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 (1:02 PM)
I'm going to try to be a lot quicker and concise with my answers so we can get to more questions. I'm going to try and change my mode of operations a little bit.
Are you impressed with Ndamukong Suh so far?
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
Very much so. He's done everything I thought he would do. It was the Suh-McCoy debate. I had Suh ahead all year and I was very consistent with that. Suh has over 20 tackles, McCoy has 8. Suh has 4.5 sacks, McCoy has 0. He's been much more productive in the early going. Significantly more.
Ryan H (San Diego)
How do you see the Bengals season playing out? Do they get back on track? If not what do they go after in the draft? Time for quarterback?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
I think the Bengals are in a lot of trouble. I don't see a lot of team chemistry. They had the big win against Baltimore early and weren't able to build on that. They got a gift against Carolina. If Stewart doesn't fumble, Carolina might win. I'm looking at their schedule and they're 2-3 right now, they could be as bad as 5-11 and no better than 8-8.
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
They have a brutal schedule the rest of the way and Palmer needs to get better.
Mike rochester n.Y. [via mobile]
Hey mel i wanted to know if the draft next year will have a good crop of defensive backs and who do u think would be the highest rated db in the draft come april
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
If a significant number of the top junior CBs come out, to go with the seniors, the DB group could be excellent. It's the same thing at safety. There are a couple of elite junior safeties that could make that a better group as well.
How would you rate Colt McCoy's first start against the Steelers?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
I was more than satisfied. I thought it could be horrific. Remember, he lost Cribbs and Masaquoi to injuries in the game. The Steelers were coming off of a bye, after a loss and they had Roethlisberger back. I think they should be more than satisfied with the way he played. He's a good football player. He's a gamer. Smart kid.
Caleb (Los Angeles)
Mel, with Stanzi having a stellar senior season what round do you see him going in? I actually think he would be a perfect fit for what Mike Singletary is trying to do with the 49ers.
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
He's been my fifth highest rated QB the last several weeks. And he did nothing against Michigan to say that he isn't a draftable QB. He could go 5-6 round.
Chad (Las Vegas)
Will NFL scouts be watching Cam Newton vs Patrick Peterson closely this weekend?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
They will, yes. That's a great point. It's Newton against that LSU defense. They're strong at every line of the defense. That will be a big game from a scouting standpoint. But I can't see him coming out early. I think he has to go back as a fifth year senior in 2011. If he continues to play well, he's the Heisman Trophy winner. He's not Secretariat, but he's close.
Give it to me straight, Mel: Are the Badgers for real or were they just hyped for a big home game?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
I don't know about for real, it's just college football. Maybe OSU was overrated and overhyped. I think a red flag for OSU was a couple of weeks ago when they struggled against Illinois. And their coverage unit on special teams has been terrible. Pryor's passing has been suspect. They don't have an elite running back. Wisconsin hadn't played great football until that game. They raised the bar at the right time and OSU couldn't match them. You can't give up 7 points like that.
Armen Dacity (Winter Park, FL)
Had Denario Alexander not been hurt in the Senior Bowl, where would have have gone in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
Another guy I highlighted on the Personnel Points last year on ESPN.com. This kid, very easily, if not for the injury issue could have gone high, based on talent. I wrote about him: "imposing target, good hands. Difficult to bring down in open field." I gave him a 4-5 round grade, even with the injury question. He's a talented kid.
Scott (South Dakota)
Arkansas WR Greg Childs. Where's he on your receiver list? What do you think of him?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
He was highlighted on Personnel Points on Monday on ESPN.com. Right now, he is the sixth highest junior WR and he is coming off of an outstanding game against Auburn.
Donal (Waterloo, Canada)
Hi Mel, picking up on the DT reviews - Tyson Alualu, thoughts?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
He's a good football player. He's a solid football player. My final comments on him were: "one of the most underrated standouts to come out of the Pac-10 in the last several years." He was one of my underrated players in my draft report. Now, you ask, what was the question with him. I thought he would be a late first, early second round pick and he went 10th overall. That was the only thing I had an issue with. I thought they could have traded down and still gotten him. I thought he was a very good player, but that they could have traded down and still got him.
Mel, your thoughts on Dane Sanzenbacher? He's having a great year!
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
He's having an excellent player. I think Pryor should go to him more than he does. He's the kind of guy that's tremendously reliable. He's not fast, but he's very quick. Spunky, smart, disciplined. He's worthy of being a 4th round pick. An Austin Collie type. He'll have a better grade than Hartline did and two years ago, he was a fourth round pick to the Dolphins.
Mel - Why wouldn't the Bears upgrade the '0'-line with a trade? I really liked Schefter's scenario involving Mankins! That Cutler deal is going to be the biggest bust in Bears history if we can't keep him out of the ER. We put ourselves out there with that deal and we need to invest!
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
I agree. The play of the line has been awful. For an NFL line to be this bad is almost shocking. It's like an expansion team. I give Cutler credit. Cutler is a tough kid. You can question some things about him, but you can't question his toughness. He's withstood more hits halfway through this season than some QBs get in three years. He's as tough as they come. You can't question his tougness. But there's not much you can do at this stage. They're trying to coach these guys up and shift them around. They didn't draft an OL until the 7th round last year. By giving up draft choices, they didn't have a 1-2 round pick. They got some guys that can help them in the draft. In the 2009 draft, they didn't draft an OL until the 7th round.
Blaine (Hattiesburg, MS)
Mel, if they keep improving how long can Miss. State keep Dan Mullen?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
This was a team that I highlighted on several radio shows in August, as my most improved team. I went on record with that in August. They have a heckuva football coach in Dan Mullen. They have stars on offense and defense. Pernell McPhee is a heckuva DE. KJ Wright, LB, good football player. This kid was highlighted on Personnel Points on Monday, Chris White. Against Florida, 11 tackles, 4.5 for loss and 2.5 sacks. He's someone the NFL has to start looking at. Mississippi State is 5-2 now and they could finish 8-4. They haven't been to a bowl since '07, so they'll be going back.
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
This will be a springboard for him, but he's still building that resume. They were 5-7 last year, so to go to 8-4, that's an improvement.
Gavin (Washington DC)
How about some FCS love? Any standout FCS players this year? How about William & Mary's Jonathan Grimes or Jake Trantin?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
As far as the best players, I'll stay in the CAA and Villanova. OL Ben Ijalana. Matt Szczur, WR. Pat Devlin, QB, Delaware. Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton. Andre Holmes, WR, Hillsdale. Justin Rodgers, CB, Richmond. Brandon Fusco, C, Slippery Rock. Virginia Union OT David Mims.
Josh Brown (New York)
Mel, I am a huge Notroe Dame fan, with that being sia, where do you Michael Floyd fitting in the upcoming draft? In my opinion, Michael Floyd is the number one reciever (assuming he declares) whats yor take?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
He has an option. He could stay at Notre Dame for another year. He's a talented kid and a junior. Right now, he's No. 5 for juniors behind Green, Jones, Baldwin, Broyles. He's not in my top 25 overall. He's a late first round guy overall. But I think he could improve his stock after another year.
Mel, is Von Miller the best pass rushing 3-4 linebacker eligible for next year's draft or are there better ones?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
He could be. He's an intriguing guy. He had a great junior year, but not a great senior year. Moak from Nevada would fit that mold. Kyle Wilber from Wake, who's a juinor. Akeem Ayers, jr., UCLA is the most highly rated of those guys. Justin Houston would fit that mold.
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
Robert Quinn could end up being a 3-4 OLB. But they're more 4-3 DEs in my mind.
Peter (Atlanta, GA)
How many wins should be required of Rich Rodriguez this year to retain his job in Ann Arbor?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
They have some injuries now. That's unfortunate. On both sides of the ball. The injuries have effected this team. They're 5-2 now and they have to right the ship. It's a week off that's needed. They need to get healthy. They have PSU on the road next Saturday. They need to win that game. They're struggling. PSU is just trying to get to that 6-win mark. They play Illinois after that. They're an improved football team. Then they have to play Wisconsin late in the year and then OSU. If they can't beat PSU, they could end up 7-5. If they beat PSU, 8-4.
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
Last year they were 5-7. The year before that, 3-9. So they're improving. They've lost to MSU and Iowa. The problem is they lost both of those games at home. That's the problem.
Omar (Baltimore )
Is Adrian Claiborne still at top 10 pick in April?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
Potentially. He's my 9th highest rated player on my Big Board. But there will be a lot of good DEs in the draft. That's the best position. He has to be more consistent in the second half of the season than he was in the first half.
Mike Welsh (Portage, In.)
Is Cincinnati the best Big East team again? Does anybody know who Zach Collaros is?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
Cincinnati at WVU is the game. That's a critical game. I give Cincinnati a lot of credit. They're 3-3. Their losses this year were to Fresno State, NC State and Oklahoma by a couple of points. They've had a tough schedule. They're a solid 3-3 team. I think it comes down to that Cincy-WVU game. The other team to watch out for is Pittsburgh. They've lost to Utah, Miami and Notre Dame. They've lost three games, but they have a tough schedule.
Keith H (Seattle)
Mel, how far has Jake Locker's draft stock fallen?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
From being right there at the top. He was No. 1 on the board through the early portion of the season. Obviously, he fell after that performance against Nebraska. He's played better. He fell from 7 to 8 this week. He's going to be a nice QB. He needs to be coached up. Like all QBs, he's going to need some time. He'll fall in the middle of the first round. Luck and Mallett and Newton and the other juniors can't go to the Senior Bowl. Locker is the only highly rated senior QB. I hope he's at the Senior Bowl. He can start to improve his rating down there.
What do you think the Packers need to turn this injury ridden season around? And I totally agree on the Cincy-WVU game!!!
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
They've been decimated by injury. It's hard to overcome all of those injuries. They battled Miami. They've gone to OT the last two weeks and lost both games. They've lost some tough games. After losing two games in OT, they have Minnesota, Jets, Dallas, Minnesota, Atlanta. That's an incredibly tough road, while battling injuries. And late in the year you have to play New England. To get into the playoffs will take a monumental effort. They're beat up and they have a tough schedule. There's not much you can do. You hope you play well and hope that Rodgers can carry the team. This gives Chicago hope that they can stay in it. Gives Minnesota hope that they can win the division.
Cam Heyward has been quiet all year. Is he still a 1st rounder?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
He's a guy who's always been a DE who's strong against the run and adequate pass rusher. He can push the pocket a little bit. Hard worker. But he's not a sack artist. He's just very good against the run. He does a solid, reliable job. He'll be a guy that some will like. He's hanging in my top 25, but I would like to see more impactful plays from him. If he remains a first round pick, he needs more big plays. Oh, and by the way, Gabe Carimi, their senior LT, has really played well.
Where do you see G.Jones going,what about any other Spartans?
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
Jones, he was highlighted in my Personnel Points this week. He was a key to their win. He's a tackling machine. Production has been off the charts. He's always around the ball. Instinctive. What really impressed me in the Illinois game was he made some plays in space. He could be a late first, early to mid second round pick. He'll be a very solid, reliable MLB in the NFL.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
What do you think Ryan Williams would have to do the remainder of the year to cement a 1st round status? Do you think he leaves without feeling confident he is a 1st round pick?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
Unfortunately, injury has prevented him from having the year he was hoping to have. LaMichael James from Oregon has outshined him this year. I would say that Williams should go back and become a fourth-year junior. I think he needs another year at Virginia Tech. He hasn't been healthy enough to put up the numbers.
Thoughts on Clausen? I think the Panthers started him too soon given the surrounding cast. I think he'll ultimately be very good.
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
I like Jimmy Clausen. You don't change your opinions of a player based on his rookie year. They've been dealt some bad cards. The injuries. The issue on the OL. They're starting two rookie WRs. There's all the talk about John Fox and his tenure. Is it over in Carolina? This is a team in transition. For Jimmy, he's shown flashes. But he's a rookie QB. He has some work to do. I would have liked to have seen Jimmy on the field Oct. 31 to go against Sam Bradford. But Jimmy was benched and he won't be in the game that weekend. Jimmy took some hits, missed the open receivers at times, but he'll get through it. Some QBs start better than others. But like Jimmy said, he went through this at Notre Dame. He'll be fine. Did they play him too early? I don't think any rookie QB is ready to start.
Ray Stinger Jr. (Pittsburgh)
WR Jon Baldwin and RB Dion Lewis of Pitt,should either come out early or should they stay with the Panthers one more season?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
Lewis has had his moments. Baldwin needs to be more productive. He only had one catch last week. He's still hanging on in my top 25, barely. I would say both would come back to Pitt. Baldwin hasn't been impressive as I thought he would be.
Where do you rate Mark Ingram on the 2011 draft board
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
Mark is my 10th highest player on the Big Board, No. 1 RB.
Brian Thomas (East Lansing)
Kirk Cousins? draft potential?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
He's only a junior. He's one of a high number of junior QBs. He's got outstanding talent around him. He has a host of excellent WRs and RBs. Very deep at the skill positions. Very smart kid.
Chris (Holmdel, NJ)
Mel, is Rodney Hudson going to be an elite center at 280 lbs considering he's going to have to go up against 320+ lb nose tackles in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
I think he could play guard or center. I think he'll play at around 285-290. I think he'll be a center or guard. He's an outstanding player. He's clearly the best OG in college.
What do you think about DT Nick Fairley?
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
Love him. He's been an impact player all year, from the get go. He's 6-4, 315. Quick. Explosive. He's only a junior, but he's an elite junior.
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
I haven't put him on the Big Board yet, because I like to wait on juniors.
I am starting to think Maurice Pouncey is most productive and most successful 1st round pick last year. Hard to admit but the Steelers did it again i think. Do you agree?
Mel Kiper (2:01 PM)
They've had Mike Webster, Dawson. They've had that history of finding that super elite center and have him be there for a period of years. Now they get Pouncey. There have been a lot of good first rounders from last year. Bradford. Suh. Trent Williams.
Mel Kiper (2:02 PM)
Hopefully we went rapid fire enough to keep everyone happy. UCLA plays Oregon on Thursday. Great game to watch this week.