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!
Mel Kiper (1:01 PM)
We have a new first round projection up on ESPN.com, that's Mock 3.0.
The tight ends at this year's combine seemed to underwhelm a lot of the analysts. What's your take? Who do you like at TE from the small schools?
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
It's a weak position in the draft. It was expected to be helped by the juniors. Dwayne Allen didn't run well at the combine. Charles didn't run well at his pro day. Fleener could emerge if he runs well at his pro day which will take place in two weeks.
James (Hilton Head )
Which is more likely for the Skins, moving to get RG3 or going after Peyton?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
Hard call. That's one that nobody can have an easy answer for. There's no definitive answer to that question. You don't know how Manning will be coming back. Griffin is still a rookie QB. How long will it take for RGIII to emerge? You don't know. Either way it's a roll of the dice. You're expecting QBs to be great right away. You're drafting QBs that almost need to be prepared to win as rookies.
kaydee jr (longbeach cali)
After ingram, upshaw, and coples is off the board. who's the next pass rusher to come off the board?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
After that, you'd probably go to Whitney Mercilus from Illinois, who could be a 3-4 OLB. After that, Andre Branch and then Nick Perry.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What NFL Teams Do you think needs Running Backs in the 2012 NFL Draft?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
Trent Richardson will be the first one drafted. He could go as high as 5 to Tampa or 11 to KC. Someone could move up. Cincinnati or the Jets could move up to get him. That may be the end of the RBs in the first round. You could see 4-5 RBs go in the second round: James, Martin, Wilson, Miller.
Joe Adams ran a 4.55 at the combine when I thought he was easily capable of running a 4.4 or better. How does that affect his draft stock?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
You have to see what he does during the pro day. You thought he would be in the 4.38 range. But does he play fast? 40 times are only a tool in the process. You hope that 40 times equate to what you see on the field. This past year, he had four punt return TDs. His issue as a WR is his consistency. He's a vertical stretch option. I don't care what his 40 time is.
The Bears need to get a pass catching TE (Kellen Davis is not the answer) since Jerry Angelo traded Greg Olsen for some used knee pads last year. Are there any FA TEs out there that would be an upgrade or should they be looking in the 2nd round of the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
John Carlson he had 137 receptions in his first three years in the league. He missed last year with an injury. Scott Chandler. Joe Dreessen. Jacob Tamme.
Is janoris Jenkins better than clairborne in your opinion?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
No, I don't think so. Claiborne is bigger. A better overall CB. There are no off the field concerns with Claiborne. Claiborne will go in the top 6 and Jenkins is a borderline first.
Toby, Lost in Idaho [via mobile]
How does Tannehill fit what the Seahawks are looking for? How does he rate against last year's early qb picks?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
He's the third highest rated QB. The only reason he is third and not fourth is because Brandon Weeden is 28. He'll be a 29 year old rookie, but if he were going to be 23, then he would be third. Tannehill has a lot of talent. A lot of potential. The question will be how quickly can he translate to the NFL? His first 30 games in college were as a WR. But he struggled against quality teams this year. Didn't play great in the second half of games. He was phenomenal in the redzone. He can throw on the move. He's a smart kid. He's accurate.
Brandon (Kansas City)
Mel, what offensive lineman do you project to be drafted outside of the first round that you think could possibly make as big of an impact as the 1st round guys?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
I think you'll get that from some of the guards. Brandon Brooks, Miami (OH); David Molk, C, Michigan; James Brown, Troy. As for tackles: Andrew Datko, FSU; Tom Compton, South Dakota.
How does Weeden compare to Chris Weinke, who entered the draft in a similar situation?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
I think Weeden will carry a much higher grade. I think at worst he's a second round pick. He'd be in the top 15 if he were 23 and not 28. That's the only thing that pushes him into a second round position. You're looking like a 7-8 year career as opposed to a 12-15 year career.
Flap (St. Louis)
After Kalil, Reiff, and Martin, which offensive tackles are worthy of being taken in the first round?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
I don't think Martin is a guaranteed first. Martin's stock has dropped a little bit. Mike Adams would be next. He could be a first round pick, based on potential. Bobby Massie, Ole Miss could be in the first round discussion. After Kalil and Reiff, it's anybody's guess as to who will be the third OT taken.
How much do you think that Cam Newton's success last year is affecting the decisions of WAS, SEA, and MIA regarding Manning vs. RGIII?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
I don't think it has much of an impact. Every player is different. Every year is different. Every situation is different. Comparisons affect players. I've said that over and over. But in this situation, you have several teams that need a QB. Cleveland, Washington, Miami, Seattle, even KC. There are a lot of teams looking at QBs. Manning will go to one of those teams. Matt Flynn to another one. And then you have RGIII. There are five teams competing for three QBs.
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
Remember, a lot of people didn't like Cam Newton last year. Probably more didn't like him with the first pick of the draft than those that did.
Hunter Dan (Grand Prairie)
Mel-who do you see Dallas taking in the first round?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
I think DB has got to be their target. They were woeful in the secondary, both at safety and CB. They could take Mark Barron. Dre Kirkpatrick. Stephon Gilmore. They could also look at a guard/center like David DeCastro. But I think they have to get the secondary worked out.
I heard QB Kirk Cousins did real good job a combine. What day 2 QB impressed the most?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
Cousins is a guy that is solid. He's a solid college QB. Is he going to be the guy in the NFL? Every team is looking for a really good QB. You have to be really good or you get kicked to the curb. You see a little bit of Matt Schaub. Cousins made some bad decisions in the red zone. He completed less than 50 percent in the red zone. I think he could go in the second round. But I think the best second round QB will be Brandon Weeden.
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
You could see 4 QBs taken in the second round: Weeden, Osweiller, Cousins, Foles.
Jeff (Denver, CO)
How good can Kendall Reyes be in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
Very good. He's got scheme versatility, which is very good. He could be a penetrating 3-4 DT or a 4-3 DE. Physically gifted. He played both DE and DT at UConn. He's a team leader type guy. You could see him in the first round between 24-31.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Ronnell Lewis is a freakish athlete, that projects as 3-4 OLB, what teams wil target him to help provide pressure off the edge?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
The teams that need 3-4 OLBs are New England, Green Bay, San Diego, the Jets, Miami.
With the Titans franchise Griffin and not Finnegan is it possible that there is a Cb they are targeting in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
If they're targeting a CB where they're picking, it's Kirkpatrick or Gilmore. They also need a DE, so they could look at Mercilus. OG/C also like David DeCastro.
How does your grade on RG3 compare to other QB's in the last 10 years?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
He'll be right in line with the top guys who have come out. He had the injury at Baylor and came back from that. I never thought he was a projection to another position, but there are some who thought he would be a WR before this year. But he's over 6-2, he's got great leadership. But he's also not Andrew Luck. In the red zone, Luck was at 72 percent and RGIII was at 54. Luck, second half of games, 75.1 percent, against ranked teams 73 percent. He didn't throw an INT in the red zone nor in third and long.
Where would we be talking about Barkley and Landry Jones in this year's draft? Would they all be top 10 picks? Would that move RGIII down the board?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
No. Landry Jones would not have. He wasn't even a first round pick this year. He needed to go back to Oklahoma, wisely, he did. Barkley would have been right in there with RGIII. Barkley goes back and instead of potentially being the third QB taken, he has a great chance to be the No. 1 pick next year.
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
He would have gone in the top 8 this year and now he could be the No. 1 overall pick. BTW, that's what I said about him coming out of high school. The only other time I made that prediction was with Matthew Stafford.
Mel, the steelers need a NT. Who do you see fitting in at that position in the first three rounds?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
They could. I don't think first round. First round I think they look LB. But Josh Chapman, Alabama would be a guy they think about in the third round area.
how good is Nick Perry? Where do you see him going and what teams would be interested in him?
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
Perry, as a pass rusher, he showed a lot of promise. I would have liked to have seen more consistency. He showed he can get after the QB. He played really well as a red shirt freshman, slipped back as a sophomore and played well again this year. He could go between 20-28.
James (Wash DC)
You have Lavonte David going #22 to Cleveland. Is he an inside or outside LB? Is he best fit for a 3-4 or 4-3?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
He's an OLB. He's like a Jonathan Vilma. He's so instinctive. He made a ton of plays. You go back to the OSU game. What helped him was being 233 at the combine. You love the tape. The eye in the sky never lies. He's tremendously instinctive. A lot of people think he's a second round guy, but I went with my gut. There are a lot of teams that could look favorably on David.
Do you think the Texans will look at WR in the 1st? Or will they try to take a DE/LB to replace Mario when he departs? Or are they just going to do the smart thing and take best player regardless of position?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
They drafted Brooks Reed last year. People forget that Williams was out during their stretch run last year. Kendall Wright would be a great pick for them, though he didn't run well at the combine. But he ran 4.4 in the spring, despite running in the 4.6 range. I thought 18 at one point to San Diego or 19 to Chicago. But I think to Houston if he's there. Houston is a Super Bowl caliber team.
The Tree (Stanford)
What round does Chris Owusu get drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
He has the injury issues, that's the thing. At one point he looked like a real speed option. And he can do that. He was the down the field guy for Luck. Because of the durability concerns, he's a late rounder.
Where do you have Zach Brown going? Is he a good fit for the 3-4 OLB or is he more of a 4-3 OLB?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
That's the great debate. Some think he's more of a 4-3, some say 3-4. He had a very productive year at UNC. I think he's probably a third round type guy, maybe second. Definitely a Day 2 prospect.
James (Wash DC)
Where did you rank Matt Flynn when he came out of LSU?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
I liked him. I gave him a decent grade. He was a fifth year senior and took them to a national championship. He's tweaked his mechanics at Green Bay. He's a tough kid. Real competitor. I thought he could be a starting QB. He had two big games when he got the chance to play. People realize that after the first 3-4 QBs, Flynn's a good option. Can Ryan Tannehill, a top 12 pick in the draft, come in and win for us? That's what teams have to discuss. Flynn will have a chance to be a starting QB somewhere this year.
Leland (Denver City, TX)
If SD does not go OLB in the first round, who is a possible second/3rd round diamond in the rough at OLB?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
Bruce Irvin. Shea McClellin would be a good second round pick. Kyle Wilber. Ronnell Lewis.
What round will Case Keenum go?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
I'd say late, if at all. The thing that hurts him is he's not that tall, just over 6 feet. Not the ideal height. He's a system QB. He had the knee injury that cost him the 2010 season. He's a sixth year guy. He has questionable arm strength. The throws taht test arm strength, he didn't have to make. Great college QB with limited pro potential.
Can Vontaze Burfict be a steal in the 3rd round?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
You keep hearing 4-5 round on him now. His stock has plummeted, probably the most of any player in the draft. He's a Day 3 guy now. He's a junior coming out early. He only ran a 5.0-flat 40. When you don't control your emotions in college, look at how strict they are in the NFL. He might not even go in the third round.
Mel, your thoughts on the Peyton Manning era in Indy and the prospect he was coming out of Tennessee?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
Great prospect. I had him ahead of Ryan Leaf. A lot of people had him behind Leaf, but I didn't. Manning had some critics. He had some people that I talked to in the league that weren't as high on him as I was. He didn't have a great pro day. His arm strength was questioned. But he'll go down as one of the best QBs in league history. Give Bill Polian credit for taking him when he did.
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
There are a lot of revisionist histories written and people forget what people said at the time. We heard it all at the time. And there was that with Manning too.
do you think the chiefs are really considering drafting richardson if he is there at 11
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
I do. With Charles coming off of injury, I could. I almost put him there in the projection, but I don't think he'll be there. Richardson can pound the ball. That's certainly a possibility.
John (San Diego)
Mel, what is the safest position to draft in the 1st round? Historically or your opinion nowadays.
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
Usually OL are pretty safe. They usually come in and do pretty well. Outside of Jason Smith to St. Louis, most of the OT have done very well. Recently, QBs have turned out to do pretty well as of late. There will always be some misses. Think about the Rivers, Roethlisberger, Manning draft. Aaron Rodgers, Alex Smith - he just led them to the NFC title game, despite his critics. Cam Newton. Overall the QBs for the most part, coming into the NFL as first round picks have done pretty well recently. Usually RBs transition quickly. You don't necessarily want to take a RB in the first round. You can find great RBs in the sixth, seventh round, even as free agents. You can be better as a rookie than as a sixth year guy.
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
DT produced a lot of busts for a while there. WR has been up and down a little in the draft.
Nick (Middletown, NJ) [via mobile]
What do the Bills do at #10? Possibly trade down?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
It depends on what happens and who is there. They have to get a pass rusher. I'd say DE, WR, TE. They have to get a pass rusher. Melvin Ingram, DE, South Carolina would be a nice addition.
Is Vinny Curry strictly a 4-3 DE? Or is there any chance he could make it as a 3-4 OLB?
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
The speed is a question. I think he'll end up being a 4-3 DE. He could possibily play on his feet, but he didn't run well at the combine. If he had, you could say definitively that he could be a 3-4 OLB too. But I say he'll be a 4-3 DE. I'd say he's a Day 2 guy.
Mel do you think there is a possiblity that Justin Blackmond could end up in Carolina or is he a top 5 pick?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
Blackmon will go somewhere in the top 6. If St. Louis trades down, they don't want to go any further than 6. He won't be there for Carolina at 9, no. He would make sense for St. Louis. He would make sense for Cleveland. The Redskins. There are a lot of teams that would be in the mix. If he runs a bad 40 time, you never know.
Mike (Pilot Point, TX)
It seems this draft is loaded with Wide Receivers. What seperates Blackmon, Floyd, Wright from say Toon, Fuller, Streeter?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
Overall, the WRs in this draft are average. It didn't really materialize as a position. A lot of mixed reviews. Not a lot of guarantees. There will probably only be 3 WRs go in the first round. Blackmon, Floyd, Kendall Wright. Stephen Hill is a possibility. Tommy Streeter is in the second round discussion. Mixed opinion on him. Some of the speed guys didn't run as well at the combine as you thought they would. WR is a very hit or miss position.
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
My Mock 3.0 is up right now on ESPN.com. New Big Board. New top 5 positional break downs. They're all up on ESPN.com right now. We'll be back next Wednesday to chat again. Some critical pro days coming up next week. The free agency signing period starts on Tuesday, as well as when you can start making trades. So, when we talk next Wednesday, that St. Louis pick could be traded.