in the interior. He gets exceptional leverage at the point of attack. He plays with high energy. Very good athlete. Quick feet. Hard worker. He's only a junior and has another year if he wants it. The thing is he's not that big, 6-1, 280. With another year at ASU, he's a guy that just gets the job young. He's one of the best collegiate DTs in the country. He just doesn't have ideal size. He will play in the NFL.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Did the performance of players in the RRR cause you to re-evaluate some of there grades, both good and bad?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
A couple of guys that really helped themselves is Colvin, junior CB and Jefferson, junior FS really helped their stock. Both were outstanding in that game.
Billy (Eastchester, NY)
What do you make of UCLA's Anthony Barr? High draft pick this year?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
Another guy that changed positions. He was a H-back guy, TE, halfback. He was a versatile offensive guy and now he's a LB. 6-5, 235. Great length. He's a difficult guy to throw over. He's really come on. Give Jim Mora credit. They saw a lot of athletic ability and he's on the radar. His arrow is going up. He was highly regarded coming out of high school. He was trying to find his position. They couldn't find ways for him on offense, but now he's very effective.
Kevin (Reno, NV)
Will Dez Bryant ever be a consistent big time receiver for the Cowboys?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
I don't know. I can't really answer that question. Has there been anything up to this point that told you any different? No. Don't do any talking and just play football. Don't talk about everything. Don't be the diva. Go about your business quietly. For Bryant, we saw an opportunity with the 2-point coversion and he didn't haul in. Make sure your routes are run crisply. I can't answer the question. Does he have the talent to be a great player? Yes he does. But up to now we haven't seen anything that would indicate that he will be.
gamecocks or gators?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
I would say flip a coin. That's tough football game to try to predict. It's at the swamp. SC is just coming off a bad game. Florida will look at that LSU blueprint and make Shaw beat them. They need to block Clowney. If you look at this game, it's evenly matched. Connor Shaw is the key guy. He has to bounce back from a bad game.
Mel, what's your take on the Dolphins draft class this year? There has been some talk about it being a good one.
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
Tannehill has done a respectable job. I don't worry about QB ratings and all that for rookies. I just look to see if you're doing a good job. Mike Sherman has been a Godsend. There's no veteran QB on that roster that knows the offense better than Tannehill. They're creating opportunities for him that are QB friendly. They don't have a great WR corps. I just worry about what I've seen and that bodes well for the future. The jury is still out on the other guys. Some are showing promise so we'll see. But right now the draft is all about Tannehill.
Did the 49ers just get caught up in all the hype last week and not focus on game at hand and will Harbaugh have them ready tomorrow? Also why are they noy utilizing Moss that much?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
First of all, can Harbaugh have them ready to bounce back? They should be. They should be angry. They went in as a touchdown favorite and got beat handily. The Giants dominated that game. The 49ers are a team that can't fall behind. They don't feel comfortable in that catchup mode. They're going to see a Seattle defense that attacks, attacks, attacks. They can cover. They're a tough defense. The big advantage is they've got them at home. Seattle is a different team at home than on the road. This points to a bounce back for the 49ers yes.
Mel, does Braxton Miller have a chance to be an NFL quarterback? With him being only a sophomore, he has time to develop his throwing motion, accuracy, strength, etc., but does he even have the potential to develop the qualities NFL teams need to see in a potential QB?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
I think that's something we have to wait and see. He's only a sophomore like you said. He's a young kid. He's got the ability. When you watch him, he's a dynamic player who deserves all of the accolades he's getting. Meyer loves this kid. He's got a strong arm. He's got RGIII type speed. He's got all of that. He probably has better moves in the open field than RGIII. He'll be a very interesting kid to follow. He's a true sophomore, so he will have to go back next year.
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
He has a rare combination of speed and athleticism. Tebow had a 38.5 vertical but ran only a 4.7. RGIII was 4.39. Miller will be more in the RGIII area.
So up until now what is your take on Peyton? Is he where you thought he'd be coming back after neck injuries?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
Peyton has been miraculously coming off that injury. That's an injury where you didn't know what his arm would be. You didn't know if his arm strength would be back. New team. New coaching staff. New players. He brought them back in the Atlanta game and Houston game to make it interesting. They had a pivotal game on Monday night. He shakes off bad plays. His professionalism, what he said after the game. He does everything the right way. Eveything about him and Eli is professional. They're the model by which everyone should be judged. They have played Pittsburgh, Atlanta, New England, San Diego, Houston and been the underdog in a lot of those games. And they're 3-3. They have to feel pretty good. Coming off the bye, the schedule gets easier. If they can win against New Orleans coming out of the bye, I could see 10-6 with that schedule.
Mack Brown (Austin, TX)
Mel, did Trey Millard move up your draft board? He sure moved up mine.
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
He's a very versatile kid. He's been the No. 1 overall fullback since last year. He's the No. 1 FB and still No. 1 when you throw in the seniors.
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
The thing about him is his hands, the way he catches the ball. He could be a traditional FB, an H-back. He's a multidimensional player. 15-20 years ago, he'd be looked at as a 1-2 round pick when the FB was more a part of the offense.
Hi Mel - Is the Patriots collection of DB's among the worst position groups in the NFL? Is there a legit, solid starter in the group? I hope I'm wrong, but I think it could the thing that holds this team back all year. Thanks
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
Bill Belichick is a hall of fame coach and a good defensive strategists. He just hasn't been able to evaluate DBs. This year they reached for Wilson from Illinois. All of these different eras and DBs that have been brought in. He has not done a good job of evaluating DBs. That's the only flaw. He gets almost straight A's across the board. Not everybody is great with every position.
Hank (Washington DC)
Mel--does Michigan finally end the 4 year losing streak to Sparty this Saturday?
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
Both of these teams have some flaws. Both of these teams aren't perfect. MSU has had a hard time adapting to a new QB, WR issues, their TE was out. A lot of changeover on offense has impacted them. MSU's defense is going to have to find a way to contain Robinson. Going into the game, Michigan has to be favored. Denard has had an up and down year.
Martin (Gregory, NC)
What are your thoughts on Percy Harvin this year? The guy looks like he can do anything he wants to on the field and no defense can stop him. Unbelievable.
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
He's a gifted player. He's been gifted at Florida. He's been a step ahead of everybody when he's been healthy. You hope that every great player can stay healthy and at an optimum level every week. He beats you in a lot of different ways. You just want him to get a lot of touches. With touches come touchdowns with him. They have a 4-2 record and they have some very winnable games coming up. They want to be 6-2 after 8 games because after that the schedule is very difficult the rest of the way. They've got to get to 6-2.
Given his pectoral injury, do you think Jeffcoat is now a 2nd or 3rd round prospect?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
First of all he's only a junior. He's not a guy that has to come out. You always have to look at that. You don't know what the decision will be. He was having a very very good year. He's been an explosive player off the edge. He needs to get a little stronger. But that's the thing about Texas players they always get stronger.
Can Virginia Tech pull of the upset against Clemson?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
It should be a good one. Two teams that have been good and bad. VT had that terrible start against Duke. They've had their struggles. The defense hasn't been as good as advertised. Logan Thomas has struggled. I think they'll have a tough time dealing with Clemson.
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
Clemson also had a week off to prepare.
How far has Tyler Wilson fallen in your evaluations? Is he a solid 2nd rounder at this point?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
He had the setback with the injury. He lost three of his top WR. Not having Bobby Petrino impacted him and the team. Knile Davis is coming off the injury. They were able to right the ship the last couple of weeks. They have the week off this week and then Mississippi and Tulsa. Wilson will be evaluated on his overall body of work. When he had WRs with the ability to get open consistently, he put up some outstanding numbers. He's a tough, tough kid. He takes hits and gets right back up. Definitely an NFL arm. He's got toughness to make throws. His stock hasn't dropped all that much. It's dropped some.
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
Barkley, Smith, Wilson, Manuel, Glennon. All of these QBs will potentially be in Mobile for the Senior Bowl. That week will be very very interesting.
Are Stephon Tuitt and Jadeveon Clowney the two best defensive lineman in the country?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
Clowney is the best player in the country. I said 2 weeks ago that he'd be the No. 1 player if he were draft eligible. They're both only sophomores. Moore has played as well as anybody at DE. You want to see Mingo and Montgomery pick it up for LSU. In the senior class, Lotulelei from Utah has a lot of ability.
How many new starters do the Cowboys need on the O-Line? Is it the whole right side that needs to be replaced?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
When you look at their OL, Smith was a first round pick. They've had some guys nicked up in the interior. They're still trying to find their way. They have a lot of areas that they need to play better. It wasn't the OL that cost them the last game. It was a dropped pass, a 108-yard kickoff return. That was a major special teams breakdown. And a mismanaged last few seconds in not getting off another play. They've had multiple issues trying to get this thing sorted out. Dallas has got to win their next game.
Has Matthew Stafford taken a step back this year? I know he's only played in 33 games but something doesn't seem right with him mechanically?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
No. No. He's been hit a lot. Their OL hasn't been good. They don't have a running game to speak of. Their defense has been sieve-like at times. Don't worry about QB ratings. He's brought them back in games. He's a franchise QB. He doesn't get a lot of help. They don't have the best OL in the NFL. They don't have the run game. They don't have the weapons. The QB, far too much praise when they win, far too much criticism when they lose. He's not going to be the guy that determines their season.
jeff (charleston, sc)
aj mccarron... what do scouts think of his play so far this year? nfl starter eventually? draft day 1? day 2?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
Pro potential wise, I think he can be a decent to good NFL QB. He doesn't have wow you over physical ability, in terms of the great arm or mobility. He's been a great game manager. He's got a stronger arm than Greg McElroy. He has good WR. He's always had a good running game to rely on. He's been a perfect game manager for Nick Saban. He's won a lot of games. He's got great RBs, WRs, OL. He beat out Phill Simms, who is now at Virginia. All he's done at Alabama is win. People will always look at him as limited.
The Rams are different team from last year beside Jeff Fisher being the Head Coach what changed?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
Robert Quinn has changed. He was a nonfactor last year and has stepped up as one of the best pass rushing DLs. Having Amendola was a key guy, but he's now injured. That was Bradford's go-to guy. But the key guy on defense is Quinn. With Long on the other side, they're a dynamic pass rush. They need to find a way to score some points.
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
Now they have Green Bay, New England, San Francisco. Some tough games coming up.
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
Thing about St. Louis, they're 3-0 at home and 0-3 on the road.
What about players like D'Anthony Thomas? He looks great in college, but does he have the size to Play in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
In this league, the way it is now, definitely. He'll be a scat back, a change of pace guy. Darren Sproles has had a role in the NFL. Thomas is probably 5-9, 175. His role is to be in space, catching the ball and in the return game. He's strong in the lower body. He was a DB in high school. He hits the hole with authority. He's got a tremendous burst. He has unbelievable feet and chang of direction. Yeah, there will be a role for him. He will be a fear factor weapon in the NFL. He's a true sophomore so he can't come out.
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
I enjoyed it. We've got a real good Thursday coming up. Oregon-ASU and the San Francisco-Seattle games. A great Saturday of college football coming up. Some games in the NFL will tell us an awful lot about how the teams will be at the end of the year. Washington and the Giants. Jets at New England. Detroit-Chicago on Monday. A lot of fun matchups.