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)
We've got Mel!
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
We had Boise State rolling last night. They didn't bring their A game, but still won by 29 points. On a Tuesday night, they showed that they have a lot of stars on that team. That was a decent Louisiana Tech football team. They played Southern Miss tough.
Mel you said last week Ricky Stanzi is the 5th best Sr QB on your board. has he moved up and if luck from Stanford doesn't jump pro how high do you see Stanzi over all
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
I'm not going to move him up. He's been in that 5-6 range all year. It's hard to find senior QBs that you like that much. It never is easy. I would think that he's a guy you look at in the 5-6 round. This is Iowa's chance at redemption this week. They're not going to lose games like that against Wisconsin late in the season like they did last week. This is a redeption game for them against Michigan State.
Mel I have to ask, how well did you grade Ryan Fitzpatrick? I know he came into the league 5 years go, but this guy is really playing good. Baltimore didn't slow him down, and by all means he played good against the Jets, Jags, and @ NE. What are your thoughts going forward? Andrew Luck still going to Buffalo @ #1?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
I gave him a 2-4 round grade. My final comments "he has the necessary skill level to be a NFL QB in the future. He definitely deserves serious consideration in the later rounds for a team looking for a developmental QB they can bring along slowly. He has the skills you look for, he just needs seasoning and time to develop. As his running totals indicate, he has mobility and above average arm strength." I graded him our higher than David Greene, who went in the second round that year. Higher grade than Derek Anderson. Josh Cribbs was in that draft and went undrafted. That was the same draft that had Alex Smith as No. 1. Aaron Rodgers, Kyle Orton both went too. He played great against the Ravens last week. He looked calm, poised. This will be interesting for the Bills. If he continues to have a very good year, they could look away from QB in the draft. Fitzpatrick playing well is very important for the Bills organization.
Anthony (New York City, NY)
What were your initial impression of Pioli's 2nd draft as the GM for the Chiefs? Has that perception changed since the season started? If so, how?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
I gave them a B- after the draft. Overall, Eric Berry, I loved. I thought McCluster would be a jack of all trades. I thought Arenas would go in the 4th round, and they took him in the second. Moeaki was a good pick, but I had a question about his durability. I will say a solid B in terms of what they were able to get and the players they brought in. I wouldn't change it from that B/B- area.
Mel, which pro QB, past or present, does Newton remind you of the most?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
The best runner I ever saw as a QB was Michael Vick. He just had tremendous speed, explosiveness. This kid is the closest I've seen since Vick. Newton is 6-6, close to 250 pounds. He has great feet. He has different gears in the open field. He shocked Patrick Peterson last week. And he has the power where he can drag you. Plus, he has a cannon for an arm. He's an incredible talent. Another year at Auburn could make him and early first round pick in the draft and the top QB chosen in the 2012 draft, assuming that Luck comes out this year.
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
He's a better runner than Tebow was. He has more speed and change of direction than Tebow and just as much power. Plus he has better mechanics. The sky's the limit for him. If he's not at Auburn, they're probably 7-5 or 8-4 this year.
Do you see Patrick Peterson in top 10 of NFL draft, and does he project as a CB or Saftey in NFL? Has Drake Nevis moved up your board?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
He's a CB. Highly skilled return man. His return skills are phenomenal. I think he's a potential top 5 pick. He's battling Amukamara as the top CB in the draft. They both could go very early in the draft.
Mel, what are the draft prospects for Illinois juniors Mikel Leshoure and Corey Liuget?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
They're both very good players. I have Leshoure as the 8th highest rated junior RB. Liuget, I have as my 9th highest rated junior DT. Both outstanding players for Zook. They're improved over what people thought. They have a great shot to finish 7-5 and could be 8-4. They were 3-9 last year and 5-7 the year before.
Redskins v Lions. Toughest game on schedule to predict this week. Who are you going?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
This was a game where last year Stafford rose up and beat the Redskins. It's Stafford's first game back from injury. How long will it take for him to shake off the rust?
I would be interested to know what you think about the Ducks' pro prospects... Thomas in particular.
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
He's only a sophomore. He reminds you a lot of Dixon. He has a chance to be a very intriguing prospect. He's a guy you want to keep an eye on. James is the third-year sophomore RB. He's my second highest rated underclassman RB. He plays with great power, even at 5-8. He's amazingly strong. Maehl, senior WR, is their go-to guy with outstanding hands. Speed is the question with him. How fast he runs at the combine will determine where he goes. Rowe will be a 3-4 OLB and will be a middle round guy. Paysinger and Matthews both are middle to later round guys at LB.
Nathan (Coralville, IA)
What's your take on J'Marcus Webb? The Bears seem really high on him, but their line stinks so that be clouding their judgement. How did you grade him, and can he become a quality starter in the league?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
Webb was graded with a 6th round grade and he was selected in the 7th round. He dominated the lower level of competition at times, because he was more gifted than the guys he was going up against. Hand placement and leverage were two places he could improve. He had the physical prowess, he just need some technique work.
Mel, whenever people talk about the good young QBs in the NFL, all they seem to talk about is Sanchez, Stafford, Bradford, etc...There is never any talk of Josh Freeman. All he seems to do is lead the Bucs to 4th quarter wins, which is pretty unheard of for such a young QB. Do you believe that he has the "it" factor considering he is doing this with two rookie WRs, no running game and an average offensive line at best.
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
Josh has a chance. You talk about Cam Newton, Josh is 6-6, 250 as well. My comments about Freeman were that there were times in his career when he looked like a top, top guy. He was inconsistent at times with his accuracy. He can make things happen with his legs. He's big kid who can throw the football. I said that he needed some time and some pro tutelage. The Mike Williams from Syracuse looks like a fourth round steal. The other Mike Williams, the former first round pick from USC, has been a vital part of the Seahawks team. He's the comeback player of the year. Great year to be Mike Williams.
Jim (Grand Junction, CO)
Now that we're nearing mid-season, please evaluate the performance of the high draft picks. Who's doing well, who's not? Thanks.
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
Bradford, Suh have done well. Haden has a chance once they get him more involved. Spiller needs to be a little more decisive. Not always try to hit the big run. More north-south and not east-west. Sometimes you just need to get the 2-3 yards and not hit the home run. Suh and Thomas have been lights out on defense. My top offensive rookie, you'd have to say Bradford. He's done well. Bulaga is in there for the Packers. Pouncey with the Steelers.
Clay (Oakland, CA)
Is Blaine Gabbert close to Big Board consideration?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
I'm reluctant to put too many juniors on the Big Board. Right now, 9 of my top 10 are underclassmen and 11 of my top 15. Right now, Gabbert is my fourth highest rated underclassman QB. I don't have Newton on the Big Board yet, either. He's only started 8 games at the major college level. Until I hear that he's definitely coming out, then I won't have him on my Big Board. I don't rate underclassmen with the seniors, only on the Big Board. When I rate the positions, it's seniors and then the underclassmen. I am reluctant to add in the underclassmen until they're in the draft, but I do the top 25 because of public pressure.
Todd (Athens, GA)
Mel, should Georgia's Justin Houston go pro or stay another year??
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
He debuts on the Big Board this week. He's No. 17. He's the best 3-4 OLB. He's 6-3, 258. He closes quickly. He's picked up his game over the last 3-4 weeks. He's right there as one of the elite defenders.
Weezel (Orlando )
In tomorrow night's FSU v NC State game, who is the best NFL prospect regardless of class?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
Of the draft eligibles: Rodney Hudson, FSU, OL. If he were a little bigger, he's only 6-2, 283, he's be a guaranteed top 15 pick. He's a tremendous pure guard. He also could end up being a center. From the senior class, he's the No. 1 pure guard by a wide margin. He's my 28th best player on my ratings board.
Darryl (Oakland, CA)
Mel, how is Cameron Jordan not a top 25 draft eligible player? 6-4, 285lbs? prototypical 3-4 DE. He's fast and got the NFL genes AND he's been productive this season. He will be a top 25 selection, have you not seen him or have missed him play?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
He's close. He's right there. Every week, I think about moving him into the top 25. He's my 6th highest senior DE. He's my 27th highest rated player, right off the top 25. I like him a lot. I like his blood lines. I wrote about him on Personnel Points. They're based on film evaluation. I encourage all of you to check that out. I highlighted Jordan on Sept. 13. I said "he gets off blocks. Gets penetration into the opponents backfield. Son of former Vikings TE Steve Jordan." If he continues to make his presence felt, he'll be in the top 25. He could end up in that 15-20 range when it's all said and done.
Peter (Atlanta, GA)
Who do the surprise unbeatens Missouri and Michigan St have that you are high on as NFL draft prospects?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
Missouri first. Blaine Gabbert, junior, QB. Greg Jones for Michigan State.
Mel, Is John Clay the next Jerome Bettis or the next Ron Dayne?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
I think he's right inbetween. He's an interesting guy. You always wonder how he's going to translate into the NFL. It doesn't matter who the RB is at Wisconsin. They're like Running Back U. White, Ball and Clay, it doesn't matter what back they give the ball to, all three have been productive. They have a history of guys at the college level. You're a little hesitant, wondering if it's the line, the system or the back.
Who is this year's Tyson Alualu? Meaning someone on an average college team at a non-skill position who is going to sneak into the Top 10 or 15.
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
Ryan Kerrigan, DE at Purdue. They've had some injuries on the team. Highly productive kid with a high motor. The guy to really watch, on the OL, and could be as high as a second round pick, Villanova's Ijalana. He's probably the best non-I-A prospect. He has a chance to be an early to mid second round pick. He could play anywhere. The senior bowl will be very important for him.
Why is everyone saying Seattle may be the best team in NFC. have they not watched us play? I think we are over rated and need a lot of improvement on both sides of the ball.
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
What Seattle is doing is they're holding serve. They had a break through win against Chicago on the road. They showed that they're going to win most of their home games and they needed to break their opponents, so to speak, and win on the road. This is a big game this week, at Oakland. Oakland is a confident football team right now. They beat San Diego. Seattle is sitting there with a 4-2 record. Can they go on the road in a huge spot like this and win the football game? This is an underrated game of the week for me. There are some key players that I'll be watching in Mike Williams, McFadden, McClain, Thomas. This is a pivotal game. Seattle has a shot to be a 10-6 team.
Mike (Madison, WI)
NFL games overseas: good idea or bad idea?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
I understand why you do them. The NBA is huge abroad. You want to give the NFL an international flavor and influence. You're trying to spread it worldwide. From an NFL standpoint, the travel is something you have to worry about. San Francisco comes off of this trip with a bye week. Denver gets a bye week. That's so important because of the travel. Both of these teams are bottom echelon teams this year. Denver looks like a 5-11 team. San Francisco could be looking at 4-12. And you have Troy Smith starting at QB for the 49ers. I'm waiting to see if Denver starts looking at Tim Tebow at QB.
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
We have a nice slate of college football. Will we have any upsets? Missouri-Nebraska, Michigan State-Iowa, USC-Oregon. But we have some under the radar games, like Notre Dame-Tulsa. Should be a fun weekend.
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
Also, we have Locker and Luck on the same field with Stanford at Washington. Georgia and Florida is a little overlooked this year as well.
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