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!
Mel Kiper (1:01 PM)
I wish everybody a Merry Christmas. Safe travels. We'll be back before the New Year. Lots to talk about today.
Jon (San Diego)
What did you think of the play in that terrible Las Vegas Bowl last night?
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
I think the weather conditions played a part. Oregon State's mistakes really hurt them. BYU dealt with the conditions better. Max Hall dealt with the conditions well. He's going to be invited to an NFL camp somewhere. BYU had a good season. They had a couple of losses along the way. Nice year for Bronco Mendenhall. Oregon State had won five straight bowl games going in.
what's your take on the afc playoff picture?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
Baltimore has the inside track. They got a lot of breaks last week. Miami, the Jets, Denver, Jacksonville all lost. The only thing that didn't happen was Pittsburgh beat Green Bay. They have a tough game this week against Pittsburgh and they finish with Oakland. Oakland has been a giant killer. They beat Pittsburgh, Philly, Denver, Cincinnati. This is a team that's 5-9 and had four monumental victories. Denver, they're at Philly and home to KC. The Houston-Miami game is a playout game this week. Miami had a game last week where they had a dramatic comeback, but then Henne threw that INT in OT. All of those teams have a shot. In the NFL, you can't look at the schedule any more. Early in the year, everyone was playing to form. The good teams were defined, the bad teams were defined. All of a sudden, the NFL became the NFL again when the parity came back. All of those bad teams stepped up and are winning some games. You can't assume just by looking at the schedule that you'll get some wins. There isn't a lot of questions answered until the final games are played this season.
Scott (Fayetteville, AR)
Ryan Mallett submitted his NFL Evaluation Papers this week...What are they going to tell him? If he comes out, where does he get drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
The advisory board is a great thing to have, but it tends to be ultra conservative with their ratings. Ultimately, they would like to see these kids go back and they don't want to see a kid go lower than where they said he would go because they would throw it back in their face. People jump on me, Todd and other analysts, but the advisory board has been wrong at times too. It's not perfect. It's a nice tool to have for the players, but it's not perfect. Jake Locker went back, perhaps because they didn't tell him he was going to be a first round pick. He would have been a top 10 pick. Mallett needs another year, just like Locker, for his football development. But both are too good to overlook in the first round. Mallett, with his size and arm, he would be in the discussion about being in the top 10. I think he would have been in the early to mid first round. He has all of those sophomore WRs. His main RB returns. He has a lot of talent around him coming back. We'll have to wait and see on his decision. With Locker going back, if Mallett goes back, they'll be competing for the No. 1 overall pick in the draft next year.
Dennis Pitta, from BYU, what round will he get drafted in as a Tight-End
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
Outstanding pass catching TE. When you look at his hands and his productivity, I think he could be in the third round area.
Wayne Turner (Houston, TX)
Mel, There's been a lot of buzz about Dez Bryant, Gilyard from Cincy, and now Golden Tate coming out, but where does that leave LSU's Brandon Lafell where do you see him coming out in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
He has outstanding physical ability and he has a lot of potential, but he just didn't have a QB. The QB situation hasn't been ideal. Bryant is clearly the No. 1 WR. After that, it's very much up in the air for the No. 2 WR. There's no clear cut second receiver. I think Regus Benn, who has already decided to come out, will be my second highest rated WR. My No. 3 will probably be between Gilyard, LaFell, Tate. So, he'll be my third, fourth or fifth rated WR and therefore a second round possibility.
Ryan (Salt Lake City)
Best WR in College Football that NOBODY knows about is David Reed for the Utes. Watch the Poinsettia Bowl tonight to see him match up with future NFL Corner Syd'Quan Thompson.
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
Reed is a very good college player. Remember the last Utah receiver who was a little guy and a big play receiver was Steve Smith. Reed was very solid player. I don't think people realize how good a player he was. You're right. Big time option for Utah. He's probably a 5-6 round guy.
There has been a lot of talk about joe haden beign the best CB coming out this year.. but what other CB prospects are there that could come in year one and help a team out in their secondary?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
There are a lot of them that can help, but there's only one that's a first round CB. The only other one is Patrick Robinson, FSU. Donovan Warren. Trevard Lindley from Kentucky would have had a chance for the first round, but he had the injury. Javier Arenas played like a first rounder but his lack of ideal height and recovery speed will push him back. Verner from UCLA. Kyle Wilson from Boise State will be some guys that are in the 2-3 round mix.
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
Devin McCourty from Rutgers. Jamar Wall from Texas Tech. Devin Ross from Arizona. Perrish Cox, Oklahoma State.
Hi Mel. I know the Browns need so much, but what player do you see them drafting in the first round.
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
What they need to have happen, before the draft is they need to figure out what will happen with Brady Quinn. They just signed Mike Holmgren. Quinn was not drafted by this management. He's the first decision they need to make. They need Robiskie to come on as a second year pro. In the front seven on defense, they need some second year guys on defense to come through. James Davis, he was hurt early on. The big thing about this football team is at QB. Do they go with Brady Quinn or go in a different direction?
How do you rate this year's overall class? It seems like there are numerous very good prospects. Is this a highly rated NFL class?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
This could be a very good draft class. If the amount of juniors come out that we're anticipating, this could be a very good draft class. 15 of the top 20 could be underclassmen. If the juniors come out that we're anticipating, then this could be a very good draft.
Daniel (Long Beach, NY)
Hello Mel! How would you rate B.J. Raji coming out last year to the elite DT's coming out this year? What things do Suh and McCoy have that Raji dont? Thanks!
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
Raji had the look of a NT who could also be versatile enough that he could be DT. You look at Suh and McCoy, they're one gap penetrators. Suh had unheard of productivity at Oklahoma. Both of those guys are elite. They're one-gap penetrator types. These are guys that are explosive and get into that backfield.
How is it looking for offensive tackles? Anybody look to be available in the late first round that could start as a left tackle in his rookie year for the Packers?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
That's the weakest position in the draft. There just isn't a lot of quality. Okung is a first round possibility. Davis is a mid-first rounder. Late first round are guys like Trent Williams. But you really don't have a lot. After that are 2-3 round types. Williams was a RT before he moved to LT. But not a lot after that.
Jon (Washington DC)
Do you see Daryll Clark playing in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
He's a No. 3, maybe down the road, a backup type. I don't see him vying for a starting job. I thought he maybe could be a late round possibility going in, but now a 7th round guy, undrafted free agents. People forget that Chase Daniel, Graham Harrell went undrafted. John Parker Wilson, Hunter Cantwell, Brian Hoyer all went drafted.
Do you think that Taylor Mays could slide to the Giants? They clearly need help at Safety...
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
I have him at No. 13. He didn't have enough big plays that you need to see a safety make. He was playing a deep center field for them this year. He took some bad angles in persuit. But he has freakish skills from a physical stand point. He wasn't playing in the box. Very hard worker. Loves the game of football. Very hard worker. He's the kind of guy that maybe not instinctively has great talent, but I think he could go in the top 15 of the first round. He didn't have a phenomenal finish to his career, but he's so talented.
Mel, what do you see as the Steelers needs in the upcoming draft? I'd love to see Haden in the Black & Gold.
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
They had some guys in the draft last year that they need to come on as second year pros. Mike Wallace was their best rookie by far. But they need some of the other guys to come on a little bit. This year, when Polamalu wasn't in the lineup, they struggled. Offensively, Parker will probably be moving on. The OL is an area that certainly could be addressed. If they could get some help defensively and the OL. They have to identify the reason that when Polamalu was out that they struggled.
Any good safeties and/or guards for the Bears to target in the 3rd round?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
The best guard is Jon Asamoah out of Illinois. Mike Iupati is No. 2 out of Idaho. Then Mike Johnson. Chris Scott from Tennessee has played guard and tackle. If you're looking for guys in the middle round, Vladimir Ducasse out of UMass, a very good I-AA is a OT that could be a OG in the NFL. Casey Bender from South Dakota State. Mitch Petrus from Arkansas. Brandon Carter.
Jimbo (Fort Myers Florida)
Best center in this years draft?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
There is no top center. Last year was the group with Alex Mac, Unger, Wood. That was a stellar group of centers. The best senior is JD Walton, Matt Tennant, Eric Olsen, Reggie Stephens. Ted Larsen. All of those guys are mid to late rounders, 5-6-7. The best centers overall are juniors Kristofer O'Dowd, Pounci, Stefen Wisniewski have a better grade than any of the seniors.
Who could the Cowboys pickup in late 1st-2nd round to start developing behind Flozell Adams?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
If an Anthony Davis from Rutgers were there, that would be a nice pick at that point. Light on his feet. Good athletic ability. Played well from the midseason on. At the end of the first round, that would be a great pick. And Trent Williams would be a good pick, but I think he ends up as more of a RT than LT.
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
A couple of guys that I think have a chance to be good and are interesting prospects are Charles Brown, Kyle Calloway. Not first rounders, but good prospects. A sleeper type prospect would be Tony Washington from Abilene Christian.
Can Buffalo's struggles at finding a long term answer at QB be related to them consistently drafting QBs who have played for warm weather schools?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
Not really. Jim Kelly played at Miami and he went to the Hall of Fame. He almost won them multiple Super Bowls. Should have won at least one. Trent Edwards showed flashes at times. Losman was there, but now he's in Oakland after playing in the USFL. Bernie Kosar came out of Miami and had an excellent career in Cleveland. I made a comment when the Bears drafted Cade McNown that he didn't have the arm strength to play in the wind and cold. There are times when it's valid. But Trent Edwards has a great arm. If a QB has a very average arm, then you have to worry about it.
To piggy back that last question, can Bradford, McCoy, or Claussen sling in the winds and cold of Buffalo?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
People keep making this comment that Clausen doesn't have a good arm, he does. They keep saying he doesn't have an Elway arm, but who does? Elway and Burt Jones have the best arms I've seen. Clausen doesn't have the Elway arm, but his arm is very strong. He can make any throw you need him to make. When he had to stick it in there to a smaller receiver in Golden Tate, he did just that. Tate told me a couple of weeks ago that he can't remember a throw that wasn't precisely thrown and hit him in stride. Clausen played through adversity, the turf toe. He's the best QB in the draft. Sam Bradford is right there. Does he get a good bill of health at the combine? If he does, he's right there. The shoulder's the key thing for him.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
After that, Colt McCoy has the biggest game in any of the bowl games. He struggled against Oklahoma's defense in October and he struggled against Nebraska. This is a great Alabama defense with Nick Saban. If he does well, he's a second round pick, maybe first. If he doesn't, he's a third rounder. Tony Pike from Cincinnati, it will be interesting to see how he plays against that Florida defense.
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
You don't always want to look at one specific game that a QB has. On the heels of Oklahoma and Nebraska, this will be the third game against a top flight defense in Alabama for McCoy. If it were one game, it wouldn't matter. This will be the third game that he'll face and in the previous two, he struggled. It's important because if he wants to go into the process with momentum, he needs to play well here.
Memphis Rob (Memphis, TN)
I saw you dropped Terrence Cody off your Big Board. Where do you see him going?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
He's in that late first round mix. He's a stay at home type, run stuffing DT. He's the kind of guy that can occupy the center and guard, free up your LBs. He's basically a space eater. In this day and age, with teams throwing so much in the NFL, you wonder how much teams value that. He's the 29th player on my Big Board.
Paul (Airville, PA)
How will Favre respond to the tongue-lashing he apparently got? Will that be a negative or a positive for him?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
Brad Childress is the head football coach. He's the boss. If you're told by your boss, this is what you're doing, you have to listen to him. If he thought that the best thing for him is to get him out of that game leading 7-6 with Julius Peppers hitting him and possibly end Favre's season. Then they'd have to try and get to the Super Bowl without him. If the head coach feels it's in the best interests of the football team to sit on the sidelines, then you do it. Childress is Brett Favre's boss. I didn't like the whole way that thing unfolded. You might fight it, but you sit down. This team has some big issues now. EJ Henderson was the nuts and bolts of that team. Offensively, their line got manhandled by Carolina. Bill Parcells always said this years ago, you can't play your best football from Sept. through Jan. You have to peak at the right time. The target date to play your best football was around Thanksgiving. If you can do that and ride it into the playoffs, that's best case scenario. Favre struggled down the stretch with the Jets last year. Now this. It's a long year. You take a lot of hits. I think Childress sensed that.
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
It's amazing that this year is almost year. Merry Christmas! Safe travels. We'll be back for our pre-New Year's Eve chat next Wednesday. Have a great Christmas and we'll talk next week.