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 (1:02 PM)
Tracking down Mel now! Keep your questions coming!
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
Ray A. (San Francisco, CA)
Mel, as a 49ers fan I am sick and tired of Alex Smith. Right now doesn't it make sense for the 49ers to use their 1st round pick next year on either Andrew Luck or Ryan Mallett?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
Luck, if he comes out, is No. 1 on my board. If you are the first pick, you have to think about him. Mallet dropped from 6 to 13 in my book last week. Where he goes in the first round is still to be determined. He has to play much better. He has big games with A&M and Auburn coming up.
Josh (Washington DC)
Who do you like in the Pitt-Bal game?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
It's almost a bonus for the Steelers to be 3-0. We thought 2-2 would be fine. A chance to be 4-0 is amazing having gone four deep at QB. Their defense is the story of the year. The Ravens come in 2-1 and both teams could be 3-1 after this game so it is going to be incredibly physical. Very competitive. And don't forget what a great rivalry this is. It supercedes Celeveland and Pittsburgh because you have to be competitive to be a rivalry. On paper, most people would take Pitt at home. The Ravens are still trying to find their way a little and shore up that defense. On the offensive side, they have been inconsistent. I will give a slight edge to the Ravens in this one though.
GURU KIPER !!!!!! (MEEEE FIRST! )
Hey Mel, love your stuff. I am sold on Hillis, this guy has done everything he needs to do to earn his way into Clevelands starting role. 180+ total yards against the stingy run D of Balt? What do you make of this guy? All he has done is produce when given the chance, 6'2 250lbs and he runs LOW, not like Jacobs, this guy could be a darn good every start running back? Thoughts? Thanks!
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
I really liked him coming out of Arkansas. I had him rated as a mid-third round pick and he went in the seventh. He was a real bargain when he came out several years ago. Outstanding at Arkansas. Houston Nutt would rave about him everytime we had him on the radio. He is a great receiver, runs hard ... reminds you of Mike Alstott. He is quicker than you think and a really purpose driven runner. He's just a good football player. He can run, catch and block. He is a jack of all trades. As a runner and receiver he has a lot of Alstott in him. Outstanding pickup for the Browns.
Cooper (Shawnee Mission, KS)
Mel, Buy or Sell the Chiefs 3-0 start?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
I'm selling right now. The jury is still out on them. They have Indy and Houston on the road coming up so they will likely be 3-2. I'd re-buy after that! How's that? Their schedule after Houston ... 9 of their final 11 are winnable games. They won't be overmatched. If they can win 7 of those 9, then they have a shot to be 10-6. This team just has a lot of confidence right now. Winning games you weren't "supposed" to win just gives you that added confidence.
Does Vick succeeding again open more of a path for Pryor once he comes out?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
Pryor is not Vick right now. He is not playing to the level Vick did at Va. Tech. He's just not quite that dynamic. Vick was an extraordinary runner. It was almost like a bolt of lightning went by you. He's there and he's gone. He was in a different category speed-wise and he is getting some of that back now. His arm strength was also phenomenal. Pryor's skill level just isn't as high. But he is still a very good QB. I look at him more like a Vince Young-type also he's not quite to that level either. He is a tough evaluation. He will have plenty of guys who will love him and plenty who think he's never going to be an effective starter.
Mike (winston salem, NC)
Hey Mel any chance, Saban coaches the panthers next year
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
If I'm Nick Saban I'm staying at Alabama. He had a taste with the Dolphins and had a taste before that. Just think about it ... what if Brees had gone to Miami? If that had happened, like Nick wanted, maybe he never would have been at 'Bama!
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
Nick is in a great situation right now ... king of the castle. The office with a door that opens with a button!
Mel, can Denard Robinson become a solid and successful starting QB in the NFL, aka Mike Vick and Vince Young, or is he to much of a Troy Smith?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
He's only 5'11'. Although the heights we have may not be that accurate. 185 lbs I think? Is that an NFL QB? You make the call. He's going to have to change positions probably. Randel El did it.
Kevin (Omaha, NE)
Hi Mel, where would you rank Philip Rivers amongst NFL QBs? Top 10? 5? 3?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
Peyton Manning, Tom Brady, Drew Brees, Aaron Rodgers, Ben Roethlisberger ... Rivers would be right around 4 or 5 ... Ben has won 2 Super Bowls and you can't deny that. I'm a big Rivers fan and always have been. I like everything about him. He just has to get this team to a Super Bowl and they have not been able to do that yet. The way you seperate great QBs is by how many Super Bowls they win. Matt Schaub is not a great QB until he can get to the playoffs and do something there. Matt Ryan and Matt Schaub will be judged by that.
Oscar (Los Angeles)
How badly has Locker hurt his draft stock so far this year? Has he firmly fallen behind Luck & Mallet as the 3rd QB taken in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
Locker can redeem himself. He dropped from 1-4 in my book. He doesn't have a great team around him. They haven't been to a bowl game since '02. He has to work on his accuracy and game management skills. He has games against USC, Arizona St., Oregon State, Arizona ... he'll be on the field with Luck Oct. 30 ... he has 8 games left against good football teams.
Darryl (Oakland, CA)
Mel, what do you think of the Pac 10 vs SEC matchup? It seems on the west coast we think that the Pac 10 would matchup very favorably whereas people on the east coast seem that the SEC would get the best of the 10 game matchup, where do you stand?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
I'd say Alabama is better than Oregon, Florida is better than Stanford, Auburn and Arizona give edge to Auburn. I think the top teams in the SEC are better than the top teams in the Pac 10. Arkansas vs. USC .. that's a wash. LSU vs. Cal .. edge to LSU. You give the edge to S. Carolina over Oregon St. The SEC over the Pac 10. Even with Georgie, Tennessee and some other teams down. Mississipi St. has improved. LSU is a good team. Florida is down but getting better. It's not by a lot, as I like the Pac 10's depth, but I would give the edge to the SEC.
How about your boy Jimmy Clausen? Uch!
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
I think Clausen is doing just fine. He had a shaky first half with a INT and fumble but it was in the rain. He had a 0 rating at the half. But he came out in the second half and that's when you can really judge a QB, after the opposition has made their adjustments. He was 15-26 after the 1-7 start, no INTs or fumbles in the second half ... for a rookie to rebound that way against some strong defensive strategists, was pretty impressive. He had a higher QB rating in that game than Carson Palmer that week. He was a F in the first half but a B+ in the second half. So average out a C or C-.
Mel, being a Saints fan should I be concerned considering Bush being out,a suspect defense, and last but not least a division loss to the falcons ?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
I've been saying for years that Bush has had to take a lot of shots that he isn't the RB people thought he would be. I said when he was drafted he is just an all-around dynamo. It's not all about stats. He moves one way and carries defenders with him. That opens opportunities for everyone else. He is the best decoy in the NFL. That's what people grossly underestimate about him. He has always been underrated and overcriticized. He has a Super Bowl ring and the team that passed on him does not. It was a great pick for the Saints and yes, they are not the same team without him on the field. But I think the Saints will be just fine. They had a chipshot FG to win the game. They make that and we aren't talking about this.
Mel, Should Florida have kept "Trey Burton" a secret until this Sat against Alabama? I think so. Now Bama coaches can plan on stopping this new Offensive Package Florida has.. What do you think?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
He is a very versatile player. You have to get him in the game to evolve the offense. They weren't seperating themselves from other teams and they needed something to flip that switch. This was a breakout game for them in Life after Tebow. You have to see what you have. There are more games on the schedule than just Alabama. They needed to find weapons and they obviously found one in Burton.
Nathan (Coralville, IA)
Can the Cardinals do ANYTHING to right the ship at quarterback? Do either of their rookies hold much promise? Can they win next year with a rookie they pick up in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
I think they feel they have the right guy in Max Hall. Whisenhunt has high feelings about him. An underrated athlete who had major success at BYU. As a juinor completed 69.2% and 67.2 as a senior. Very smart and competitive guy. They drafted a developomental QB John Skelton in the fifth round. They think those two guys can be the heir apparent.
Do you think the Vikings have a chance of wining the NFC North?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
No chance. Green Bay is my pick. I underrated them last year but didn't have high hopes this year. Favre surprised me last year but everything that could go wrong this year has gone wrong. Rice out, Harvin battling injury, no Chester Taylor ... that is really key. Taylor was so important to that team. And Favre is a year older with an ankle injury. Right now they are sitting at a 1-2 record with a much-needed bye. But the schedule after the bye ... at Jets, home Dallas, at GNB, at NE, home Arizona, at Chicago, home GNB ... 6 of the next 7 are against quality opponents.
What did you think of the Bears vs. Packers game? Bears are a good/contending team for the division, or Packers had too many mistakes?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
Biggest takeway from that game is the Packers are a better team. They should have won. So many pivitol interceptions, special teams plays, penalties. They gift-wrapped that game. Biggest early Xmas present I can remember. Even with all that, you lose by 3 points. Think about it ... you couldn't have gift-wrapped that game any better and still only lost by 3.
Who are the top wide receivers after AJ Green and Julio Jones? Anyone's stock rising? Jonathan Baldwin cannot get separation.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
Jon Baldwin from Pitt needs to play better than against Miami but he is one to watch. Ryan Broyles from Oklahoma. Michael Floyd from Notre Dame. From the senior class, Niles Paul from Nebraska needs more productivity. A very versatile guy .. Jerrel Jernigan from Troy. Leonard Hankerson from Miam is also a top WR. Very underrated is Blair White from Michigan State. Dane Sanzenbacher from Ohio State will be one of the most underrated guys in this years draft.
Johnny B (Earth)
Where does your crystal ball show Nick Fairley in January of 2012...? Mobile, Alabama OR NFL Roster...
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
Right now I have Fairley as my second highest rated junior DT Jared Crick from Nebraska. Overall I think he has played exceptionally well. He stood out in the Auburn-Mississippi St game. He has great quickness and explosiveness. He can beat the double team and had great closing speed. He has a chance to be a heck of a player. the best DL in the SEC this year.
Jim (Grand Junction, CO)
Is Niles Paul's stock dropping? He's had a very disappointing year so far. It's early but doesn't he need to show a lot soon?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
Wait and see. I want to see him be more productive against some of his forthcoming opponents. At KSU, Texas at home, at Oklahoma St. .. he has a chance to pick it up. Hellu has been impressive as well. Amukamara the CB has been oustanding. My fifth rated player on the Big Board.
AJ Green says he feels responsible for Georgia's bad start, so much that he feels he owes it to the fans to stay next year. Is this actually realistic?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
I made a comment in a previous chat I think that they could lose 2 of the 3 he would miss. I didn't think they would lose all 3. Not having him is huge. It's the same as Reggie Bush. He is a fear factor type player, the best player on the field. No other player in the SEC will be better than him if they face off on the field. You can't lose that. Especially not with a young QB. That's a recipe for disaster.
Christian Ponder's draft stock: holding steady; on the decline or in freefall?
Mel Kiper (2:01 PM)
He had a nice game last week. A very cerebral QB. He is a great decision maker and very accurate. Brilliant mind and underrated athlete. Very mobile. Arm strength is average. Who fits that profile? He was the only player from a FBS school that went into his senior year already with a MBA degree. To me he is Chad Pennington. Same type of QB. He has a lot of the tools just not a great arm. And Chad had a nice NFL career.Thanks for the questions! Some great matchups this weekend! Oklahoma and Texas ... Standfor and Oregon .. so many great games! How will Luck deal with Autzen Stadium? Will be fun to watch. So many games to evaluate this weekend! Look forward to talking again next week!