Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, NFL draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. will be by to discuss the college football and NFL seasons.
Kiper has served as expert analyst for ESPN's annual NFL Draft coverage since 1984. His pre-draft predictions are frequently the most accurate. Kiper is also analyst for College GameDay on ESPN Radio. He also contributes to SportsCenter and ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join Kiper Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:00 PM)
We've got Mel!
Danny (marysville, wa)
what was your impression of jake locker after the game against jimmy clausen and norte dame?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
Jake's going to debut on the Big Board at No. 4 this week. I made this statement on Personnel Points a few weeks ago. He's improved and his new coach has helped him. He's throwing on balance. He's making the right reads. He's throwing the ball away and not forcing things. The only thing he's doing, similar to Tom Brady, he holds the ball too long. Saturday, he was hit and fumbled, he wasn't even ready to throw the ball when he was hit. He needs a little better clock in his head. Brady still needs work on that. The little things he's improved on. And Jake doesn't have great players around him. Clausen, by the way debuts on the Big Board at 11. It was a great football game and the Huskies squandered too many opportunities.
Jacory Harris. How do scouts view his NFL potential
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
He's only a sophomore, so I don't think scouts have to worry about his potential right now. They only have to study juniors and seniors. He's a nice kid to evaluate. Right now, he has the skills, but he has a long way to go before he's scrutinized for the NFL draft.
What did you think of the trade with B. Edwards?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
It's interesting. These two teams have that history of going back. Look at the draft and when the Jets traded to move up to get Sanchez. They got him with the Browns pick. They ended up with three veteran players for Cleveland and they picked Alex Mack. Basically, you have Sanchez and Edwards because of Cleveland. Now, what Eric Mangini ends up with is veteran players in the Sanchez trade and this one he gets some picks, with one possibly becoming a No. 2. They get Chansi Stuckey out of Clemson. The Browns add a young WR, special teams receiver and a third and fifth pick. Cleveland will have 2 No. 3s and 3 No. 5s in the upcoming draft and 8 picks in the first 5 rounds.
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
With the Jets, they've tried to figure out a way to get a WR. After the trade for Sanchez, they only had three picks in the draft. They've already given up their 3rd and 5th this year. Obviously Rex Ryan wants quality over quantity. For Braylon Edwards, it's a change of scenery. From one of the worst teams to a potential playoff team. Hopefully now he'll be more focused and more consistent. He's dropped a lot of passes the last year. For a kid with that kind of talent, he should be a much better player. We've seen glimpses of that talent, but he's dropped too many balls. He was the third pick overall in the 2005. That pick was by Phil Savage.
Ed Dickson (Eugene)
Mel, you need to get me on your Big Board. I'm the best tight end in the country hands down.
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
Jermaine Gresham is the best TE, but he's hurt. Ed Dickson is my second highest rated senior TE and the second overall. Rob Gronkowski is my top junior TE and he's hurt as well. So, Ed is the best TE playing right now. He's borderline for the Big Board. I think he could end up going as high as round 2.
hey Mel.....how do you think that Crabtree will do this year with all of this drama going on with him not signing right away?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
It's great to see him signed. This is great for the 49ers. They could not have lost him to the draft. If he had gone back in, he would have been a top 10 pick. He was the 2nd best player in the draft last year, the way I had it graded out. They need him. The QB play of the 49ers needs to improve. He's going to a team that doesn't have great QB play and they have an injury with Frank Gore right now. SF plays Atlanta this week at home. He just reported today, so he won't be a factor in that game. They have an open week on Oct. 18, that will give him a chance. They'll do their best to try and get him ready by then. He will only have really missed 5 games.
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
Right now the 49ers are a miracle play away from being 4-0. One of the teams they beat was in the Super Bowl last year and one of the teams they could have beaten was a team that could be in the Super Bowl this year. This is a playoff caliber team a lot of people think this year. They're in a division where they've already beaten the other three teams.
Is Eric Decker a future pro? Great hands and puts up great stats for an average team.
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
An average team, it was a bowl team last year. They're 3-2 right now. They have a game against Purdue. It's homecoming at Minnesota. They have a team that has a chance. They have some good young players. Decker is the leaader on that team. He's 6-3, 210 and can run in the 4.5 range. The question for him will be what kind of window will he give the QB to throw into? He has great hands. Tough. He takes a hit and holds on to the ball. He's a very nice pick in the second round of hte draft.
nagle (big apple)
Can you give me one good reason that SF shouldn't put Michale Robinson behind center for a few Wildcat snaps per game? He can run and pass so why not give it a shot with Gore out?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
That's true. He's a former QB at Penn State. They can use his skills in a lot of different ways. The thing about SF, we've talked about how they played this year, they get Carolina's No. 1 pick this year. Carolina hasn't played well this year. They're 0-3 and they play Washington this week. I have four QBs in my top 11. If SF is a playoff team this year, they're going to be picking in the 20s, but they get Carolina's pick. If Carolina bottoms out this year, they could get a high pick. It's a shame for Carolina. They gave up that first round pick by taking Everett Brown last year. The last four years all we've heard about Carolina is they want to get a QB and haven't been able to get one. But if they continue on this downward spiral this year, they could have had the shot at one of those QBs.
Scott (Fayetteville, AR)
What are your thoughts on Ryan Mallett? If he keeps on the same pace, would he be considered a high draft pick this year?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
Sure he will. He's big. He's getting tutored by Bobby Petrino. He understands how to develop QBs. He has three young sophomore WRs to throw to. He is a third-year sophomore and he could be eligible for the draft this year. I don't think he will, after only having this one year with Petrino. He could be a guy next year that we're talking a lot about.
whos the best player coming out of the draft this year at running back
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
Right now, I would stay probably CJ Spiller, because of his versatility. He was contained at Maryland last week in Clemson's loss. However, he still had a 92-yard kickoff return. He hasn't had a great average per carry running the ball, but he's averaging 16 yards per catch, 38 yards a kickoff return. He'll be a Felix Jones type of player. He won't be a guy to carry the running load.
Chad (Las Vegas)
Best LSU prospect in the draft and their projection?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
Chad Jones, junior, S is right up there. Brandon LaFell, Sr., WR, my second highest rated senior WR. A guy that ultimately could be one of their best is Patrick Peterson, Soph., CB. But he's only a sophomore. Charles Scott, Sr., RB, my 6th highest rated senior RB. Those are some of the guys.
J. Treehorn (Malibu)
Thoughts on the LSU-Florida game?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
LSU is at home and it's at night. For LSU this game is very fortunate that it means as much as it does to them. They could have lost 2 games already. They were fortunate to pull it out against Georgia. There was that terrible call on AJ Green. College football takes far too long to make changes. Things that are just far out wrong. This celebration rule to keep being a part of college football is ridiculous. There were some celebration penalities that were not even close to excessive. They need to address that. If you're going to have a rule, you need to apply it properly. We have some injustices taking place and somethings that the fans can't stand. College football is overboard where sportsmanship is concerned. Football is a game of emotion. A kid showing emotion after scoring a TD in a big game and it's not excessive, it's not a penalty.
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
LSU needs to play better against Florida than they have the last few weeks. Florida does not have Tim Tebow at 100%. They don't have the quick strike capability with Percy Harvin last year. Florida has only given up 7.25 points per game on defense. LSU's points could be at a minimum. John Brantley is a pocket passer type. It's at night and we've always said that LSU in the day time is beatable, at night, it's a lot tougher. Because of the environment, Tebow's medical situation, gives LSU an opportunity here.
Will a undefeated Bearcats team have a chance to play for a national Championship or are the politics of the bcs stacked against them
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
I don't think they have any chance, no. No chance, because of their schedule. There's no statement on there. They would have some nice wins like at Oregon State, at South Florida. USF is a nice win, but it's not going to impact the voters. That would be their best win. Right now Tony Pike is at 21 on my draft board. They play WVU at home. Pitt, good game late in the year. I don't think their schedule gives them a chance to play for the national championship, even if they're undefeated. They could get up as high as 5, but I don't think they can jump up there.
Mel, if the Irish beat USC, will Clausan be the front-runner for the Heissman?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
The Heisman is wide open right now. Tim Tebow and Colt McCoy are up there. We saw some Heisman candidates fall by the wayside. Case Keenum was up there, but then they lost to UTEP. Texas beat UTEP 64-7 and UTEP beat Houston 58-41. Jacory Harris, the VT game hurt him. Oklahoma and Bradford, he's hurt. Clausen, if he can lead the team to victory over USC and then finish the rest of the season undefeated ... they have tough games with Pitt and Stanford. The race is wide open.
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
That's a lot to expect. This is a team that's barely won 3 football games. They could be 1-4 very easily, coming off of 4 straight losses.
Mel, what is Andre Smith going to bring to the Bengals line when he is healthy, when do you think he will get into the lineup
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
They're hoping he's coming back. They have Anthony Collins at RT and you brought in Andre Smith to upgrade that position. If he's back to where he's capable of being, he'll be an upgrade. Collins is an average player. Smith was the 6th overall pick for a reason. They're hoping to have him back by early November. If they can get him back that would be phenomenal to have him step in and compete.
If green bay gets their offensive line order, does that team make the playoffs?--Rodgers looked tough while under constant pressure on Monday
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
He made some poor throws the other night, but he's been under some pressure. They were down to their third LT against Jared Allen. You know you're in trouble. They were down to a rookie fourth round pick. Green Bay, no pass pressure at all the other night. That shocked me. He'll pick anybody apart. They have to play a lot better. They have an open week this week and they need it. They need to solidify the offensive line. A red flag game for them was losing to Cincinnati in Week 2, after the Bengals had lost that demoralizing game to Denver on that miracle TD. Green Bay is not a good 2-2. There's a home loss there. They need this open week to regroup. The schedule gets easier. They have Detroit, at Cleveland, Minnesota, at Tampa Bay. Those are four games you have to win. You need to get to 6-2. Then the schedule gets a little more tricky. Dallas at home, Baltimore, at Chicago, Pittsburgh, Arizona. If they're a playoff team, they have to win the next four games.
Clay (Oakland, CA)
Who are the top NFL prospects to keep an eye on during ESPN's thursday night telecast of Nebraska - Missouri?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
That's a good matchup. If you wanted one to keep an eye on, the center for Missouri, a junior Tim Barnes against Ndamukong Suh the great senior DT for Nebraska. That will be a good matchup there. Sean Weatherspoon is the 13th player on my Big Board. Blaine Gabbert throwing to Alexander. For Nebraska, junior DE Pierre Allen.
Mel, is Notre Dame a legit BCS caliber team? Their defense is pretty shacky.
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
Because they're Notre Dame, they remain that. Notre Dame carries a lot of weight. To play in a BCS game, you have to win the rest of your games. If they had Michael Floyd all year, that's different. They should have lost to Washington. I can't stress that enough. Washington was their own worst enemy in that game. Notre Dame, I can't put them in the same breath as right now. Can they put it together? Yeah. They need to really regroup. They have an open week this week. They have the second part of the season starting. They play USC next week. You hope to get some players healthy.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
Purdue is 1-4. Notre Dame was forced to eke out a victory against Purdue. Washington has a losing record, Notre Dame eked out a victory against them. Two losing teams they barely beat.
Mel, the UNC Defense is doing everything it can to keep the Heels in games. Who are the best prospects on that defense?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
That is a great defensive unit. A lot of these guys will be playing in the NFL. LB Quan Sturdevant is my second highest rated LB from the juniors. Junior LB, Bruce Carter. Daunte Williams is the 6th highest rated safety in the juniors. Marvin Austin is the third highest rated junior DT. Robert Quinn, sophomore DE has had an outstanding season. Junior CB Kendrick Barney has ability. Quinton Koples, sophomore DE is an excellent player. Cam Thomas, senior DT, good player.
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
That's one of the best defensive units in college football. They're giving up an average of 14 points a game. This week they get a little bit of a break with Georgia Southern. Florida State, at Virginia Tech Oct. 29 two big Thursday night games. Their offense is in reverse. They have scored 12 or fewer points in three of the first five games.
Craig G. (Fairfield, California)
Is Tony Pike the best QB prospect in regards to physical attributes in your opinion?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
Yes. He can throw the football. Tony Pike is 6-5, 212. He can fire strikes to any point on the field. Complete a high percentage of his passes. Excellent mechanics. Accurate. Throw on the move. But the thing about him is coming out of that offense. It will be something that people will look at. He's not under center. He's in shotgun. But right now, you're looking at a late first, early round pick.
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
The game you really want to see him is against South Florida. They're going to give him some pressure. It will be a great matchup to see how Pike deals with pressure. I want to see how he looks down that gun barrel.
Boise State is #5 in the nation... who is their highest ranked player on your big board and where is he ranked?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
They only have two seniors that start and play a lot. Kyle Wilson sat out last week with an injury. He's an outstanding punt returner. Excellent cover CB. He's their only main entity they'll lose to graduation. He's 5-10, 185, runs in the 4.35-4.40. Big play guy. He's the kind of kid that has the chance to be in that second round mix. Maybe late first round.
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
He's going to wow people over at the combine when he runs 4.3s.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
We have the SEC front and center this week with a day-night doubleheader. Michigan at Iowa from a scouting perspective will be interesting. On ESPN.com we highligh player vs. player matchups for Saturday and it should be posted today. And the updated Big Board should be up today. Personnel Points on Monday also goes up.
Buzzmaster (2:00 PM)
Thanks for chatting Mel!