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!
Mark (Toronto, Ontario)
What are the chances that Mike Pouncey is still there at the end of the first for the Steelers to reunite him with his brother? If not, do they try and move up to get him?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
There's a chance. I project him going 19 to the Giants. His brother went 18 to the Steelers and he had a better grade then Mike. But the draft is different this year. Mike will be looked at as a guard rather than a center. As for the Steelers, they need a tackle.
Jamie (Rochester, NY)
Mel, do you think Buffalo goes best available at 3? Fairley would be an awesome fit but he should be gone. Could it be Green?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
I think they have to take the best available player, but also a position of need. They could use another DL, that's why I think Dareus could be a guy they think about. They need OT and OLB, but it's a little early for those types of players. It's a little early for Von Miller. Dareus would fit the mold of what they're looking for.
Dom (bay area)
Whats your take on Andy Dalton? Can he start in a west coast offense for the niners? what round do you see him in?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
Yes, he could. He's a proven winner. He's an oustanding game manager. He's tremendously smart. He added about 35 pounds to his frame over the last few years. Accurate. He made some throws down the field that were accurate. He's a second or third rounder.
Tom (Halifax, VA)
Do you see any team interested in a top 5 pick? Always hear fans of the bad teams say trade the pick, hardly ever see it happen. Without a top QB is there anyone worth trading into the top 5 to take?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
New England, there's a lot of talk about them moving up. They have 7 picks in the first four rounds, they could move up to try to get Green or Jones at WR. Amukamara, someone could move up to get him, if he slides to the 9 range. You always have a lot of movement between 8-20. That seems to be the general area that teams are looking to move up or down.
Mel, Where do you see Justin Houston going this year in the Draft and to what team?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
I have him going 24 to New Orleans, but could also seem him going 21, 28 to New England, 27. There is a lot of possibilities as a 3-4 OLB or 4-3 DE.
It seems like the Browns biggest needs will be WR and DE (due to their switching to a 4-3 under Jauron). Any chance either A.J. Green or Da'Quan Bowers falls out of the top 5?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
I think Green could, but I don't see Bowers getting to 6. I think it will be Quinn or Green for Cleveland.
Mel I know your probably thinking Eagles need to take OL first in draft, as we all saw Vick running for his life. But what other needs do you think the Eagles need to cover? Who ya got them taking first?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
OT are key. CB, DT, S. Right now, Gabe Carimi would be an obvious pick there. He'd be the guy I look at.
gary (huntington wv)
if you could start a frichase in the NFL who would you start big ben or a-rod?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
If you could start your team right now, you go with Rodgers. But to underestimate what Ben has done in the postseason is ridiculous. He's the most underrated superstar in the league in years. Look at what he's done. Rodgers, my scouting report was that very few of his passes hit the ground at Cal. You'd probably go with Rodgers, but I've always been a Roethlisberger fan.
How's Christian Ponder looking in Mobile? What's his draft ceiling?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
He had the injury plagued season at FSU. He didn't have the numbers this year that you would have hoped. But he has tremendous smarts. Good accuracy. Good athlete. I thought he was a poor man's Chad Pennington early in the year, but now I'm thinking 4-5 rounder. He has a very average arm, but he has the smarts, the mobility. He is an underrated athlete. He has a chance to be a starting QB later down the road.
Was Cutler's body language a problem in college?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
Yeah, I had a lot to say about Jay Cutler, in that he needed to pick it up, in terms of the intangibles. Being a great leader, a great winner. He never took his team to a bowl game at Vanderbilt. He wasn't the consummate winner. He wasn't the vocal team leader. The body language thing wasn't as big in college. I think it's gotten worse in the NFL. As a QB, he was a little inconsistent. He wasn't a guy that I thought was as consistent as he needed to be. His mechanics were sloppy at times. I had some questions about him coming out, but I still thought he had a lot of talent and upside. Mike Shanahan really maximized his ability. That was a good match.
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
How can you cut ties with a coach when he put the QB on the brink of being very very good? I thought it was a big mistake to get rid of Shanahan in the development of Cutler.
Mel, I understand why Amukamura chose not to play in the Senior Bowl, but if you're an NFL team doesn't it concern you that he's not jumping at the bit to compete against the best??
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
You have a lot of film evaluation against these kids. When you're at the Senior Bowl, you're in a very different environment. It's not automatic that you go down there and improve your stock. He's going to be a top 10 pick and no one's going to care that he wasn't there.
Mel - Who do you think the Broncos should target with their first 3 picks? Is Peterson to high for a CB at #2?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
No, it's not. Their defense is awful. DL, CB, LB, S, every position on defense, they need help. They have to draft defense early and often. I'd make 70% of my picks defense. They could use a pass catching TE, but outside of that, every need you have is defense.
Ryan (New Mexico)
Does Paea's injury(or reported injury) hurt him? Thanks
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
It depends. It depends on when he'll be able to come back from his injury. If he can come back before training camp, it will have less of a bearing. I had him at 21, but now it's probably 2-3 round, depending on how the injury is viewed by the medical staff.
Mel, you said earlier you had the Giants taking Mike Pouncey at 19. Say that happen, the Giants still obviously need to upgrade at the tackle position. Beyond the first round, are there any tackles that impress you?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
There are some good OTs that you can get down the line a bit. Those guys would be: Derrek Sherrod; Ben Ijalana; Chris Hairston; Jah Reid.
Hearing Titus Young looks awesome down at the Senior Bowl. Would he be a good fit for the Ravens as a deep threat with their aging receiving corps?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
He's been a little up and down at the Senior Bowl. He has great speed. Great vertical option. He has that burst. He does a real good job tracking the deep ball. The comparisons to DeSean Jackson are overstated. He's worthy of being in the 2-3 round mix.
James (Las Vegas)
Mel, what is the Packers no. 1 need in the draft
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
I would say right now OT. They drafted Bulaga last year, but they could still need another. 3-4 DE, OG are other needs.
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
It would have been RB, if not for the late development of James Starks this year.
If Von Miller was available at 13 would Lions take him or Ayers?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
Ayers would probably be the guy. But I don't think Miller is there at 13. He's too impressive as an athlete. I see him being gone by 8.
As of now, what do you see the Vikings taking at #12? If QB, who do you feel best fits their team and who they are most likely to go after?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
QB is an issue. Do they go after a veteran? Are they able? The CBA has to be taken care of first. Maybe an Orton. Or a Kolb. Or McNabb. Palmer even. Vince Young is out there. They're a team that could look at Cam Newton. The other need would be OT, that's why I have them taking Nate Solder from Colorado.
Do you see the Jaguars targeting a quarterback in the first couple rounds?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
The Jaguars could. DE is their No. 1 need. The QBs that could be there are Jake Locker or Ryan Mallet dropping to 16.
Hey Mel, do see the Bears more comfortable going after a young cornerback, or a speedy coverage linebacker this offseason? It seems like all year passes were sailing over Urlacher and Briggs' heads, what should be the approach to stop this?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
I think the Bears are going to look at an OL, DT, CB and OLB. I could definitely see them looking at Aaron Williams or Harris at CB in the first round.
big m (st. louis, mo)
mel, do u see the ravens picking a MLB in this years draft?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
I would say CB and WR are really pressing needs. When you look at MLB, I think you can find some guys down the line a little bit. There's no one worth looking at at that point.
A follow-up on the Packers, you think Starks is the real deal? What were your thoughts on him prior to the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
I'll tell you exactly what I had on Starks. I gave him a fifth round grade and that he would have been a second round guy based on his ability, but dropped due to the shoulder injury. Great athlete, great versatility. His junior year, he averaged nearly 5 yards per carry and rushed for over 1,300 yards. He had 6 100+ yard games. 6-2, 215 with 4.5 speed. 3-year captain in high school as a QB.
Bengals chose to keep Lewis, for now. Do they then need to turn the page on this offensive core and start replacing them via the draft? i.e. Palmer, ochocinco, benson.
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
Palmer is a tough call. I think he's still a good QB. He needs some WR to help him out. It seems like he's never on the same page as his receivers. This team grab bags it. They have a mix of all kinds of different elements. They have to get the right chemistry. You kick Palmer to the curb, where do you go? How do you get better by getting rid of him? This team needs a DE, WR, RB, OLB. If Bowers is there, that would make a lot of sense. A Green would make a nice fit.
Eric (Truckee, Ca)
do you think Colin Kaepernick is worth a first three round pick?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
No. I think that's a little early. You're looking at a guy who's a gifted athlete. He's 6-5, 230, 4.5 speed. He's got a good arm, but he needs to tweak his mechanics. Right now, he's a thrower, not a pitcher. He's a developmental, long range prospect as a QB. When you get into the 4-5 round, you start to think about a Kaepernick. You think about some of those QBs that have gone in the 6-7 round, he could even go then.
matt (richmond va)
your mock draft has the redskins taking cam newton at 10, is there any chance they look at locker or mallett instead ?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
That's too early for Mallett and too early for Locker. The thing you have to highlight with Locker is that Shanahan was looking at, reportedly, Locker at 4 last year. If he still has the same opinion of him, we'll see. But Locker had a really unimpressive year. To be a top 15 pick in the draft as a QB, you have to be coming off a realy good year. He is a senior on a bowl team and still didn't look that good.
Mike (San Diego)
What would you say the biggest factor in changing someone's draft status between the end of the season and the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
The biggest factors are any injuries that were to happen. Any issues at the combine, either good or bad in your testing. Then, the individual workouts. The interview process is important. Any off the field issues can be a key factor in the evaluation process. We're over 3 months until the draft. We're at 3 months until the draft. A lot can happen between now and April 28.
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
That's like saying we're at the end of August and the draft is Thanksgiving.
What about Stefan Wisniewski? Where you project him to go? Early 2nd round? Late 2nd? Third?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
He has great bloodlines. That family, you think about what they did in the NFL. He's the son of a former tackle Leo and the nephew of perrenial guard Steve. He was a key guy for three straight years. He has good technique. He plays with fire, with determination. I think he deserves consideration in the 2-3 round.
Brian (Columbus, OH)
How much did the weigh in hurt Noel Devine? Everyone's known he was undersized for a while, not a big surprise right?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
He is what he is. He's a quick, darting, tough kid. He has a dedicated approach. He was considered one of WVU's leaders. But he's a change of pace, situational type back. He is what he is. For a guy his size, he was a very willing and capable blocker. He's a 4-5 round guy.
Davis (East Lansing, MI)
Where do you see Michigan State LB Greg Jones falling? Round 2?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
I'd say 3-4 round for Jones.
Eric Hagg played a hybrid position at Nebraska, part LB part CB part S...where does he project best at in the NFL and what round do you see him going?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
First of all, he's 6-2, 210. He was a ballhawk this year. He had 4 INTs. Very effective attacking the line. I think he could go 3-4 round. Early Day 3.
Mel, which 2011 rookie will have the greatest instant impact as a kick/punt returner in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
Patrick Peterson, if you want to use a CB in the return game. DeMarco Murray is an excellent returner. Jerrel Jernigan. Titus Young. Jeremy Kerley. Phillip Livas.
Who's the fastest riser on the board right now?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
Nate Solder, OT, Colorado would be the guy probably that's rising.
if jones isn't there who do the Rams pick at 14?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
I'd think about trading down and then looking at Torrey Smith from Maryland. They also need help at OLB, DT, OG.
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
They could look at Akeem Ayers if he's there as well.
Dane Sanzenbacher... Thoughts? Can the Senior Bowl help or hurt?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
He is what he is. We have a ton of game film on him. He's a hard working, gamer. He made a lot of tough catches. He'll block. He's just a gym rat. He'll always show up and never give you anything less than 100%. He's a 5-6 round guy and bring him in to get some good play out of him. He's very similar to Blair White.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
I had White as a 3-4 round pick and he went undrafted.
Ryan (San Diego)
How do you think a lack of a CBA will affect the way teams draft?
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
I don't think it has any impact on the draft preparations. You trade up and down as you need. You can't trade players for draft picks. It will impact your needs a little bit, because you won't be able to fill those needs via free agency before the draft. You'd be crossing out the needs before the draft.
How does Robert Sands move into the 2nd round?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
Workouts will be critical for all of these juniors. The thing about Sands is he's one of the biggest safeties you'll ever come across. He's an all around player. He'll pick off passes, break up passes. He can cover and help you in the box and make some tackles for a loss. He was a multi dimensional safety for WVU. He could easily be a second round pick. That's where I have him right now.
You think RB Ronnie Brown is done in Miami? If so where do they go from here in the RB department? Who will be interested in Brown?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
That's why I gave them Mark Ingram with my first round projection. They're going to restructure their stable of RBs. That's a good way to start anew, with Ingram.
What is the cowboys biggest need to address early in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
CB, without question. OT, S, OG. That's their top four needs.
Mel, as hard as it is to predict what the Pats will do in a draft, is this the year they finally "cash in" on all the picks they have acquired recently?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
They've cashed in every year. They had an outstanding draft last year. McCourty was one of the best rookies in the NFL. Hernandez and Gronkowski were some of the best rookies in the NFL. Spikes, Fletcher on defense. OLB, WR, DE, RB are their needs this year. They could move up to get AJ Green or Julio Jones.
Andy (Charlotte, NC)
What Hokies do you think are draftable this year? Is Rock Carmichael the best pro prospect? Any chance of Tyrod Taylor being drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
The top player would probably be Ryan Williams. Then Carmichael. Steven Friday is a Day 3 guy. Tyrod Taylor, maybe 4-5 round. Darren Evans, 4th round. Andre Smith, Day 3. Those are the main guys.
Mel, could you see Mikel LeShoure going to a place like New England? I think he'd be a beast there!
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
I have him going to New England at 28. He could be in their thought process. He's not the prospect that Mendenhall was. LeShoure is not in the top 25 right now, while Mendenhall was my 10th best player. LeShoure is a kid that put up numbers as a sophomore. But he's still worthy of being a late first rounder.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
We'll be back next Wednesday. We'll have more Super Bowl to talk.