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. 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 Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:00 PM)
We've got Mel!
I hope the Bears roll out Nathan Enderle soon, just to get a feel for what he can do. I remember some people thought he would be drafted higher than he was--what was your grade on him, and can he become an effective back up in the pros?
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
The jury is out on how effective he can be. I gave him a late round grade. He's a tall kid, 6-4. He can make all of the throws. The issue with him is he needs to speed up his release. I thought he was better as a junior. He had more talent around him. As a senior, he was a little inconsistent. He has potential. But he's a down the road developmental prospect.
Do you think LaMichael James can have a similar impact at the next level like Darren Sproles has had in San Diego and now in New Orleans? Thanks.
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
That would be the hope. He's got the speed. He's a game breaker. He's a tough, hard nosed kid. He has to work on being a more consistent receiver. And a better return man. He's shown flashes of being a good return man. He's not the accomplished returner and receiving entity that Sproles was. I think Sproles was better coming out than James is. He was just more proven. You can argue that James is a better runner from scrimmage, but Sproles gives you more versatility.
Who are the top 2nd round QB prospects? If the Redskins pick around 10th in the first round and are unable/unwilling to pay the high price to move up and grab one of the top QBs in the first 5 picks, is there someone that they can take in the second round that can be the QB of the future, i.e., Dalton and the Bengals
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
Where the Redskins are, at No. 7, they probably won't get a QB unless they trade up. I could see somebody trading in with Minnesota at No. 2. Washington may look to trade up for RGIII. But in the second round, you'd be looking at Foles, Tannehill. Those would be the two that would go in the early second.
christian (missoula, mt.)
If brandon weeden were 22 years old, where would he be on your board? And once he lands on a team will his age greatly affect his chances to get a chance?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
If he were 22, he would probably end up in the late first, early second. Now, he's more of a third rounder.
Mel,What is a bigger need for the Chiefs, NT or OT in 2012?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
Both of those areas. Bowe will need to be more consistent next year. More consistency out of Baldwin. Moeaki. Charles. They come back from injury. Berry comes back from injury. This is a team that lost their two best players and their TE to injury. There was too much to overcome. It was amazing a coach got fired after taking the team to the playoffs and then having all of those injuries. Something else had to be there, because I don't think you can fire a coach after that. So, yeah, OL, DL and some other areas they need to address, but getting those guys back from injuries will help.
Besides QB, what are some of the other deep positions in the draft this year? What's the weakest?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
WR has a chance to be pretty good. There are always receivers to find. Gerell Robinson. Jarrett Boykin. There are a lot of receiving entities that can be good. There will always be depth at RB too. OG is pretty good. Defensively, DT is not a bad position this year. And this could be a decent safety year this year too.
Can the niners win all the way with their D and special teams?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
No, I don't. People think this team is built for the playoffs and I disagree. You need an offense that can put up numbers. They're a team that can stop teams. They have to do better. You can't rely strictly on the defense. They have an outstanding kicker and great special teams. They've been this year's version of last year's Chiefs. They got a lot of breaks. I'm not sold on SF to go as far in the playoffs as some people are.
Danny (Tempe, AZ)
Should Vontaze Burfict return for his senior season? He is seemingly capable of being a premiere player in the NFL right now. But, if he returns, he could (and probably would) be a top 10 pick in the 2013 draft. Also, which team would be a good fit for him?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
He's already close to that. Right now I have him at No. 15 on the Big Board. He's close enough. With Teo going back to Notre Dame and teams needing ILB and MLB types, I would say come out. If he comes out or stays, he needs to control his game a little bit. He tends to get some late hits. If you're getting called for penalties in college, just wait until you get to the NFL, where you'll get fines, suspensions. He has to control that and eliminate it. If he comes out, he's the second MLB to come off the board.
J Treehorn (Malibu)
Are the Saints the best team in the NFL right now?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
If you see them on the right weekend, they are. This is a team that has a lot of talent. There is no one player, if you eliminate that player, that you can beat them. They have so many weapons, multiple RBs, the TE is outstanding, multiple WRs. So many weapons. You can't gameplan against just one guy. New Orleans has a great chance to make it to the Super Bowl. They took Green Bay to the wire in the first game of the year. If it came down to New Orleans and Green Bay, they're clearly the two best teams in the NFC. For a dome team to go to Lambeau in January, that would be interesting to see.
Why have the Patriots whiffed on the last 2-3 years in the draft when it comes to defense?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
Too much moving around. I've always been an advocate of moving around. But New England had Clay Matthews fall into their lap a few years ago and they traded the pick. That was a catastrophic misfire. New England hasn't been able to find a pass rusher. They needed him. They've been fortunate. The two best draft picks they've made in the last 5 years was Gronkowski and Hernandez. They've misfired at WR. They've misfired at LB. They've tried to go the veteran route and haven't been able to get it done. They drafted to build a secondary and now those guys they drafted are gone. But the bottom line is the pass rush isn't there. They can't stop anybody. If they get to the Super Bowl, I'd be surprised. They made Dan Orlovsky look like a good QB a few weeks ago. If they got Matthews, think about how much that would have helped them and hurt Green Bay.
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
If they're going to get to the Super Bowl, they have to outscore the opponent. They'll have to probably score at least 35 in any game they play to win.
Wha's the word on Barkley coming out this year? With Kalil leaving wouldn't that make it more likely he forgoes his last season?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
I would think so. That's the guy that protects your blind side. If I'm the QB, I'm out. My elite LT that allowed me to have the year that I did and I'm a pocket passer, if he's leaving, I'm leaving. And he's not going to get much higher. The way it's structured right now, he'll be one of the top 5-7 picks.
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
As a junior, the great thing is, he's in the clubhouse. He doesn't have to play in the all-star games. He couldn't play in the Pac-12 championship game. He's not going to a bowl game. But if you're a senior, you're going to the Senior Bowl.
TCU has had some pretty good draft classes the last two years, where do you see TCU players going this year? Greg McCoy, Tank Carder, Kyle Dooley, for example.
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
Most of these guys are down the road guys. There is not anybody that is the Wow! factor player. Dooley is a 5-6 rounder. Carder, 4th roudner. McCoy, 4-5 rounder. All Day 3 guys.
Kevin (San Diego)
Mel, where does DE Nick Perry get drafted? 2nd rounder?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
He's a good player. Solid pass rush ability. He'll be in the mix to be an early round pick. Good pass rusher. One of the fastest defensive players on USC. Strong kid. Durability concern coming into this year, but he's proven that wrong. He's an early rounder.
With all of the success of rookie QB's this year, how do you think Ryuan Mallet would have done and how does he rank with the QB's projected to come out in 2012
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
If he had gone back and had a great year, which he could have, considering the WRs they have at Arkansas, and the TE that came on, Chris Gragg, the OL was OK, he'd be the No. 1 senior QB. He's be ahead of Foles, Tannehill. He'd be behind Luck, Barkley, RGIII. If he had come back, he'd probably be in the late first round discussion.
Kevin (Reno, NV)
Who is top NFL prospect coming out of Norman this season?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
Landry Jones. He's currently No. 13 on the Big Board. But he didn't have a great year by any stretch. Broyles would have been up there, but coming off of the injury, we'll have to wait and see.
Do you see Western Kentucky's Bobby Rainey being a factor in the NFL? I think he has great athleticism.
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
He could be. He could be a situational type back. He's only about 5-7, 195. He's spunky. Very productive. He has chances as a late round pick to help you, like a Danny Woodhead type.
how many OT's go in the first round of this years draft
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
Definitely three. Kalil, Reiff, Martin will go in the top 10. There is a drop off after those three. You may not see any more than that. Cordy Glenn played LT at Georgia, but he'll be a guard in the NFL. You may not see another OT go until the late first, maybe. Kelechi Osemele could go in the late first. He played LT but will be RT in the NFL.
If Payton Manning looks like he will be able to come back and be productive, would Indy consider trading down a few spots and take Barkley?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
No. No. If you do that, you just take Luck. You don't try to get cute with the whole thing. There is a significant separation between Luck and the next QBs. I don't think you can go away from him. It would be tempting, but a little too cute for your own good.
Better long-term prospect, Trent Richardson or Lamar Miller?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
Short term and long term, it's Trent Richardson. I think he's the third best player in the draft. He'll go in the top 10. He's elite. Miller is a game breaker and can change the scoreboard. But he's more of a mid to late one.
Stephen (Charlotte, NC)
Which college programs do you see with the most drafted players this year?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
I would go with Alabama. That number is hard to say. It may be as many as 10, but that depends on juniors.
Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)
How do you think RG III would fit in for the offense Pat Shurmur is trying to install? (Note: "Is Trying" is key there as the 2011 results can't be what he envisions)
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
First of all, RGIII, if you want to compare him to Vick, he's not as good a runner, he's more straight line. He doesn't have the elusiveness, change of direction. Vick's a better scrambler. But the better passer is Griffin. More accurate. Vick had the stronger arm. The better overall QB is probably Griffin. He's the kind of guy you can do a lot of things with. He's not locked into one style. He throws a great deep ball. He can run around. He's hot right now. I think he could go ahead of Barkley. I could see Minnesota trading out of No. 2 or St. Louis at 3. Cleveland, Washington, Miami all could try to move up to get him. You build your offense around what he does. If you're taking him, you have to know what he does and accentuate his positives.
Darryl (Oakland, CA)
I've heard some experts say they've never seen anyone play the QB position at the level that Aaron Rodgers is playing. Do you agree?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
Yeah. We've seen that since late last year. When he got on that run, starting with the Giants game, this run has been unprecedented. You can make that argument. But you can't compare to the history of the game. You can say within the last 5 years or so. You can't go back to the Elway, Marino, Kelly years or the Bradshaw, Staubach, Montana years. All of those QBs played in a different era. You don't think that those guys would have played in this era that they couldn't put up similar numbers? Everything is about the offense right now. You can't mess with the WRs like you used to. Everything is built to help the offense. The defense had a fighting chance in the 60s, 70s, 80s and even into the 90s. Rodgers is a very good QB, but so were some of these other guys.
Trevor (Lakeland, FL)
Where do you project Miami WR Tommy Streeter to be taken now that he has decided to leave early? 6'6 WRs that run 4.4 40s with big verticals don't grow on trees. If he puts these numbers up at the combine I'm sure he will turn some heads...however he is a bit unpolished. What do you think MK?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
He's got that height factor and the size. He made some flashy plays. It depends on how he works out and tests, but he'll be in the early round mix.
Craig (Shalimar, FL)
Any insight on Georgia Tech players? Will there be any drafted? Paul Johnson hasn't really recruited NFL style players it seems.
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
No. It depends on a couple of juniors and what they decide to do. But maybe one. Not a good year for Georgia Tech pro prospects.
Were do you project Mark Barron and Dre Kirkpatrick (if he leaves early) going in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
Kirkpatrick, I don't think he's as good as Barron, but the CB gets the edge over safety. Dre was inconsistent in coverage this year. But I think he goes in the late first round. Barron is the best safety in the draft and goes late first or second. He's a better player, but the CB usually goes before the safety.
Best blocking TE in the '12 draft?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
Depending on what he does, Michael Williams from Alabama.
Thoughts on Derrick Moye?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
Late round possibility. He has the size. He made some nice catches at PSU. He's 6-5. He's a sixth round type guy.
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
Not a lot of wow factor, but he made some nice catches.
Mel, who are your top 3 centers in the upcoming draft? Who good is Zebrie Sanders at LT in your opinion?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
1) Mike Brewster, Ohio State; 2) Peter Konz, Wisconsin; 3) David Molk, Michigan.
Darryl (Oakland, CA)
Mel,Do you think Quinton Coples is a bit overrated...not a very productive player, more of a weight lifting specimen than a football player, right?
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
He's not overrated now. But if he were still 1 or 2 on the Big Board, he would be, but I have him at No. 8. He's got a big game coming up on Monday. Over the last 10 of his tackles for loss and 5 of his 7.5 sacks came in his final 6 games. He needs to keep building on that momentum. The first six games, he was quiet. He wasn't doing the job you'd expect him to do. Then he did come on late in the season.
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
But he's still the top rated DE by far.
How much has Alshon Jeffery hurt his stock this year?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
The QB has effected it more than anybody. Steve Spurrier has always talked about that that they have Jeffery out there and the QB can't get him the ball. But he's still a very good football player. Jeffery could be undervalued in the draft. Great hands. Works hard. Not a burner, but not caught from behind very often. He's 230 pounds. He's a talented kid.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
He's at No. 12 on the Big Board and probably undervalued.
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
Enjoy the bowl games. We've got a lot of them coming up over the next few games. Tomorrow, we've got Burfict, Kellen Moore. For Southern Miss against Nevada, Jamie Collins, outstanding LB had a great year.