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!
Do you think the 49ers go for a WR in the 1st round?
Mel Kiper (1:01 PM)
They took a WR in the first round last year. I would consider this a redshirt year for AJ Jenkins. On paper, they expect Jenkins to be a guy that emerges. You would hope that this first year helps him take a giant leap nex year.
ashley (worcester, mass)
Hey Mel,Any safties ot corners the Pats would consider with their first or second round pick?
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
Where they will be picking, you're talking about Xavier Rhodes, Jordan Poyer, Kenny Vaccaro, Matt Elam, Tony Jefferson. Those are the guys you'd consider.
Mel I was wondering what you think the bears will do with the second round pick? If you wouldn't mind giving me a couple names to look at. Thanks
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
It depends on what happens in the first. If they take Tyler Eifert or Zach Ertz then in the second round they could look at LT. At that point, you're looking at Justin Pugh from Syracuse.
Do you feel the Lions are locked in to taking the best pass-rusher available (J. Jones, D. Moore, B. Werner)? Or could Joeckel be an option if he slides down?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
They took Riley Reiff last year and ultimately is a LT. That's where he'll fit in. Their big need is CB right now. Dee Milliner maybe over a pass rusher. They could use a Jarvis Jones, Milliner.
after his poor year for USC, does Matt Barkley actually become a best player available pick for a team that doesn't necessarily need a qb late in the first?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
No, teams aren't taking a QB in the first round unless they need one. You don't draft a best available QB in the first. There might be a team trading back into the first round. From the 10th pick to the 32nd, no team needs a QB. A team could jump back into the 20s from the early second and draft a Geno Smith, Matt Barkley.
Where do you think that Cierre Wood will get drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
I would say he goes in the fourth round.
Deven (Buffalo, NY)
In your mock draft you have the Bills picking Manti T'eo. Do you think they'll draft him after all this drama that's going on around him?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
No that situation will not effect his draft position. The most important thing is his 40 time at the combine or pro day.
What do you think of the 3-4 OLB class outside of J. Jones and D. Moore?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
Not bad. You can always find guys like that. You can usually find 3-4 OLBs. Dion Jordan could be that kind of guy. Corey Lemonier. There are a lot of guys like that. Trevardo Williams. Brandon Jenkins.
So far this week who are some players that have surprised you in the Senior Bowl practices?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
You watch the practices and then you try to see what you see in Mobile compares to what you saw during their career. If he has a good week at Mobile, does that override the career? Senior Bowl is important. You want them to put an exclamation point on their career. Eric Fisher is a guy that's maintained his top position. Johnson, LT, Oklahoma; B.W. Webb, CB, William and Mary; Desmond Trufant, CB.
Bert (St. Paul, MN)
What is your current take on Knile Davis? What does he have to do at the combine to help himself?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
The medical part will be important to him. He struggled with injuries during his career, dating back to high school. I think someone will look at him in the 5-6 round. He's worth rolling the dice at that point.
What's your thoughts on Denard Robinson? WR seems to be sort of weak this year... if he runs a sub-4.4 at the combine and performs well at the Senior Bowl, could he jump up into the first round?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
The WR group is not that bad, just not a top 10 pick. There will be a lot of No. 2 and no. 3 WRs coming out of this draft. With teams spreading the field, there will be a lot of good WRs in this draft. Patterson is the closest thing to the elite guys from past years. Tavon Austin is going to be a dynamic slot WR/return man. DeAndre Hopkins will be good too.
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
As for Robinson, he doesn't look natural catching balls in Mobile. He looks nervous in making the transition. He looks like a fish out of water, but he'll make progress. Today is the final day, really, since they don't practice on Friday. You hope that Robinson makes progress, day to day.
How does EJ Manuel compare to Geno Smith?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
I don't have nearly as high a grade on Manuel. I have Smith at 27 on the Big Board and Manuel with a 4th round grade.
Realisically, Apparently UT lost its 4 best receivers (1 being a tight end). Do you see all four of them possibly getting drafted this year?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
They could. They're all very good players. Patterson has a chance to be a mid first round pick. Justin Hunter right now has a chance to be a second round pick. Then Zach Rogers, he'll be a good slot WR, like Danny Amendola, around a 6th round pick. Mychal Rivera, the TE, has a chance to be a 4th round pick. Da-Rick Rogers is coming out of Tennessee Tech, having transfered from Tennessee, will be a 3rd round pick.
Walt (Denver) [via mobile]
Will Luke Joeckel have a better rating than Matt Kalil last year?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
I really like Kalil. They'll be very very close. I haven't finalized the grades yet. The only guy who had high grade than Kalil was Andrew Luck. A lot of people questioned whether Kalil should be that high. I think Joeckel will have a slightly better grade.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
Are the Browns in position at #6 to get that stud edge rusher they covet?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
They could be. It depends on their scheme. If they stay in the 4-3 then Bjoern Werner is an option. If they're in the 3-4, then Jarvis Jones, Moore, maybe Mingo. There will be a lot of guys available.
Do you think new orleans will get a 1st round pick this year?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
Defensive line. Johnathan Hankins, Ohio State. A DE could be a possibility. I don't see a CB at that point, but they also have to look there at some point.
Mike (East Lansing)
If you were a GM do you take your chances on a QB in the draft or do you try to pry away guys like Matt Flynn and Kirk Cousins from their teams?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
You're not going to get Cousins. He'll probably start the year as the starter in Washington. It'd be very optimistic for RG III to start the year. You have to get Cousins ready to start the season. And there may never be trade possibilities for Cousins, because if RG III keeps subjecting his body to those hits, you'll always need a Kirk Cousins.
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
Alex Smith, Matt Flynn, Michael Vick, you have to decide on any of the QBs out there. Are any of them franchise type QBs? I don't think so. I don't think there will be more than 1 or 2 in the first round. I just don't see it.
Any Iowa Hawkeyes that will be drafted and which round? Thanks.
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
Oh yeah, there are a few. Micah Hyde, CB, fifth round; Keenan Davis, WR, a later round possibility.
if dee milliner drops to miami do you see them taking him since they are weak at corner back or do you see them trying to draft a wideout
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
You can't force a pick because of need. You don't force it. Most of these teams have 3 or more need areas, so you don't have to force it. CB is an area of need for Miami, but I don't think he drops to 12. I think he goes 4 or 5. I think Patterson goes to Miami.
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
The next highest rated CB after Milliner is Rhodes, but he's more of a late first rounder.
Jon (Strasburg PA)
Mel,Any D-III guys to watch out for in the first few rounds?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
A lot of those guys there that are D-II or D-III. Michael Hill, RB, Missouri Western; Jasper Collins, WR, Mount Union; David Bass, DE, Missouri Western; Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern; Charles Jones, CB, Charleston Southern.
Lewis (Destin, FL)
What's your take on Atlanta's major needs?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
They have needs at DE, TE, OL.
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
Eifert or Ertz, if they're still there, they'd have to look at one of them.
It seems to me that the Steelers have a lot of holes this year and could go in a lot of different directions, with that said are they going to go best available and nail down a specific spot?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
They could look at a lot of things. They could look OLB. They could look TE, WR, CB. The best available player at one of those positions is what they'll do. They have to be worried about the Ravens having developed some good young players because of injuries. Look what Corey Graham has done. Upshaw, Pierce. The Steelers have to be a liitle concerned. This was another year where Roethlisberger had more injuries.
Montana, Young....Kaepernick. How come that team is so darn lucky when it comes to QBs?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
They also drafted Giovanni out of Hofstra over Tom Brady. They haven't always had great hits. They passed on Jake Plummer, not a great QB, but he was a playoff QB, for Jim Drukenmiller. It's not all been perfect. They've had the hits, but also had some misses.
I keep reading good things about Ray Graham out of Pitt. Is he a say 2 pick?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
I think he ends up in the third round. He's a good back. He didn't get a lot of help at Pitt this year. When healthy, he's a good football player. He's decisive. I think he's a third rounder.
D Amerson (NC)
Mel could a team make a good safety out of me? How high can you see me going?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
He's a big CB. He's the kind of CB you like. People all look at Seattle as the top of the line right now, because they're big CBs. There are all of the big WRs now. Think about the NFL right now, Julio Jones, Anquan Boldin, Demarius Thomas, Andre Johnson, Sidney Rice, AJ Green, Brandon Marshall, Dez Bryant, Marques Colston, Vincent Jackson, Calvin Johnson, Larry Fitzgerald...they're all big WRs. You need size. I had a third round grade on Brandon Browner and he went undrafted. They both were big CBs that nobody wanted. Amerson is going to be looked at, I think, as a CB. He could be one of those guys that drops. He was considered a potential top 10 pick going into the year.
We know the Bears need O-line help, and hopefully the right fit is there. My question is how important position is for the majority of guys on the line. Could the Bears draft somebody like Fluker and have him play guard? Basically should you just draft the 5 best O-lineman and then figure it out?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
Fluker could play guard, he could play tackle. There are a lot of versatile OL in the draft. David Quessenberry is showing a lot of versatility at the Senior Bowl. Brian Winters.
Will Giovani Bernard make an immediate impact in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
Yes he can. He has great versatility, he's explosive. He's a difference maker. That's what he can be. He can be a great player in this league. I think he can be a second round pick. I think he can start at RB and get a lot of production out of.
Cam (Los Angeles)
Who should the Raiders take with their first pick? Is there a market this year for trading back?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
They are picking third. There are players they'll be looking at. They need a WR, but there are no WRs that early. They need a DL, so Moore could be in the mix or Lotulelai. Dee Milliner. Those are some of the options.
Is Ozzie Newsome the GM of the year? of the decade? He deserves to be in the Hall of Fame just as a GM. Agree?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
This has been ongoing. That's why they've said that he's a hall of fame player and a hall of fame GM. How many people are hall of famers in both? He's surrounded himself with great people. They have great scouts in Baltimore and a great owner. And they have a great front office. It all comes from the top down. And they've had great continuity. They went from Brian Billick to John Harbaugh. They've got a young QB in Joe Flacco, who should be in his second straight Super Bowl. But this team will lose some people next year.
I know you arent high any QBs this year, but wont at least 1 bubble up? Like Ryan Tannehill last year.
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
The three that you'd look at are Geno Smith, Matt Barkley and Glennon. Smith has the size and arm. Barkley, unfortunately, had the injury late in the process and didn't have a great year. Ultimately, Barkley could be the best of the group.
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
Barkley in the second round would present great value. This is a guy who would have gone in the top 5 last year. Don't forget that.
What do you think will distinguish the two first round TE's? They seem to have somewhat similar profiles, both played in pro style offenses, etc.
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
First of all, they can catch the football and great hands. Great ability to adjust to the ball. Their blocking is adequate. Eifert was the go=to guy at Notre Dame and Ertz was a go-to guy as well.
Where do you see Lacy going and do you see him going to Atlanta
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
I think there is a durability concern with him. Will his running style translate to the pro game? The spin move poroably won't translate. I think he's a second round pick.
How do you see Andrew Luck faring next year with Pep Hamilton instead of Bruce Arians?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
I don't think anything will effect Andrew Luck. He will determine the success of the OC. It's like Ray Lewis helped three DC's get head coaching jobs. Luck already helped Bruce Arians get a job. I think Andrew Luck will be a OC maker. He will make a lot of them look good. Look at what Peyton Manning did in Denver with McCoy.
Mel, What do you think the packers biggest needs are? Who will they pick 1st round?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
I would say OL, front and center. You have to protect Aaron Rodgers better. He's your franchise. They need a pure LT. They could look at center. Their big issue is the OL.
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
They'll do that with multiple picks. I could see them taking 3 OL in this draft.
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
Enjoy the rest of Senior Bowl week. We'll be back next week to preview the Super Bowl. I'll also be formulating Mock 2.0 next week before it comes out on Feb. 6.