Chat with Mel Kiper
Send your questions now and join Mel this Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:02 PM)
We've got Mel!
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
We're getting ready for the combine starting this weekend. Talking about players who need to do well. And free agency begins a week from Friday.
Alex Indianapolis, IN
What areas do the Buccaneers address in the draft this year?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
The big thing is QB. I don't know about addressing it in the draft. But at some point they have to decide who they're moving forward with. The DL, either DE or DT. WR is another pressing need area. And they ned to bring in another RB. This is a football team, with the pick at 19, could take a chance on Josh Freeman. Or, they could move up a few spots to get Mark Sanchez.
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
You should be able to get a top 10-12 player on your board with the 19th pick. If they want a DE, a guy is Everette Brown from Florida State.
Brett (Houston, TX)
Could not running/working out really hurt any of those guys at the top of everyone's draft boards? If Crabtree doesn't run, it won't matter; he'll still get taken in the top five. Same with Stafford. So why the big fuss about it?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
That's correct. The combine, they'll complain about it, the NFL will. Because it is a pain to get someone to work out at another venue. You have to fly to that player's place for the workout. When you have all the players in one place. Plus you have to compare the times, but you should do better at individual workouts then at the combine. But it will have no effect on where the player goes. Not working out at the combine doesn't hurt you. I've never seen a player get hurt by not working out at the combine.
Give us the names that will ring bells at the combine. Maybin, Maclin, Heyward-Bey?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
Some guys that could run well. Whether it's individual workouts or at the combine, these are the guys that should do well. Devin Moore, RB, Wyoming; Louis Murphy, WR, Florida; Shawn Nelson, TE, Southern Miss; Cody Brown, DE/OLB, UConn; Ron Brace, DT, BC; Robert Ayers, DE, Tennessee; Lewis Delmas, S, W. Michigan; Sherrod Martin, CB/S, Troy; Jared Cook, TE, South Carolina; James Casey, TE, Rice; Vontae Davis, CB, Illinois.
Where do you think Shonn Greene goes if he runs a 40 around 4.5? I remember seeing something where he said when he was training he could get aroudn 4.47 to 4.52
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
If he runs an impressive 40, he's over 240 pounds. You're talking about a powerful RB with a low base. He's patient, sets up his blockers well. He averaged over 6 yards per carry. He scored 13 TDs. He was a tremendously productive back. He's a very good runner. He needs to work on catching the ball out of the backfield. He needs to become a better pass catching option out of the backfield.
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
I think he's a second or third round pick.
Jim (Iowa city)
If you had to pick one player who you think will get hurt by his numbers at the combine, who would it be?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
The numbers for the juniors are very, very important. But some guys that you're watching with an eye to see how they do are James Davis, RB, Clemson; Brian Robiskie, WR, Ohio State; Ramses Barden, WR, Cal Poly; Jarett Dillard, WR, Rice; Chase Coffman, TE, Missouri; Bear Pascoe, TE, Fresno State; John Phillips, TE, Virginia; Malcolm Jenkins, CB, Ohio State; Knowshon Moreno, RB, Georgia; Hakeem Nicks, WR, UNC.
With John Tait set to retire, what OT prospects would be good fits with the Bears?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
I think in terms of OL, where they're picking, not in the first round they could look at Phil Loadholt down the line. William Beatty, from UConn.
Austin (Atl, GA)
Mel, Do u think Chris Wells or Moreno puts up better combine numbers?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
I think Wells will be faster. I think he'll surprise a lot of people with his 40 time. He's 235-240 pounds. Moreno is about 208. But I still think Wells could run in the 4.40-4.45 range and Moreno is in the 4.5-4.55 range. But that's just a best guess.
Javon Ringer (Michigan State U)
What do I have to run at the combine to crack the first round?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
I think the first round for RBs is going to be very difficult. RBs historically drop down. I think Ringer is in the mix to be in the top 6-8 RBs drafted. If you're in that mix, you're a 3-4 round pick. Last year, Steve Slaton had a great career in college and he went in the third round. Tashard Choice had a great career and he went in the same are. Clinton Portis was a second rounder. A lot of teams have good running backs. And they don't just have one, they have two. This year, few teams are prioritizing RBs. Cleveland, San Diego, Philadelphia, Seattle, Denver, New England, Tampa Bay are teams that could prioritize RBs. Not a lot of teams will look at RBs early on.
Are their any Safeties regarded as first rounders this year?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
No. No safeties are regarded as first rounders. At the beginning of the year, I thought William Moore was a first round pick from Missouri. But he just didn't have the year expected. As a junior, he had a very high grade. If you can get a guy like that in the second round, you've got a good pick. Louis Delmas is also in the mix for a second round pick. Those two are the highest rated safeties.
Best DL left at #12 for Denver?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
BJ Raji, if he's there, would be a great pick. There's no guarantee that he'll still be there. But that would be a very good pick.
Chris (Milwaukee, WI)
How big is the drop-off in QBs after Freeman? Will teams be reaching for him if they need a QB in the late first/early second round?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
I don't know about reaching. You either like a QB or you don't. This isn't about forcing something at QB. There are other options out there. Jeff Garcia, Derek Anderson. There are other options. If you're taking a guy in the first or second round, you better believe as an organization that he has the potential to be a starter in the league. I don't care about drop off. You have to take a QB that you have a strong conviction about. You either like a QB or you don't. If you like him, you start thinking about him late in the first or early second. In the case of this year's group, there is a drop off to Nate Davis and then after him, it goes to Pat White, but I think he'll be more of a WR then a QB. There's no senior QB I'd take until the fifth round.
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
Pat White is a QB/WR/return man. He could go in the second or third round. But he's not a QB. He's a QB/WR/return man. He will be projected higher and should go higher because of his versatility.
Which tight ends can improve their draft status at the combine?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
James Casey, third year sophomore from Rice. He's 24. He was in the White Sox minor leagues for a while. That's why he's older. But he had 85 catches this year. Very sure handed. Very athletic. He definitely could help himself. Jared Cook, out of South Carolina. He's coming out early as a junior. He's 6-5, gifted athlete. He averaged 16.5 yards per catch. He made a lot of acrobatic catches. He has excellent run after the catch abilities. He is a very intriguing, very interesting prospect. If you can get him in the second round, you have a good pick. He could be a much talked about player come the draft.
Mel, do you see the Chiefs looking at a different option other than QB right now. Drafting Sanchez scares me a little bit.
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
It can scare you a little bit. The reason that it doesn't scare me is because they would have options other then Sanchez, they have Tyler Thigpen. He showed flashes. He might be coming into his own. He could be the reason why you don't take a Mark Sanchez. You have other needs in KC. DE, WR, LB are all needs. This team could look at an Aaron Curry. There are other opportunities for them to go the other way. Maybe Scott Pioli thinks there's a way to get Matt Cassell.
What is the deepest position in the draft this year
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
WR is going to be very deep. DE is going to be very deep. Those are the two positions. You can get WRs way down the line. Brandon Gibson from Washingon State; Nick Moore from Toledo; Jamarko Simmons from W. Michigan; Deion Butler, PSU; Mike Thomas, Arizona; Kenny McKinley, South Carolina. Then you look at DE and you have some depth later on, like Jarron Gilbert, San Jose State; Kyle Moore, USC; Victor Butler, Oregon State; Lawrence Sidbury, Richmond; David Veikune, Hawaii.
How far have injuries dropped Travis Beckum? Used to be considered a top TE/WR combo player.
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
What's effected him is the fact that Cook decided to come out early and Casey came out early. Then you have Shawn Nelson from Southern Miss really come on this season. Then Beckum has the injury. All of a sudden, he's your 6-7 rated TE instead of 3-4. He fractured his left fibula late in October. Tremendous pass receiving option.
The Broncos cut Dre Bly, is this a big deal for their draft plan? Do you see them taking a CB in the 2nd round?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
I think their needs are still where they were. They still need desparate help on the DL. Before you look at the secondary, the secondary is the last place you look. That's the last line of defense. I always worry about the front seven then the back four. Once you have that in place you can look at the secondary. They also need help at safety as well as CB. They need a RB on the offensive side of the ball. This defense was sieve-like. It was horrendously bad. This team has historically been able to find RBs in the draft.
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
Outside of a RB in the fifth round area, I expect every other pick to be defensive players.
Can the Falcons can good value at LB later in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
Their needs are DE, S, TE, OLB and CB. Can they find an OLB later? There are a couple of guys that I think will be good players later on. Tyrone McKenzie from South Florida; Zack Follet, Cal. McKenzie is more of a third round guy.
Ruben (Highland, Ca)
Rams have so many needs. Is there any team in the 5-7 range you think may trade up them to go after a specific player or are they just going to have to pick the best player, other than QB?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
More then likely you have to figure to pick the best player. The only thing is if a team like the Jets wants a Matthew Stafford. But then do you want to move from No. 2 down to there pick. Do you want to move up to get Aaron Curry? Not really. I think it would difficult. With St. Louis, they have needs at LT, OLB, MLB, RB. They could look at Jason Smith, Andre Smith, Aaron Curry. They have some areas they could look at with that pick and feel good.
It seems like many are down on Vernon Gholston after his first year. Are people giving up too early or has the ship sailed?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
I think they're giving up too early. This is a new coaching staff coming in. Rex Ryan is a defensive guru. He got Terrell Suggs going. In Rex's defensive structure, I think Gholston can be good. That was a red-shirt year for him. Usually you have that kind of year for a QB. Normally, a pass rushing defensive player comes in and makes an impact. You would hope that he could, in Ryan's defense, be a double digit sack guy. This is a pivotal year for Gholston. If he can't play in Rex Ryan's defense, then you can't play for anybody.
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
Rex has been a good friend of mine for a long time. The whole family. For Buddy to see Rex and Rob be DCs for a while. Now Rex is a head coach. His other son Jim is a lawyer. Buddy has to be very happy to have such successful sons.
Jeremy (Chicago) [via mobile]
I know that combine results can't completely change a teams opinion of a player, but is there one position where a great workout can bump a player up the board more than the others?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
You saw Chris Johnson last year. He was a second round pick probably and he ran the 4.2 40 and he moved up. We expected him to run fast. Guys that are expected to run well. There are some guys we've already highlighted from both sides. It's a case where I look at it and say let it play out. Some guys you anticipate doing well. At the end of the day, it will all flush out. The combine for some players is very critical.
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
But it does get back to how you perform on the field. People always talk about Mike Mamula moving up. He did well at the combine, but he was a good player at BC. He was a late first round pick and he was moved up too far. Teams should have grades on players going in and then check back on that after. If you have a player at 25 and want to move him to 10, that's too far.
Do you see the Seahawks grabbing Crabtree? Or is Stafford their man?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
Moreso, they need a big WR, which Crabtree gives them. CB, RB. They have some need areas. With Matt Hasselbeck as their QB, Crabtree would make the most sense with that pick.
Right now how many OT's have first round grades?? Should Oher and Britton be included?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
I have four: Jason Smith, Baylor; Andre Smith, Alabama; Eugene Monroe; Michael Oher, Ole Miss. Eben Britton is the borderline guy.
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
Four of those are guaranteed. Maybe a fifth if Britton can push himself into the late first. Some second round OTs would be: Phil Loadholt; William Beatty; Jamon Meredith.
Do you see the Giants trading up in the draft to get a WR?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
I think to go all the way up where they are, they could go a little bit. To get a guy like Percy Harvin, you'd have to go to the mid first. To get Heyward-Bey, you're talking like 20-25 and they have to move up 5-6 spots.
Jake (VA Beach)
Have you ever gona back to look at pre-combine rankings compared to draft day ones, and see if the combine truly helped get a better view or if initial projections were better?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
I always go back and check every year. I've been doing this 31 years. I have 30 drafts under my belt. You're never wrong for not moving a player too much. I've made some mistakes by moving up players too much. The underclassmen that I have are being evaluated and scouted by me all year. I've worked as much on the juniors as the seniors. When a junior declares, I already have an idea of where they can go. If you're not studying the juniors as much as the seniors, youre not doing your job. Now some of those guys won't come out. Sam Bradford, CJ Spiller, Jermaine Gresham, Russell Okung, Greg Hardy, Gerald McCoy, Brandon Spikes, Taylor Mays. All of those guys I thought would come out. You could say that's wasted time, wasted effort. But it's not, I have a real good evaluation of those players coming into this draft and then I can go back and look after their senior year and see where they are.
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
With these juniors, I have 11 in my top 22. If you didn't do work on those players, then you're not doing your job. Then you overreact. There is only so much time to do your work before the draft. It behooves you to do work on them early in their careers.
Is there any possibility of Maclin becoming in the top 5 if he were to do amazing in the combine?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
He could. The highest I think he could go...I have him going 7 to Oakland. Going higher then that is possible, but hard. He's going to run a blistering 40. Maclin, Harvin and Heyward-Bey should all do that. How much higher then 7 can he go. I have him as the 7th best player and I have him going 7 to Oakland.
Will (Charlotte, NC) [via mobile]
what round do u think mohamed massaqoui might get drafted or do think he'll get drafted at all?
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
He's getting drafted. He's a good football player. He was plagued by some inconsistency, plagued by some drops. He always showed ability to go into traffic. This year he was a consistent receiving option. He became a good target for Matthew Stafford. I think he's a 2-3 round player. He's tough, he'll block in the running game. He's a good target, sizewise. He's always been tough enough. Too many dropped balls, but this year he improved.
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
We finally get the combine. We've been talking about it for a while now. This time next week, it will be over. We'll have a chance to watch and observe as to what's going on. A lot of good things to talk about next week.