Chat with Mel Kiper
Send your questions now and join Mel this Wednesday at noon ET!
Buzzmaster (1:01 PM)
We've got Mel!
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
Let's get rolling! We have a lot of stuff going on in college football this week. Last week we had the game of the century end up being a flop.
JonJon76 Jeanette PA
Mel. Do you tjink that this decision by Jim Tressel to play Pryor this week against Troy will carry over into Big Ten play or will Boekman be back full time?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
They have to play Pryor. He's the future. Todd Boeckman is not the future. Pryor is the guy that they need to help them compete for championships. They couldn't stop USC's offense. I said all along, Ohio State needed to hold USC to 20 points or less. They weren't even close to that. The OSU defense flat out didn't get the job done. Boeckman has won a lot of games at OSU, but Pryor has to be a major entity moving forward, especially with Wells sidelined.
Damian (Huntington Beach, CA)
Mel - What's your take on Joe McKnight as an NFL prospect? At what position do you project him? Thanks.
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
He's a running back. People say he's a Reggie Bush type player. But he's a young football player. He's a true sophomore. He can't go into the draft until after the 2009 season. He has tremendous explosiveness and versatility. In terms of the NFL, he'll be a RB and a jack of all trades kind of guy, but you'll have to wait until at least the 2010 draft.
Michael (Charleston, SC)
What are the chances my Heels beat the Hokies this weekend to start the season 3-0 for the first time since 1997?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
They're a slight favorite in the game. They have the guys up front on the DL that you need. They're getting good play from their LBs. Rutgers may turn out to be a mediocre football team this year. Their next opponents will tell us a lot about this team this year. I really like their QB. He's very efficient. He looks great so far. He has big time WRs to throw to. I'm impressed with this offense. This passing game looks like it's going to be a real productive group. They're loaded with sophomore stars on defense. THey'll be good this year and they should be outstanding next year. I said they'll be 8-4 and I'll hold to that prediction.
Wisconsin's Travis Beckum is the number one senior tight end on your board, what are your thoughts about Wisconsin's TE Garret Graham?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
I like Graham a lot. I talked about him in Personnel Points this week. He's a good blocker. He has good hands. He's a completely different player than Beckum. Beckum's more of a glorified WR. Graham is more of a regular TE. He contributed heavily last week. Now that Beckum is back, that offense should be better.
Steve: Rockville, MD
Mel, The Terps got a huge win this weekend after that debacle with Middle Tennessee State. Do you think the Terps have a chance to reach the ACC championship game?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
First of all, being in there with Clemson and Wake Forest really hurts. They're in with the top teams in the ACC. I don't see them winning their division. They need to get past the mediocre level. They've been mediocre the last couple of years. This year, they struggled with Delaware, lost to Middle TN St. and beat Cal. They're inconsistent. They should be Eastern Michigan by 3-4 TDs. They should win 38-7. They define what inconsistent is. They have one of the more underrated OLs in football. They have arguably the best WR in football - Heyward-Bay. He should have 5-6 catches a game. They should be 3-1 when they play at Clemson next week.
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
They have a real good shot at a 7-5 season.
Marshall Provo, UT
Does BYU have any possible first round draft pick players?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
The guy that's most interesting is Ray Feinga. He's a huge guard. Has good movement, real good feet. He's moved into my top 5 guards. He's probalby a 3rd round pick. The junior TE Dennis Pitta has had a great year so far.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Mel, I know it's only been two weeks, but what 2 or 3 players are rising up your draft board the fastest?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
I'd say Alphonso Smith, CB from Wake. Chase Coughman, TE, Missouri. Jason Smith, OT, Baylor. Matt Shaughnessy, DE, Wisconsin. Brian Orakpo, DE, Texas.
Brent (Dallas, TX)
Mel, Why don't you have Michael Crabtree on your Big Board? All he did in the off-season was get better. What is your opinion of Graham Harrell?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
He's on the Big Board for positions, but not the top 25. That's for seniors. With the juniors, I also list third-year sophomores. He's the No. 1 WR on the position list. If he delcares in January, more than likely, he'll be in the top 5. He's on the junior list as the top WR.
Mel, I think Michigan offense is improving and getting better. What do you think ?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
I think Michigan's offense right now is too mistake prone. They have drive killing mistakes. It seems like every series there is one. They're adapting to a completely new offense. They're young. I keep reminding people, this Michigan team last year with all of those great players, went 8-4. This was not a great team with all those stars last year. All of those stars left and a new staff came in. You're getting true freshman playing in critical roles. But they have got to eliminated mistakes. They have a week off. That was a horrible game against Notre Dame. They gift wrapped that win for Notre Dame. They have to use this week off wisely. They get Wisconsin and Illinois at the Big House.
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
I said this back before the season started, what their record would be. I said 6-6. They said I was crazy. But they're 1-2 right now and they might even be 5-7. 5-7 or 6-6 is realistic this year. The way they looked against Notre Dame, if they can get to 6-6, Wolverine fans should be happy.
Carl: Charleston, WV
Mel: Sort out the West Virgina/Colorado game tomorrow night. What do we look for? Who wins? Thanks.
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
First of all, WVU is another team coming off a bad effort. They had a terrible performance against ECU. Colorado was also not impressive in their last outing. They both have had 12 days off. Both are coming off of subpar performances. With WVU, it's still all about White and Devine. They just have to play better as a team. You would think this game would come down to the wire. On paper, this is a pretty even football game.
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
If I had a gun to my head right now, I would think WVU would bounce back with a much better performance. This will be a prime time game in Boulder. That's why to me it's a toss up.
What are your thoughts on Notre Dame's David Bruton?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
I like him. He was almost one of my top 5 safeties this week. Good size, range. Excellent special teams player. I think he'll be a 3-4 round pick.
Who's the better pro prospect at this point- Stafford or Sanchez?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
They're basically a dead heat right now. But don't count out Sam Bradford. If all three of these kids came out, it would kind of remind you of the Manning, Roethlisberger, Rivers group. Also Josh Freeman. Watch him tonight. He's another junior with a high grade. The senior QBs are not good this year. It's a terrible group of seniors. If you can find one quality starting NFL QB out of the seniors, you've found a lot. Right now, I have Stafford slightly ahead of Sanchez and Bradford third. By the way, fourth is Tim Tebow.
Sylvester (San Diego, California)
Is the MWC really the 4th or 5th best conference? They sure have looked impressive this year.
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
They're impressive because if you really think about the MWC...BYU is the best team in the conference and they haven't beaten anybody. They almost lost to Washington. Washington's not that good. They beat UCLA, but they're in a transition year. Utah, their best win is beating Michigan, who at best is 6-6. New Mexico, beating Arizona was a nice win for them. UNLV beating Arizona State, great win for them. They host Iowa State this week. That's a game they have to win. The team that was picked near the cellar could turn out to be a good story. Unfortunately in college football, it's not apples to apples. It's not the NFL. You can't say one team is as good, when other teams play better teams every week. TCU beat Stanford, a bottom team in the Pac-10. I'm not going to get all excited about the MWC. They benefit from not playing teams that are that tough. They benefit from their conference and some of their non-conference games they play.
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
But they have plenty of weeks where they can play their backups and not worry about losing. Teams in the SEC can't do that.
John (Winterville, NC)
What do you think East Carolina's chances are of running the table?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
They have a shot. The Quentin Cotton loss is big. He was arguably their best defensive player. Chris Johnson was their star last year and he's doing a good job of running for the Titans. Now, you did have nine returning starters on defense. I want to see how they bounce back from that. They have some tricky games. They can go undefeated. Will they? I'd say probably not. They stumble somewhere this year.
Preston, Bellingham, Washington
Think Ty Willingham is done? Jack Lockerr hasnt shown much this year, is the personel he has onhand or the coaching.
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
Jake Locker doesn't have a lot of help. They don't have the bigtime WRs. Their talent level isn't where it needs to be. They were counting on a lot of freshman. They should have won that BYU game. That wouldn't have effected the Oklahoma game. How many games will Washington win this year? They could finish 5-7. Jake Locker is a very talented player, but he needs another season in the Pac-10. He's eligible, but he needs another season.
Who do you have winning the heisman?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
I'd say right now Mark Sanchez. You have to put him up there. Sam Bradford. Chase Daniel. Those would be the three right now that are the leading candidates.
Darryl (Oakland, CA):
Mel, Seriously, do you think Georgia can win at Arizona St?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
Georgia should be able to win on the road. The problem is that they've lost two of their best players. AZ St. is at home. They have a veteran QB. This is a tough spot for Georgia. South Carolina wasn't easy last week. They're sputtering right now, based on the SC game. They have to play better overall. But I'd say Georgia in a very close game.
greg (ft. worth)
talk to be about real talent, defense, whats your top 5 defenders
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
The best defensive players in the country - Michael Johnson, DE, Georgia Tech. But he needs to step it up. He has very little productivity so far. His sack numbers aren't where they need to be. He has two tackles for loss this year. Rey Maualuga is just ahead of James Laurinaitis. They don't have the great DTs at OSU to protect him. Those are your three top seniors. I'll also put in William Moore. When he's healthy, he's as good as any player from the senior class.
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
From the junior class, the best players would be George Selvie. Greg Hardy, Ole Miss. Geno Atkins, DT, Georgia. Brandon Spikes, LB, Florida. Antonio Coleman, Auburn. Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois. Taylor Mays, S, USC.
Eric (Chicago, IL)
Seeing how Alex Smith and Vince Young not having very much success in the NFL. Is there a backlash on quarterbacks from the spread?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
A lot of them are playing in the spread, that's the problem. That's the trendy offense. That's why when you look at a Mark Sanchez and Stafford, that makes it easier to evaluate. I think the spread offense is going to be difficult moving forward. It makes for a harder evaluation when it comes to the NFL.
JL (Warrenton, VA)
Was removing his redshirt and playing Tyrod Taylor a good move for VA Tech?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
Yes. That was hte only move they could make. He gives them the athleticism they need. This offense doesn't have the running game, OL, WRs. This team lost a lot of talent to the NFL on offense. They needed an athlete that can make a play with his legs. Last year, better talent around Sean Glennon. If they're going to have anywhere close to the season Hokie fans are used to, they need Tyrod Taylor. This is a huge game for them. This game will tell us if VT is going to tell us a lot.
Who are your top three running back as of right now
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
Beanie Wells doesn't change it. Knowshon Moreno is still the No. 1. McCoy is No. 2 and Wells is No. 3. If you go past that, CJ Spiller, Javon Ringer and James Davis.
After seeing how much ND's defense and offensive line have improved since last year, what do you predict their final record to be and do you think they will have a good chance for a blowout against Michigan St.? Thanks
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
I think they'll lose to Michigan State. It's at East Lansing. They're closing the gap a bit from last year. They seem like they're developing some playmakers. Keep in mind, Michigan gift wrapped that win. I'll say they lose to Michigan State. This is a game you would expect Notre Dame to lose. Do I think they can compete better than last year? Yes. How many games do they win? The best record they can possibly have this year is 7-5. They have what I call, swing games. I consider them to have 8 swing games. I expected them to beat San Diego State. The other three that aren't are: Navy, Syracuse, and USC. Those are your four games. The eight remaining games are swing games. They could win or lose them.
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
If they go 3-1 in the games I called non-swing games. If they go 4-4 in the eight swing games, that's 7-5.
Mike (Tampa, FL)
You said it's hard to evaluate spread QB's. What are your thoughts on Tebow?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
Difficult evaluation. You look at him and his size and toughness. Individual workouts will be critical for him. Chase Daniel is another one. He doesn't have a big arm. Doesn't have great size. He's deep in that shotgun formation. I think Chase Daniel is a great college QB. Make no mistake. But he's not a great NFL prospect. There will be some doubts if he can be an effective QB in the NFL.
What kind of NFL prospect is Sam Bradford?
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
I like him a lot. He's so efficient. You want to see him when the schedule gets tougher. They're too good upfront. He has an outstanding RB to lean on. Outstanding TE. You have a huge OL and skill people. Bradford has the height. He has a good arm. He can throw well on the run. He's tremendously smart. He does not make mistakes. The ball comes off of his hand well.
What position in the draft will there be the most depth?
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
OT could be pretty good again. If some of these junior OTs come out. The safety spot won't be bad. It has some depth. There are some good OLBs. TE will have a lot of depth. It could be the best position this year. You have a strong senior group. Jared Cook, Garrett Graham, Gresham are all good juniors. Lots of quality TEs playing college football.
Who do you thinks going to win between LSU and Aurburn
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
Auburn's offense has got to start playing better football. The LSU defense, with Beckwith injured, it will still be hard for Auburn to score points. The QB issue at LSU is still a problem. Points will be hard to come by. It will be low scoring, throwback game. Very easily could be a 14-10, 10-9 kind of game. Defensively, these teams are strong.
How much has Maurice Evans being suspended at PSU hurt his draft prospects? Is there anything he can do to fix this?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
You want him to be on the field showcasing their skills. There is plenty of football left. You have other DEs out there showing their skills. You also have the film from last year to look at. Keep in mind, he's a junior, not a senior. But there's pleny of time left in the season.
Greyson (Hennessey, Ok)
Could the Oklahoma State vs Colorado game be one of the best Big 12 games this season?
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
Oklahoma State is a high powered offensive football team. Now they haven't played anybody either. They're in the process of going through 3 straight home games. Their toughest test will be at Missouri. They'll be 5-0 going into that game. They do not play well at Lubbock. Four of their last 5 games will be very tough. Even though they get off to a 5-0 start, I still see them as an 8-4 team. I don't think they're good enough defensively to win more of those games.
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
We have a new Big Board up today on ESPN.com. We'll be back next week to do it all over again.
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