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 (1:00 PM)
We've got Mel!
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
Finally, Thanksgiving weekend. We've got football Thursday, Friday, Saturday, Sunday and Monday. a great weekend of NFL action.
Chad (Las Vegas)
Mallet vs Peterson this weekend. Is there a better QB vs CB matchup in CFB?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
No, that's the one. I'm waiting to see how Peterson does in this game. Prince Amukamara is right there with him. I haven't decided which corner I will ultimately have No. 1. I think Amukamara is the more technically more sound corner, but Peterson is a great return man. This is a huge game for Peterson against Mallet. It will be a great matchup for an evaluation standpoint.
Mel Please tell me there will be a LT available when the Cowboys draft in the top 7 that will be worth taking.
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
I don't think there will be one worth them taking there. The top four guys are projected to go between 15-25. They're not in the top 10. The Senior Bowl will be important. It could be where one of the top four elevates. Ben Ijalana is a I-AA sleeper type who could be in the late first, early second round mix after the top 4.
luke (Pittsburgh, Pa)
Mel,In terms of quarterbacks, how do you see this year stacking up? Other than Luck, do you see Mallet or Locker as comparable, talent-wise to Bradford last year?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
No, the only one that would be comparable to Bradford is Luck. Luck's No. 1 on the board. Last year turned out to be a pretty good year overall. Bradford, McCoy, Clausen and of course Tebow. This year's group will have Luck, Mallet, Newton, Locker. Mallet is the Clausen of this year. Luck is the Bradford of this year. Locker is in a totally different category. He was the No. 1 overall player coming in and he's No. 21 right now. He has a lot of work to do in the next five months before the draft. The senior that has moved up a lot is Ricky Stanzi. He could be a second or third round pick. There are a lot of those overachiever types this year that will figure into the later rounds.
Marc (East Brunswick, NJ)
Are your Ravens the real deal this year? Flacco is legit indeed and they seem to have all the pieces, superior at nothing but weak nowhere.
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
I picked the Ravens to go to the Super Bowl, a slight edge over New England. They've been a solid team all year. They won at Pittsburgh. They won at the Jets. They nearly won at New England and at Atlanta. They played four tough playoff teams and went 2-2 and could have gone 4-0. They have Tampa Bay, the Cinderella team of the year. Tampa has had some great play from Freeman. They need McCoy to step up. He's been no where near as good as Suh. The next five weeks for the Ravens is tough. Tampa, Pittsburgh, Houston, New Orleans, Cleveland. Very challenging. Fortunately for them, three of the next four are at home. The concern I still have is they don't get a good pass rush unless they blitz.
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
The real underrated part of the Ravens is Billy Cundiff. His kickoffs are deep into the end zone without a return. He's the best kickoff guy in the league.
Mel, Happy Early Thanksgiving! How did you grade Steve Johnson (Buffalo) coming out of the draft? This guy looks like a steal ... I thought he was small, he is listed at 6'2, with a huge upside in speed ... is he the real deal? (Did he play with Andre Woodson from Kentucky, man that guy was a stud in college!)
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
I said "he deserves consideration as a late round prospect. He was the go-to guy at Kentucky. Excellent size. Good hands. Can make things happen after the catch. Runs with power and toughness. The biggest question is he lacks top end speed." The straight line speed and the 4.6 40 was the question. I gave him a 5-6 round grade. He's done a heckuva job. He and Fitzpatrick have had some synergy going on as QB-WR.
Nathan (Coralville, IA)
What do you think happens to Vince Young? Do you think he's getting a raw deal from the Titans? If the Eagles trade Kolb, I think he'd be a great backup to Vick...
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
I think his emotions got the best of him. This is a team that's not had a lot of success this year at home. They lost to Pittsburgh, Denver at home. They were out played by the Eagles through three quarters, but pulled it out. They hadn't been home since Oct. 24 and they lay an egg. The pressure mounts and his emotions got the best of him. I think he's felt underappreciated by the fans. And now he's out for the year and he's in the doghouse. This team has a major issue at QB now.
paul (mississippi )
how big of an impact do you think vincent jackson is gonna have on the chargers already dynamtic passing game
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
He's a heckuva player. To get him back now and this late season surge they historically make will help. The tough game is this week against Indy. They were 2-5 and are now 5-5. They have three straight home games after this week and have three winnable games. It's conceivable that the Chargers might not lose another regular season game. At worst in the remaining 6 games they go 5-1. They'll win that division. This week is a critical week. Give AJ Smith credit. He's done a good job of his evaluations. Give Rivers credit too.
Nick (ponca city,oklahoma)
Where do you see demarco murray going in the draft? and do you think demarco murray's injury history might hurt his draft stock
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
I'd say he goes somewhere in the second round area. He's an outstanding pass receiver out of the backfield. He's been more decisive as a runner this year. Better in short yardage. He's definitely a guy who has a chance to be a second round pick. He's an extension of your receiver core because he can catch the ball downfield.
Adam (Elizabethville, PA)
Mel, what position do you feel is the deepest in the next draft, and why?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
Defensive line is without question the deepest. There are a lot of quality DLs in this draft.
With the buccs improving, do you think they are the real deal and will be a team to look out for in the future?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
When you have a QB like Josh Freeman, you have a chance. When you hit the jackpot with a QB, you will be a playoff team. Peyton Manning carries his team. That team would be below .500 of late without Manning. They're nothing without Manning. Rodgers in Green Bay. Rivers in San Diego. You can see what happened in Arizona. They don't have the QB and look what happens to them. They go from playoffs to mediocre football team. It's all about Josh Freeman in Tampa. Mike Williams was a great pick. Blount was a great undrafted free agent pick up. Grimm, the son of Russ Grimm, has been a solid late pick for them. Benn has come on in the second half of the season. They should be a team to reckon with in the coming weeks. We'll find out a lot about them in the next two weeks. Baltimore and Atlanta.
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
The good teams they've struggled with this year. They got blown out by Pittsburgh and New Orleans. But they did play Atlanta tough, but they lost the game.
Nick(Cali) [via mobile]
How would you Rate the 2004 QB draft class(Rivers,BigBen,Manning) Knowing what you know now.
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
If you had to re-rate them the question is would you put Roethlisberger or Rivers No. 1? Ben has the rings and Rivers has the stat. I said when all three came out, that there wouldn't be a bust among them. Manning has a ring, Ben has a couple and Rivers has none. But Rivers has played great. I would put Rivers and Roethlisberger 1 and 1A and Manning next.
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
If I had to make a pick, I would take Roethlisberger. But if Rivers wins a Super Bowl, then I go with him No. 1.
What's the deal with Dallas, they have all the stars playing but don't look anything like the team of last year. Is it time to start getting younger players? Or was it really just the coach?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
This is a team that lost some tough football games early. They could have easily been 3-0 going into the bye, but they were 1-2. That sets the tone. Then they get Romo hurt in late October. They're 2-3 without Romo and won the last two games with Garrett as the head coach. They know what they have to do, go out and restructure the OL. Get some help with the secondary. It's a very fine line between being a Super Bowl contender and being the worst team in the league. We saw it with Tampa. They were supposed to be one of the worst teams and they've been playing very well. The next three games will tell us a lot about Dallas.
Zach (Fenton, MI)
Do you think Stafford will ever get healthy enough to be the Lions franchise QB or should they start looking for a new QB?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
The medical technology the way it is and how we deal with injuries now will help. Bradford had a serious injury to his shoulder and he's as good as ever. The same thing happened with Drew Brees. In Stafford's case, he never had an injury history, but he's had an injury the last couple of years. They know they have the right guy there. He's an outstanding QB, potentially. He has a rocket arm. He's tough as nails.
John G (Wisconsin)
Mel, Who is the underated / off the radar player now that will be picked high in the draft? Every year there is someone.
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
Off the radar type guys: Cecil Shorts, WR, Mt. Union (D-III, that also produced Pierre Garcon); Ben Ijalana, OT, Villanova; Kenrick Ellis, DT, Hampton; Davon House, CB, New Mexico St.
Marc (East Brunswick, NJ)
Doesn't seem to be a ton of LB's in NCAA this year- who is the cream of the crop for '11 draft?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
OLB's first, you have Bruce Carter and Von Miller. Carter is a solid player and Miller is the attacking 3-4 OLB. Carter is coming off an excellent game against NC State. Miller was quiet last week, but finished it great. ILB, you have Greg Jones of Michigan State leading the way. You have some decent depth at LB. There is some depth. It will just be picking and choosing. It's not a great year for LBs. You'll see a 3-4 OLB against Boise State this week in Nevada's Dontay Moch.
Mel, I know Garrett Gilbert isnt exactly living up to his hype just yet at UT, but there is no question he is very talented. Might we be seeing him on sunday in two-three years?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
Before we worry about Sundays, let's hope he can solidify the starting job at Texas. He's no lock to be the starter moving forward. There will be some concerns that he is the guy there. He has to do that before he becomes an NFL prospect. He's nowhere near a Matt Barkley and where he is now.
Will injuries to Kyle Rudolph hurt his stock? He was high on preseason TE lists.
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
He's only a junior. He's got another year. He'll go back to Notre Dame in that Brian Kelly offense and put up some numbers. He's still the No. 1 rated junior TE. He's fortuate to be able to go back for the 2011 season. He's always reminded me of Todd Heap.
whos better jake locker or cam newton for the nfl are either one of these fanchise qbs
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
Right now you would say that they're not franchise type QBs. Newton has only started 14 games. You have to check backgrounds, especially with all of these questions right now. You would like a QB to come in with more games started. He's started less than Mark Sanchez. Franchise QBs are guys that started a lot. You're in a pro style offense. You've had some success. Andrew Luck is a franchise QB. He's the only one out there. He's started two years. He's got Jim Harbaugh as his coach.
Peter (Atlanta, GA)
With all of the talk about Luck, Locker and Mallett, how many of the teams drafting early in the NFL draft actually need a QB? It seems to me that many of them either have the QB they want or are already developing a young QB.
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
That's perfectly correct. You look at Carolina and they have Clausen. Cleveland has McCoy. Buffalo has Ryan Fitzpatrick who has developed into a good QB. The team that will be picking high and you would have to think would look at a QB is Cincinnati. Palmer is not as good as he once was. If you're Cincinnati and you can get Luck, you take him. That's not something that you would have said at the beginning of the year. Cincinnati could finish 2-14, 3-13 kind of record. Over a month ago, we said in this chat that Cincinnati was in trouble. But I have to give T.O. credit. He's had a great year. He's not the reason they're struggling. Palmer has beent he issue and the defense has struggled. They play the Jets, Saints, Steelers, Browns, Chargers, Ravens. You find me more than one win in that schedule. Right now there's a lot of talk that Luck might end up staying for another year, especially if Harbaugh ends up staying.
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
Arizona's another team that would be looking at a QB. It will be interesting to see what they do. Buffalo, it will be interesting to see. Has Fitzpatrick done enough? It will be a lot of fun to see what these teams do that are picking high.
Mel, when I watch Arian Foster I see a lot of Terrell Davis in his game. Do you see the same thing? Thanks.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
Foster was a pretty good back at Tennessee. His numbers fell off his final year there. He had a really good year as a junior. He caught the ball out of the backfield, he had a high ypc. He looked like a third round pick after his junior year. Another example of a RB that falls through the cracks. It happens every year. Look at Danny Woodhead for New England. Perfect example. Keiland Williams to the Redskins. Happens every year.
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
It's not like these guys ever showed anything in college. They all flashed early round ability at some point in their career.
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)
How many Hawaii players do you see getting drafted in the first 3 rounds?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
The two WR: Greg Salas, Kealoha Pilares. Remember Devone Bess went undrafted and has had a productive career with Miami.
paul (mississippi )
your thoughts on tarvis jackson? could he be the next micheal vick? and do you think the nfl is leaning more towards scrambling qbs
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
I think right now, you almost have to put him in. I think he should be the QB for the Vikings. I said this weeks ago. What are you getting out of Favre now? You're not going to the playoffs, the team is a disappointment. This guy was considered the future of the organization when he was drafted in the second round. I go to Jackson and at least let him get some experience and give you a chance to evaluate him. He's got a strong arm. He has the athletic ability. He's showed promise when he was in there.
Jay (New Haven, CT)
The Patriots have two picks in each of the first four rounds next year. What do you think their strategy will be? I imagine there will be a lot of wheeling and dealing going on.
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
They have seven in the first four rounds. They traded one away for Branch. They're in a great position. They can assist a defense that's really young. They need a WR. They need a RB. Give Green-Ellis a lot of credit along with Woodhead. They value the draft the most. The two teams that value quantity and quality of picks is the Patriots and Eagles. To make moves and have foresight and stockpile draft picks, that's the reason the Patriots are where they are. The opposite is the Redskins. They never value the draft. The team only had a few picks last year. They only had six picks and six picks in 2009. That's just the players they pick, not ones who actually made the team. That's why they've been a disappointing team.
What Pro does AJ Green compare with?
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
I haven't really thought about who he reminds me of, but he's a heckuva player. He has the height, long arms. He has excellent hands. He can separate. When the ball is in the air and it looks like he's covered, he's still making the play. You combine all of that together and you've got a great player. There have been some games where he's uncoverable. It's hard to find an answer for Green. He's a man among boys and why he's No. 3 on my Big Board. The only reason he's No. 3 is because Bowers has been a beast at DE for Clemson.
Mel Kiper (2:01 PM)
Happy Thanksgiving to everyone. What a weekend we have. We have some great games on Thanksgiving. Lions-Patriots should be interesting. The Cowboys-Saints will be good as well as Jets-Bengals. Friday night will be very interesting with Boise State-Nevada and Auburn-Alabama. Oregon plays Arizona. It's Decision Day on Friday. Saturday is Rivalry Saturday. And Sunday with huge NFL games. The weekend of games begins on Thursday. This is always the best overall time for football, from high school to the pros.
Mel Kiper (2:01 PM)
Have a safe, happy Thanksgiving weekend.