Chat with Mel Kiper
Send your questions now and join Mel this Wednesday at noon ET!
Buzzmaster (12:01 PM)
We've got Mel!
Mel Kiper (12:02 PM)
We've had a crazy college football season with a lot of upsets. Players moving up and down the Big Board. On to the questions.
Is Michael Johnson's draft stock really dropping as quickly as it portrayed?
Mel Kiper (12:03 PM)
No. He's come on a little bit. Your draft stock doesn't drop based on one or two games. Your draft stock drops when you have a down year and you have subpar workouts. He has made some big plays and he's been a difference maker. We're not even in conference play yet. We're just now getting into the meat of the season. For Georgia Tech, that begins in the middle of October. It's far too early to move anybody down on the board.
Hey Mel, it was said yesterday that Lane Kiffen didnt want to draft Jamarcus Russel with the first pick, did you agree with the Raiders pick at the time?
Mel Kiper (12:05 PM)
At the time I did, just because they had to have a real focal point of a young player that could be the face of the organization. At that time, it was Russell and Brady Quinn. There were some people who thought Quinn was the better QB. But I had no problem with Russell being the first pick. The highest rated players that year were Calvin Johnson, Joe Thomas and Adrian Peterson. Russell wasn't the highest rated player, but for the Oakland Raiders, they had no choice but to take Russell.
Mel Kiper (12:05 PM)
This team is on the cusp of doing some good things. They're not that far away. They've lost some very close games. They could have beaten San Diego and Buffalo.
Who do you like in the UNC - UConn game Saturday night. What do you think of Zach Frazer as Uconn's QB?
Mel Kiper (12:07 PM)
First of all, I think UNC is going to hand UConn their first loss of the season. UNC is the better team. It's a drop off after Lorenzen. But the focal point of UConn's offense isn't the QB, it's Brown, the junior RB. They have a good OL. The main guy is OT William Beatty, a senior. UNC, they have 10 sophomores or true freshman on the defensive side of the ball that are playing key roles. They are talented, but young on defense. They have three DL that are true freshman that are playing key roles - McAdoo, Quinton Cople, Quinn.
Mel Kiper (12:08 PM)
Plus, they have an outstanding OT and they have a QB that's come in and done a really good job, especially against Miami. I thought that was a season-saving game for UNC. They went down to Miami and fell behind and had to comeback.
Is Lane Kiffin going to get a college job?
Mel Kiper (12:10 PM)
I would think so. What he did at USC as the co-offensive coordinator. He did a good job. He's got an offensive mind. I thought he did a good job with the Raiders. He had them on the cusp. I would have maintained him as the coach. But now, if a college program is looking for someone who has proven himself. He has done it at USC under Pete Carroll. I would think he's a guy that colleges would look at as a hot prospect. There are some opportunities in the Pac-10 that could open up out there.
Is Macho Harris the best corner in the draft?
Mel Kiper (12:12 PM)
No. The best CB in college football, from the senior class, is Malcolm Jenkins from OSU, but he could become a safety. I think the best cover corner is Alphonso Smith from Wake. I have Harris as the fifth-highest rated senior CB.
Chad (Savannah, GA)
Mel, people are still questioning LSU's QB play but Lee has a 146.5 effeciency rating (32nd in the country). I would think that their secondary is a bigger concern.
Mel Kiper (12:15 PM)
I still think the QB is still something that we have to see week to week as a measure of consistency. He's only a sophomore. He's a drop back guy with a good arm. He's gotten good play from the RBs and has a good OL in front of him. The secondary, when you look at how it was effected by graduation, losing a Chevis Jackson, Craig Steltz and Jonathan Zenon. In addition to a good LB in Ali Highsmith and your best defensive player overall in Glenn Dorsey. This team took a lot of hits defensively. You don't recover from as many losses at they've sustained. Now, they've hung in there. They have a week off to get ready for Florida at the Swamp. I think Florida will hand LSU their first loss of the sesaon. But I agree, the defense is the bigger question mark right now.
Mike (State College, PA)
How about those Nittany Lions? How do you think they finish the season and who do you think are the best pro prospects on the team?
Mel Kiper (12:18 PM)
To me, the schedule has been very favorable so far. Oregon State at home early. Three cupcakes surrounding Oregon State and Illinois at home. You have to be happy with 5-0. You have to be thrilled with this offense. Derrick Williams. All those receivers, TE, depth at RB. Clark at QB. And you have a defense that has Evans back at DE. The shame of it is that Sean Lee is out for the year, he got hurt in the spring, as good as the team is playing. Now, you finish out the year at Wisconsin, at Ohio State, at Purdue - three Big Ten road games coming up. And still a home game against Michigan. I could see them losing a couple of games in October.
Mel, little NFL question, Everybody thought the titans made a bad draft pick of Chris johnson but now he is lighting up the NFL. What did the experts not see in Chris?
Mel Kiper (12:20 PM)
No, it wasn't about Chris Johnson. He was a highly regarded player. I talked about him in Personnel Points late September, early October last year. He was a hot property the whole season. His stock was rishing all the way up. The only problem with the pick was that the Titans had drafted picks the last two years. He's a change of pace back. He's a great receiver down the field and I made that point at the draft. He didn't just catch swing passes at ECU, he caught the ball down the field. Plus kick returns. He's a versatile guy. I'm a big kick return guy. You see it every game where a kick return is huge. His versatility and the fact that he complements the other backs that they had was why it was a good pick. I liked the pick.
Do you see any of Bama's players going in the first round of the draft?
Mel Kiper (12:22 PM)
From the senior class, no first rounders. No one's even close from the senior class. But they do have one of the best players in college football. If he comes out, he could go in the top 1-2 overall, Andre Smith, OT. I think his grade will be equal to what Jake Long had last year. They also have Terrence Cody. He's made a huge impact coming over from the junior college ranks. He's a mountain of a man at DT. He's my No. 4 junior DT.
Jonathan (Westerville, Ohio)
Despite Chris Wells' injuries, would he still be a high-round draft pick?
Mel Kiper (12:24 PM)
We have to see how he plays. He had the one fumble and still played well. How he plays through the rest of the year will determine if he comes out. I think it's still a possibility. He got hurt early so he can still come back. If this past Saturday is any indication, he can still put up big numbers.
Where do you have Alabama's Rashad Johnson ranked among your senior safeties?
Mel Kiper (12:26 PM)
He right now has a mid-round grade. He's been a solid player throughout his career. But more of a mid-round grade for him.
How is Juice Williams progressing as a passer? Does he have a NFL future as a QB?
Mel Kiper (12:28 PM)
He's a junior. He's an athlete. His consistency throwing the ball from week to week is something you have to keep an eye on. He'll come back for his senior year. Against Penn State, he was 13-24 through the air and rushed for 64 yards. He gives you the run-pass option. For the year, he's completing 58.6 percent. He's not completing a high percentage and he has 9 TD and has at least one INT in every game. He needs better reads, better accuracy.
Josh (Columbia, MD)
Thoughts on the Terps? They have a shot to start 2-0 in conference with 2 ACC road wins after this weekend. Are they a threat in the Atlantic?
Mel Kiper (12:31 PM)
I said about three weeks ago, I said they could be an 8 win team. They did show last year, despite a 6 win team was they could win some big games. The big win was against Cal. Then against Clemson. They made some adjustments for the second half. That was another huge win. Now they have Virginia, a big game at home against Wake Forest but they have a week off before that game. I still think they could be an 8-4 team. That would be outstanding for them. What I want to see is this OL, which has a lot of size and big guys with four seniors that start, do a better job of moving defenders off the line. Heyward-Bey didn't catch a pass. I understand they're doubling him and bracketing him, but he still has to be a better part of this offense.
Mel, Buckeyes--Badgers. Who ya got?
Mel Kiper (12:33 PM)
The big edge is that it's at Wisconsin, especially with a young QB in Pryor. Tough venue for a freshman QB. But they finally got Robiskie the football. But Wisconsin up front and a very good LB corps, they can keep this game close. Wisconsin is coming off a game when they blew a 19-0 lead. What's their mindset like coming off that game? Huge game at home. OSU beat them last year. I would think that Wisconsin should be able to play it very close or pull out a victory.
Mel Kiper (12:33 PM)
OSU is the better overall team. Pryor is the better QB, but he's a freshman. I would call this game pretty much a toss up.
How is LeSean McCoy's stock now after not lighting it up so far this year?
Mel Kiper (12:34 PM)
He needs some help too. Their QB play isn't what it needs to be. Teams know that if they key on McCoy the team's offense isn't what it needs to be. But he's only a third-year sophomore, so he has some options come January.
Mike (East Coast)
Do you see a two loss national championship contender?
Mel Kiper (12:36 PM)
BYU is hoping. Or Utah. If they go undefeated and everyone else has two losses, you might have a chance to play. But I can't see Oklahoma losing two games. They look far too good. Now I've said that about USC. But I can't see Oklahoma losing two. They're better than everybody on their schedule. They have to play a Big 12 championship game. Maximum of one loss for Oklahoma. I don't see USC losing again. I was shocked they lost one. I don't see them losing again. I still think Oklahoma and USC.
Mel, why doesnt Ole Miss get any love? They went to the swamp and beat the #4 Gators who have lost only once previously under Urban Meyer. They could very easily be 5-0, yet no one gives them any respect
Mel Kiper (12:38 PM)
Greg Hardy was back on the field. He's a special player. He was hurt when the season began. Heckuva player. They have an outstanding player in Jerry. Sanford, the senior SS, had a big game against Florida. They have a stud in LT in Michael Oher. Dexter McCluster is that all-purpose guy.
Mel Kiper (12:41 PM)
Ole Miss has a chance to be a team that you can never underrate. If you do that, you will get burned. Ole Miss or Huston Nutt. He's an outstanding football coach. Ole Miss have stars at several positions. Not a lot of teams can boast that - two bigtime DLs and a phenomenal OT.
Mel, When its all said and done, do you believe that Colt McCoy has the talent or size to make it to the NFL?
Mel Kiper (12:45 PM)
Colt McCoy has gotten better. He's improved a great deal. He's only a junior and probably will be back at Texas for the '09 season. Last week against Arkansas in that 52-10 destruction, he was 17-19 with 3 TDs and ran for 84 yards and 2 TDs. For the year, he's at 80 percent completion and he was 65 last year. He threw 22 TDs and 18 INTs. This year he's got 14 TDs and 1 INT. That's the biggest difference - the TD-INT ratio. He's also been rushing - in three games, he's had over 80 yards rushing.
Mel Kiper (12:46 PM)
But up until this point, they've played an easy schedule.
Ryan (Chicago, IL)
As far as Jeremy Maclin goes, do you think that he could really be a number one wideout in the League? I would think he would have the same challenges that DeSean Jackson had last year as far as draft stock.
Mel Kiper (12:47 PM)
Yes. Jeremy Maclin is a brilliant player. He's a third-year sophomore. He is eligible for the NFL draft, if he so chooses. Missouri was off last week. He and Michael Crabtree are right up there as the best WRs in college.
what are your thoughts on strongest conference to weakest right now?
Mel Kiper (12:50 PM)
I'd say the Big 12 right now looks good. They've accounted for themselves pretty good. Missouri had the big win over Illinois. Kansas lost to South Florida. But most of these teams have played an easy schedule so far. Nebraska lost to Virginia Tech at home. Oklahoma has played an easy schedule. Texas has played an easy schedule. I still contend the SEC is the best conference. Georgia lost to Alabama. Alabama has risen up fast. Florida lost to Ole Miss. LSU remains undefeated. Ole Miss has been a surprise. On paper, you say the Big 12, but when you look at it and study it, they haven't played anybody. The SEC is ahead of the Big 12 in terms of the competition that they've played.
Brammer (Centerville, UT)
Does Max Hall have any NFL future?
Mel Kiper (12:52 PM)
Only a junior. He has had an oustanding future. He has an outstanding OL in front of him. He's got the big powerful back in Harvey Unga. He has weapons all over the place. He's a smart kid, tough kid. They went into the year thinking they had six potential all-Americans on the offensive side of the ball. The thing that will work against him for the NFL is that he's not physically imposing as a QB.
How about Mandarich's confession that he used 'roids in college (surprise, surprise)? What was your assessment of him heading into the '89 draft?
Mel Kiper (12:53 PM)
He had a high grade. Very high grade. There were some, not me, that thought Dallas made a mistake by not taking him over Troy Aikman. But he was not the total bust that some say that he was. He had some good years with Indianapolis. He had some good years in the NFL.
You had Curtis Painter as one of the better QBs going into this year's draft. After seeing his flops in the first 3 games of the season do you still consider him a pro prospect?
Mel Kiper (12:55 PM)
None of the QBs in the senior class are highly regarded. None of them have a high grade. THat's why Rhett Bomar of Sam Houston State has moved up. Nathan Brown of Central Arkansas has moved up. It's one of the weakest senior QB groups I've seen in a long time. Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford, Mark Sanchez, Tim Tebow, Josh Freeman, Nate Davis are all juniors and ranked higher than any of the seniors.
Mel Kiper (12:55 PM)
Painter lost his two best weapons to graduation - Dustin Keller, Dorien Bryant.
Ty (San Francisco, CA)
Of all the undefeated BCS teams left, who do you feel has the best change to run the table?
Mel Kiper (12:57 PM)
Oklahoma. I would say they have the best chance. They're better than Missouri. They'll beat Texas. The schedule is very favorable. They get Kansas at home, Texas Tech at home. A tricky game will be at Oklahoma State. That game would concern me a little bit.
Mel Kiper (12:58 PM)
I appreciate all the questions. We have a lot of college football tonight, tomorrow and Friday. Oregon State at Utah tomorrow. A lot of games - 6 games between tonight and Friday. We'll be back next week!