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 (1:04 PM)
We're ready to kick off the season tomorrow night. Lots to talk about in college and NFL.
Does Dez Bryant turn into the number two option for Dallas or is it possible that Roy Williams has a bounce back knowing Dez is lurking behind him?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
Dez is a talent. He has a chance to carve that niche and make himself a factor in that offense right away. Roy has not emerged as the big time player in Dallas. He's OK, but he hasn't been great. Dez missed most of last year and had that injury in camp. If he can get on the same page as Romo, he can be a big impact on that offense.
Bob (Twin Falls (ID))
Will Kellen Moore ever be an NFL QB? Any other NFL prospects on this years BSU team?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
Great college QB. He is great with preparation. Very rarely makes a bad decision. You're talking about a guy with 39 TDs and 3 INTs. That's unbelievable. What he worked on this offseason was the deep ball. Titus Young is a speed merchant at WR. They want to get the ball to him. Moore is only about 5-11, 185, 190 pounds. That's the issue, size. That's going to majorly work against him. Their best pro prospect is Nate Potter, a junior. He has a chance to be a first round pick. Young is their next prospect. Jeron Johnson. Pettit. Ryan Winterswyk.
Who is yor top CB in next years draft? Lions fan here, they really need a CB.
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
The best CB is Prince Amukamara from Nebraska. Then Ras'i Dowling out of Virginia. Those are the top two seniors. Patrick Peterson from LSU is the top junior. Amukamara is my 6th highest player, Peterson is my 9th and Dowling is my 14th on my Big Board. You have three elite CBs in this draft, maybe more. The junior group is very talented and very deep.
Jeremy (Columbus, OH)
How good is Ohio State's offensive line? I feel their entire success depends on if they can block for Pryor.
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
They have an outstanding center in Mike Brewster. That's good to have a big anchor. Right now I have him as the top center in the junior class. He has outstanding technique. Very tough. Great leader. Then you go to your OG Justin Boren. Tough, hard nosed, defensive mentality. The key guy is their LT. Mike Adams. He has to be a little more physical. Has to get after people. A lot hinges on whether Adams takes his game to another level.
How many first round picks will FSU have this coming draft?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
Their best prospect overall are two guys that stick out. Christian Ponder, QB, and Rodney Hudson, OG. Hudson could project to center in the NFL. Ponder is the only player that already has his MBA going into his senior year. He's an extremely accurate passer. He's an underrated athlete. He's rushed for over 600 yards in his career. Brilliant mind. He could be a late first round type of guy. Hudson, ges to the second level. Uses his hands very well. His size is the reason he could project to center in the NFL. Markus White, senior DE has all of the talent in the world. Hasn't been productive, but he could have a breakout year this year. A junior to watch is Andrew Datko, LT. 6-6, 307. Ponder and Hudson are possible first rounders and Datko could be possible if he comes out.
Steve (Blacksburg, VA)
For the first time in awhile, everyone is talking about VT's offense, not their defense. Who else besides Ryan Williams has a future in the NFL? The receivers have a lot of upside.
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
Williams is the 19th player on my Big Board. The next best prospect is Andre Smith, senior TE. They have a high regard for this kid. He could emerge this year for a real good player for them. Darren Evans, junior RB, coming off an injury last year. He's a guy to watch. Jarrett Boykin, junior WR, is a good looking player. Tyrod Taylor, senior QB. He's only about 6-feet tall but he has some ability and can make things happen. He needs to become more consistent throwing the football.
With Greshaim and Shipley, How would you rate the Bengals draft and where do you see them finishing the season?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
I gave them a B grade the same day of the draft. That was my gut reaction. I think that's about right. Gresham is talented if he stays healthy. Shipley is quick. Not fast, but quick. He can return some kicks. He's a football player. The solid B is about right. The offense can be helped by them. As far as the season, I think the Ravens are the clear cut favorite to win and the Bengals are vying for that second spot. The Bengals will be in the mix for a wild card.
thomas (los angeles)
will pete carroll regret taking golden tate instead of damian williams?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
I don't know about regret. It's too early to have regrets. It's still too early in this process to evaluate players. I've seen guys have good rookie years and then not do well. I had Williams ahead of Tate going into the draft last year. As far as the Seahawks are concerned, I've been impressed with Mike Williams. He's got his weight down. He has made some catches.
For a Team like the ducks, that run almost a pure spread, how much does that hurt them for NFL prospects?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
Most teams are doing the exact same thing now. Teams are throwing the football now. Oregon spreads the field and hit you with the run and the pass. They can beat you either way. The QB Darron Thomas brings a lot of Dennis Dixon type ability. He's a better passer than you think. He's only a sophomore. This team is a multidimensional offense. Kenjon Barner, sophomore, is an outstanding player. He's their slot guy. LaMichael James has speed to burn. And they can throw the ball. Maehl and Paulson help the passing game. And they led the Pac-10 in rushing the last four years, while returning their 5 starters on the OL. They run it, throw it. They're tough to handle. Last year, they scored 31 or more points in 10 of their 12 regular season games. They scored 40 or more in 7 games. This is a potent offense.
What are your top 5 running backs coming out for the 2011 draft?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
No. 1, Mark Ingram, Alabama; No. 2 Ryan Williams; No. 3 Jacquizz Rodgers; No. 4 Thomas; No. 5 Murray. Ingram, Williams is a third-year sophomore, Rodgers is a junior and Thomas and Murray are seniors.
Nathan (Coralville, IA)
Where do you think Iowa Hawkeye Adrian Clayborn gets drafted? Is he a top ten pick?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
I have him right now as the fifth best player in the draft. He had a sensational season last year. Quick. Very hard to block. Great leverage. Plays hard all the time. That's the best DL in college football. They have Christian Boward at DT. Karl Klug. Broderick Binns at the other DE. This kid is quick, explosive. That's the best DL in college football. It's going to have to be dominate, because they lost some in the back seven to the NFL and graduation.
Do you think Ravens will be 2-0 or 0-2 after their first two games against the Jets & Bengals?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
I wouldn't concede anything. Right now they're better than the Bengals and Jets, but they play them both on the road. They don't have their first home game until Week 3. They've had to deal with injuries. There's no reason to believe that at worst they're 1-1. I wouldn't concede anything.
Jim (Reno, NV)
Do you see Colin Kaepernick at the next level and if so, as a QB or a different position like a Brad Smith?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
You're talking about a kid 6-6, 233. Runs a 4.5 40. Tremendous athlete. Great arm. People think he's a running QB, but he's not. He can throw the football. He's not picture perfect throwing the ball, but he has a good arm. He was a high school baseball prospect. This is an NFL caliber QB. People underrated his ability to throw the football. He's a work in progress as a passer, no question, but he has a strong arm. You have to be able to see the field these days, with all of the defenses coming at you. He's a great kid too.
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
Cal has to play at Nevada on a Friday night. That's a dangerous game for the Bears. Nevada has a shot to win 10 games this year. It's not just offense too, they have one of the best defensive LB prospects in Dontay Moch. He has been a sack artist. He is a major talent.
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
Boise State late in the year has to go to Nevada late in the year, the Friday after Thanksgiving. That's one of the games of the year. That game could have major national ramifications. Last year, Boise only beat them 44-33. Two years ago, 41-34. The year before that, 69-67. They've gone toe to toe with Boise State.
Mel, what's your early opinion of Brantley? Pro-prospect? Could he be *gasp* better than Tebow?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
As a pro prospect, yeah he could be better than Tebow. He's only a junior. Very much the pure passer. Strong arm. Pro style QB. He has the poise you want. What they need at Florida is to have some weapons around him. They need a consistent playmaker to step up. Right now, the jury is still out who that will be. We'll see. They open up against Miami (OH). That's a good primer game for Brantley. Get your feel wet.
Sheldon (Atlanta, GA)
Will the Bucs' Mike Williams go down as the biggest steal of the 2010 Draft?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
We knew he had talent. He has ability. I made that comment before the draft. My final comment on Williams before the draft was: "Ton of talent. Tough matchup on CBs underneath. Needs to add strength. Dependability, needs to show he's focused at all times. He put up solid numbers despite subpar QB play." As a talent, if he stays focused, yeah, he could be a real find for them. But you knew going in that he was going to drop and he did. Right now, it's a little early. There are other players who look like they could be bargains. Riley Cooper in the 5th round. Greg Hardy in the 6th round. Those are two other steals.
Who will have the biggest impact for their team: Gerald McCoy or Ndamukong Suh?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
Who has more? That's hard to say. They were drafted back to back. I gave Suh a slight edge to McCoy. I expect both of them to have outstanding careers. They came into the draft 1 and 1A. They were equal in terms of potential in the NFL.
Nathan (Coralville, IA)
As far as draft steals go--no love for Corey Wooton?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
Remember he had the injury in the bowl game prior to his senior year. He didn't play as well, because of it, but he got out on the field. He was a great pick for the Bears in the fourth round. I liked Dan LeFevbre in the 6th round for them too. Other steals: Verner, CB to the Titans; Aaron Hernandez to the Pats in the fourth; Eric Norwood to the Panthers in the fourth; Nolan Carroll to the Dolphins in the fourth; Arthur Moats to the Bills in the sixth.
who wins the battle of utah's o-line vs pitts d-line
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
That's a good question. The strength of the Utah offense is the line. This is strength against strength. The guy to watch for Utah is Zane Taylor, senior C, and Caleb Schlauderass, senior OG. They also like John Cullen, junior LT. For Pitt, they're led by Greg Romias. That's what I want to see, do the new entities at DT for Pitt do well against Utah's interior OL? Pitt has the edge at DE. I like Pitt's DEs over Utah's OT. And I like Utah's interior over Pitt's.
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
The best matchup in this game is Brandon Burton, junior CB, against Jon Baldwin, junior WR, my 13th highest rated player on my Big Board.
todd (Little Rock)
What pick and team do you see Ryam Mallett going to? Also, do you project that Greg Chils will be drafted earlier, if he leaves
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
We'll have to see if he comes out early. What kind of year does he have and does it lead to him coming out early? Any time you're as big as he is, he has imposing size. Joe Flacco has proven how important height is in the NFL. Mallett is a huge guy. He moves well for a big QB. He's started to improve his touch. He's shortened up his stride. He really had issues on the road. At home, he had a lot more success. Against some of the top teams he's struggled. Georgia and Alabama in back to back games will go a long way to determining the kind of grade he has. It's also the second year in Bobby Petrino's offense. He has an outstanding LT to protect his blind side, DeMarcus Love.
The world is down on the Bears OL, but for some reason no one is bringing up the fact they've never made an attempt to improve the last decade. How can people be surprised when a team has used 3 picks before the 6th round on OL the past 8 years?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
Also, Chris Williams has not emerged like they had hoped. He was a former first round pick and he hasn't developed. And, let's face it. You can't blame some of the issues with Jay Cutler on the OL. Some of those decisions weren't great. But I understand the OL isn't great and the WRs aren't either. Mike Martz was brought in to put some bandaids on the offense.
What do you think Matt Barkley's potential is? Number 1 pick?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
He has a chance to be a top notch prospect. He's young, still a sophomore. He's slimmed down this year. He's in better physical condition. He's about 220 now. He was 232 last year. That will help him in terms of mobility and overall condition. He's got this year and next year before he's draft eligible.
mel what top 25 team is the most overrated in your mind?pitt??
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
I think Alabama at No. 1. I think you always put the champ at No. 1 to start the next season, but I do think they're going to lose a couple of games. New kicker, new holder, new long snapper, new returner, new punter. They lose all of their entities in the kicking game. Also, Boise. I think they deserve to be ranked that high, but you put them in a BCS conference where they are playing 4, 5 top teams each season, it's a different ball game. The schedules in college football aren't equal, that's why we need a playoff. You can throw Texas in there as well. They lost a lot from last year's team. And I don't know how North Carolina doesn't come into the season with a lot of distractions
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
Penn State has some QB issues. Someone has to come through after Clark.
does jeremiah masoli have a future in the nfl?
Mel Kiper (2:01 PM)
It's an unfortunate situation this year. It should be about an opportunity for kids in college athletics. Too often we deny them that opportunity. Give them a structured environment, that's what football gives them. Keeps you disciplined. It allows you to set goals and have some personal accomplishment. Sports should be opportunity. To deny that bothers me. There are always excpetions to rules. I am into second chances. No one's perfect. Everyone will have a mistake that they make. If you give them a chance, it's something I wish the NCAA would look to more closely. I would provide them that opportunity.
Mel Kiper (2:03 PM)
As far as pro prospect, I don't think so. His size works against him. He's not the prototypical size. He's about 5-11. He had a chance to be a heckuva QB at Oregon. Ole Miss, he had a chance to really do a good job there. What Masoli can do, he can make something happen. He can make throws across his body. They were going to use a 2-QB system this year.
Mel Kiper (2:04 PM)
Also, can't decisions be made quicker? Can't they be made before you're about to start the season? It's unfortunate. Couldn't someone have told the kid no sooner? Don't wait until days before the kickoff. There are kids at other programs still waiting. Make deicisions in a more timely manner.
Mel Kiper (2:05 PM)
It's great to talk about on the field football stuff, instead of the off the field stuff like conference re-alignment. We have some great games to open the week. Thankfully, let the games begin. When the games begin, a lot of the other stuff gets pushed to the back burner. I'm tired of talking about the other things. I just want to analyze games.