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!
Mel Kiper (1:01 PM)
We're looking forward to the Super Bowl. We can talk about that and wrapping up the Senior Bowl. What went on, who helped themselves, who didn't.
Nole Kid (orlando, fl)
Mel, Myron Rolle looked shredded for the Senior Bowl. Played pretty good too. Do you think he showed much rust being away from football?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
He looked better physically. He looked like he wasin pretty good football shape. Being away from the game for a full year. I don't think he showed at Florida State the overall game to be a high pick. He's a great kid. Rhodes Scholar. For being away for as long as he did, physically, he looked the part. He wasn't geared toward football totally, because he has a lot going on outside of the game, but he gives you a lot of intangibles. I think there will be some mixed opinion about him. There will be some skeptics and others that are higher on him than others. I don't see there being a consensus on him.
Mike (Madison, WI)
Now that Iupati's had (reportedly) a good showing at the Senior Bowl, how high do you see him going?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
I think he goes somewhere between 20-27. He and Kyle Wilson helped themselves more than anybody. But Iupati still struggles in pass protection. He was a defensive player in high school. He can also play tackle, but he's a developmental project at tackle. Maybe Pittsburgh at 18 could be the earliest time for him. Green Bay at 23, Minnesota at 30. That's the range. He will still be a guy that needs some help with pass protection.
bryan (norfolk va)
what does tyrod taylor need to do to elavate his draft stock during the upcoming season.
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
First of all, he's only about 6-0, 215. He doesn't have the ideal height. His accuracy needs help. Ryan Williams had a great freshman year. Their top back got hurt in Evans. They have outstanding RBs and oustanding situation at WR. This is a team that will have weapons that will help the QB. He's not right now one of my top 10 junior QBs. He's my 14, 15 highest QB.
You projected the Bengals taking a TE - does that mean they wasted a pick on Chase Coffman last year??
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
No, not a waste. You have multiple TEs to get it done. Hernandez is a better player than Coffman. He's a first round pick and Coffman wasn't. At TE, if you have multiple threats, it helps your passing game. Hernandez can be Pro Bowl caliber, though Coffman is a good TE. Team needs to help out Carson Palmer, you try to get the best receiving option on the board and I don't see a WR that's attractive at the position they'll be picking.
Any ball-hawking good cover safetys after Thomas, available in the middle rounds?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
Myron Lewis, CB at Vanderbilt. He's a CB but has a chance to end up at safety. He's 6-2, 205. He has real good ball skills. Good cover skills. Made a lot of plays in coverage. The question with him is recovery speed. As a safety, it could be just what the doctor ordered. Adequate tackler. A guy with his size, if you move him inside to safety, you might have something there.
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
Here's another kid that could be intersting is Akwasi Owusu'ansah. He played at CB and moved him to safety. He's 6-1, 200. He can be a safety in the NFL. He averaged 12.5 yards per punt return and almost 30 per kickoff return. He could be a good cover safety and your primary return man.
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
Kendrick Lewis at Mississippi, 5-10, 192. Very good ball skills. Can play FS or SS. In the 3-4 round area, he could be interesting. Robert Johnson, 6-2, 195, has real good range, good ball skills. Could be a 4-5 round type guy. Those are some cover guys that will be interesting.
Mel, If had to pick one QB who would you say helped themselves the most @ the senior Bowl
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
My favorite from the Senior Bowl was Dan LeFevour. He has good size, 6-3, 228. Decent arm strength. Decent mobility. He studies the game. There is not a QB in the country that studies and prepares for each contest as much as he does. He reminds me, a little bit, of Chad Pennington. He's not as highly regarded as Pennington. He's not as accurate, but he finesse's the throw. He doesn't power throws. Very smart, just like Pennington. Decent accuracy. No worse than the third round.
you have bradford going 4th to the skins. dont u think they should trade down get some more picks and fix up other needs. plus bradford is a risk coming off an injury.
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
I think they have a big need at QB. They have to assess Jason Campbell and figure out if they're going to move forward with him. Or will they make an adjustment and go in a different direction. Shanahan has to assess the other QBs. What's the grade differential between Bradford and Clausen and McCoy and LeFerou? They could use a Russell Okung. If you trade down, you lose Bradford. I think you could trade down and pick Clausen in the middle of the first.
Didn't hear much about Kurt Coleman at the Senior Bowl, how did he do there?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
He's a good football player. He's solid. He'll be interesting to some people. I like him. Physically, he's not going to wow you over. He's only 5-10, 190, but a good football player. You look at him as maybe a guy in the 3-5 round area.
Marty Gillyard had a great game at the senior bowl. What round do you think he will go in the draft, and what does he need to do to improve his draft stock?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
He had the struggles early on in the Senor Bowl process, but he had a good game. His versatility will help him. He can be your return man. It's focus and concentration for him. If he does, I think he can be a No. 2 or No. 3 option in the NFL. I don't think he'll be a No. 1, but his return skills will be a plus.
What team do you think will win this year's Superbowl? Will it be a shootout, and will it be a blowout?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
I don't see a blowout. I think people respect the Saints' offense. This team can score with multiple options. Reggie Bush and his return skills. You have great depth at WR. They can run the ball when they want to. The one thing that will be a factor in this game will be his health. His injury will be huge in the pass rush for the Colts. The ability for the Saints to score points is the reason for them to stick in this game. I picked the Saints earlier this week and I'm sticking to it. I think it will be a 3-4 point difference either way. The thing I worry about is the Saints defense, they need to play a lot better than they did against Minnesota. It could be the type of game where whoever has the ball last wins.
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
The Colts pulled out a lot of games in the end. They haven't had a lot of blowouts. They had some close ones that helped them almost finish undefeated.
Do the Bears draft an olineman before round 6 this year or will it be another heavy draft of redshirt years?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
They don't pick until the third round. It will be a case of doing a good job like last year getting good players later in the draft. RT is their No. 1 need area. FS, DE, WR are other areas.
Ken (Redondo Bch)
What about STY Major Wright, what round do you see him going
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
The workouts are critical for him. You're talking about a guy that was a fixture at safety for the Gators for three years. He wasn't the huge factor this year, but he has the physical tools. I think he will be a second round pick. With another year at Florida, he could have been a first round pick.
Jake (Muncie, IN)
Mel, who do you think is this year's most overhyped prospect at this point?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
I thought Tebow all along. At the Senior Bowl, it seemed like he was the only player in the draft and he's not even a first round pick. We've talked about him a lot. But other overhyped guys are Terrence Cody. He's at 370 and his weight will fluctuate. He's a huge mountain of a man but in a day and age where you need pass rushers, his weight will be an issue. Spikes from Florida. Speed is an issue for him. Taylor Mays from USC.
Any chance the Dolphins pick Dez Bryant if he falls that far?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
WR is a key need area for Miami. ILB, NT, FS all are needs. I have them taking Rolando McClain, ILB from Alabama. Bryant, I have him going 12 to Denver. If he's there, they would have to give him strong consideration. McClain might not be there either. One of them will be there.
Marc (City of Brotherly Love)
What was your original ranking of Kevin Kolb coming out of college?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
I had a decent grade on Kevin Kolb. I wasn't quite as high on him as the Eagles, I had him as a third round pick and he went early second. He came out of a great pass offense in Houston. It was the same offense he ran in high school. He threw in a very QB friendly offense in Houston. Lots of running after the catch. With his size and ability to throw the football all over the field, he went in the range. He's still considered the heir apparent to McNabb.
Hector (Aurora, IL)
With Mike Martz in town do you think its possible that Greg Olsen could be traded for draft picks? If so what kind of value does he have. (I hope he stays around)
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
This is a little contradictory situation with Martz. Cutler has an eye for the TE. His primary target in Denver was the TE and has been with Olsen in Chicago. Some of his picks in Chicago were because he never looked off the TE. They need some help in the OL. Cutler has to change his whole mode of operation. Every year they make him more excuses. At some point he has to take responsibility for the throws. You have to learn when to throw the ball away. You can't throw INTs in the red zone. How many times do you blame someone else for his rookie level mistakes. Now with a new coordinator, people are saying he's going to be a great QB. He's always been a media darling. He's always gotten a mulligan, free passes.
MJ (Palm Beach, FL)
Do you still see no chance of the Rams passing on Suh in this draft and acquiring more picks from trading down?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
There's always that possibility. There are a lot of great players on this draft board. Suh is great but so is Gerald McCoy. So is Eric Berry. St. Louis has a lot of need areas: QB, WR, OLB, DE. Suh, Bradford. But I don't see who's moving up to No. 1 and who they're looking to get. There are a lot of very good players. If you stay at No. 1, you go with Suh and look for QB in the second. If you stay there, you could go with McCoy. If Clausen drops, you could try to get back into the first.
Who are the Vikings looking at on the defensive side of the ball?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
Their biggest needs are CB, OLB, DT. Kyle Wilson, Patrick Robinson are two CBs they could look at. Navarro Bowman at OLB. But particularly corner is where they could be looking.
Kyle (San Diego)
How does Jason Pierre-Paul project as a 3-4 OLB in the NFL? Would he be worth the #16/17 pick for the Niners?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
He's a DE. He's a pass rushing DE. He had the one year at the major college level. He has the great wingspan. Great take off. Natural instincts at DE. Jacksonville needs another guy in there. Tennessee at 17, Atlanta at 19 are some teams interested in him. I could see him going 11-19.
Abel (orlando, fl)
Mel, if Collie has a good Superbowl do you think Gonzales lost his job?..since he has been out so long.
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
It's going to be a big help getting him back. Gonzales is coming back and Collie had the big year. That will just increase their weapons. There's always room for another player. To get where they are without Gonzales and develop Collie the way they have, that just goes to show you how good they are in Indy's front office. They have a lot of weapons for Manning.
Jeff (NY, NY)
I look at the Jets as a team that could really use a pass rusher and another wide out. What kind of combinations do you see being available at the end of the first 2 rounds?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
They need a WR and a CB. With Rex Ryan's style of defense, he's going to expose his CBs and that's not going to change. They got Revis, but they're going to always put their CBs on an island. Golden Tate or Benn would be someone to look at in addition to the need at CB. In addition to a pass rushing DE.
what are the biggest needs for Dallas and who will they be targeting late in rds 1,2?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
LT is their biggest need with Adams getting older. When he got hurt in their playoff game they had to move things around and struggled. They are one of the few teams in the league where you can say one of their big needs is placekicker. It's not a year to draft a kicker. If you look at the top three kickers, they are Aaron Pettrey from Ohio State, Hunter Lawrence, Texas and Brett Swenson, Michigan State. From the junior class for next year there is Kai Forbath and Alex Henery, Nebraska. So, do they address that position late? The guy I have them taking right now is Bruce Campbell.
Ken (Redondo Bch)
What team do you see has the best chance to improve themselves in this years draft.
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
New England has a lot of second round picks. They have a great opportunity to fortify their talent base. OLB, ILB, WR, RB are their needs. They're in a position to help themselves. Seattle picks twice in the first round, 6 and 14. They have needs at LT, DE, QB, RB.
Josh (Lincoln, NE)
What do you think of Larry Asante? Had a nice hit in the Senior Bowl to force a fumble.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
He's an interesting guy. I think he needs a little bit more game experience. He has good upside potential. When you look at him, physically he looks the part. He'll hit you. He has good size. When you look at him right now, he needs a little more experience. He has a good chance. I think there will be some mixed opinions on him. It wouldn't surprise me if he goes in the 2-4 range.
How did Denario Alexander (MU) do in the senior bowl and where do you project him going?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
He's a kid is interesting because of his size and productivity. He's 6-5. He was their go-to receiver and made up for the loss of Jeremy Maclin. But he's had two surgeries on his knee. He emerged this year. Stayed healthy. The durability issue could push him down a little bit. The past injuries are a concern with him.
Hi Mel-Where do you think Kyle Calloway from Iowa goes? I think he'd be great on the Bears
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
He's not yet a finished product. He's steadily improved. I think he benefitted from the coaching he got in Iowa. Kirk Ferentz's kids come in ready. Bryan Bulaga is another one. I say he could go 3-5 round area.
Chris (St. Paul, MN)
Give me your top 5 GM's/organizational scout teams in the NFL (Ability to assess draft talent and execute)?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
The guys that I personally have great respect for is Bill Polian and the Indianapolis Colts. Not just this year, but over the years. AJ Smith has done a very good job in San Diego. Nobody can ever question their talent. Rod Graves at Arizona has always done a great job. John Dorsey with the Packers. Outstanding. Kevin Colbert at Pittsburgh. He does a real good job. I've always had great respect for Jerry Angelo in Chicago. Wherever he's been he's done a good job. Greg Gabrielle, the director of college scouting with the Bears. Ozzie Newsome and Erik DeCosta is one of the best tandems in Baltimore. And I like Billy DeVaney.
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
And, of course, Scott Pioli in Kansas City.
Since today's national signing day, which upcoming college freshman will be a no. 1 overall pick?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
I've seen a lot of these guys. You look at some of them and there is a lot of talent out there. Ronald Powell is going to Florida. Matt Elam. Owamagbe Odighizuwa. Jackson Jeffcoat. Sharrif Floyd, 6-4 DT out of Philadelphia. I've heard a lot of great things about him.
Ryan (San Diego)
What do you make of Blount? Where might he go? Possibly to SD?
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
He's a big back and that's what San Diego needs. I think he'll go in the third round area. He's re-established himself since the disasterous start to the season against Boise State. He was reinstated and he has his weight down a little bit. He's 6-1, 240. It looked like he had his weight down for the Senior Bowl. He surprises a lot of defenders with how quick he is. People thought he might drop down after that incident, but now I wouldn't be surprised if he's a 3-4 round pick. Some teams looking for a big back: Cleveland, Houston, San Diego, Philadelphia, Washington, Detroit, Seattle, all of them are possibilities for a RB like Blount.
Mel Kiper (2:01 PM)
We covered a lot of bases today. Enjoy the Super Bowl! Todd McShay and I will be working on some stuff in the coming weeks, who's the biggest risk, the biggest upside. We'll be on ESPN in the coming weeks. I'll be pulling for the Saints this weekend. I'll have a new first round projection coming out in another week or so. Lots to talk about next week.