Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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. On Saturdays from 8 a.m. to noon ET, Kiper co-hosts "Dari and Mel" with Dari Nowkhah. He also appears on ESPN Radio's College GameDay as well as SportsCenter and on ESPN.com.
Send your questions now and join Kiper Tuesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:00 PM)
We're getting Mel!
Mel Kiper (1:00 PM)
On to the questions!
Obviously a bit biased (and early) here, but why is Andrew Luck so much further ahead in the heisman watch than players like Russell Wilson and Montee Ball? It seems to me as if it's his to lose rather than anyone else's to win.
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
Luck is the consensus, by far, head and shoulders above any other prospect. It's not close. It's not close to the next player or QB. He's a more athletic Peyton Manning. That's why he'll be the No. 1 pick overall. That's why there is so much interest right now in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes. If you're Seattle, would you rather be 6-10 or 2-14 and gauranteed Andrew Luck? I think it would be a case where you sacrificed a year to get him. You wouldn't do it internally, but as a fan. Seattle. KC. Colts. Teams that could benefit from getting him. It's not automatic about being the No. 1 player in the draft that you'll win the Heisman. Manning didn't win the Heisman, Charles Woodson won it that year. Shayne Skov is Stanford's best defensive player and he's out for the year. That's a bad injury. The schedule's been easy. You look at games they could lose, 10/29 at USC, 11/12 v. Oregon, 11/26 v. Notre Dame. Those are three marquee matchups. In addition to their big rivalry game 11/19 v. Cal. I think they lose two games this year. If they lose two games, does that open it for Kellen Moore, if they remain undefeated? Lattimore. I had him as my preseason pick. Landry Jones. He made that one great throw on 3rd and 12 late in the game against FSU. Trent Richardson, he would be another one of Alabama has a great year. Russell Wilson, the schedule's been very easy for him so far. They have some tougher games coming up. There are some viable candidates. This is not an open and shut case.
Brett B (Denver, CO)
Hey Mel, I was watching the ND vs MSU game last weekend and the announcers said that CB Gary Gray of ND has a 3rd round dreft grade. They also mentioned that that was dependant on whether he can start finding the ball in the air better. Do you think he is that good? Even if he does fid the ball in the air better?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
He had a couple of bad plays against Michigan where he did not find the ball. Ball location skills were questionable. He's a very hard worker. Good open field tackler. He had a strong finish to the 2010 season. Good in run support. He could be a guy that I could see him on Day 3, 4-5 round area. Workouts will be important.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Landry Jones struggled once again on the road throwing multiple interceptions and appearing rattled for much of the game. Do you think he would be able to handle the pressure an LSU or Alabama would bring in the BCS title game.
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
On the road last year, he threw 13 TDs and had 8 INTs. In the game this past Saturday, he had 1 TD and 2 INTs. So he's now at 14-10 on the road. He had a little bit of trouble when he's under pressure. But he had his best throw of the game to Ryan Broyles on 3rd and 12. FSU had just tied the game. But he had his signature throw right then and OU later scored a TD. That allowed them to go on to win the game. The road hasn't been his friend. He's battling Matt Barkley for the No. 2 QB spot. Jones still has the game against Texas. And he has to play at OK State.
So where is Chris Rainey's stock now. I really don't see much of a difference between him and CJ Spiller in Buffalo
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
Rainey is an outstanding player. He has great versatility. In this day and age of Percy Harvin and Randall Cobb, Rainey is the kind of guy that can do a lot of things for you. He's quick out of the blocks. Very elusive. He can catch the football. Run the football. He's the second fastest player behind Demps. He has a lot of ability. Against Tennessee, he had an 83 yard reception for a TD. He also led them in rushing, with 108 yards. He also averaged 7 yards per punt return. My co-host of College Football Tonight, Freddie Coleman, has him as his Heisman guy. He'll be a valuable entity in this day and age of being a versatile guy. Rainey is 5-9, 180.
Chiefs fan here. With the way Cassell has performed (or not performed if you will), and the devastating injuries (Moeaki, Berry and Charles), what are the chances the Chiefs give up on this season and try to go for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes and try it again next year!?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
Nobody gives up on a season internally. No player gives up. These players on KC could care less about Andrew Luck. They're not thinking about two games in. These players on the team are playing to win every game. Coaches are coaching to win every game. Fans are the ones thinking about it, and why not? They lost Moeaki, Berry and your best offensive player in Charles. If you're KC, you're in a division with San Diego, who could run away with the division this year. Minnesota plays at KC on 10/2. Next week, KC plays at Indy. That's the Andrew Luck Bowl on Oct. 9. I don't see many games on the schedule that you can say KC will win. I see no more than four wins for KC. They'll be in the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.
Hey Mel, I remember you saying that the Jets drafting Mo Wilkerson could be the steal of the draft. After two games, whats you opinion on his play so far. What are your projections for him this season?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
He had a nice game Sunday. He could have very easily been a first round pick and no one would have argued about that. He filled a major area of need. He was an immediate first year starter. He had a sack, hit on the QB and a couple of tackles in that game Sunday against Jacksonville.
Everyone new Cam Newton has all the physical tools,but are you suprised by his poise at the NFL level?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
He always had great poise. He had great poise under pressure at Auburn. He had all of the distractions surrounding him and he still performed. He brought them back in several games. He showed tremendous poise in leading them back. That was always a strength for him. What you want to see from him is when he starts to see adversity what he does. He has 850 passing yards in two games, but he three 3 INTs. One great thing about Carolina this year is, while Steve Smith gave them nothing, he has really stepped up. It seems he really wants to maximize his ability with Cam at QB. Newton has two good TEs in Shockey and Olsen. He's never had to deal with any adversity on the football field. You have to give him high grades for how he's started the season.
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
I thought some of the questions people had about the intangibles went way too far and a lot of what was said was inaccurate and unfair.
Seems like most agree Luck, Barkley and Jones are top 3 QB prospects in 2012. Who'd you put at #4....Foles?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
That's where you get into the big debate. If I had to say right now....I would probably go with Robert Griffin III, junior, Baylor. The senior QB group is pretty wide open. There are five of them vying for the top spot. There is no top senior QB.
Dr. H. Doofenshmirtz (Tri-State Area)
If San Francisco feels good about Kaepernick, and Cincinnati feels good about Dalton, does that have the potential to change the entire landscape of next years' draft?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
No. If you're those teams, you see how your QB plays. With those teams, it's Andrew Luck or stay with the QB you have. If you're Cincy, the only QB you take over Dalton is Andrew Luck. SF is different. They have to determine how they feel about Kaepernick internally. Seattle, KC, Indy would be the three leaders for the Andrew Luck sweepstakes.
What's your draft prospectus telling you about Kirk Cousins? Can he make it in the NFL as a starter?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
He has a chance to make it as a starter. He has the size you look for. His arm strength is adequate. He went into this year hoping to cut down on red zone interceptions. He's a three year starter. He'll become the winningest QB in MSU history this year. He had another red zone INT this last game. He was 34-53, 329 yards. They had two field goals and he had the 6-yard TD pass. He has a chance to be a starting QB in the NFL. He's one of those five senior QBs that are bunched together.
There seems to be a bumper crop of WR's in college right now - Blackmon, Floyd, Broyles, Woods, Sanu, etc. Which ones do you see in 1/2 rounds next draft?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
Jeffery, Blackmon are early first rounders. Floyd is in the first round mix. Those would be the main guys. Fuller, Broyles, Criner are some talented kids from the senior class.
Do you see the Bears targetting one of those WR's you just mentioned or will they keep trying to find OL who will surely end up injured.
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
It's unfortunate with Carimi right now. In looking at their team, OL, DB. Dane Sanzenbacher from OSU caught his first NFL TD reception last week. It was early in the game. First TD of the game. He had 3 catches for 33 yards. He was an undrafted free agent. But their leading pass catcher in that game was Matt Forte. They got nothing out of Devin Hester. Little out of Johnny Knox. Against the Falcons in Week 1, Forte was their leading receiver. Just not enough from their wideouts. That's not good.
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
One of the reasons why their WRs can't get open is because Cutler has no time. Now that Carimi has the knee cap injury. That's a big loss at RT. They have to play against Clay Matthews and the Packers this week.
Which QB will get the next chance to acctually start for a team Brady Quinn or Jimmy Clausen? Which one do you think will have a better career if they even get a chance?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
The bottom denominator for Quinn and Clausen was Charlie Weis. I put in a lot of faith into what he said about the two of them and his ability to produce NFL QBs. Clausen needs a chain of scenery. He has no future in Carolina. Newton is there and Derek Anderson is the backup. Seattle reportedly had an interest coming into the draft. Maybe he ends up there. I would say Brady Quinn in Denver would have a better opportunity. Tim Tebow still is trying to find his way there and Quinn's the backup. Quinn had a great preseason and he challenged for the starter's job and won the backup spot. He has the best chance. But I still think that Jimmy still has a chance to be a successful QB. It's only his second year.
Alan (Walnut Creek, CA)
What round do you see Case Keenum going?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
It's that pitch and catch offense in Houston. He's very accurate. He's a very smart QB. He makes good decisions. He'd be one of those mid to late round guys. He's in his sixth year. We'll see what happens if he goes to the all-star games and the workouts.
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
Day 3 guy.
Tim (El Cajon, CA)
Mel, you think San Diego State stands a chance against Michigan? Will be weird seeing Brady Hoke on the opposite sidelines that's for sure.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
Brady Hoke knows them and they know him. It will be an intriguing game. San Diego State has been in some close games. They're 3-0, but they've earned those wins. Lindley, the question with him is accuracy. He was 21-37 passing last week, but for the season he's only at 53.7 percent. As a sophomore he was at 54.7. His accuracy has been an issue. He's got to get that percentage up to 60-63 percent. Ronnie Hillman is a great RB. He's an underrated player. He's 5-8, 190. He's super super quick. He carried the ball 32 times against Washington State. So far this year, he's averaging 6.5 per carry. The problem with SDSU is their WR collectively entered the year with just four catches. They need some of their players to emerge. Their schedule gets harder. They play TCU, Boise State. They're a good football team and Brady Hoke knows they are.
While Woodson has continued to look great at CB, does the loss of Collins for the season or possibly for good, have Green Bay begin to look at playing him at safety?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
They have some options. They had some injuries in the secondary last year. So they have some depth there in the secondary. That's what helped Williams last year. They could make the move. They have real good depth at CB, so they would have that option with Woodson. But they have some versatile guys and some depth at safety. They proved they could deal with injuries last year.
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
Charlie Peprah will probably be moving into that role. They have the versatility with Woodson. Williams and Shields would then be your starting CBs. They have a lot of options.
Don (Boise, ID)
Has Kellen Moore's performance so far this season helped his draft stock, or just confirmed what people already knew about him?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
His numbers have always been through the roof. His numbers are going to be great in every college football game he plays. He'll again be in the Heisman discussion. The issue is that he's in that 5-11 range and only weighs about 190 pounds. You have to love everything about him except his size.
Davis (Treadmore, MS)
Vandy whipping Ole Miss 30-7 can't be good for Houston Nutt's job security right Mel? What's the chance he's fired before season's end?
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
The SEC is tough. It's a tough road when you're Ole Miss. You think about the QB situation. The personnel is not where it needs to be. We knew going into the year that freshmen had to have a big impact. That's a scary thing, going into the SEC hoping for your freshmen to have a big impact. D.T. Shackelford would have been a junior LB and one of their best defensive players. He tore his ACL in the spring and was lost for the season. That hurt their defense. They have had a situation with QB issues. You had a 10-0 lead slip away from BYU. You're dominated by Vandy. Now you have Georgia. You're looking at a record this year of probably at best 4-8 and they were 4-8 last year. Houston Nutt is a good football coach. The QBs have thrown 5 picks. They also had only 13 first downs, 234 total yards. It will be tough.
Mel Kiper (2:03 PM)
Houston-New Orleans. Green Bay-Chicago. And who would have thought that the third most interesting game of the week is New England-Buffalo? There are 6 Luck sweepstakes games this week, led by Arizona-Seattle. We have some big games in college too, with Arkansas-Alabama, FSU-Clemson, OK State-TAMU, UNC-Georgia Tech. Those are some outstanding games.
Buzzmaster (2:03 PM)