Chat with Mel Kiper
Send your questions now and join Mel this Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (12:59 PM)
We're getting Mel right now!
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
Great to be back for another college and NFL season. We can start talking a lot of draft stuff too. The first top 25 Senior Big Board will debut on Wednesday, August 27, one week from today. Every Wednesday we'll be here from 1-2 chatting.
Kurt (Chicago, IL)
Mel, I love your work. Its time to get started. What kind of pro prospects does the Illini have?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
Their top prospect is a junior CB Vontae Davis, the younger brother of Vernon Davis. Very skilled, a first round pick, possibly an early to mid-round pick. An interesting guy is Xavier Fulton, a sr. LT. He was on offense for the first time last year. Tough kid, strong, quick feet. Also, Will Davis, senior DE - who should be one of the best outside pass rusher in the conference.
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
Those are the main guys.
MEL!!!! Great to have you back. Who is the better NFL prospect, CJ Spiller or James Davis?? Thanks!
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
I would say Spiller will be an interesting guy for the NFL because he has great outside speed. Davis is a move-the-chain, tough inside runner. He's quicker than people give him credit for. You've got the tough guy in Davis and the fast, home run hitter in Spiller. 40 times for RBs, historically have been overrated. Sometimes just getting the yards and being productive. Like Ron Jaworski says, keeping your offense on schedule.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
How good do you see Darren McFadden being in his rookie season?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
I think he'll be as good as JaMarcus Russell and that OL allows him to be. There's also Michael Bush and Justin Fargas there. They have three good RBs. Bush has the ability to look like he's shot out of cannon. I think McFadden will have a good rookie year. RBs historically translate well into the NFL. He doesn't have to be the center piece of that offense, with those other RBs.
Broad Street Brian (Philly)
WELCOME BACK MEL!, Oh how I missed your insight. Do the Auburn Tiger have a shot at the SEC Crown when the will be playing 2 Qb's?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
I think they have a shot, certainly. If LSU would have had their QB returning, they would have been the hands on favorite to win that division. But he's not there, so the balance of power swings a little bit. In the SEC West, it's LSU and Auburn. What they hope to have happen with the QBs is that the offense is productive. Someone has to settle in there. This offense is the question mark. We'll have to see if Alabama can compete. Auburn should be right in the thick of it in the West. Do I think they'll win the entire SEC? No. Florida and Georgia are better. Tennessee will be an interesting team to watch as well.
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
They have to get out of September no worse than 4-1.
Mel, Will Julio Jones make a big impact this year for Alabama? Is he a early fav. for Freshman of The Year?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
I think he is. He'll have a huge impact. He'll be wearing No. 8. John Parker Wilson, their QB, they're expecting a better year out of him. Andre Smith at LT, he has his weight down a little bit. He should be better at left tackle. Burton Scott, another freshman WR, they have high hopes for as well. Jones has a chance to be a productive rookie.
Chris (staten island, NY)
Mel, how does Chris Wells, Lesean McCoy and Knowshon Moreno compare to last years 1st rounders McFadden, Stewart, Jones and Mendenthal?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
I'd rank them right now: Moreno, Wells and McCoy 2 and 2A. McFadden jumped up after the great year. Stewart needed to stay healthy and he did until the end of the year. There's no one out of this current group that needs to have a great year. They've already had that big year. Two of these three are on national title contenders. And McCoy still had over 1,300 yards on a team without a passing game. I think Moreno could be one of the first two or three players drafted, if he stays healthy. Ultimately, I think these backs will go higher overall.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Mel, are there a few players you're really excited to see play this year?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
Yeah, there are a lot of guys. Some of the young guys I think are interesting: Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech, a senior. He could have 15 sacks this year. Virginia loves to use the TE. John Phillips, a senior, who's a great blocker and a better receiver than people think. Anthony Davis, sophomore with Rutgers and has a chance to be the first first rounder at Rutgers. It will be interesting to see how he develops.
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
Michael Jones, senior WR at Arizona State. Tall, angular WR, actually played in the Yankees organization this summer. He's a threat down the field. The next great Florida DE is sophomore Carlos Dunlap. He's a real tall kid, great athlete, long arms. He could be a feared sack artist. He could be the next Javon Kearse. Another guy is Ricky Jean-Francois, DT at LSU. Here's a kid that has awesome ability. With a full season this year at LSU, he could be one of the elite players in college football.
Steve (Syracuse, NY)
what impact does Michael Crabtree make at the next level?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
I'll tell you what, he has enormous ability. When you look at his size, natural pass catching skills. He and Graham Harrell, their QB are both legit Heisman candidates. Crabtree can really just put on a show for you. He is eligible for the draft as a third-year sophomore. He could go very early in the draft. He's going to go very high.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Alright Mel, everyone else has had their say.........who you got on September 13th in the Clash of the Titans USC or Ohio St.?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
I'm taking Ohio State. USC's QB situation with Sanchez's injury and not knowing how he'll be at that time. Their OL going into the year is suspect. Joe McKnight is banged up right now. USC does have a great defense. I would expect this to be a low scoring defense. OSU's a little more balanced.
Hello Mr. Kiper... What is Chase Daniels' outlook for the NFL? Thanks!
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
Height is the big thing. He plays in a very friendly system. He doesn't have the phenomenal arm. But he's definitely a Heisman candidate. That first game Aug. 30 against Illinois, if they can survive that....Plus they play at Lincoln, and they haven't won there in 30 years. They also have to play at Texas. Those are two very strong road games. Daniel doesn't have the arm strength or the ideal height.
Is Michael Oher a top 5 pick?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
Yeah, he could be. He's got a chance to be a great player. He's a LT, very skilled. He and Eugene Monroe are the two seniors that should go in the top 10 overall.
Who is this year's Matt Ryan,Mel?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
Hunter Cantwell is a QB at Louisville. I would expect him to put up some good numbers at Louisville. People haven't heard a lot about him. This is his final year and he should be able to emerge.
Any sleeper teams or players?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
A guy I'm watching is Domonique Johnson, who is a senior CB for Jackson State. Last year, 5 INTs, broke up 14 passes and did a great job. He's a former player at Missouri. Big kid, excellent recovery speed, very athletic. He could be this year's Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie. We go from one Dominique to another.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Mel, you must have been on vacation, long time no hear. So have you been working, or have you been a little distracted by the Olympics like everyone else?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
I was not at all distracted by the Olympics. I used May, June and July to evaluate the freshman and sophomores. That's when I really do the hardest work. That's when you have the time. You don't have time to break it down September through January. There are no distractions May-July. I gain a lot of knowledge in those months. I do take a couple of weeks for vacations, but that's when you have to do most of your work.
rian (st pete, fl)
can you list your top 5 heisman hopefuls?
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
Hmmm, let's see....I would say Knowshon Moreno; Beanie Wells; Graham Harrell and Michael Crabtree; Chase Daniel and Maclin; obviously you have to put Tim Tebow in the mix; Juice Williams, if he carries Illinois, he'll get some recognition; Sam Bradford at Oklahoma. It's a shame he's not completely healthy, Percy Harvin at Florida. He is recovering from a foot injury.
Josh (Lincoln, NE)
What do you think of Nebraska RB Marlon Lucky?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
He has an opportunity. I wouldn't say one of the top backs in the country. He averaged almost 5 yards per carry. He's got ability. What he needs is for this offense, particularly Joe Ganz at QB to do well. Matt Slauson and Lydon Murtha on the line need to play well. I don't see Lucky being an early round guy gaurantee. He could be a mid-round guy. He could be one of the top 6-9 RBs in the country. That includes the juniors as well.
Assuming no major injury concerns this year, how high could you see Heyward-Bey being drafted? Top 10? Also, where do you see the Terps finishing within the Atlantic division?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
I'm from Baltimore and I try not to be a homer. And don't say that I am after saying this, but I see them being 8-4 this year. Things could have been a lot better last year. I think Heyward-Bey, who's a junior, comes out after this year and could be one of the top 3 WRs in the draft. He should be one of the best WRs in college football. He seems ready to put up some numbers. Last year, he caught 51 passes and 3 TDs. I expect those numbers to go up.
Mel, what realistic expectaions should I have with Notre Dames record this year?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
Realistically? I'm a huge Notre Dame fan. The question marks are the DL and OL. If those two concerns solidify, and I think the OL has a chance to be better than some expect. Stewart and Young, both juniors on the OL, are key guys. Jimmy Claussen has added about 20 pounds to his frame. They have two young sophomore RBs that they like. I'm not concerned with the offense. There are a couple of young guys that they think can have an immediate impact. One is Michael Floyd, a WR. Also, Kyle Rudolph, a TE. I think the offense will be very good. Defensively, they need to be better. The key guy on defense is not a player, it might be a coach - John Tenuta, who came over from Georgia Tech. He's going to assist the defensive coordinator. Who will be their three best defensive players? Crum, David Bruton and Brian Smith.
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
They have a lot of swing games on this schedule. I think they win eight games. And definitely a bowl game.
Brian (Charlotte, NC)
Can Michigan go 9-3 in Rich's first year?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
That would be tremendously optimistic. Rich Rodriguez would be one of my candidates for coach of the year if they go 9-3. They only went 8-4 last year with Chad Henne, Mike Hart, Jake Long, Mario Manningham, Arrington. To say they'll go 9-3 with a revamped offense. Their defense will be very good. They're adjusting to a new system. Keep an eye on two true freshman on offense - RB Sam McGuffie and WR Michael Shaw. Those two are already considered two of their fastest players on the team. McGuffie will wear No. 2 and Shaw No. 20. They're the present and the future of this offense. I think 7-5 is a good year for Michigan. If I'm a fan, 7-5 or 8-4 would be very good. Expectations are low, so a 7 or 8 win season would be a success.
Who are your top 5 prospects right now?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
The best seniors are James Laurinaitis, LB, OSU; Rey Maualuga, LB, USC; Michael Oher, OT, Ole Miss; Michael Johnson, DE, GT; Monroe, OT.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
The top underclassmen who are draft eligible: Michael Crabtree, WR, Texas Tech; Matthew Stafford, QB, Georgia; Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia; Tim Tebow, QB, Florida; Jermaine Gresham, TE, Oklahoma; Ricky Jean-Francois, DT, LSU; Beanie Wells, RB, OSU; Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois; Darrius Heyward-Bey, WR, Maryland; Percy Harvin, RB/WR, Florida; Greg Hardy, DE, Oklahoma.
Steve (Syracuse, NY)
most overrated team?
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
I think Georgia. They have a little issue now with the left tackle position. He's injured and out for the year. The WRs have to convince me that they'll produce week-to-week. They lost their kicker to the NFL, their best pass rusher. Plus, they have a tough schedule. I'm not ready to put them at the top spot. I'd say they're somewhere between the fourth and fifth team going in. To me, OSU and USC are the two best teams going into the year.
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
And I think Florida is a little bit better than Georgia in the SEC.
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
Underrated...Northwestern in the Big Ten. I think they win 8 games. They didn't go to a bowl last year. They have one of the most entertaining and exciting offenses.
Your prediction for the BCS Championship game?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
Ohio State I think wins it all. Ohio State and USC. I think we have a rematch of the Sept. 13 game in the national championship game. I think they're the two best teams in the country. Terrell Pryor the true freshman QB I think will help out Beckman and give OSU a boost.
Tod (Sedona, Az)
Does Rudy Carpenter have any real pro potential?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
He definitely has pro potential. How highly he'll rank? He doesn't have the great arm strength. He's not going to wow people over. He's up to 225 from about 205. He loves to play the game of football. No one studies the game like Rudy Carpenter. He's got a Peyton Manning like focus when it comes to studying the game. Can he become a starting QB in the NFL? Yes he can.
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
Talk about a tough schedule. They host Georgia, then at Cal and at USC. Then Oct. 25, they host Oregon. Those four games will tell you everything you have to know about the team. They're the only team in the nation that can say they play Georgia and USC.
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
By the way, do you know who could be the next starter for Arizona State after Carpenter? Danny Sullivan is in the mix as a sophomore, but Jack Elway, the son of John Elway, after redshirting this year will be in the mix as well.
Michael (West Viginia)
Mel, is Noel Devine a viable NFL prospect, or will his size scare off NFL GM's?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
I think as a situational guy. Garrett Wolfe is playing in the NFL. There is not a more explosive or dynamic weapon in college football than Noel Devine. The kid can fly. He's only about 5-7, but he runs a legit 4.3 40. He's got rare speed. He's only about 5-7, 170 pounds, but he's a tough kid. Tough to tackle. He's a true sophomore. There's a place for a kid like him in the NFL as a spot back. You know he's never going to be a main entity. There's definitely a future for him in the NFL.
RJ - Dallas
Can you give a scouting report on Tennessee QB Jonathon Crompton? All the other parts of the team seem pretty good, but he's the big question mark
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
They have a situation where the defense improved late last year. They lose Jerod Mayo to the NFL, however. They still have a chance. They get Demetrice Morley back after missing last year. He has a chance to be an outstanding free safety. He'll work next to Eric Berry, a sophomore. That's one of the best safety tandems in the country. I think there's a chance that this defense could build on that success.
Mel Kiper (2:02 PM)
Crompton has ability. He's got Lucas Taylor at WR and some guys on the line that can get it done. Erik Ainge was a good college QB, but he was no Peyton Manning. Crompton, I think is going to be as solid at that position as Ainge was. I don't think there's any drop off. They have to win that first game at UCLA. Monday, Sept. 1. That's a game that Tennessee should get out of the blocks with a victory.
Mel Kiper (2:03 PM)
Thanks for all the questions!