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 (1:02 PM)
We've got Mel!
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
Let's get to your questions!
Matt (Columbus, OH)
Mel, the Buffalo Bills flat out stink. They will be picking in the top 10. Do you see them finally taking another QB in the first round after the JP Losman debacle?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
They have to make a decision, first of all, is the future of Dick Jauron. If you're going in a different direction with a head coach, you don't worry about need, because the coach will help you decide where you draft. If you have a new coach, you have a QB in Trent Edwards who has no connection to the new coach. It's a completely new situation and the old mistakes and draft philosophies are all thrown under the table.
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
They had a nice win on Sunday. They were down at one point and it looked bad. They are now 2-4. They play at Carolina this week and then Houston. If they can win their next two to go 4-4, their rest of the schedule is not that hard. You have to wait and see, but right now you have to figure them to be one of the worst teams. They nearly beat New England. They beat the Jets.
Nate (St. Louis)
Now that Bradford has sustained injuries not once, but twice, to his throwing shoulder, you have to drop him fro the #1 ranking, right? There is now a huge risk for any team that wants to draft him.
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
It's not a huge risk. The risk would be if you didn't know what his status was going to be. Medical reports will come out to the teams. Does he have surgery? The rehab. How he's doing after rehab. The risk is not knowing how he would have played this year. He had minimum playing this year. You had no opportunities to see him. He's only played 1+ game. And you're basing it on the 2008 season where he had everything perfect working for him, veteran OL, WR, TE. He had no NFL-like experiences last year, only in the Texas game and Florida game and they lost both of those. That's the part that's risky. Is he a pitch and catch QB who can throw accurate, precise passes all day when he has the time to throw or when he's in an NFL-like experience and he doesn't play as well. That's the risk.
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
Are you looking at a guy that's great because he's great or because of the talent he's around? Look at Phillip Rivers Monday night. He had to shift around in the pocket and avoid the rushers. Not just sitting in the pocket and playing flag football. Look at Drew Brees. He had shoulder issues. Miami passed on him to take Daunte Culpepper as a free agent. Drew Brees seems stronger now than before the injury.
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
He is No. 5 on my Big Board right now. Ndamukong Suh is now the No. 1 player.
Has your assessment of Tim Tebow and playing in the next level changed this year? Do you think the Jags will pick him up to boost ticket sales? Any word from GM's?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
No. Hasn't changed at all. I think Tim's an incredible, once in a lifetime, college QB. What he's done at Florida has made him always viewed as one of the top 2-3 QBs of all time. He has a chance this year to win another Heisman and national title. The two top candidates for the Heisman are Mark Ingram and Tebow. Ingram is only a sophomore. In terms of the NFL, that long delivery is still a concern. Will he transition effectively from that Florida offense to the NFL offense? I still think he could go in the first round. It only takes one team. If he didn't have that long delivery, I would have him as the No. 1 player in the draft.
I think Bama and Florida will meet in the SEC champ. game so one of them gets knocked out of the title game and that stinks cause they are the two best teams.
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
You have to see what happens to Texas. They're the critical team in this equation. They're not a great football team this year, but this year there are not a lot of great teams. They've had their share of ups and downs and they are 6-0. At the end of the day, that's all you need. You don't need style points if you're undefeated. They have to play at Missouri, at OSU. Road games in conference are very dangerous.
Clint (South Carolina)
Mel, huge Gator fan here, in your opinion what is wrong with the Gators offense? Are they just not clicking? Will the Gator offense we know that can put up 50 or more on any given saturday finally show up the second half of the season?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
No. I think the problem with the Florida offense is when you don't have the firepower, the quick strike ability. Percy Harvin was an incredible college football player. When he came out of high school, he was in the same class with Beanie Wells, Gerald McCoy, Andre Smith, Taylor Mays, Tim Tebow, Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno and he was No. 1, ahead of all of those guys. He had a great college career. You take him off of that team. He was a RB, WR, return man, everything. You take out Louis Murphy. He was an outstanding player. Last year, he averaged 17.2 yards per catch. Harvin averaged 16.1 per catch, 9.4 per rush and was a dynamic return man. He was a phenomenal player. You take them off your team and that's where you're at now. He was a Reggie Bush type player. Tebow had to work through the concussion and the flulike symptoms. That's all that needs to be discussed with the Florida offense right now.
Mel, i know Snead's draft status has gone down significantly but how are my other Rebels looking as far as the draft is concerned?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
Snead needs to go back for another year. That's pretty much been cemented. That's great for Rebels fans and Huston Nutt. It's a tradeoff, they haven't had a great year. They have a season-changing game with Arkansas. It's the Huston Nutt Bowl. Outside of a game with Northern Arizona, every game is tough from here on out.
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
They have to take care of business this weekend. If they lose this game, they fall to 1-3 in the SEC. They need to win this game. Bobby Petrino has his team at a 3-3 record, but their 3 losses were to Georgia, Florida and Alabama. Mississippi is a 6-point favorite. That's a very tough game.
Mel, can you give your take on Golden Tate: where do you think he would go in the draft, and if you think he will/should come out this year?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
He's only an underclassman, not a senior. You hope he goes back and if he did, you'd have him and Michael Floyd. Then there's the Jimmy Clausen decision. If you're a fan, you hope he comes out as well. Tate is the 6th highest rated junior. Dez Bryant, Benn, Damian Williams, Mike Williams and Brisco. He's sixth. He's had a great year for Notre Dame, especially in Floyd's absence. You can use him in a lot of ways in the NFL. You just hope he goes back for his senior year. He's not going to be a first round player, so you hope he goes back. Floyd is definitely coming back, because he's only a junior. They're hoping he comes back for the Pitt game.
Mel in my opinion the Dolphins need a passrusher Porter and Taylor are getting up there can you give me some people to look at?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
If you look at the scheme, a guy like Jerry Hughes, Brandon Graham, Erik Norwood. Those would all be guys that would be fits. Sergio Kendle. Ricky Sapp. All of those guys would be good fits.
what's your take on Matt Barkley so far? will he be a good pro? how high is his ceiling?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
I think he'll be an excellent pro. He's only a freshman, but he has all the abilities you want. He's not guaranteed to be the No. 1 pick in the draft right now. He's not Matthew Stafford, doesn't have his arm, but not many people do. Luckily for USC, you have at least two more years there. He'll win a lot more games in USC. They're 5-1 this year and the one game they lost, he didn't play. They have their big revenge game this year at Oregon State. OSU beat them last year up at Corvallis. USC goes in almost a 3 TD favorite.
Matt (Columbus, OH)
Can you comment on Terrell Pryor and what he has to do development-wise to be successful at first the collegiate level and then the NFL level?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
What he has to do first of all is he throws the ball up for grabs way too much. He has to be more aware what's going around him in the passing game. Be more cautious with the football. Even the TD pass he threw to get them back in that game last week was thrown up for grabs. It kind of contradicts Jim Tressel. You have a conservative coach in Tressel and a QB who likes to improvise and an undisciplined QB with a very structured coach. But Pryor has a lot of talent. But what they need to do is develop more talent around him. They lost a lot. Beanie Wells and WRs. And on the OL. That contributes to the problem as well. Right now, he looks like a very mediocre college QB.
Back to 2008 draft, would the Dolphins picked again Long+Henne instead of Ryan?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
You can't do revisionist history. They did what they thought was best at the time. You could question it at the time. No one has more respect for Bill Parcells than I do, he has the magic touch - he sets foot into a building and you turn into a winner. He's forming and molding this football team. Jake Long was like a Jumbo Elliott. He had Jumbo with him with the Giants. It's a nice situation because a Michigan LT is protecting a Michigan QB. He had Chad Pennington there to mentor Chad Henne. Bill understands how to build a football team. All I said about that move was that Chad Henne has to be an oustanding QB. We already knew that Matt Ryan was. This Wildcat really helps Chad Henne. It takes some pressure off.
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
To have success in the NFL, you need good QB play. Kurt Warner, Aaron Rodgers, Joe Flacco, Peyton Manning, Ben Roethlisberger, Jay Cutler, Phillip Rivers, Brett Favre, Carson Palmer, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Eli Manning, Donovan McNabb, Matt Schaub, Matt Cassell. This has become a QB rich league. That's the best thing the NFL could have. This is Roger Goodell's best case scenario. The teams with questionable QB situations are few: JaMarcus Russell, Shaun Hill, Cleveland, Tampa Bay, Tennessee, Washington.
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
Not many teams are in dire straights at QB. Chad Henne was the 57th player taken. Miami took Phillip Merling with the first pick in the second round. I thought he'd go with one of the first picks in the second round. He didn't go until the end of the second round. Bill Parcells gambled that he would be there at 57, that was a big gamble to take. He went DE at No. 32 and 25 spots later to go get Henne.
With Bradford's shoulder issue, would Locker be the 1st QB drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
I think Jake Locker needs another year in college. That's my opinion. He's not where he needs to be yet. He needs to continue to improve and develop. Another year with Steve Sarkisian, I think he would be near the top. They're coming off of a very very tough loss to Arizona State. They lost on a Hail Mary pass. That game was tied up and ready to go to OT. Tough loss. They pulled one out the week before and they lost the Notre Dame game they could have won. Washington has been involved in three straight fantastic finishes, two of which they lost. Right now, they're 3-4 and have homecoming against Oregon. They have 4 of the next 5 being difficult.
Max Trenkle (Reading, PA)
Will the 49ers improve with Michael Crabtree as a starter
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
I think he can contribute. To have him out there with his physical prowess, they think he understands the offense enough. San Francisco is battling. They think they're an improved football team. They're sitting at 3-2 and their next two games will determine a lot. The schedule the rest of the way, at Houston, at Indy, Chicago, at Green Bay, at Seattle, Arizona, at Philadelphia. The only games you could say are easier are Tennessee, Jacksonville, Detroit and at St. Louis. These next two at Houston and at Indy, at worst, they want to split. Indy looks very tough, so this week at Houston is a pivotal game. As it is for Houston. This is one of the fun games of the season.
John (Boston, MA)
whos in your top 3 for heisman right now? Tebow fumbled, McCoy was lackluster, Ingram needs a year, and Clausen lost a game that was in the palm of his hands.
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
Ingram has to be No. 2. Forget about next year, this is his year. He's been a major, major factor in Alabama's success. He's only a sophomore, but he's been productive. I think Tebow is No. 1 and Ingram No. 2, if I had to vote right now. Finding a third guy, good luck. I don't see a third player you put in there. You could throw ideas out there, but I don't see anybody that jumps out at me. I think there are two guys and that's it. I don't think Colt McCoy has been impressive enough to be in the top 3. Injuries have impacted some players. Jacory Harris would have been in there, but they've lost and he hasn't played well in some games.
Ryan (Medford, OR)
Is Matt Stafford everything you thought he would be? I mean when he's healthy. I personally thing he's been better than Sanchez.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
He was better than Sanchez. He was the better QB. I thought Mark was a little overhyped early and put him in a position to go nowhere but down. You can't put him up that high that early. You knew it was going to be a hard fall, especially in an offense without great WRs. He's had three very rough games in a row. The thing that concerned me was that he made a comment about the weather. HE said he had never played in weather like that before. Well, you're going to have to get used to it. You're going to play 8 games a year there, plus playing at Buffalo and at New England. That was the great thing about Phil Simms, he was able to cut through the wind. If you think about it, Matthew Stafford was a better fit for the Meadowlands and Sanchez would have been a better fit in the dome. But the bottom line is that Detroit thinks they got a home run with Matthew Stafford.
who is the best MLB coming out this year? The Raiders sure could use a snotbubble, aggressive tackler in the middle.
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
I'd say right now Brandon Spikes. The key for him will be his 40 time. He got hurt early in the game against Arkansas. That injury effected Florida's defense. He would be No. 1. Daryl Washington too, but he's not a true MLB. Micah Johnson, Spikes, Pat Angerer, Joe Pawelek as seniors. Quan Sturdivant as a junior.
Could Ryan Mallet shoot up draft boards if he decided to leave early? He has a cannon for an arm. Where would you rate him amongst draft eligible QB's?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
He's a third-year sophomore, but he needs another year at Arkansas. The same reason I think Jake Locker needs another year under at outstanding coach. Mallet had to sit out last year. Another year with Bobby Petrino. He's a master at developing QBs. They have an outstanding junior RB in Broderick Green; three sophomore WRs coming back. I would say go back for the 2010 season and be right up there with the best players in the country.
Do you think Julio is just in a slump? or is this a classic case of over-hyping a player too early and it getting to his head?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
He's a good player. You look at somebody opposite him to help coverage. He's always against the top CB on the other team. You have a QB that's a good game manager. But they're riding Mark Ingram right now and they have a good senior TE in Colin Peek. That's why Mark Ingram is a top 2 Heisman candidate, because he's been a major element of that offense.
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
Jones is only a sophomore, so we're not worrying about him for the NFL draft or anything.
Cody McCoy (Altoona, Iowa)
What is your take on Tony Moeaki?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
I wrote him up on Personnel Points this week. He's had a lot of injury issues in his career. He's 6-3, 250. He had a great game against Michigan. Great body control Nice ability after the catch. He needs to finish the season healthy. At 6-3, 250, he will run in the 4.77-4.80 range. Good natural pass receiver. Good blocker. I think he could be a fourth round type guy.
Where do you project Suh in the draft and is he, or any other defensive player, worth Heisman consideration?
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
I think he is. I think he is deserving to be the third guy in the Heisman this year. In the absence of a third offensive player, why not? The unfortunate thing about it is that Nebraska is not a good team. Voters seem to hold that against guys. They're 4-2 coming off a disappointing game. Our own Beano Cook has a vote and he said Suh has no chance. I'd put him third. He deserves to be third. He could be the No. 1 pick, he could be No. 3. If St. Louis has the first pick, they're 0-6, they need a QB. You look at that football team, they have a lot of holes and a lot of needs. The interesting thing for St. Louis will be is there a QB worth taking No. 1? Right now that's very debatable.
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
We'll be back next Wednesday to do it over all again. We have the new Big Board up today and there's a change at the top. We'll also have the key matchups for this weekend. I think we'll have 15 games listed.