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're getting Mel!
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
The combine is over and now we can look forward to the pro days. The draft process is sneaking up on us. It's getting exciting as we move forward.
Did J.J. Watt's performance surprise you? Did his stock go up?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
It went up a little bit. It was already pretty high. I had him going in this week at No. 12, and now he's at No. 11. He's situated perfectly. He won't be a sack artist -- like 5-6 per season. But he's a tireless worker. He never gives up on a play. His tape is impressive. I still think he can be a top 10 pick in the first round.
Mel, UNC had 12 guys at the combine. Give me the down and dirty on your thoughts on them.
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
In terms of Robert Quinn, he didn't have the 40 that some anticipated. But he's got freakish talent. He turns that corner exceptionally well off the edge. But he didn't play this year. Instead of being No. 1 or 2, he's No. 12. After Quinn, then you get a bunch of guys who are vying for the next spot. Little needs to run better at his pro day. Austin dropped from a potential first rounder to third rounder. There are a lot of prospects coming out of that schoool. Johnny White is intriguing.
Hi Mel,Is Mallett the second coming of Ryan Leaf in your opinion?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
It's interesting with Mallett. Some have made that comparison. They've got similar size. The intangible issue is something that Mallett needs to show. The physical ability of Mallett is unquestioned. He improved his completion percentage dramatically. He makes 2-3 throws every game that leave you in awe. He has rare ability. The issue with him is he has made some bad decisions. He locks on with his throws because he tries to force things. If you can coach him properly and intangibles aren't an issue, then I think he's deserving of first round consideration. I think Seattle might consider him at No. 25.
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
Carolina, Buffalo, Cincinnati, Arizona, San Francisco, Tennessee, Washington, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Seattle are all teams that could look at a QB. Arizona, I think might try the veteran route, like McNabb or Kolb. Locker and Mallett are both probably second round guys. Locker has gained some momentum since he threw well at the combine.
Any chance Prince passes Patrick as the first CB picked?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
The problem with Amukamara having a great combine is that Peterson did too. Peterson has unbelievable ball skills. He's No. 1 on my Big Board now. He's a big guy at 6-0, 219. He doesn't have any issue matching up with big receivers. Great return man. Has a chance to be a good cover corner. He's one of the best athletes in the draft. Amukamara ran great, but I don't think he passes Peterson. Peterson ran a 4.34 40.
Hi Mel, what is your opinion on Andy Dalton?? can the dolphins pick him??
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
The Dolphins have Chad Henne. They have to make a decision on him. Dalton will look better once he's in a system that he's comfortable with. He's not going to be a guy that wows you. He has a great huddle presence. Extremely intelligent. He won't wow you over in workouts, but within an offense, he could be a 2-3 round guy that has a chance to be an effective starting QB.
Adam (East Lansing, MI)
Any chance Prince Amukamara or Patrick Peterson are available at #13 for the Lions?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
I would doubt it. No way for Peterson. And after the combine, no way for Amukamara. They could reach for a CB at 13 like with Jimmy Smith. He's 20 on my Big Board. There is no other CB to consider there, other than Aaron Williams, but he's at 26. If you're picking at 13, you need to get someone on your top 10 list. Two position they need help at are CB and OT but I don't see a guy there that could help them there. I think they could trade down. Around the 13th pick is the hot spot in the draft for some trades.
I'm watching the combine and I don't understand why Todman is not ranked higher. Runs hard, fast, quick, etc. Could he be a great 2/3rd round sleeper?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
I like Todman. I've liked him all along. He has that ability to return kicks. Very good kickoff returner. Certainly a guy that can break the long gainer. He can bust the 60-70 yard run. His workload increased tremendously in 2010 and averaged 150 yards a game. He's a talent and a game breaker. In this era of a stable of running backs, you can use a guy like Todman effectively. I think he's a 2-3 round guy.
Who do you think is a good pick for the Bears in the first round?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
You think about their needs and I think they need to get an OT or OG. They need to help the OL and find a way to get Jay Cutler upright. You could be looking at OT where they're picking. A guy who's under the radar is Derek Sherrod. He has a chance to be a heckuva LT. He's been a three year starter. I like him. He's that sleeper that no one is putting in the late first round and probably should.
Mel julio jones slip to n england?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
I don't think so. I know he has the foot injury. Durability is the issue. But his workout was freakish in terms of the numbers. Plays with suddenness in and out of his cuts. I still think he goes to Houston or St. Louis at 14. He's clearly the No. 2 WR in this draft and there are some scouts that I've spoken to that think he's the best WR in the draft. No chance of him being there at No. 17 for New England.
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
Last year, late in the first round, Dallas jumped ahead of Baltimore to get Dez Bryant. I could see that scenario unfolding this year with New England jumping up, maybe to 13 to get Jones.
Mel, what do you think the Packers will do with their first pick?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
I think they have to go one of three positions: OT, OLB, DE. They also need a kick returner. Where they're picking, maybe Justin Houston, OLB, Georgia; Ben Ijalana, OT, Villanova. Those are a couple of options for them.
whose stock went up the most and whose dropped the most after the combine?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
Good question. Stock up the most since the combine, I would say Blaine Gabbert, Jake Locker, Christian Ponder, Jordan Todman, Shane Vereen, Edmund Gates, Denarius Moore, Ryan Bartholomew, JJ Watt, Cameron Jordan, Ryan Kerrigan, Christian Ballard, Muhammad Wilkerson, Scott Lutrus, Von Miller, Patrick Peterson, Prince Amukamara.
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
Stocks that dropped: Cam Newton, Ricky Stanzi, Mikel Leshoure, Vincent Brown, Lance Kendricks, Jeremy Beal, Akeem Ayers, Ahmad Black.
Mel, what are your thoughts on Jon Baldwin and Ras-I Dowling after the combine?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
Baldwin is a big, talented football player. Huge, good athlete. Imposing size. The biggest reciever you're ever come across. Great yards per catch average. Showed big play ability with the matchup problems he causes. He could be a second round guy.
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
Dowling, it's a shame with him. He entered the year in my top 25 overall, but he missed the majority of the season with injuries and then he pulled muscle in his 40. You get him back to full strength, he could be a steal in the third round.
Mel, he wasn't in the stock up or stock down list but thoughts on Colin Kaepernick after the combine?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
He is what he is. He's a talented kid with a lot of athletic ability. He needs to work on the tweek on his mechanics. He's a quality developmental prospect. He needs to be brought along slowly. He's not a pure passer. Right now he's more of a thrower than a pitcher.
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
He's in that second to third round mix.
Don't think I've ever seen a prospect do as bad in drills as Robert Sands. Looks completely out of position. Could he be resurrected as a pass rushing LB or something else? Surprised he wasn't on your stock down list.
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
He's going to be a safety. Pro days are coming up. They'll improve. I thought his tape was good overall. He got behind the line and made tackles. He had some INTs. I think he has a future as an in the box safety. I wouldn't put too much into his combine workout. The safety position is as weak as it's ever been.
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
Rahim Moore is the top safety this year and he's more of a second round pick. After that, there's drop off.
Steve (Bangor, PA)
Mel, did you see any signs that Vernon Gholston would be a bust? How does he beat Jake Long one on one in college yet he can't make a play in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
You think about when he came out, he was one of the workout warriors. But he had some good years at Ohio State. You have to hope that he'll develop. If you can't develop with Rex Ryan, you'd think that you'd get a pass rush under him, so it's hard to think of anyone else doing it. He'll get another chance, because he has the talent.
Mel in your opinion which top 15 team would be a good spot for Cam Newton to go to, where he could get some quality tutoring & have time to learn before he plays?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
Buffalo would be the ideal spot, but I keep hearing that Buffalo is going in a different direction. Washington could bring him a long a little slower, with Grossman there. Tennessee could bring him along. San Francisco. If he went to Carolina, he'd have Clausen there to compete with. Minnesota could trade up to get him.
Hey Mel. Where do you think Brandon Harris comes off of the board? It looked to me like a had an excellent combine.
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
To me, he didn't perform the way I thought he would this year. He had a great sophomore year, but his year he was a little underwhelming in the games I looked at on tape. I thought he was beaten some this year. I think he was a second round pick. Going into the year, I thought he could be a surefire first rounder.
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
I could see him going in the late first. I see him as late first, early second round guy.
How was Adriam Clayburns combine?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
He's a good football player. When you watch the kid, even though he didn't have a great year, not as dominant as he was in 2009, he has the power in his pass rush. Very good ball location. Plays hard all of the time. The issue will be with the arm situation.
Dave (San Diego)
Chargers?? What direction do they go in round one?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
I think they could take an OT like Tyron Smith if he's still on the board. They could also look at a WR. Cameron Jordan. Corey Liuget. Muhammad Wilkerson. OT, WR, DE are their three need areas.
If Robert Quinn slides to Dallas at #9, should they take him or try to fill a need like OL / DL?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
I think the OL and CB are pressing needs. I don't think Quinn will be there. I think he goes a little earlier. I had him going later than Dallas in the last projection. But now, I think he moves up. If he's there, he deserves consideration, but they have more pressing needs.
Gary (Los Feliz)
Mel, C. Jordan or M. Dareus? Which player will demand more double teams?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
I think Dareus is the better player right now. He has great power in his pass rush. He's huge right now, 317 pounds. When you watch him play, he can give his team flexibility. He can be a 3-4 DE. You can kick him into DT. He can be a perfect 4-3 DT. He can beat you with power and quickness. Talented. he had to sit out the first two games of the season and then he was hampered by the ankle injury. He gives you scheme versatility. He's the fourth best player in this draft.
Mel, where did you have CB Buster Skrine coming off the board before the combine? Where do you have him post-combine?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
His time wasn't quite as fast as they originally thought. It was more in the 4.4 range than the 4.2. He's from the lower level of competition. He broke up 8 passes had one pick. The other teams stayed away from him. He had 39 tackles, so he wasn't afraid to throw his body around. Three kickoff returns for a 29 yard average. In 2009, he had two INTs. He's been a four-year starter basically. He was one of the captains of the team. He's a pretty strong kid. Good leaping ability. He's the kind of guy that you could look at in the 4-5 round area.
How is Ryan Williams looking? Any chance he slides into the first round?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
Williams, when you look at him, he's not a guy that will show tremendous speed in a workout. He is a compact guy. Runs with power. He showed pure running skills. Had 21 rushing TDs as a redshirt freshman, the most in ACC history at the time. He's probably going to get serious second round consideration. I think Mark Ingram is the only RB that goes in the first round.
Pete (Chicago )
Wht about Martez Wilson? Did he impress anyone?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
He had a great workout. He's a tremendously talented kid. Great athletic ability. I thought this year he started to really come on. He was one of the most highly sought after players coming out of high school. He played OLB and only had 5 sacks his first two years. I thought he was more hype than substance. They moved him to ILB, but then he only played one game after injury. This year, he became an unbelievable player. He can rush the passer. He has a burst. Excellent size. Clearly the best ILB in the draft. He's a solid second round pick.
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
With talent like his, it wouldn't shock me if he got late first round consideration. It's a down year for ILB. It's Wilson and then everybody else. So, it makes him that much more valuable.
Who is the non-AQs biggest higher round dark horse?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
Let's go non-I-A player. If I had to go with one guy, I'd probably go ... Edmund Gates, WR, Abilene Christian. With the way he improved with the football. Johnny Knox came out of the same program a few years ago. I think he could be a 3-4 round pick. Ben Ijalana from Villanova is another one.
Isn't the combine slightly overrated. Joe Haden bombed his 40 at the combine last year but the Browns still took him at 7 and he had a very good rookie year...
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
If you're a good football player, you're a good football player. And you have to come back at your pro day. Haden ran in the 4.5 range, so it was terrible, but he came back at his pro day. The ones that have to run better, Akeem Ayers, he'll do much better at his pro day. Jeremy Beal, the DE from Oklahoma, he'll do better. Leshoure, Black have to run better. Pro days are a way to make amends if you don't do as well as you wanted at the combine.
Mel Kiper (2:01 PM)
We'll have to see about this whole CBA situation. My third first round projection of this year come out next Wednesday and it will be based on the combine workouts. It's my third of five.