Chat with Mel Kiper
Send your questions now and join Mel this Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:00 PM)
We're getting Mel!
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
We have a lot of positional awards done already. We have the Heisman on Saturday. We can talk about the prospects and their awards and where they project.
Pugs Central PA
What postions in the draft are going to be deep/thin?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
It all hinges on the juniors and the underclassmen. From the seniors, QB is terrible. RB is very mediocre. You don't have a QB that will go in the first four rounds or a RB that will go in the first round from the seniors. WR is good. TE is excellent. DE is average. DT is decent. LB is very good. CB is decent to good. S is decent to good. Now if you throw the underclassmen in, QB is outstanding. RB is excellent. WR is excellent. TE excellent. OT is very good. DL is excellent. LB is good. DB is good. From the underclassmen, you have roughly 30 with first round grades. That doesn't mean they'll all come out. Say 20 of them come out, that means 20 of the first round picks will be underclassmen.
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
You have 15 seniors that are guaranteed first rounders. The first round should be very strong this year. If all of these underclassmen come out, this draft has the chance to be very, very good.
adrian (san jose, ca)
by being named the WAC denfensive player of the year does that increase SJSU's Jarron Gibert's chances of getting drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
Gilbert is an interesting guy. I highlighted him on Personnel Points during the season. He was really making plays. He's an undersized DT that will be a DE in the NFL. He played good football for them. He played both DT and DE for SJSU. I think he's a very intriguing guy. Good wing span. I think he's the kind of guy that you think about maybe in the third or fourth round. Another guy on that defense that's interesting is Coye Francies. He's a former Oregon State player. Good cover skills. Outstanding athlete.
Cameron Holbrook, New York
Mel my 49ers are a mess but of course going to win a couple here at the end to blow a top 5 pick, so who are we looking at in the 6-10 range that they should be picking?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
They have to isolate who their QB is moving forward. Shaun Hill has played pretty well. He's played OK. They have to decide the QB position. Will they be interested in one of those QBs coming out? Matthew Stafford could be the No. 1 pick in the draft. I started saying that after he came out of high school. But they're the kind of team that could look at Crabtree as a big time WR. San Francisco has some stars on this football team. They have a collection of some nice players. The big thing moving forward is who is going to be under center. They have to find out who will be the QB of this football team.
Craig (Norwich, CT)
What player(s) need a good bowl game to boost their draft stock?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
James Laurinaitis, LB Ohio State, will be watched very closely in the all-star games. William Moore, S from Missouri. Michael Oher, OT from Ole Miss, a great talent. He has dominating capabilities, but needs to show more consistency. If he does well, he could end up higher. I think it's important for Graham Harrell to show that he has the necessary arm strength. Jeremiah Johnson, the RB from Oregon, he'll be one to watch. Pat White, QB from WVU, he's going to have to play WR in the NFL. Phil Lodhalt, has to show that he can play LT or RT. He's huge, 6-8, 330 pounds. Peria Jerry had a great year, very underrated. I think he's one of the best defensive players this season. If he shows well, he could go early. Larry English, OLB N. Illinois, good 3-4 OLB type. All time sack leader at Northern Illinois. Louis Delmas, S W. Michigan.
Do you think that Colt McCoy made the right decision to come back for his senior year?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
Yeah, I think he did. For this reason, there are a lot of junior QBs that are thinking about coming out early. Say Bradford and Stafford come out early and Josh Freeman. Then next year, you'd have Sanchez, Nate Davis and McCoy. Instead of being the fourth highest rated QB this year, next year, he could be the second or third highest QB. He should be a better QB. He will lose his top target to graduation, but they have some good young QBs in that program.
Matt Stafford tends to be inconsistent and erratic at times... his talent hasn't really matched the production. If you watch him the last 2 years it seems there's something missing. Will that hurt him come draft time or will scouts overlook it?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
He had to deal with some adversity. His OL had some injuries before the season began. The OL was an issue most of the year. Then he had a true freshman WR to throw to. There were some times when he was off target with some passes. But he's a tough kid with a rocket arm. Ideal size. If he's not the No. 1 pick in the draft, he's not going past No. 3. All QBs have flaws. Bradford hasn't had to move in the pocket. The one thing that Stafford has dealt with is adversity in the pocket.
Hey Mel, can you please break down Percy Harvin's professional potential and what teams might scoop him up, assuming he leaves this year. Thanks.
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
Percy Harvin is a great talent. Versatile. He would be the No. 3 underclassmen WR behind Crabtree and Maclin. Maclin and Harvin are running neck and neck right now. Crabtree is the No. 1 WR overall. Harvin, if he comes out, along with the other two, those are your top three WRs. They're all ahead of the senior class. Harvin is a true difference maker. He has had some injury problems. But he can change the scoreboard at any time. He's not that big, 5-10, 190. He takes a lot of hits. He's explosive.
Mel, I have argument with my co-workers about who the best linebacker in the country is. Obviously Aaron Curry won the award, but is he truly the best 'backer?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
I think so. He's the most complete. He can cover. He can rush the passer. He's got great instincts. Great awareness. Durable. I think all that adds up to him being the best LB. Maualuga is the best ILB and Curry is the best OLB. Cushing is the second best, behind Curry. Laurinaitis is behind Maualuga. Spikes is the best underclassmen LB. You also have Herzlich who is the best junior OLB.
Mike (Atlanta, GA)
What do you believe the draft holds for Georgia Tech's DL (Johnson, Walker, Richard)?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
Michael Johnson is the most interesting. He's a great athlete. He has to toughen up a bit. There are some games where he's not a factor that he should be. I would say for Johnson, he flashes greatness. He's a phenomenal athlete. He's going to be one of those roll of the dice mid first picks. But there is a bust factor. Richard is tremendously intelligent kid. If he sustained a little better intensity. And Walker is a mid round guy. The best DL on that team this year was sophomore Derrick Morgan. He was their most productive and consistent player.
Which direction do you see Buffalo going in the draft? Any chance they go after Curry or Orakpo? Which do you think better fits their needs?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
They need offense. This Bills team has to pick up the pace on offense. They're in reverse on offense. They're pathetic on offense. They've scored 3 and 3 points the last two weeks. They've been held to 20 or fewer in seven games. Now, they did score 54 against KC a few weeks ago and 27 against Cleveland. And they have to decide what to do at QB. Is Edwards the guy for them? This is a QB driven league. You're only as good as your QB.
Sooner (Norman, OK)
Does Bradford have any chance to get the Heisman?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
It's between three guys - Tim Tebow, Sam Bradford, Colt McCoy. Bradford had an incredible year, so did McCoy and Tebow. You're separating three incredible players. I can't remember the last time we have had three guys that are bona fide, legit Heisman candidates. I'll have to check with my good friend Beano Cook, the best college historian this nation's ever seen. Tebow already has one, and as a junior has a shot at a second one. My vote, if I had one, which I don't, would be for Colt McCoy. He had the least amount of talent around him of the three. Yet they came within one play of being undefeated and going to a national championship game. Oklahoma put 60 or more on the board in the last five games, so that's the last thing that you saw from Bradford. The number's he's put up are unbelieveable. I would separate McCoy and Bradford because McCoy beat him head to head. If you go to Tebow or McCoy, I say you flip a coin there. It's a shame you can't split the Heisman three ways. My vote would be for McCoy. He's the true MVP of college football. Without him, where would Texas be? You can say the same thing about Tebow.
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
What if Rhett Bomar had not left OU to go to Sam Houston State? He's the best senior QB. Would OU still only have had that one loss if they had Bomar at QB? I don't know. He's not elite like Bradford, but he's still a very good QB.
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
No matter who you vote for, you feel bad for the other two. That you're disrespecting the other two by all that they've accomplished. You don't want to say anything critical because all three were such great football players this year.
Compare the quantity and quality of pro prospects between Oklahoma and Florida. Is there an advantage?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
If you go to Oklahoma, 14 draft eligible prospects; nine draft eligible prospects for Florida. So, Oklahoma has more NFL talent from the junior and senior class. And one of the nine for Florida is Ingram, who hasn't played this year with the knee injury. From the seniors, Louis Murphy is Florida's best senior prospect. That's why, from a senior standpoint, Oklahoma is superior. But with Florida, with Tebow and Harvin, always have two of the best players on the field. Oklahoma has the edge in terms of talent. Florida, I believe is a 3-3.5 point favorite, because the game is in Miami and they have Tebow and Harvin.
Who are the top 3 safeties? And what are each ones pro's and con's?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
The top senior safeties are William Moore, Missouri, who had a phenomenal junior year and was banged up this year. He didn't come up with the big time plays this year. Superior ball skills. Patrick Chung from Oregon is a compact guy who plays with fire. Excells with run support. The third guy I would put in there is the top junior Taylor Mayes. 6-3, 230 free safety. LB size. Runs well. There's a kid with unique physical skills.
Do you think Sergio Kindle should come back next year or declare for the draft? If he declared, what round do you think he would go in?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
Kindle is a combo DE/OLB from Texas. I think he should stay. When you look at him, he's a strong side LB. In the NFL, he'll be a 3-4 OLB. His tackles for loss were excellent. I thought early to mid season he was playing at a very high level. Another year will really benefit him. There's a lot of those combination guys. With Orakpo moving on, he'll be a main entity for them getting to the QB.
WHERE DO YOU SEE JOSH FREEMAN GOING IN THE DRAFT IF HE OPTS OUT HIS SENIOR YEAR?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
He's my fifth highest rated juinor QB, tied for the fifth with McCoy. It's Stafford, Bradford, Sanchez, Nate Davis, Freeman, McCoy for the draft eligible underclassmen. Freeman is 6-6, 250. Physically, he has tremendous size. He can run when he has to. There are times when he makes you wonder if he's a top prospect. He's very good to get a good read on.
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
But someone probably rolls the dice on him and takes him as a late one, no worse than a two.
Where do you see some of the small school prospects like Jennings, Devin Moore, and Barden going when compared to guys from the SEC/Big 12, etc.
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
Devin Moore is not a small school kid, he played at Wyoming. He's one of the fastest RBs in this class. He can catch the ball out of the backfield. The combine is going to be very important. If he can run the 4.4s and turn some heads, he could become a 3-4 rounder. Remember Chris Johnson from last year. The guys that are going to be evaluated as small school prospects are Rhett Bomar, Chris Pizzotti, Mike Reilly, Those types of guys. Rashad Jennings from Liberty. Herb Donaldson. Javarris Williams. Mike McLeod. Tyler Roehl, Rodney Landers. Dobson Collins. Justin Brown and Jeremy Gilchrist from Hampton. Ramses Barden. Charly Martin. Brian Mandeville. Jared Bronson. Tim Silver. Vince Lands. Lawrence Sidbury. Sherman Logan. Andy Schantz. Lee Robinson. Jason Williams. Domonique Johnson. Sean Smalls, who was injured mid-season.
Trevor (Minneapolis MN)
Do you see the Vikings going with a QB first round? If so, who?
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
Well, they went for the QB in the second round just a few years back. And now they have the veteran Gus Frerrotte. This is a guy that was drafted by Childress in the second round. The top QBs will be long gone. If you're going to go the route of a QB to help, you go with a veteran. That's why Frerrotte helped out. You don't take another young QB. You either stick with Jackson as the guy who is the heir apparent. But the QB is position is the one spot that's going to make or break this year.
Mel Kiper (2:01 PM)
We covered a lot with the Heisman stuff and prospects. Next week we'll talk about prospects to watch in the bowl games. Next week, we'll only be three days away from the start of the bowl season. December 20, there are four bowl games that day. The first bowl game is Wake and Navy. In that first bowl game will feature Aaron Curry and Alphonso Smith, who are both on my Senior Big Board. You also have my fourth highest rated FB in that game on Navy.