Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, 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 Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Mac from PA [via mobile]
Hey Mel, is there anyone on WVU's team this year with pro potential ?
Mel Kiper (2:01 PM)
The main guy is Charles Sims. He came over from Houston. He's the most intriguing guy. He's a senior. He's a RB with a real good burst. Catches the ball out of the backfield. Patient runner. He's the main entity for the Mountaineers.
Is Dallas' pick of OC Frederick starting to look pretty good in your opinion ?
Mel Kiper (2:02 PM)
He was a slight reach, but he was always viewed as the best center available. He was the elite center throughout the process. He was the main entity there. He has versatility. He had the ability to play guard as well as center. He was a slight reach. Reaches are overrated. You have to do that based on grades, based on reaches and steals. He started four games as a true freshman.
Kenny , Bx (Bx)
How far have Nix and Tuitt dropped in your opinion? It seems like they, Sutton from Arz St and Clowney have done a little too much reading of their own clippings because their production has been non existant
Mel Kiper (2:04 PM)
A little. Not a lot. We're still very early in the season. You have to look at these players and realize we're still early in this season. They're working their ways back. They're starting to perform better last week. Both were much more factors than they had been. Tuitt has enormous strength. Nix is a relentless performer. Nix is a guy that looks like a top 5 type of pick. But they've dropped a little bit. I'd like to see more disruption. Tuitt is a 3-4 DE. That's what he's best suited for.
Tom (Jax, FL)
Mel - Love your stuff. Everyone has already anointed Bridgewater as the #1 QB. I see him as putting up good stats against bad teams. If he is as good as he is, should L'ville be torching these lower ranked schools. Yes, I know he had a good game versus a great Gator D in the Sugar last year. But if you take that game out of it, I'm just don't see him being THAT much better than the other good QBs out there.
Mel Kiper (2:06 PM)
I'd say this. He's putting up incredible numbers, but you can only play your schedule. There's only so much you can do. He's not going to be playing at Alabama or at LSU. He's not going to have those opportunities. His road games are at Temple, at USF. There is no statement road games. He's worthy of being a high first round pick. To say that Hundley hasn't closed the gap is false. He has closed the gap. You could have three highly rated QBs before it's all said and done.
Josh S. (Philly)
How many quarterbacks do you think will go in the first round this year?
Mel Kiper (2:07 PM)
It's so far away. Seven months. We don't know how many underclassmen will delcare. I would say, right now, seven months away, four. And those four will probably be underclassmen.
Mel, Justin Pugh is getting the start for the Giants. How do you like the rookie lineman against a tough Chief's defense?
Mel Kiper (2:09 PM)
It's a really a challenging matchup for a Giants OL that's dealing with injuries. They're trying to shuffle personnel. They don't have the cohesion. It's definitely a lack of cohesion. It's a loud stadium. You have to deal with Hali and Houston. They will be major problems off the edge. Poe stuffing the inside. That's a difficult game for the OL. When the OL breaks down, the entire offense looks bad. That's what happened last week.
Do you feel like if RG3 couldn't play in the pre season, he should not have started the first game of the regular season?
Mel Kiper (2:12 PM)
I've said this on the air and in print back in August and early September. If you draft Kirk Cousins, you draft him for these purposes. You draft him because you want a QB to be capable through a 3-5 game stretch when you have a mobile, running QB. They knew he wasn't 100% when the season started. It was almost impossible, the deck was stacked against RGIII to start the season. I would have said Kirk Cousins was the starter from the get-go and ease RGIII back in. They had a bye week Oct. 6, that's a perfect time to bring him back. They could have been 3-1 going into the bye week. There are three tough games coming out of the bye week, but you get RGIII ready for that. But now they're 0-3, the best they could be is 1-3. I think it was mismanaged.
Tom (Jax, FL)
What would you have to see out of Brett Hundley to be considered a top-5 pick WORTHY franchise QB. I'm a UCLA fan and I like him a lot. I can't say he's there yet. If he shows me 250 yards+ and a couple TDs versus both Stanford and Oregon and get the Bruins 9 wins this season... I think you'd have to consider it, right?
Mel Kiper (2:14 PM)
He's a third-year sophomore. He's still a young QB. He has some developing to do and he will do. He's a very young QB. To say he's going to be this finished product is unreasonable. But he's well on his way to getting a high grade. I don't know if he'll come out this year. But with Jim Mora's NFL contacts, he'll have all of the information he needs to make that decision. He's a tough kid. He has the ability you want. I want to see the consistency from the first quarter to the fourth quarter. I want to see half to half consistency. I want to see how he handles the rough venues. They play at Stanford on Oct. 19 and at Oregon on Oct. 26. Back to back tough road games. And at Arizona. At USC. USC has a tough defense. There are a lot of good evaluation road games coming up for Brett Hundley and UCLA.
Mel, I don't think I am going out on a limb by saying the Bills will be picking in the top 10 in 2014. With the LT position fairly stocked, do they HAVE to go that direction, even though they more holes than swiss cheese?
Mel Kiper (2:16 PM)
There are some excellent LTs again this year. It seems like we're developing them every year. Lewan, Matthews, Erving, Kouandjio and there is depth beyond that anyway.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Where does Odell Beckham project at WR if he decides to leave college early?
Mel Kiper (2:18 PM)
Very much improved player. Zach Mettenberger has dramatically improved at QB and his WRs have improved as well. Not just Beckham, but Landry as well. Landry's a junior and so is Beckham. He has incredible hands. Beckham is a playmaker. Good route runner. Good leaping ability. Landry, an excellent kid with good hands. He had one drop at UAB and he had a fumble in that game, which is uncharacteristic for him. Beckham and Landry have helped their cause this year. With their improved play, that's helped Mettenberger play at a higher level.
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI )
Fill in the blank. Brett Favre could start for ___% of the teams in the NFL today.
Mel Kiper (2:20 PM)
If you think about the NFL right now, you could start with Jacksonville. Tampa Bay, maybe. Is he better than some of these QBs? Yeah. But guys like Glennon and Gabbert are playing to see what they have. Same with Geno Smith and EJ Manuel. Patience doesn't exist with QBs. Is Favre better than some of these QBs? Yeah, he is. But his career is over and he's a hall of famer. These young kids have to show what they have. They're playing through adversity. They have to show that they're the right man for the job.
Dominic (Irving, Texas)
new insider here mel. What do you see as the Dallas Cowboys biggest need going to be after this season? will they finally get Tony Romos future replacement?
Mel Kiper (2:21 PM)
I don't know about drafting his replacement. He was an undrafted free agent. This is a very deep year for QBs. The OL, they addressed that with Frederick. They could go back there. We have to see what they have on defense. It's really too early to see what needs they'll have just three games into the season. Most of these kids have only played 3-4 games. It's much too early to project it.
ted (cape cod)
Where do you project quarterback Derek Carr from Fresno State for the 2014 NFL Draft?
Mel Kiper (2:22 PM)
Still to be determined. Going into the year, he was my 8th highest rated draft eligible QB. Right now, he's 11th. It's hard to evaluate where they'll be come May. Unlike his brother who was the first pick, I think he's more of a mid round guy.
hey mel, what is your take on blake bortles from ucf?
Mel Kiper (2:24 PM)
I like him. I mentioned him a while ago. I picked my upset alert game was UCF against Penn State. They won that game and Bortles was a key guy. He's 6-3, 240 pounds. He can move. He's an under the radar QB as a junior. Storm Johnson at RB, being watched very closely. This is a good football team and South Carolina better bring their A game. That's one of those under the radar game. It will be a good game. South Carolina has better personnel, but in key spots, UCF can play with anybody.
What are your thoughts on the Josh Freeman situation? Not long ago he was considered a potential star. Could you see him rebounding with a change of scenary?
Mel Kiper (2:26 PM)
It's going to be hard. Teams aren't going to jump on a QB who has struggled so much as he has. The final three games of last season, he completed 9 INTs to just 2 TD passes. This year, so far, he's completing less than 46% of his passes. You have to stop the downward spiral and he hasn't been able to do it. He didn't get it done last year. He didn't get it done this year. They brought in Vincent Jackson. They drafted Doug Martin. You can't lose to the Jets. Some ill-advised throws led to that. You look at some of the games and they could be 2-1 right now with a chance at 3-1. It's a great opportunity to evaluate Mike Glennon. They had no choice but to turn the page.
How goofy was Chip Kelly's 2 point attempt at 10-6 last week? There are no Wazzu's and Colorado's in the NFL. Can't take that chance. He seems overmatched to me.
Mel Kiper (2:28 PM)
I think there is an adjustment period for Chip Kelly. The NFL is not college. What worked at Oregon won't work in the NFL. That play to Ertz baffled me. The play took long and it underestimated the speed of the NFL. There's not much room for the players to back off. You're already close when lined up for the PAT. It's not college. This isn't Oregon playing Washington State. It's a learning curve that he'll have to go through. You don't go for two that early in games in the NFL. In college, how many times do two points really matter? In the NFL, points are valuable. You can't go for two that early.
Dime Store (Needles CA)
Do the Bengals have all the pieces to legitimately contend for a SB?
Mel Kiper (2:30 PM)
I think they do. I thought they had a chance to win that division on paper. Andy Dalton will be the key. He's been a good regular season QB, he has not been good in the postseason. Can they kick the door in in the playoffs? He's been a good regular season QB, not playoffs QB. There are no excuses any more. Bernard has been a good addition. Eiffert has been a good addition at TE. They need to not just get to the playoffs, but win in the playoffs.
Do you see EJ Manuel as a legitimate franchise QB who can take a team to the playoffs or top end back-up/low end starter type?
Mel Kiper (2:32 PM)
The jury is still out on him. The jury is still out on Geno Smith. Both have had good moments and bad moments. The difference is Geno Smith is 2-1 and Manuel is 1-2. For EJ Manuel, you just want to continue to watch and evaluate. At the end of the year, you have to remember that he's still only a rookie. The crazy part about this league is that rookies are treated like they're 4 year veterans. The 4-5 year deal is over. It's long gong. Especially when you see some QBs coming in and playing at a high level. Every QB that comes into the league is expected to be a Matt Ryan. Not every QB is a Russell Wilson, Andrew Luck. We don't give QBs a chance to work through the bad moments any more.
Everyone likes to excuse for Logan Thomas by saying there is no talent around him. But he makes some awful decisions. Aren't really good QBs supposed to elevate the guys around them? I'm not buying him at all.
Mel Kiper (2:35 PM)
He's not in my top 10 draft eligible QBs on ESPN.com. He wasn't a part of that equation. Let's see if he plays his way in and he hasn't. He showed excellently as a sophomore. Last year he had 18 TDs and 16 INTs. He only completed low 50 percent of his passes. He's not draftable right now based on the way he's playing. Forget about the top 10 eligible QBs, he's not draftable. He has to play like a draftable QB. He's got to make good decisions. Be accurate. He hasn't played well. He has a terrible TD-INT ratio and terrible completion percentage.
Roberta (Richmond CA)
What is wrong with the 49ers? Is it really only the absence of Crabtree and Davis or do problems run deeper than that?
Mel Kiper (2:37 PM)
You can't say "only." That's like saying you couldn't get out of the driveway because there was "only" 2 feet of snow. You can't take Crabtree and Davis off of this team. They got rid of two first round picks that were busts. You stack the line of scrimmage to stop Gore and where are you going to go? Those are two big time players. You can't lose them both and be successful.
What has your initial impression of Lane Johnson's performance thus far been?
Mel Kiper (2:39 PM)
Up and down. He's played like a rookie. He's a kid with enormous ability and talent. But he has a learning curve as well. All three of those OTs have had struggles. When you play OT in this league, you can't have a bad moment. You have to be consistent. Bad moments are sacks and pressures and hurries. But they're rookies only going into Week 4. The OTs that have played the best have been Jordan Mills from the fifth round. Warford has been the best OG and he's from the third round.
Are Emery and the Bears the last to laugh in regards to Kyle Long? Eifert not doing much so far and OG was a huge need for them.
Mel Kiper (2:40 PM)
Eifert has done a good job in Cincinnati. He had a great first two games. Long's been OK. Mills has been better than Long so far. I have my top Rookie Big Board and Long's at 18 and Mills is 10. It wasn't like Long was projected to be a third round pick. I had him going in the late first round to Atlanta. He went earlier. They didn't reach for him.
Will vikings be drafting another QB next year or does ponder need more time your thoughts?
Mel Kiper (2:42 PM)
Again, jury is still out. I always compared him to Chad Pennington. He doesn't have the great arm, the great overall ability. He ran for a couple TDs last week. He can move. We'll see on the accuracy and decision making. But he'll have to step it up, because he's in a division with Cutler, Stafford and Rodgers. He doesn't have great receivers, however. Patterson is a work in progress. The jury is still out. Right now, he's not.
Will Gronk have a big impact on the Patriots offense this week as they play Atlanta?
Mel Kiper (2:45 PM)
He can be a huge influence on this offense, as can Amendola whenever he can come back. That's been the knock on Amendola. Gronk is a big time option. Even when he's not 100% he's a big time threat. Thompkins has been a big find. Dobson has been contributing. You bring back Gronk. Amendola returns, then you've got something going. The Patriots have been lucky to face EJ Manuel, Geno Smith and Josh Freeman. They're lucky to be 3-0. Now they're facing Andy Dalton, Drew Brees and Matt Ryan. They're only averaging just under 20 points a game. They'll have to score more than that against those upcoming QBs.
Do the Dallas Cowboys have to rebuild to be a super bowl contender or do they have enough pieces to get it done in the next 2-3 years?
Mel Kiper (2:46 PM)
The Cowboys are a team that I feel every year is overrated. I don't see the personnel to see them being a Super Bowl contender and play deep playoff games. Romo is a good QB. They have some real good pieces in guys like Ware. They're in a division that's majorly struggling. I'd say right now they're not where they need to be. But can they win the division? By default, they could.
How great would an Oregon-Baylor BCS bowl game be?
Mel Kiper (2:48 PM)
Look at the scores they're putting up. If you think back to Alabama and Texas A-M, that was 49-42 and Alabama has a good defense and a great defensive mind in Nick Saban. Manziel threw two INTs in that game, so they could have scored even more. Now, Baylor's defense is better as is Oregon's. You could be looking at a 75-70 game. 65-60. It could be a college basketball score.
What is Aaron Murray's draft ceiling? 2-3 rounder? I would worry about him in bad weather climates.
Mel Kiper (2:49 PM)
I thought third round for the last couple of years. He doesn't have great physicality with size. He had a good arm. He's played a lot of college football. I'd say 3-4 rounder.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
What would be the over/under on points scored by the Broncos against the Seahawks at a neutral site? 20.5?
Mel Kiper (2:51 PM)
When you think about trying to match those two up, that could be a likely Super Bowl matchup. Seattle and Denver look like the class of the league right now. With Wilson against Peyton Manning. John Fox was there in the Super Bowl with Carolina. Pete Carroll getting to the game. That would be a good matchup. But you have to give Denver's defense credit. With Von Miller out and Champ Bailey out, they'll get better when they come back.
Paul (Hazlet NJ)
What do you think of Bennett Jackson does he have a chance at the next level? and if so where will he get drafted?
Mel Kiper (2:52 PM)
I think he's more of a Day 3 type of guy. He's a former WR. He's had some good moments, but inconsistent. I'd give him a break due to the change in position. But I'd say a late round pick right now.
Mel, have you ever watched Chase Rettig of Boston College? He makes NFL throws 10-15 times a game. Can you see him as a day 3 guy?
Mel Kiper (2:54 PM)
He could be. He's played with five different OC's during his career. He's started from Day 1. Not a ton of talent around him. Maybe a backup type. Maybe a Brian Hoyer type. A late round pick and proved in college that he has some skills you want in an NFL QB.
Chris (Fiegler, NY)
Hi, Peyton Manning & the Broncos seem unstoppable after a 3-0 start, will Denver go 16-0?
Mel Kiper (2:56 PM)
They could be a 15-1 team. They have that ability. To win how they're winning without Champ Bailey and Von Miller. Losing Clady hurts that o-line. Maybe they're more 13-3 now. Oct. 20 at Indy. Nov. 24 at New England. At KC Dec. 1. At Houston Dec. 22. I would assume they win all of their home games, so that's 8-0. I think they're a 13-3 team. The worst they'll be is 12-4. At worst.
Mel Kiper (2:57 PM)
Manning's been at that 15-0 mark before with the Colts. They rolled through the regular season. He might be in that situation again. He's a hard guy to beat when he's out there and healthy. Their final game is at Oakland. They play at Houston and at Oakland to finish. At Dallas, Indy, San Diego, KC, New England. All tough road games.
Roberta (Richmond CA)
Everybody is on the Denver bandwagon, but the Patriots have weathered the storm without Gronk or Amendola. Plus the defense is improved. As the season goes on NE should get better. Can they compete with Den?
Mel Kiper (2:59 PM)
Ahhhhhh.......They play Denver Nov. 24 at home. We'll find out then. They have a bye week Nov. 10, so they can get the guys healthy. You can't just get those two guys back, it's getting them back and keeping them back. The defense? You've played Geno Smith, EJ Manuel and Josh Freeman, so how much can you really know? I think they're a mystery team because of the schedule. We don't know the form that Gronk will come back to. Amendola has the injury history. A lot of questions.
Mel Kiper (3:00 PM)
We have a great week of college football. Phenomenal. LSU at Georgia. South Carolina at UCF. OU-ND. Wisconsin-OSU. USC-ASU. This is a great week of college football. Every week is great in the NFL. There is always something that happens that you don't expect. Every week is great.
Mel Kiper (3:01 PM)
The game I'm looking foward to the most in the NFL, the top three: Cincinnati at Cleveland to see if Hoyer plays as well as he has; Arizona at Tampa Bay to see Mike Glennon; New England at Atlanta to see if this NE defense and how it does against a QB like Matt Ryan. This is a great, great week for the NFL. Very entertaining week.
Buzzmaster (3:02 PM)
Thanks for chatting Mel!