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 (1:01 PM)
We've got Mel!
Ryan (St Joseph MO)
Should Blaine Gabbert come back? If he does, where do they rank in the preseason?
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
He could be, depending on who comes out this year, the No. 1 QB in next year's draft. He could be the No. 1 overall pick, he has that kind of ability. He tends to leave the pocket early, which was noticable last night. He's got a rocket arm. Very quick release. Very good mobility. He'll put up big numbers. He'll have to adapt that to the NFL.
Tim (College Park)
If the draft happened tomorrow, where would you put Maryland's Torrey Smith? If he heard that number, do you think he'd leave or stay another year?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
With another year at Maryland, especially with a coaching change to an offensive minded coach, I would think he could be a first round caliber player next year, especially if a lot of these top juniors come out. He's been a major weapon in their passing game. He's also a good kick returner. If he came out this year, he'd probably be more of a 2-3 rounder.
Ryan (Medford, OR)
Mel, Now that the #1 pick is set, who could be the selection if Luck stays?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
If Luck desides to stay in school, Bowers would move into the No. 1 spot. The reason he elevated to the second spot on the Big Board is two years ago he had a lot of tackles for a loss. This year, he finished the plays by getting a lot of sacks. He's a terror off the edge.
Mel if you redraft the 2009 qb class who do you take first? Sanchez, Stafford, or Freeman???
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
You take Stafford first. The only thing holding him back right now is the injuries. He can move, he's tough. That team is developing a lot of talent around the QB. They have a young TE. They have a stud at WR. They have a young RB. If Stafford can stay on the field, which he's proven he can do in college. Sanchez has had his ups and downs. Josh Freeman has improved a lot, playing with rookies in Williams and Blount. That's a 4th round pick and an undrafted free agent.
who have been the best rookies?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
Suh has been the best. Suh, Pouncey is 2. Mike Williams, the WR 3. Bradford at 4. And No. 5, I would probably go there with TJ Ward, the safety from Oregon.
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
Other guys you would have to include right off the top 5, Gronkowski and Hernandez, the TEs from New England. Daryl Washington would be up there too.
Your thoughts on Oklahoma QB Landry Jones and his potential in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
He's still young and developing. He made some strides this year. He's only coming off his sophomore year. His accuracy is good, but it's unlike Bradford's. Though it's not fair to compare to Bradford, he had elite accuracy. But Jones is putting up some impressive numbers. He had one of the best freshman WR in the country to throw to in Kenny Stills. He has a chance to be an interesting prospect.
Mel, what should my beloved Raiders be looking to do in this upcoming drat?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
They have to decide what they're doing at QB. Are they moving forward with Campbell? They have a very good developing LT in Veldheer. Defensively, they added some nice pieces via the draft last year. They really did some nice things. Ford has made some strides, but another WR wouldn't hurt. They're set at RB. The QB is the issue. Another OL wouldn't hurt as well as a LB. They go three deep at safety.
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
They don't have a big time WR. It's a passing league where everything favors the aerial game and they don't have a big time WR. They don't have a passing game in a passing league.
No D McCourty on your top rooks? Pats rookie class has to be one of the best this year, no?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
McCourty would clearly be in the top 10 players from last year's draft overall. He's right up there with Gronkowski and Hernandez. When you bring in as many young players as they have into the program, you're set. They have another number of picks this year. The defense is a work in progress with a lot of young players.
Ryan (San Diego)
Chargers have 5 picks in the first 3 rounds. Where do they need to address? Besides special teams and stop fumbling
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
They have a lot of areas on defense that they have to address. Try to find the best defensive player on the board and go from there. If Mathews develops at RB, they're good there. Getting Vincent Jackson for a full season will help. But getting the best defensive player will help.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Mel, Happy New Year to you and your family! With the Vikings having a 6-10 or 7-9 record this year, I'm wondering if any of the top QB's (Newton, Mallett, Locker, perhaps Gabbert) may still be available when they pick in the first round of the draft. Your thoughts?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
That's a direction where they can go. Tavaris Jackson doesn't have a future with the organization. Will you put all of your eggs in the Joe Webb basket? Cam Newton might be there. Ryan Mallet. They need some youth at the DT spot and are desperate for help at the safety positions.
Pro Bowl analysis? Biggest snub/questionable selection?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
At this stage of the game, I've never been a fan of the Pro Bowl. It's never been on my radar.
do u think the jaguars reciver group is good enough or should they draft one
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
I think you could look to draft one. Not early. I think you can get some receivers in this draft that can help. There will be some 2-3 round options. Greg Little, Vincent Brown, Shorts, Pettis. That will be a position that you can wait and get one. Matt Szczur, Dane Sanzenbacher, Jerrel Jernigan are others that are interesting.
Where do expect Blackmon to be drafted. He's a beast and would look great in a Pats uniform.
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
We don't know if he's coming out. He's a third-year sophomore. Right now he's No. 15 on the Big Board. He would be the second or third WR drafted, with AJ Green being the first with Julio Jones and Blackmon battling for the second WR to come off the board.
What do you think of this Maryland bowl this afternoon? Any prospects?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
East Carolina is one of the worst defensive teams that you'll ever see. They're just a terrible defensive football team. They allowed 42 or more points in their last five games. Earlier in the year, they gave up 42 or more in 4 of their first 5 games. This is a horrendous defensive football team. They do have one great offensive player in Dwayne Harris. Former high school QB and became the school's receiving yards leader earlier this year. He'll be a little inconsistent at times, needs to eliminate some of those drops. East Carolina can score also. This will be a challenge to Maryland's defense. Great chance to see Torrey Smith. O'Brien is a developing QB. Maryland should be able to score points at will. This is one of those games that you could be looking at a 55-45 final. I think Maryland wins, they want to send Friedgen off as a winner. His problem has been that he didn't recruit well enough.
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
It's a nice sunny, warmer day. The temps will be nice for this game. It should be an opportunity for Maryland to score 50 or more. I wouldn't be shocked. If Maryland doesn't score 40 or more, it will be a good day for East Carolina. I see points galor in this game.
I know everyone is going to point out the O Line and WR but when does Chicago start looking at adding youngsters to the D. They're not getting any younger.
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
You have to look at it and remember that last year, they didn't have a lot of picks. They only drafted 5 players last year. They got Webb in the 7th round. Wright and Wootton have contributed. From what they got, they got quality over quantity. Certainly the OL will be the focal point. There are some guys that will drop a little bit. Ijalana, OT; Jah Reid; David Mims at OT. There will be some guys. You don't need to use a first round pick on an OL to get a pretty good one.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Mel, how do you feel about the Wisconsin - TCU matchup in the Rose Bowl on New Year's Day? Does Wisconsin have a chance to end TCU's undefeated string?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
That's TCU's only opportunity this year to make a statement. They did not have one statement win all year. Unfortunately Boise State didn't get that chance. TCU has that opportunity. They claimed they weren't motivated for the bowl game last year. They should be highly motivated this year against a Wisconsin team where TCU goes in as a favorite. Wisconsin has the best left side of an OL in college. Can TCU's defense stand up to the pounding in the run game? That will be the key to this game. I think you'll see some points in this game.
What will help Lockers draft stock more? If he goes off on Nebraska, or his combine?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
You have to have a good game against Nebraska. He was terrible against them earlier in the year. He has to have a very good to solid game against the veteran talent laden Nebraska secondary. He's been in a downward spiral since the Nebraska game. Senior Bowl week is the next most important thing. He needs to get this bad senior year of his off the books. That starts with a great game against Nebraska. I'm not even worrying about the combine or workouts.
Jacob (West Lafayette, IN)
Mel where do you think Ryan Kerrigan will be drafted. And who is a good fit? Going to miss him here in West Lafayette!
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
He will be probably in the middle of the first round. He's a Chris Long type. He was an early first round pick. Kerrigan will be a middle first round pick. He'll bring some value.
Did the Colts reach too much for Jerry Hughes last year or is this a case of let him develope some physical strength in a pro offseason setting before passing judgement?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
Jerry Hughes is learning behind two great players. Everybody is not a rookie sensation. There are a lot of guys who will have phenomenal careers in the NFL that weren't great rookies. Some guys flame out after their roookie year. Be careful in putting too much stock in a rookie season.
Vincent R (California)
What was your take on Tebow's performance Sunday? I thought he played pretty well and his release looked better
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
I didn't see any difference in his release. They did a good job with him of putting him in a position where he could have some success. A lot of run after catch. He had the lofty catch because of the run after catch. They kept him in a comfort zone and they won the football game. We know he can run the ball. We know how competitive he is. It was great to see him get the victory. But it was against the Houston Texans, not a very good defensive team. But I give them credit for putting him in a position to make plays which gives him confidence and feeling good about himself.
Tony (Pt Jeff, NY)
At combines- the players take a test (Wunderlick??) -- are you a believer in what it measures OR is it just another piece of the player puzzle?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
It meant more years ago than it means now. Now there are other ways to determine if a player has the aptitude one way or another. When coordinators get them one on one, they can determine where they're at. It's not a big deal as I once thought it was. It's just a piece.
What is your take on Henne?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
Same as I thought coming out of Michigan. Wildy inconsistent. Makes bad decisions. Can throw the ball through a mountain. He has games where he looks like he can be the answer and others where you ask why did they take this guy. That's why I said at the time that they should have taken Matt Ryan.
JP (Columbus, OH)
Mel, do the 5 suspended Ohio State players project anywhere higher than 3rd round in the 2011 NFL Draft? I could see them leaving to avoid sitting 5 games, but I don't see any of them being drafted that highly.
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
Pryor will end up being a TE in the NFL, I think. You draft him as a position change in the 4-5 round. Adams, I thought he lacked consistency at OT. He has a lot of talent. Posey, Harron, the same thing. Harron will be a good No. 2 back in the NFL. Every one of these guys could use another year at OSU.
PT (Franklin, NC)
Do you think Jason Campbell could develop into a solid QB given several years to work with Hue Jackson, who has a history of working well with QBs?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
I like Hue. He's an outstanding football coach. They didn't have a go-to WR and they did some nice things. I like the way they worked in Bush. They used McFadden. What Campbell's always lacked is continuity in a system. It's hard to judge him until he's gotten more continuity. I would like to see better body language. A little more fire. More energy. If he can tweak that, he can throw the ball.
seeing how bad seattle is(again) what are their needs?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
They have to get a QB. A great option for them if they're interested in it is Jimmy Clausen. Seattle and Pete Carroll had a high opinion of him coming out of Notre Dame. They were prepared to pick him at No. 14 if Thomas wasn't there. Maybe you can trade a 3rd round pick for Clausen. They have a developing star, comeback player of the year in Mike Williams. They have some holes that they have to fill. They have issues on both sides of the ball. Charlie Whitehurst is there now, but they have some holes.
What do you project for Noel Devine at the pro level? 3rd down back?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
Yeah, he will be one of the guys in the stable. He's a situational change of pace. He's been considered one of the team leaders. Good blocker for his size. He could be a fourth round type of guys that helps your team.
Watching my Lions finally making some strides towards respectability--who in the draft helps them get closer to the playoffs? I like Von Miller for them.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
I think Miller would help them, but there is no top flight CB on this roster. Amukamara or Petterson would be nice additions at the CB spot. That's their No. 1 need.
Which college QB best fits whatever system Mike and Kyle Shanahan are trying to run????
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
Shanahan had a high opinion of Jake Locker last year. If you loved him last year, do you like him enough to take him this year. Ryan Mallet would have the ability that Shanahan would like.
Craig (Braintree, MA)
I agree the Vikings have been lacking at Safety, but they ought to consider Pouncey.
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
Yes, the biggest need is safety. That and QB. Then you would say the right side of the OL and then DT. As far as safeties are concerned Rahim Moore from UCLA is the top rated safety.
Do you think Tony Sparano deserves to get fired?
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
I think he's in question because of the fact that they don't have the QB to be successful on a game to game basis. If they had drafted Matt Ryan, it might be a different situation. Jimmy's and Joe's override the X's and O's. You need the talent first. You can't win with a great LT if the QB isn't great, but you can win with a great QB and average LT.
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
They got nothing from their first and fourth round picks this year. That hurts. For whatever reason, also, whenever you have an inconsistent QB this can happen, they've been unable to win at home. They're 1-7 at home. Their only win was against Tennessee.
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
They had the game on Oct. 24 against the Steelers that was stolen away from them and they would have been 4-2, going to Cincinnati, which they won and would have been 5-2. That Pittsburgh game was pivotal in their season, even with the inconsistency at QB.
Corey (Redmond, OR)
NFL MVP Brady or Vick?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
I'd say Brady. He's been the difference. When Moss left the team, they've been given the ball to all these different WRs. They don't have the elite RB, issues on the OL, rookie TEs, Welker coming off the injury, a young inconsistent defense and the team is 13-2. Are you kidding me? You have a defense with some issues and still have that status. Vick has had a great year, but I have to go with Brady. You have to go with Brady.
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
I wish everyone a Happy New Year. Safe and prosperous new year. On Jan. 5, we will still have five bowl games left. We'll already have had the Stanford-VT game to see how Luck and Taylor faired. That's the game I'm looking forward to the most. And look ahead to the first week in the NFL playoffs. It looks like we'll have some road teams with some chances to win.