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 (1:01 PM)
I'm ready for your questions! Bowl matchups, Heisman, NFL key games, draft projections, lots to talk about!
Cliff (Seattle, WA)
If Locker has an average day during the Holiday Bowl does that make him more of a 2nd round pick at this point?
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
Obviously it is his final game after a sub-par year. Senior Bowl week will also be pivitol. If he can have a good bowl game and good Senior Bowl week that would help. This is a rematch against the team that really started his downward spiral. Sept. 18 at home was when he was 4-for-20 with a couple picks and that really started his slide. This Nebraska defense is even better now than it was back in Sept. so it is a very big challenge.
Adam R (Albany`)
Mel, is there ANY chance Newton does NOT win the Heisman on Saturday?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
No chance. It should be a landslide of historic proportions. It should be the largest margin of victory ever. Of course it depends on how many people are affected by what has happened with Newton's father. It may not be the landslide it should be, but he will win. Luck, Moore, LaMichael James ... I think the real interesting thing will be who finishes second. Luck will be the No. 1 pick if he comes out so he will probably finish second. But you can't underestimate James and what he has done for Oregon.
Brando las vegas NV. [via mobile]
So what happens with Tim Tebow now that his biggest supporter Josh McDaniels is out in Denver
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
Nobody knows. We don't know who the new heach coach is yet. They said McDaniels had too much power so that is going to get divided up and we don't know who the real decision makers will be moving forward. It's more of a chance that the new coach is questionable about Tebow just because he had more doubters than supporters coming into the league. Just based on the percentages, the new coach may not be a big supporter but we just don't know yet.
Mel, if my Huskies were to beat the Sooners, would it be a bigger upset than when Boise State did it back in '07?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
It's ironic really ... in the '77 season, OU played Arkansas ... OU was a 20-point favorite I believe it was ... Arkansas won 31-6. Here we are 33 years later with OU sitting in a game where they are favored by 17 right now .. Connecticut should be out-manned for sure. You have to wonder how interested Oklahoma is about playing a team they are favored by 17 over. They may not have the same intensity. It's not apples to apples. Some teams are way more excited about going to a bowl game. Even if Oklahoma does win by 20 or more points, it's no big deal. They were expected to do that. Connecticut lost to Temple. Lost to Michigan by 20. Got beat by Rutgers. By October 8 they had lost to all three of those teams. Lost 26-0 to Louisville. But they got really hot in the last four games so they are a very confident team right now.
Ryan (Arlington, VA)
Mel, when is the NFL going to give some information out about what happens to the draft in March in the face of a potential lockout? It seems that there is the potential for a large number of underclassmen to leave school, get drafted, and then not get paid or play football. That sounds like a PR nightmare for the NFL and incredibly unfair to the players and schools.
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
We have to see how it plays out. This is one of those things that could not look good for awhile and then an agreement gets reached. You can't worry about it too much. There will likely be a draft and that's all you can think about right now. You can't make your decision on something you don't know. If you do feel there won't be a season, then that's fine, stay in school.
Mel... what do you think about Tyrod Taylor's development as a passer the last two years? What's the temperature on his draft stock?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
He really has come on. He's not getting enough recognition for the season he has had. If they would have beaten Boise State I think they would have beaten James Madison. If not for that loss, they would probably have been undefeated. And he was the key guy. He's 6'1", 216 and runs a 4.5 40 ... based on what I saw this year he deserves a shot as a QB. He could also be a slot receiver, return man, etc. He could be a Wilddcat QB. Unlike Pat White who wasn't agreeable to a move to WR, Taylor needs to be open to that. He is an intriguing player on draft day.
Cliff (Seattle, WA)
Mel, If Luck decides to stay for another year at Stanford to continue his education, What does that do to the Newton's, Mallet's, and Locker's draft position? How far do each rise?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
It doesn't impact them. They are rated as they're rated. Mallet is No. 7 and Newton No. 8. My top 15 players, 12 are underclassmen. The seniors are No. 5 Prince Amukamara, No. 12 Ryan Kerrigan and No. 13 Von Miller. How many of those underclassment will impact Mallett and Newton? DaQuan Bowers is another big factor as to whether he comes out. With so many underclassmen in the mix, there is a lot of shakeup that could occur.
Who do you like in the Championship game? What are the keys?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
The defense will be critical of course. Which defense can make a stop? Both teams are a track meet type of offense. Oregon will run you ragged. The defensive coordinators will be the focus of this game. Remember Oregon lost their best defensive player, T.J. Ward, to the NFL last season. Who can force a punt? That's who will win!
Do you think this is a weak draft class? There will be some good talent in it, but not stand out talent, in my opinion.
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
I don't see why you would think that. If the juniors come out, it's a good class. Three QBs in the Top 10 potentially. RB is weak, yes, You won't see a Top 10 or 15 RB. But you can't say the whole class is weak. WR could be good if the juniors come out. We could have two WRs in the Top 10. It's a great year for defensive linemen. I could see seven DL's going in the top 15. There are some good 3-4 LBs like Von Miller. YOu have two elite CB's in Amukamara and Patrick Peterson. There are also some good second round safeties. Alex Henry is an incredible placekicker. Some outstanding punters. Offensive Tackle is a little weak compared to recent years but there are five OT's with first round grades, although they are between No. 15-30.
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
We also don't have the elite Tight End this year.
Has Martz improved Cutler's mechanical issues, or is Cutler's success this year attributable to something else?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
It's the offensive line with some positional changes and certainly Martz has sped things up. I still have a major concern about how they will hold up against quality competition. They have done the job of late but not really against teams of real significance. They lost to Seattle and Washington. They have to prove it against the Patriots and a better Vikings team. We'll know very soon if the Bears are legitimate or overrated.
Peterson vs. Amukamara. Which one is better? And do you see the Lions drafting one of those guys?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
I gave the slightest edge to Amukamar early in the year before his struggles against Blackmon. Right now it is a dead heat for me. I haven't made a call yet on top corner. Peterson is a return man so that helps but Amukamara is a little more technically sound .. they will both go early first round. Two of the bes prospects so we're really just splitting hairs.
Mel, what are your thoughts on kellen moore as a pro prospect?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
Love him as a college player. Nothing not to like there. He is superlative. Very few passes hit the ground. Great instincts. Great anticipation. The question mark is whether he is big enough and is him arm strong enough? He's 6 feet tall with an average arm. Some QBs have overcome that but not many. I wouldn't want to bet against him but it remains to be seen.
Albert Hanyesworth (Washington)
Mel...where did I go wrong?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
The main thing here I see is the system. He's not excited about the 3-4. He said that from the get go. He's a fear factor player when he is on top of his game. He can upset the apple cart. He occupies so much space. Just a great player. But he has been an issue of late and it's definitely a bad fit. He was there when the new staff came in. They inherited him but it was just a bad fit.
Whos the Dez Byrant of the 2011 Draft? A great player who could fall late? Is there any elite tackles or guards in the 2011 draft?
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
It's going to be interesting with Robert Quinn from North Carolina. Great sophomore campaign. 16.5 tackles for loss and 10 sacks. Great playmaker but didn't get to play this year. He's No. 11 on my big board but he keeps dropping because he hasn't been able to show what he can do. Adrian Clayborn from Iowa had a high grade early but is now at No. 19. Hasn't shown the pass rush ability he did as a junior. Mark Ingram was Top 10 when season began and is now No. 22 on my board. Jake Locker is at No. 23 and now in danger of not being a first round pick. Cameron Hayward had a mid-first round grade at the start of the season but hasn't had much impact and could fall out of the first round.
Ed (SW Florida)
I have been impressed with Detroit this year....to me they are pointed in right direction......a few bad breaks this year...ie Opener vs Chicago.....blown lead vs Jets...Your thoughts
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
Yes, they are headed in the right direction. They have to translate competitiveness into wins and Stafford has to stay on the field for a whole season. They went tooth and nail with New England for three quarters. They extended the Jets into overtime. They have competed hard all year. Against the Packers they lost 28-26. They have gone toe-to-toe with the best. They are an improving 2-10 team. Schwartz has a lot to hang his hat on this year. Suh is in a position to be Rookie of the Year. Superior to Gerald McCoy at Tampa Bay who some thought was better than Suh coming out. The main thing is keeping Stafford healthy. If they can do that next year coupled with a good draft, they could be a real contender.
Anthony (Columbia, MD)
Mel, Do you really see a difference in Cam Newton and Tim Tebow? Yet you have Newton rated much higher this year than you did Tebow last year? they both run a spread offense and like to take off running
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
Newton is a QB and Tebow wasn't in my opinion. Tebow should be an H-batch. I think that is where he will ultimately play. Newton is a QB. Much stronger arm than Tebow and better mechanics. He's faster, bigger, more athletic. He's also more accurate. Josh McDaniels drafted Tebow ahead of where a lot of people thought he would go at No. 25. Newton will go much sooner, possibly Top 5.
Mike (New Jersey)
What's Vick's NFL future like? Are the Eagles going to resign or franchise him? Also, I'm sure Kolb's (short) career in Philly is over right?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
Vick right now is basically a franchise quarterback. He's only going to keep getting better. He should be even better next season. This is a guy who has shown the same ability he had in Atlanta. He's still a young QB in the prime of his career. He has resurfaced which is great for Vick and the NFL.
Assuming Aaron Rodgers has hit his prime, who is the better QB...Brett or Aaron? I'm leaning towards Aaron because he protects the ball and doesn't have the OL or backs that Brett had in the late 90s.
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
You have to always keep in mind ... when Favre started his career things were different. QBs in the 80s and 90s just can't be compared to now. Rules were different, systems were different. When I started scouting in the 70s, QBs didn't have the options on offense they have now. And now you can't touch the receivers. Everything is completely different. For a QB playing now, it's like picking cherries with so many receiving options. Back then you rarely had shotgut formations and basically two wide receivers to throw to. Go back to the 70s and QBs were just like any other player on the field in terms of getting hit. But now QBs are protected much more than any other player on the field.
Mark (Ann Arbor)
How does Suh get fined $15k for that push on Cutler? This is getting ridiculous.
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
I think the fines are out of control. Completely. It's getting to be ridiculous. When you go to that super slow motion on replays like the league is doing ... that's SLOW MOTION .. not game speed. These players can't pull back in a nanosecond with everyone moving and lunging, target points changing ... nobody is going to be a statue out there. McClain against Miller when you slow it down it looks like yeah, maybe he could have held up ... but that's just second-guessing and hindsight. You can't tell a kid running full speed to see what you saw in slow motion. These fines are unbelievable, ridiculous and out of control.
Mark (Ann Arbor)
Back to Suh, do you think it was an illegal hit?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
Suh did go a little extreme ... I'm a big Suh supporter ... really big ... I was talking about him before anybody else knew how to pronounce his name ... but his push was a little much. I'll defense defensive players to the hilt, but that arm right into Cutler driving him into the ground was a little excessive. That's one of the few times I didn't have a problem with that getting penalized.
What are your views on the Fisher/VY ordeal with the Titans? How do you see it ending?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
I can't see the future but it doesn't look great. It's been back and forth for so long with Vince. He started great, had some issues, came back, now issues again. His career has been a roller coaster. Fisher has been at Tennessee for a long time. Sometimes people say you need a change of scenery. Sometimes your message falls on deaf ears. How many times can you make the same speech or say the same thing over and over. Basically it's like an expiration date on how long some people thing a coach should be with the same team. He's a great coach but I'm not sure if the expiration date isn't up for Fisher in Tennessee.
Kris (Overland Park, KS)
Buy or Sell the Chiefs?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
I've said from the start of the season they would be a better team and I think they have shown that. They have the right coach, GM, etc. But they really need another strong draft. They are about one year away from being a team that can not only get to the playoffs but do some damage. If they get in this year, they are probably a quick out. The next two weeks will tell us a lot about the Chiefs.
What do you think about the Orange Bowl matchup? and who what is your final score prediction?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
This is probably one of the more interesting bowl matchups. Luck against Bud Foster's defense will be fun to watch. Luck can't do the All-Star games so this is his final chance to show what he can do.
Joe (Billings, MT)
Jordan Todman an NFL back?
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
Outstanding year. Right now he is probably fifth or sixth on that underclassmen rushers list. No.1 Mark Ingram, No. 2 Ryan Williams, No. 3 LaMichael James, No. 4 Mikel Leshoure, then Todman or Shane Vereen at 5/6. He's only 5'9 and about 193 but he is a great kick returner and his workload as a running back increased a lot and he handled it. He's a breakaway threat and picked up tough yards when his team really needed it. He has a chance to be a very good NFL team with so many teams carrying multiple backs. I think he is going to have a bright future in the NFL.Army-Navy this weekend! Bowls start Dec. 18 so we'll have another chat before those games kick off. Lots to talk about next week! I look forward to it! Take care!