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 (1:01 PM)
We've got Mel!
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
We have one more weekend of college football. 14 games, including several conference championship games. Lots of coaching carousel. Lots of topics for today.
andrew (jamestown ny)
where do u think dez bryant will end up and do you think he could b a dolphin?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
I would say early to mid first round. He'll be the first WR taken, obviously. There's not even anyone touching him as the top WR, even with missing the games. The only WR that would have been close is if Michael Crabtree went back into the draft. But there's nobody within striking distance. You would have thought Benn from Illinois would have challenged Bryant, but he's had his own problems and the QB issues at Illinois. Bryant is No. 11 on the Big Board. Eight of the top 10 are juniors. 12 of the top 15 are juniors.
someguy (out back)
How does Carlos Dunlap's DUI effect his draft status?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
Yes it does. Any time you have an off the field issue now and you're maybe planning on coming out early are red flags. This is the time you need to put your best foot forward. Anything coming out now makes you think what will happen when you're about to sign that big contract. Morgan, Jason Pierre-Paul, Everson Griffen are other guys that have a high grade. You could go from being the top DE to the fourth highest DE. There are a lot of quality juniors in this draft. His productivity early in the year also didn't match his talent. I thought he could be an early first round pick, but that will negatively effect his draft position.
Mel you were High on the Bengals draft class looking at the class on the field are they living up to what you thought you would see?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
Andre Smith had a set back early. Maualuga has shown potential. Huber's been their punter all year. Trent has been an extra DB. Scott has done a good job running the ball. I gave them a B grade and I think it remains a solid grade. If they continue to get production from these guys next year, it will end up more than a B draft.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
How would you compare Alphonso Smith, who the Broncos spent a first round pick to get, to the corners coming out this year?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
The CBs this year are not great. It's not a phenomenal year for CBs. The top guy is Joe Haden, a junior from Florida. You had Malcom Jenkins and Vontae Davis as the two high profile picks last year. Smith was the fifth CB taken. Smith was not considered any better than a second round pick. Smith was a playmaker, great ball skills, return man. But his size was a big deterrent. I don't like giving up future first round picks, but after Joe Haden this year, there are no other highly regarded CBs. Patrick Robinson is the top senior CB. The best football player is Javier Arenas. But the problem is he's barely 5-9 and he has very very questionable recovery speed. He's an outstanding punt returner. I like him a lot. If you can get him in the fourth round area, he'll be a nice pick for you.
Devon (Mobile, AL)
Do u think the loss of Carlos Dunlap will adversly affect florida's D in the SEC Champ game! With that being said wats your prediction?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
I liked Alabama with Dunlap. I said two weeks ago, I liked Alabama. Florida defensively is an outstanding defensive team, with good depth. Dunlap had been coming on the last part of the season. You needed two guys to block that guy. Any time you take a player away from your DL that's a fear factor player and can go one-on-one with him, that effects your defense. That's a big loss for Florida. The last four or five weeks, he's been putting up numbers in a hurry. It's a big loss, no question. It gives Alabama a good chance to move the football.
How much did Tony Pike help his stock with a 399 yard 6 TD return?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
He did it against Illinois. That's where you have to keep in mind who you're playing. He's had excellent games out there. He has good height. He can see the field. He has excellent accuracy. He has a good arm. The kid has talent throwing the football. I know there are some people in the NFL who aren't as high on him as I am, but I think he has a chance to be a starting QB in the NFL. Where does he go? I think in the 3-4 round area.
Mel of the guys that made the choice to go back to school did any of them improve their stock ?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
Tim Tebow is in a similar situation. He hasn't hurt or improved his stock. I think somebody will take him in the second round as a QB. I'd probably take him as a fourth rounder as an H-Back. Sparks from Buffalo went back and got injured. He would have probably been better off going out early. Jermaine Gresham would have been better off going out next year. I think he would have been in the first round mix. He still could be, but I think more of a late first, early second round guy. Greg Hardy his stock has dropped. He's a pass rusher. Gerald McCoy, he would have gone top 5 last year and I think he could be top 3 this year. So he's helped himself. He's No. 2 on my Big Board. Sam Bradford would have been much better off coming out last year, because I think he would have been in the mix to go No. 1 overall.
Patrick (Albany, NY)
If you were the AD at Notre Dame, who would your hire?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
I'm a big Brian Kelly supporter. I've always been a big fan. When you coach at all levels like he has: the small conference level to where he's at in Cincinnati. He had to restructure the entire defense. He's great with the media. He'll recruit well. Jim Harbaugh would be a great choice. Pat Fitzgerald at Northwestern. I've heard a bunch of names, but those are the three that have been in there the whole time.
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
Kelly and Harbaugh for me personally would be 1 and 1A. Then Fitzgerald after them.
Mel, what do you think of the Bobby Bowden situation?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
I grew up with Bobby Bowden and Joe Paterno and Bear Bryant, all those coaches. Barry Switzer at Oklahoma. Darryl Royal at Texas. Woody Hayes and Bo Schembechler. Lou Holtz. I just remember listening to the FSU games in the 70s and 80s. I can remember Pitt-FSU on the radio in the rain with Dan Marino. Bobby Bowden is such a nice man. He cares about people. He cares about the young men, more than just on the football field. We did College GameDay years ago on the radio and he came by on a golf cart and joined the set, on game day. I watch his coach's show and he's entertaining. The last time I checked Jimbo Fisher is on that staff. The reason Bobby Bowden wanted to stay for next year is that he knew the potential for this team. He knew this team was going to be good. Be highly ranked and leave on terms where he knew the team would be on solid footing. But it's still on solid ground. He was forced out and I don't like it. If he wanted another year, I think he should have had it. I'm going to miss tremendously Bowden on the sidelines. Just like broadcasters. I wanted to hear Keith Jackson until he was 100. I don't want to see anyone who's great at anything leave. The same thing happened to Joe Paterno a few years ago. No one says anything about him now. He survived it a few years back and now he's fine.
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
That's why I love ESPN Classic. I love to watch the old broadcasts, so I can hear Keith Jackson. You want to see the great ones do their job as long as they can.
Rhett (Oakmont, Missouri)
If you were Bob Stoops wouldn't you get tired of the feirce Big XII competition with Texas, TT, Nebraska and take the ND job if offered? Its the more prestigous job obviously and probably would pay better.
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
I'm a Notre Dame fan, so it's hard for me to speak objectively about that. I don't hide that. I'm a Polish Catholic here in Baltimore. I'm a huge Notre Dame fan. I've loved them my entire life. I've tried to always be objective in my evaluations about Notre Dame players. I haven't praised every Notre Dame player that's come along. I've been accused of not rating their players higher enough. This is a little different and if you're asking me if I would ever take the job, yeah, I would. But I'm not Meyer or Stoops. People say, it's not the same as it was 70-80 years ago. That's history. Well, I love history. But Oklahoma gets top players every year. Florida get elite players every year. My point about Meyer was you're never going to get another Tim Tebow. Or even a Percy Harvin. I just don't know if Meyer will have another as successful year as the Tim Tebow era. Harvin and Tebow were spectacular players. For me, if I'm Meyer, I'm going to Notre Dame. It's a destination job. If you were ever 9-3, 10-2 at Notre Dame, you're revered. At Florida, you're criticized.
Ben (Lincoln, NE)
You left Ndomukong Suh off of your 'improved their stock by coming back for another year' list. He was projected as a possible late first rounder last season, was he not?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
That's a good call. I didn't want to mention 50 million players. He was highly regarded. I have him No. 1 right now. I've had him there since early October. I've always had him way up there. The first one to alert me to how good he is was John Blake, the former DL coach at Oklahoma, who's now at UNC. I think he's the best DL coach. But Suh is way up there way higher than he was. But I never heard any speculation last year that he was coming out.
nick (st. louis missouri)
Hey mel, im a huge irish fan, do you think jimmy clausen will come back next year? and if not where in the draft will he go? maybe the rams?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
I think he was coming out either way, with or without Weis. He's played three years at Notre Dame. He made tremendous strides. He has the one thing that Jon Gruden and Ron Jaworski all say you need as a QB and that's to be accurate. Right now, he's the no. 1 QB on my Big Board. And he's the fourth highest rated player overall. St. Louis is going to pick a QB. Why not Jimmy Clausen?
Who is the geatest Nole of the Bowden Era? Ward? Warwick? Primetime? Or someone else?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
I'd say the best player he had was Deion Sanders. He was spectacular. I remember the Clemson game where he said he was going to take this punt return for a TD and he did. Charlie Ward was special. I was coming back from doing College GameDay and the SID at FSU introduced me to Charlie at the airport and said this is our starting QB for next year. He was playing basketball then at FSU. He had an incredible run. The Charlie Ward year, that's the year that Lou Holtz said they should have been the national champion. They beat FSU that year. He was an incredible collegiate QB. I thought he could have had a chance to be a starting NFL QB. Warrick Dunn. Walter Jones. Derrick Brooks. Marvin Jones. Ron Simmons. There were so many. William Floyd.
mel, what is your impression of josh freeman after four starts, and can the bucs improve with 4 picks in the first three rounds
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
I thought he would be better sitting and watching this year. But their play forced the Bucs' hands on him. He got some time to watch early. He has some mobility for a big man. Throws on the run. Big arm. If he's coached properly, he could be very very good in this league.
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
Vince Young emerging again this year. This is what's great for the NFL. This is a QB rich league right now. Young's re-emergence. Matt Leinart played well. Josh Freeman showing his potential. Stafford. Mark Sanchez. That bodes well for the NFL. You need good QB play. Not every QB comes in and is great. Sometimes it's Year 3 or 4 or 5. Not every QB will progress at the same rate. What we have to do is stop evaluating young QBs as if they're veterans. No kidding they're going to make mistakes. We have to stop scrutinizing QBs like they should be 6-7 year veterans. They're not going to be perfect as second year QBs.
Weis- NFL OC next year?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
Definitely. If he wants it, he's got it. There are teams that want him to run their offenses. Brady Quinn has already said he'd like him in Cleveland. Tom Brady probably would like him back in New England. Jimmy Clausen is coming to the NFL, he'd probably like having him around. He'll have numerous options. He just has to sit back and pick the right spot.
Greg (Salt Lake City)
Mel, BYU has turned out some great tight ends and Dennis Pitta looks like he is as good or better than all of them. Is he a first day pick?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
He's going to be in that early round range. He has the size as a target. Excellent hands. He knows how to find the soft spot in the defense. Andrew George will also have a chance to play in the NFL.
Andy (Pleasanton, Ca)
Mel, where do you think Colt McCoy projects in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
Colt is my fourth highest rated QB. Clausen, Bradford, Locker and then McCoy. I compare him to Jake Plummer. And I do that positively. Plummer had some great years for Mike Shanahan in Denver. McCoy throws well on the move. He can keep drives alive with his legs and he has great intangibles. I think he'll be a second round pick, as was Plummer.
Golden Tate = Big Board?
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
No. He's not in the top 25. Right now, he's the 5th highest rated junior WR. He's close to being the 4th highest. That's a good group of juniors. If he comes out, I think he's a second round pick. His return skills and ability after the catch will all help him.
Andrew (San Antonio)
Do you think an OSU vs OSU match-up in the Rose Bowl would be one of the top five most confusing games to call?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
I hadn't even thought about that. I don't really worry about the bowls and the matchups, because teams all approach bowls different. For some it's a vacation. They're preparing for a consolation prize game. It's not of major consequence. The bowls are like if we were to announce at the end of the NFL regular season that the Saints and Colts are playing in the Super Bowl. But then we'll have all these games leading up to the Super Bowl involving the Vikings, Eagles, Patriots, Bengals and they'll be involved and they'll be fun matchups, but we know when these games are played that the Super Bowl is already Saints and Colts. Who would care? What NFL fans would really care about the games being played with the Vikings and Patriots and Cowboys? That's what college football asks us to swallow. So, how am I going to sit back and be happy with college football doing that?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
I'll watch the games from a scouting standpoint, but I won't say that I love the postseason. I hate the postseason system. Anybody that likes the college system and likes the games, fine. People say that the games mean something to the fans, fine. Let's say the Vikings play the Chargers, the No. 2 teams in each conference play, but it has no meaning. They're not moving on to something.
What round would Demarco Murray be projected if he came out this year?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
He's a versatile, multitalented back. He's explosive. He makes a lot of long distance plays. I'd just like to see more consistency. He's a talented kid. I think another year at Oklahoma would help him. If he comes out early, I would say in the 2-4 round area.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
We're all set now. We have 17 games left in the season, including the Army-Navy game on the 12th. And the I-AA playoffs this weekend. If you want to see a true playoff system, watch that. There are some very intriguing prospects in those games. We'll be back next week to chat some more.