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!
Mel in your opinion do you feel that the #1 pick would be too high to draft Peterson or any DB, even if their the best player in any draft?
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
There has never been one taken one overall. The highest has been No. 3. There has been a lot of high CB picks that have been successful. 7 of 8 taken top 5 overall have done well. They've had long careers and been success. I think if you can take one at 3, then why not No. 1? Would Deion Sanders, who went No. 5 in 1989, have been worthy of No. 1? Rod Woodson went 10 overall in 1987, would he be worth No. 1 overall?
The Charlotte Observer is reporting that the Panthers are going to take Newton at 1. Have you heard the same, and how does that effect the next few picks?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
He'll be in the discussion. Newton, Gabbert, Dareus, Fairley. They have DL needs. They have to assess Jimmy Clausen. Is he going into his second year as good or better than Newton or Gabbert in their rookie years? Is there a trade down possibility? If they're dangling QB names out there, why wouldn't Washington or SF or Cincinnati want to move up? It'll be a new CBA, so you're not talking Sam Bradford money here. This would be a year to jump down with no consensus No. 1.
Mel, If Miller and Peterson are there for the 49ers, who do they select?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
I don't think there's any chance of Miller being there. The lowest he gets is 5. If Peterson is there, you have to take him. If he's there at 7 as the best player in the draft, you have to pick him. CB is a need area for them.
Hi Mel, do you see the Jets taking a pass rushing OLB at 30 or do they go DE to help the aging line?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
They could go 3-4 DE like Cameron Hayward of Pitt. They could look at a OLB like Kerrigan. Rahim Moore at FS. Whether it's a 3-4 DE, OLB, S, I think they go defense. It would be surprising if they don't. That's where their needs are.
Mel, do you think guys like Jake Locker, Christian Ponder and Ryan Mallet have better NFL futures than Chad Henne? If so, shouldn't Miami grab one of them and build around them?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
Locker comes out with similar concerns as Henne. Henne never had the grade Locker did. But they both have accuracy and consistency issues. Locker is a much better athlete. He has tremendous mobility. He can be a real factor moving the football. The issue is that he doesn't seem tremendously instinctive. He's an enigma. You wish his completion percentage were higher and that he didn't have that disasterous game against Nebraska. But he's interesting. Ponder and Mallet are similar. Locker will have a higher grade than Henne and Ponder and Mallet will be right in line with Henne.
Will Cam Newton change his qb style in the NFL or stay a scrambler?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
I don't think he has to change at all. He has to learn how to take a snap from center, as most college QBs have to learn. The Auburn offense was simplistic. He's going to have a lot to digest with an NFL offense. He has a good delivery. Excellent arm. He has to be coached and transitioned into the NFL way of doing things. He needs 1-2 years to transition, but his athletic ability will help him stay out of trouble. But the one thing we all have to learn is how hard will he work. Once he gets that big contract, will he be the first one into the building and last to leave? We'll find out. If he is, you could hit a home run. If not, it's a strikeout. He's Dave Kingman. HR or strikeout.
I know everyone is in love with Gabbert, but that pick 6 he threw against Iowa in the bowl game was the worst pass in the history of football. That has to say something about his decision making....
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
Roethlisberger made horrible decisions against Iowa his senior year. Peyton Manning didn't beat Florida in four years. It was a bad throw, but that's college. His situation in college is no where near his situation in the NFL. That Missouri offense doesn't prepare you for the NFL. And he didn't have the weapons that Chase Daniel did. My concerns are that he threw a ton of short passes, he's not real instinctive in the pocket and he has a lot to learn about an NFL offense. He's not one of my top 10 players right now. I'm not as high on him as some people in the league are. I'm not as high on Newton as some people are.
Why the sudden drop in Bowers if he had a good pro day, and his injury issues seem to be minor?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
His knee injury is an issue. As late in the process that we are, it will have an impact. I have him No. 8 right now. He could have been as high as second overall. Any time you have an injury concern late in the draft process, it is an issue.
Because they dont have a first round pick there hasnt been alot of talk or coverage on the Raiders. So what are you hearing about thier plans for this draft? Possible for them to trade back into first if a player falls they like? If not who are they looking or hoping for with their first pick in rd 2?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
Their needs are very defined. They have to figure out what they're doing in the secondary. They have some free agents on the OL. They have to deal with Michael Bush. They have some work to do with getting guys re-signed. They could use another WR. CB will be a need of Nnamdi leaves and they could use an OLB. It depends upon on how many hits they take once we define free agency.
Matt(Chicago) [via mobile]
What do you think about Greg little for the bears 2nd or 3rd, fills a need and a high upside guy
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
Little has a huge upside. The problem is he didn't play this year and is coming off a year of inactivity. I thought he showed second round ability in his college career. One of the toughest WR you'll find. Tough kid, former RB. At the combine, he was 6-2, 230. He did 27 reps, making him the strongest WR. He ran a 4.54, 40.5 vertical. His size/speed/strength ratio could make an argument that he's the most impressive WR in the draft. I think he goes in the second round.
If the Vikes pass on a QB in round one, do you feel that they would have to trade ahead other teams in round 2 in order to get the QB that they want (i.e. Locker, Mallet), considering most teams in front of them will likely be getting a QB in either the 1st or 2nd round? PS - I love the offseason Mel books! Thanks
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
They could be a team looking to move up. I think Andy Dalton would be a good fit there. I think he goes between 32-45. He would be a good fit. Playing indoors will help him.
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
He has a lot of ability. Brings a lot to the table.
If the Browns have to target a receiver outside of Round 1, who would you see them looking at? Titus Young?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
Young's a second round pick. I mentioned Little. Guys in the Day 2 mix: Jon Baldwin, Pitt; Randall Cobb, Kentucky; Tandon Doss, Indiana; Edmund Gates, Abilene Christian; Leonard Hankerson, Miami; Jerrel Jernigan, Troy; Torrey Smith, Maryland.
Out of all the lineman that could be available when the Colts pick how did you come to decide they would draft the kid from BC
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
Costanzo is the LT that they need. He did a very solid job. I thought he came around about midseason and played great football. He's 6-7, 310. He did 28 reps at the combine. Good athlete. He's a very solid, steady player. He could come right in and start. This window for the Colts is closing. They need someone to come in and protect that Manning blindside. Nate Solder from Colorado is a diamond in the rough. Gabe Carimi is a RT, not LT. And there's no guarantee that Costazno is there for the Colts.
Do you think the Lion would take Prince Amukama if he is still available or do they need other needs?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
If he's there, it would be almost a no-brainer. That's their biggest need. I don't think he will be. I think he goes No. 9 to Dallas. If he isn't there, there's no other CB to take at that point.
Garrett (West Virginia)
With Carson Palmer's imminent departure from the Bengals, should they draft a QB with their first round pick? And if so, which one?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
I think they should. They could wait until the second round, because there will be some intriguing prospects there. I think they could also take Green at WR. If Newton or Gabbert are there, I think they go with a QB.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Jimmy Smith has some impressive measureables, but issues. Is he worth the risk in the middle of the 1st?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
He's a top 15 guy on talent. He's a CB with a lot of ability and a lot of physical talent. He's 6-2, 210, had a 36 vertical and ran a 4.43. Very experienced player. If he's there for Baltimore, he would have to be a guy to look at. Teams at 20-32 would have to look at him.
Haile Whitworth (Durham NC)
Do you think Marvin Austin falls to the third round?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
He did well at the all-star game. At the combine, he did a pretty good job. He was 6-1, 309, 38 reps, 4.84 and 30.5 vertical. Across the board, he was outstanding. I don't think at UNC he played up to his talent. He needed to finish more. He needed more impact plays behind the line of scrimmage. But he didn't play and couldn't show it. He was never like Suh or Fairley, creating havoc. He's second round most likely, at worst the third round. Had he played this year and played better than previous seasons, he could easily have been a first round pick.
Andrew (Memphis, TN)
I wanted to know your thoughts on the lockout? How big of a blow is it going to be towards the NFL brand/name, and could we see another football league start up if this drags on?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
I don't really concern myself with it, because I'm focused on the draft. Fortunately we'll have a draft. I have no say in what's going on. This is the second season. It's a shame that we don't have players moving teams with free agency. Teams can't figure out how to attack the draft. No trades being made. You can't trade a player for draft picks. It's a shame that will impact the draft. It will also impact, depending on when we do get an agreement, how much the rookies will help your team. The rookies we had last year was remarkable. Detroit with Suh and the job he did. Would Green Bay have been in the Super Bowl without James Starks late in the year? And Bryan Bulaga? Pittsburgh wouldn't have won in the playoffs without Antonio Brown or Pouncey. KC wouldn't have been a playoff team without Moeaki and Berry. New England wouldn't have been 14-2 without their great draft class. Oakland had a tremendous impact with their draft. St. Louis, not only with Bradford, but would he have been as successful without OT Rodger Saffold? LeGarrette Blount, an undrafted free agent with Tampa. Blair White, undrafted free agent with Indy.
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
For the rookies to have an impact, you need an agreement by June. Those camps and OTAs after the draft are big for the rookies.
With the current situation in the NFL, and teams not being able to sign undrafted free agents, do you see teams trading back in the bottom half of the draft to draft more players that they would normally sign as undrafted free agents?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
I don't think so. It's hard to move around with that thought in mind. You don't want to force things. Some teams attack undrafted free agents differently. Houston didn't sign any last year. Oakland signed three. Dallas signed 17. Miami only signed 5. San Diego signed 17. Some teams go heavy with it and some teams go very little. It kind of varies from team to team when you get to the late rounds. Hopefully by April we have an agreement. It's not just going to be the undrafted free agents. Getting a kid in the seventh round will be no different than an undrafted free agent. You still won't have him in the OTAs and mini camps. They're all in the same boat.
phil (san deigo)
What do you see the Chargers doing at 18?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
I think they could go one of two ways. They could go 3-4 DE, RT. Do they take Cameron Jordan or a Tyron Smith or a Gabe Carimi?
SteveFitz (Chicago, IL)
Since you're focused on the draft, what are your thoughts on the NFLPA reportedly telling top draft picks to stay away on draft day? This is arguably the biggest and most fulfilling day of their lives, maybe even more than their first NFL game. Thoughts?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
I don't like it. You have one opportunity to go through the draft process in your life. To deprive these kids of having their day in the sun and have those memories that will last a life time is just not fair. They can't go back and recreate this. You can't recreate draft day. I think it would be unfortunate to deprive them of it. What are you proving by that? These kids will have no impact on if the deal is done in April or January. You're hurting the kids, not the draft process. You're not hurting the TV ratings. It's their time to shine.
Mel, what do you think of the NFL career of Wilkerson?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
I like him a lot. Right now, I have him right near my top 10 overall. He could go as high as pick 8 to Tennessee. That wouldn't shock me. He could go 14 to St. Louis, 17 to New England, 18 to San Diego, 23 to Philadelphia, 24 to New Orleans. He's a fast rising prospect. He has production. There was only one DT who had more sacks over the last two years. He gives you versatility. He is 6-4, 315, 17 reps, 4.97. DL coaches are just tremendously high on him. When you hear DL coaches raving about a player in mid-March, that means he's going high. I'm giving you a warning. He's my No. 10 player on my Big Board. He's my 5th highest rated DL. I have 5 DL in the top 10 and 9 in the top 16.
JC (Atlanta, GA)
Mel, could KC take Phil Taylor? It seems like a dominate NT would help the entire defense.
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
That's one of the positional need areas for them. At 21, that could be early for him. The two top NTs are Stephen Paea and Taylor. The difference is that Taylor is the occupier, stay at home NT. Paea is a penetrating, up the field NT. It depends on what type of NT you're looking for. The first projection I did this season, I had Paea going to KC at 21. But now I have them both in the second round.
Will (New Orleans/LA)
Mel what do you think are the Saints' most pressing needs this offseason? and to what extent do you think they can address them through the draft? they only have five picks
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
The biggest needs are they could use a DE or DT. Helping that DL. Getting Smith and Ellis some help. Also, OLB, they don't get big plays from them. They could also use an OT.
Hey Mel! What round does Colin McCarthy of Miami go? He's 6-2, 240, ran a 4.64 forty.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
He had some very good measurables. Good athlete. Instinctive. Very good tackler. He's a guy that deserves to be the second ILB to come off the board, behind Martez. He was 6-1.5, 238, 23 reps, 36.5 vertical ran in the mid-4.6's. I think he could go as high as the third round. Solidly on Day 2.
Hey Mel, Should pats trade up for Quinn? Belichick with another UNClinebacker could be scary!
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
They could. If you think he can play on his feet. In their scenario, pass drops aren't as critical for their LBs on the outside. They would be a team that would look at Quinn, but they would have to move up. That's a big need area for New England, OLB. In addition to WR, 3-4 DE, RB. And the OL now.
Chuck (Evington, VA)
There is one WR I really like who is not getting much acclaim, but who I think could be a late round or free agent steal...Kris Adams of UTEP. What do you think of him?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
I had him down the line a little bit. Good size, 6-2, 195. He has the size you're looking for. He runs in the 4.4's. He has some talent. I think he has a chance. With his measurables and a guy who had some strong performances, I could see him in the 6-7 round area.
Do you Aaron Williams has a CB or a S in the NFL? Do you think he could be the Steelers pick at 31?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
They could be. That's the decision that the DB coaches are going to have to make. Texas finished 5-7 and he didn't have a great year. He has good size. Strong kid. Good athlete. Only ran in the mid-4.5 range at the combine. You want to see him running in the 4.4.I think he deserves consideration in the late first, early second. I think that he's the third or fourth best CB in the draft. He's a little risky if you put him up there too high. He's a late 1, early 2. He's an outstanding tackler. Tough kid. Aggressive.
What do you think of Stanley Havili? Will he have to move out of the backfield?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
He's one of those small fullback types. You can move him around. He can run with the football. He's a big back. He won't be a great lead blocker. He's not a throw back. He's not the one dimensional lead blocker. He can catch the ball. He's 6-0, 230. Good quickness. He has some ability.
Why no one talking about Demarco Murray considering his successful college carrer? It's not like he is too small for the nfl like Noel Devine..
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
The thing with Murray is that I think he ran harder this year. He took it right at the defense more than he had. He was more of north-south than east-west this year. He kept the chains moving better. He can catch the ball down the field, which can help you. He won't run between the tackles and break tackles. He will run outside well. He ran in the 4.4 range. He has good upper body strength. He can help you in the passing game. He deserves third round consideration.
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
We have pro days coming up. We'll be updating everything accordingly. Hopefully the labor situation gets better moving forward.