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 (1:02 PM)
Exciting day today, because the first, first round projection will be up later today. Spent a lot of time this past week looking into team needs. The new Big Board goes up tomorrow. We'll have all of the underclassmen and seniors, as well as the junior list updated with all of the juniors not coming out.
D. Schwab (Raleigh, NC)
When it's all said and done, who do the REDSKINS select with the 4th overall pick in the 2010 NFL draft?!
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
The Redskins have needs at a lot of different positions. They could look at QB, OT. Those two would be the priorities. They also need an OG, RB. A lot of needs. With the fourth pick, will it be a time to pull the trigger on a QB? We have to wait and see the medical on the QBs. Do you go with one of the QBs or OT like Okung or Davis?
Which are the positions that have alot of talent in this years draft and which are the ones you have too jump on quick?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
Offensive tackle is an area that's thin. Not a lot of quality offensive tackles in this draft. I have 5 in the first round, but some are being pushed up a little bit because they're OTs. A good third round pick might be Tony Washington from Abilene Christian. Ducasse is another kid from UMass. Kyle Calloway from Iowa is another. The most interesting guy is Washington. Great athlete. And Bernard Scott came from Abilene Christian as well as Johnny Knox. Abilene supplied the Bears and the Bengals with two of the better rookies last year.
Jeff (Atlanta, GA)
Hey Mel! Regime changes usually mean new QB's, especially when the current team's QB isn't very good. I'm a Buffalo Bills fan, and with Chan Gailey, an offensive guru, now the head coach, do you see the Bills going QB in the first round? Maybe a Sam Bradford?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
I think they could. That's certainly a possibility. It has to be in the thought process, but so does OT and the offensive line. Jason Peters isn't there any more. If you're going to have a QB be upright, you need a quality OT. And WR is another area they need to address. There will be a LT there, whether it's Davis or someone else. Dez Bryant would be an interesting person too.
Mel, The Brown's need a number one receiver. If they don't go after Boldin (they should) is Dez Bryant the answer?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
He's an outstanding prospect. The fact that he didn't play the second half of the season...he will be interesting to a lot of teams. Cleveland, Buffalo, Denver will be interesting for him. But the Browns went with some young WRs last year, both in the second round. Does that proclude them from going young WR again? Especially with a team in Cleveland that has needs in WR, OLB, S, RB, CB, TE. They have a lot of areas to address and decide what to do at QB.
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
They're almost in a position that they can just take the best available player. That's the route they should go.
Mel - If both McCoy and Suh are gone, who do the Bucs select with #3? I'm hearing Berry but I'm not convinced. Thanks.
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
They're a tough team to project. They could go in two different directions - safety in Eric Berry or DL in Derrick Morgan. Their two top areas are DE and WR, but that's too high for WR. But a versatile DB like Berry would be good there. Tampa Bay could get a Monte Kiffin pupil in Eric Berry. Kiffin was the DC under Jon Gruden.
You look at the QBs that Shanahan has liked - Elway, Cutler and Plummer, and all of them can get out of the pocket and have big enough arms to throw across their body. Do Claussen or Bradford have those skills?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
I think they do. But you don't need a big arm. Plummer didn't have a big arm. Brian Griese had a good start to his career and didn't have a big arm. But Shanahan has had the big arm guys and not. You could look at Bradford and his pinpoint accuracy. If you want to wait until the second round, you could look for a Colt McCoy, whom I've compared to Plummer the last few months.
Did Case Keenum make a mistake by not entering this years NFL draft? Will his stock rise enough to throw away that much money?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
No, he made a great decision by going back. He's going to be a guy that's very interesting in the draft next year. He did not finish strong. He threw all of those interceptions in the bowl game against Air Force. He'll be the third or fourth highest rated QB going into next year. Locker, Mallett and then Christian Ponder would be right there with Keenum. The one thing about Keenum that impresses me, he does not have the big arm, is that he has good mechanics and is super accurate. He plays in a very QB friendly offense in Houston.
Out of the final four teams in the playoffs, which team's drafts have you liked the most, and which team's the least?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
Good question. Just going back to this past year, New Orleans did not have a lot of picks. Jenkins was their top guy. Minnesota, I thought did a nice job in getting Harvin and Loadholt. Brinkley tried to fill the hole left by EJ Henderson. And Sanford has made contributions in the secondary as a seventh round pick. So, you give the edge to Minnesota over New Orleans.
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
In the AFC, the Jets didn't have a lot of picks either, but they struck gold with their first two picks in Mark Sanchez and Shonn Greene. Rex Ryan did a great job. He and his brother Rob have always done a great job of evaluating talent. If they weren't in the positions they are, they would be personnel directors. They've always been huge fans of the draft and both are assisted by their passion for scouting players. I gave them one of the highest grades in the draft, and they only had three picks. For Indy, Collie, Donald Brown, Curtis Painter, McAfee. They got a good grade on draft day. Minnesota, the Jets and Colts all were impacted heavily by what happened on draft day.
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
Overall, Bill Polian, you have to give the nod to with the job he's done with the Colts. I've always respected the work Rex Ryan has done and Rick Spielman in Minnesota has done a great job. New Orleans has done very well in assembling their team as well.
with the buccaneers having two second round picks i'd like to know who you think they should take? thanks mel keep up the good work
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
If they go with Eric Berry in the first round, then in the second round, you'd have to be looking at maybe a WR, perhaps Gilyard from Cincinnati. Then maybe a guy like Corey Wootton, Brandon LaFell, Hardy, McCluster.
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
If they went with DE Derrick Morgan in the first round, then they could still look at WR in the second and also maybe look at safety, maybe a Morgan Burnett out of Georgia Tech.
Mike (San Francisco)
With no pick in the first two rounds, and badly in need of help at DE, who might Da Bears draft in the 3rd-4th round that can contribute as a rookie?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
What the Bears really need is a RT. Chris Williams will be the LT. DE is a need area as well as another WR. Eric Decker, Mike Williams could be some WRs. At DE, Jermaine Cunningham, Hall Davis, Christian Anthony. Those could be some guys for them in the third round.
What do you see as Atlanta's biggest need? And who might they be looking at?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
CB, DE, OLB. But CB is the biggest, followed by DE. Everson Griffin from USC at DE. At CB, Patrick Robinson, if they were to trade down and get him late in the first round. Sergio Kindle, OLB/DE out of Texas.
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
MK: What position (and who) do you see the Cards targeting in the draft? With Dansby all-but-gone for a max contract, their linebacking core is aging and a glaring weakness in my opinion.
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
It is, but LT is the biggest need. They could also use a DT, ILB and OLB, they could use some help. They're not picking until 26. They could look at OT Bruce Campbell. They could look at Dan Williams, DT, Tennesse.
john (great northwest)
what does the Seahawks do with two first round picks. Does Carroll go after Mays ?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
No, I think they pick too early for Taylor Mays. They pick at 6 and 14 and that's too high for him, right now. The combine workout and all-star games will be crucial for him. He didn't play like a top 15 player. He's more like a late first rounder. LT, DE, QB, RB are their top needs.
Rufus (Allentown, FL)
Who looks to be the biggest bust this year? I'd predict Javon Snead.
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
He made the biggest mistake by coming out. He won't be a bust, because he won't go that high. By coming out when he did, he won't go until the fourth round. There are no fourth round busts. Where he goes, you're drafting him to be a developmental QB. It's really too early to talk about bust potential, because until workouts and combine, I don't want to put a name out there. Until you finalize grades, I don't want to put a name out there.
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
Busts are usually determined by what team they go to. Do they go to a team that doesn't fit his skills? And he might go to a team as a rookie and then a coaching change with new defensive and offensive systems. That impacts whether a player is a bust or a boom. A lot of times an organization determines whether a player develops.
Joe (Akron, OH)
With the Colts never really needing much, do you see them going for another DT with their first? I know they're not one to reach up in the draft for DTs but I can't see much else they need... and even with a poor run game, a RB would be surprising...
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
They really don't need anything, that's a good point. Drafting late in the first round, they really have no need. Bruce Campbell at OT. The DT spot, they drafted one early on last year. They got a lot of guys and players in the mix at DT. Not a true stud in the mix, but they have a lot of guys. You could see them going after a guy like Terrence Cody, if they want a big run stuffer. Or a guy who I thought was very solid in Jared Odrick. Also, DE, there isn't really any quality depth behind Mathis and Freeny.
what do the ravens do at #25? Hopefully WR like Tate or Benn?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
They don't have to force a WR. That's a key need area. TE is another area. Todd Heap is not where he's been. He's getting up there. They could certainly go that route. Tate and Benn both figure in the late round mix. If they wanted to go TE, Aaron Hernandez or Jermaine Gresham. WR or TE is the direction I think they go. Last year, they had a solid draft overall, but they did not draft a WR at all and drafted a TE in the fifth round. They're forced right now to draft a WR. They need pass catching options.
Darryl (Oakland, CA)
Mel,Don't you think that Taylor Mays is being extremely underrated? His defense completely changed and he got a lot of blame for their mishaps. In my opinion some team is going to be very lucky to get him. How can you possibly have Earl Thomas ahead of Taylor Mays!
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
I think there is going to be an argument. If you support him and are optimistic and positive about him, sure, you can say that he played a deep centerfield. He's going to have over a 40 inch vertical jump. He's 6-3, 240. But he didn't have the impact in games that he should have. Right now, he's my 21st highest player on my Big Board. He was in my top 10 before the season began. He could be a guy the 49ers look at. He could be a guy that Houston looks at. He could be a guy Green Bay looks at. That Philadelphia looks at.
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
Ultimately, I think he goest between 16 and 24.
How much do you think the addition of DC Fewell and his new scheme will change the Giants plan for the draft. What is the best case scenerio for them in the first round?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
A lot of scenarios for the Giants. A lot of the moves they made last year didn't pan out. It turned out the DL was a major weak link. The line was supposed to be one of the best turned out to be one of the worst. Same for the OL. The Giants were a disaster in the trenches this year. They were considered a Super Bowl contender when the season started. They brought in all of those names to secure the defensive front, but it was anything but. It was a weak link. Brandon Jacobs was a disappointment at RB. Kenny Phillips injury opened up a huge, huge voide at safety. Their No. 1 need areas are DL, MLB, RT, DB, RB.
What round do you think Gerhart will end up? If he is a 3rd to 5th round pick is a going to be a steal for someone?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
Yeah, I think he goest in the third round. Some teams that could be looking at him: Giants, Philadelphia, Redskins, Lions, Seattle, Houston, Cleveland. All of those teams could look at him then.
Ken (Redondo Bch)
If the Rams draft Suh what is their biggest need and what should we look for in rounds 2 and 3.
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
WR, QB definitely would be the next areas. Tebow could be an interesting case. Benn would be another one.
TIM W (PITTSBURGH)
What do you think of the Tennessee Titans major draft needs?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
OLB, DE, CB, WR. Those are your top four needs. Where they're picking, you could be looking at a Sergio Kindle, Carlos Dunlap, Everson Griffen, Navarro Bowman. Those would be some guys to think about.
Church (Youngstown, FL)
NC State's RB Toney Baker declared himself for the draft last week. What round do you think he'll go? If he can stave off injuries will he make it in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
He had the injury, so the durability is the question for him. He's 5-9. Very compact runner. Low center of gravity. Strong. When he was healthy, he was a good strong back in the ACC. I think he'll probably be a guy that's a late round pick.
Joe Haden seems like a clone of Darrelle Revis. Given Revis' impact (i.e. taking away an entire side of the field), would a team be wise to pick Haden in the top 5?
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
I think certainly in the top 5-7 overall. On the Big Board, he's my sixth highest player. Outstanding corner. What will help him too is not just the comparisons to Revis, but the drop off at CB. The next is Patrick Robinson and I don't have him going until the late first, early second. Donovan Warren is a second round guy. You have a lot of 2's and 3's at CB, but only one certain top guy in Haden. You won't see another CB come off until late in the first round. He's the only true, elite CB in the draft. I think he's certain to go in the top 7.
Chris (Columbia, SC)
Where do you see C.J. Spiller going in the draft? Will he have a significant career in the NFL? Will he be better than Reggie Bush?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
I think he'll have an excellent career. He's not that big, 5-10, 202. But what you need with him is that other back. That's what the teams do right now. If he goes to a team like the Giants at 15, he'd be a part of a RB committee and would be a nice fit for the Giants. He's also a nice return man. He's going to be one of a stable of RBs. Cleveland would be a nice fit, but he's probably too early for No. 7. If he got down to Houston at 20, that would be something to think about there.
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
Teams that could trade up to get him are Houston at 20, New England at 22. San Diego needs a RB, but they could use a big back.
Mel-- how does 2011 look for OTs? Should the Skins look QB (bradford clausen) this year with one year left with campbell and find a OT in round 1 next year?
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
You can find OTs, but just not in the first round. For a quick preview of 2011, here are some guys to look at. Jake Locker will be one of the top guys in 2011 at QB. Ryan Mallett. Daniel Thomas, Noelle Devine are the top RBs. Three outstanding FBs Owen Marecic, Stanley Havili, Charles Clay. The top WR Toliver out of LSU, Armon Binns, Lot of TEs next year. Top OTs Anthony Castonzo out of BC and Clint Boling out of Georgia and then Marcus Cannon; James Carpenter out of Alabama. Centers: Kristofer O'Dowd out of USC; Stefen Wizsnewski. DE will be strong next year led by Adrian Clayborn; Greg Romeus out of Pitt. DT Marvin Austin. ILB Quan Sturdivant. OLB Bruce Carter. CB Ras'I Dowling, Curtis Brown, Prince Amukamara. S DeAndre McDaniel. Two PKs Kai Forbath at UCLA and Alex Henery at Nebraska. And two excellent punters Ryan Donahue and Derek Epperson.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
The only third-year sophomore in that group is Ryan Mallett, the other guys will be seniors.
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
You can find my initial first round projection later today and the new Big Board will be up tomorrow. My two picks are Minnesota and Indianapolis to play in the Super Bowl.