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!
Is Bjoern Werner still in tthe 1st round mix?
Mel Kiper (1:01 PM)
Yeah, he's in the mid first round mix, not the early first round mix any more. I think he'll land in the 15-20 range.
Is kenny Vaccoro as good as Earl Thomas coming out of TX?
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
No. Not quite as explosive. The way they used Vaccaro, they used him in the box a lot. He didn't have the worry about the deep end. He didn't run as well at the combine as he needed to. At one point in time he was a top 10 guy, but he has to run better at his combine. Right now he's a mid first rounder.
even thought Sinkfielf ran a fast 40 i dont remember him running past defenders in college a lot. do you think his 40 time is overrated?
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
I saw him in a couple of games last year and I thought he was a free agent. I still think that. You knew he had speed. He goes from being an undrafted free agent to maybe a priority free agent. He didn't wow me over on tape.
wausau, wisconsin [via mobile]
Is Star health problem a concern for a team drafting him, in the top 10?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
Right now it's a concern until the April 5 and 6 medical rechecks. You're hoping for the best. You're hoping it's nothing that will prevent him from having a career. We'll have to wait and see.
Thoughts on Eifert to Chicago at #20?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
He could. That would be a nice pickup for them. He would be a nice addition for them in the draft. Right now I have him rated as the 19th best player in the draft. 17 to Pittsburgh, 19 to the Giants, 20 to Chicago, 26 to Green Bay, 30 to Atlanta. I think he goes in the 17-20 area. He separated himself from the other TEs at the combine.
Who are some of the best quarterbacks that might slip into the 2nd & 3rd rounds?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
Matt Barkley, USC; Ryan Nassib, Syracuse; Mike Glennon, NC State; Landry Jones, Oklahoma. Those would be the guys there that could be second round guys.
Can Jarvis Jones be a fit for the raider, because they desperately need a pass rusher?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
It depends on what he runs. He could be a great fit for any team like that, in the top 10. But it depends on what he runs. There are some that think he's a 4.65-4.7 guy others think he's more of a 4.5-4.6. If he's 4.55-4.64 he's a top 10 pick. There is a lot of volatility to him. March 21 he will run. That will determine where he goes. He's a big wild card in the top 10, him and Lotulelei.
Can Desmond Trufant fall to Denver?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
Yes. Possibly. Trufant has to improve his tackling ability. He had a great senior bowl week. He ran well at the combine. If he were a better tackler, he'd go in the top 10-15. But he probably goes 24-29.
Mel, If Tavon Auston was available to the Packers at 26 would you draft him if your the Packers? He would add a major threat to the offense and would create the best group of slot WR's in the league. Also would add another dimension to the offense.
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
I don't think he will be. I don't think he'll be around. He could go as early as 9 to the Jets. He could go 14 to Carolina. 16 to St. Louis. He'll interest some teams in that 9-16 area.
Is there even a point trying to predict who the Seahawks will draft?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
They've been unpredictable. It's been fun following them. They're picking 25, but they could go a variety of ways. They don't have any pressing, have to have need areas. They could take a DL, WR, OL, OLB. They can just size it up and go with the best player. I'm thinking they go DL.
Colts need a NT, Do you see one in this years draft that can give them depth at that position?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
John Jenkins could be one, but I think their pressing need is CB like Trufant or Xavier Rhodes.
If jets trade revis, do they draft a corner?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
That would be something they'd have to look at. Free agency will impact this team. They need a S, WR, LB. This team has a lot of needs.
Jon (PHILLY )
Is Dion Jordan a lock at the #4 spot?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
Not a lock, no. It's a possibility, because of the connection with Chip Kelly and they can use a guy with his skill set. But other players will be in the mix. They need CB, OL. You think about familiarity with the player. When a coach leaves college to go to the pros, they bring a lot of their guys with him. Is Jordan a lock? No.
Erick In Philadelphia [via mobile]
What is Dee Milliner ceiling? Does he have Morris Claiborne or Patrick Peterson potential? Is it possible he could go #1 overall?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
I would say his ceiling for him would be No. 1 in the draft. KC could use him. He could go No. 2 to Jacksonville. He could go No. 3 to Oakland. Every team picking in the top 5 could use him. That's why I think KC could find a trade partner.
What round will Denard Robinson go? and can he return kicks?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
We don't know what he can do. He's a projection. He was a QB only. He's not natural catching the ball as a WR. We don't know if he can catch the ball well enough to be a slot WR. We don't know if he can play DB. He has to carve a nitch but we don't know what that is. I think he goes third round.
Do you think that with the lack of qbs that if tayler bray has a good proday that he will be a late first or early secend round pick
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
I don't think so. I think he's more of a late two, early three. Physically he has the components you look for, but he's inconsistent. I wish he would have had another year at Tennessee to improve. I think he's a potential late two.
Mel, Are the Bucs taking Rhodes at #13? Can Star fall to them?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
Too high for Rhodes. That would be a stretch. Some are looking at him as a safety. He doesn't have a lot of scheme versatility. 13 is too high for Rhodes.
Even though he had a solid career at FSU, a good Senior Bowl and combine, E.J. Manuel is rated behind all the other QB's. In comparison, where does he come up short and what teams does he seem to fit? Thanks...
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
There are some throws that lead you scratching your head. There are some bad reads, poor decisions at times. He has a lot of talent. If he's developed and handled properly, he won't come in expecting to play right away. If you take him in the 3-4 round, he's a great character kid. He has the skills you look for, he just has to be groomed properly.
Do the Bears have a shot at any good left tackle falling to them at 20?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
No. If they want one of the top 3 LTs, Fisher, Joeckel, Johnson they have to get into the top 11. I think they all go in the top 11. The next OT off the board are your RTs like DJ Fluker, Menelik Watson.
Where does Marcus Lattimore fit into the Draft?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
I would say anywhere between the 5-7 round. He's still coming back from the knee injury. You have to write off this year pretty much, so you're drafing him as a future entity.
How do you evaluate Kyle Long? Do his physical skills out-weigh his lack of game experience?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
He has outstanding physical potential. He has versatility. He can play OG or OT.
Hey Mel, any chance my Jets go offensive line at the number 9 spot? I'd love to get a nasty, gritty lineman like Fisher or Cooper.
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
They could. They could go OL, but they have some defensive needs as well and they need a playmaker at WR. They could use a Tavon Austin. Mingo as a pass rusher, if he's there.
Why isn't Montee Ball a first rounder, or even 2nd rounder (from what I've seen) when he has had nothing but success in Wisconsin?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
I think he could be a second rounder. He's the second best RB available. If you're the Bengals, Packers, you could look at him in the second round. The reason RBs drop is because teams don't need him.
Does Sheldon Richardson's age count against him? Apparently he is 24
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
He'll be a top 15-20 pick regardless. He's a 4-3 DT, penetrator. He gets into the backfield.
John Bauman (Chapel Hill)
What do you think the panthers are gonna do with their first rounder?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
They could go slot WR like Austin, they could go DT like Sheldon Richardson.
MissState (New Orleans)
Banks ran in the range of 4.51-4.55 today at pro day does this improve is stock? Also Slay didn't run is he into your second round category?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
It's not the elite speed that you want. You want your CBs to be in the 4.4s. I think you're looking at a second round draft pick.
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
There have been a lot of good CBs have gone in the second round over the years.
Matt (Stratford, NJ)
Chances Geno falls to the Bills? I mean if he is there, don't they have to take him?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
To the Bills at 8? That's not falling. That's as high as he can go. Maybe Arizona at No. 7. Smith is a late first round pick to me that's being forced into the top 10 if he goes there because of the need in the draft.
When did OG become value in the top half of the first half? I know Warmack is good but in the old ranking system I just don't see spending a top 5 pick on a hog. Please explain the change.
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
You don't. John Hannah went fourth overall a long time ago. Steve Hutchinson went in the middle of the first. Normally you don't, but these are two elite guards. They're two pro bowl guards. Warmack is a power guy with underrated pulling ability. They're both elite guards. If you put them on the board, they have to be two of the top 10 players in this draft.
I'm starting to hear that Barrett Jones might not be the best center in this years draft. Who else might be considered some of the best centers? Also, how do they compare to top centers from previous years?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
He's not. What helps Jones is his versatility. But he has short arms and gets overpowered. Schwenke, Pugh, Tretter will all give him competition. But I think he's either the second or third center drafted.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
What was your evaluation of Richard Sherman before he was drafted, and what has he improved on or answered since then? Just curious because he's probably the best until Revis is healthy...
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
I liked him coming out. I had a higher grade on him than a lot of people coming out. He was a WR originally at Stanford. Browner I gave a third round grade and he went undrafted. Both of Seattle's CBs were very overlooked coming into the league.
Max (Murrieta) [via mobile]
Will the Raiders draft smart and improve their O-line?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
They could. They could draft a team that could go OL early. But they could use a DL, CB.
Mel -- there is ZERO chance Atlanta goes with a TE @ 30 regardless of what happens w/ Gonzalez. Any chance Okafor is still on the board for the Falcons?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
Okafor will be more of a second round possibility. He'd be in the discussion. I still think Zach Ertz would be in the discussion. There are some players that are being completely overlooked. Kruger is an underrated DE. I like him a lot.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Where would you have projected Lattimore if he hadn't been injured? He seems to be as good as Willis MacGahee was coming out, and he was a late 1st..is it just the grades and importance on RBs have changed since then?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
He could have been in the first round discussion if he had no injuries. He looked like a first round pick without injuries.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Could the Cowoboys trade back into the 1st round and find a good Safety?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
They could. The first round safety that could be there is Kenny Vaccaro. He could be there at 18. Matt Elam. But there could be some good second round safeties: Shamarko Thomas, Cyprien.
Dyllan (New York)
Is there any second round sleeper similar to Derek Wolfe (Broncos) last year that isnt getting the attention due to the depth of the class but could be an immediate impact player?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
There are a lot of guys that could be in the mix, in terms of later round guys that would be sleepers. Mike Catapano; Michael Hill, RB, Missouri Western; Jasper Collins, WR, Mount Union; Charles Johnson, WR, Grand Valley State; Kejuan Riley, S, Alabama State; Cooper Taylor, S, Richmond; Charles James, CB, Charleston Southern.
Brandon (Sarasota, FL)
How does Shamarko Thomas look on tape? That guy completely blew me away watching him at the combine.
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
He had great tape. Excellent tape. He's aggressive, tough, physical. He jumps out at you. He's worthy of being a second round pick.
Where ultimatly do you see Tyrann Mathieu being drafted? How do you think he would fight, say for the skins, in round 3 or 4?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
I think he'll go probably in the third round. I think he'd be a pick that will bring you some value if he puts the off the field issues in the past. He would be an outstanding third round pick.
what are the pats draft needs and free agent targets
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
Secondary, either CB or safety. That's the biggest need. They could look WR at some point and OL. But the secondary is the biggest issue.
I'm not hearing much about UCLA's s Johnathan Franklin after a stellar senior year. Is his stock falling?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
I don't agree that he's dropped. He'll be a nice fourth round pick for somebody. He has the speed to get to the perimeter. He'll pass block. He had fumbling issues early on. He's got good hands out of the backfield. Jim Mora Jr. raved about him. He said he was a great teammate, leader all of the way. He has great RB sense. He put up big numbers at UCLA without a great OL.
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
I think he's the 3-4 RB in the draft.
Drew (Overland Park, Kansas)
Is Milliner more likely for Chiefs at one now with Albert franchised?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
It didn't increase. They can move Albert to RT or OG. You don't have to say that beause he's franchised it moves them away from LT. But Milliner could be a pick. They need someone opposite Flowers. They have to play Peyton Manning, Phillip Rivers, Tom Brady. If they keep the pick, it comes down to taking Joeckel, Milliner or Fisher. There is no one else to consider, really. They've drafted DL the last few years. Trading out would be great for them.
Pats have been known to make gambles..say the honey badger in the 2nd round?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
It's not out of the realm of possibility for him to go in the late second. If you're picking there, you're not going to see him in the late third round. Late second is the ceiling for him. I'm thinking third round, at worst fourth.
What needs do the Titans need to address?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
The biggest thing, they have to look at a pass rusher. They need a big time safety. They could use OL help.
no tight end is doing enough to separate themselves so wil a lot go in the middle rounds as prospects?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
I think you'll see Eifert go in the first. Ertz in the late first to second. Then you'll probably see a lot of 3-5 rounders.
Paul (Mooresville, NC)
By now everyone knows who the top 2 QBs are, Smith and Barkley... who gets drafted 3rd? Wilson? Nassib? Glennon?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
Nobody knows who goes after them. Jones, Glennon, Nassib, Bray. That's the next group of guys. Wilson is in there too. I think and underrated QB is Sean Renfre, Matt Scott is interesting. Brad Sorensen is a late round guy. Ryan Aplin is a late rounder, priority free agent. MarQueis Gray, who could also make it as a WR. But as far as the third QB drafted, I think it comes down to Nassib, Glennon or Jones.
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
The wild card in the mix is Bray.
Steve (Buffalo, NY)
Do you see Cordarelle Patterson being the next Julio Jones?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
Uh, no. He's not as tall as Jones. He's not as big as Jones overall. He doesn't have Jones' domination ability on the field. He dominated at Alabama for three years. Patterson only had the one good year at Tennessee. Is Patterson worthy of being a first round pick based on his potential and athleticism? Yeah. Is he a standout in the NFL? Potential pro bowler? I don't know. If you take him in the top 10, I'm not sure. If you take him 11-25, and he works hard and does his due diligence, then it's good value. He's No. 20 on my Big Board. That's generous, but it's based more on potential.
Alex (Philadelphia) [via mobile]
Mel, what do you think of Jordan Reed, tight end from Florida?
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
Talented pass catcher. Great athlete. I think his stock has slipped a little bit from where it was. I thought second round, more like 3-5 now. He can do some things to help your offense. He did not achieve the second round grade that I thought was possible.
could the ravens go d-tackle with the depth in draft. terrence cody and maake kemoeatu do not impress.
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
They could. DL, DT is a need. But they have a bigger need at ILB and safety. Te'o or Ogletree, they have to look at those two. Elam or Cyprien. ILB and safety override DT.
What do you think the Rams will do with their 2 picks in the 1st round? Any chance they'll trade down like last year?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
They'd love to see Lane Johnson there, but that doesn't look like it's going to happen. You'd love to get a WR or safety. They have to see how this whole thing falls for them. They could get a LT, but it probably won't be there at 16. It will get down to WR or safety at 16.
ron (fort worth)
will the randle RB from Oklahoma State be drafted very high?
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
I think he's more of a fifth round type guy right now.
What 40 yard time do you think that T'eo will run at his pro day?
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
I would say between 4.7 and 4.75 would help him a little bit.
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
Some people had him as 4.78 some had him at 4.83. A 4.7 would really help him. He interviewed well at the combine, which helped him.
Bryan (Wichita, KS)
Do you think Landry Jones has the potential to start in the NFL? Where do you think he might end up?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
Potential, yeah. He has the size, NFL arm, a lot of experience. He was expected to be the next Sam Bradford and be in the mix for No. 1 overall. He handled the later stages of the draft process well. I'd say he's in the second round mix. He's a guy that could be boom or bust.
Erza C. (Ithaca, NY)
What do you project for my boy JC Tretter out of Cornell?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
Good player. Good talent. A lot of ability. He has a good mental makeup. He has the physical skill set you look for. He could be a really good anchor in the NFL. His skills fit the center position to a T. He could be a guy in the fourth round discussion.
has eric fiser passed joeckel as best tackle in draft? could he go higher?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
It's 50-50 on that. Joeckel has the slight edge with some teams. I'd say it's probably 60-40 on Joeckel right now, but Fisher has closed the draft. Johnson, some think could be the best OT of the draft. He was a QB/TE not too long ago at the juco level. He can play RT and LT. He has to get stronger in the lower body. He is right there.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
We're getting the pro day results coming in. Some critical pro days coming down. Mock 3.0 coming out on Monday. We'll be back here next Wednesday to discuss it all!