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!
Ryan (Medford OR)
Mel, Does the season ending injury ruin John Boyett's chances at a top 3 round pick?
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
You have to see. He's a senior. Prior to the injury he would probably have been a third round choice. You have to see how he comes back from the injury. The injury clouds his draft situation.
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
He was arguably their second best defensive player.
how forreal are the 49ers?
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
People almost underestimated them going into this year. I probably did as well. But after that Green Bay game, they showed they have a great defense. I don't see any team exploding on that defense. They have some real studs. I think they'll limit the points scored, which means that offense doesn't have to be powerful. It showed that when they needed to make a play, they did. Harbaugh has done a great job there. They're a definite Super Bowl contender in a tough NFC.
Mel-Notre Dame has been using Eifert split wide a huge percentage of the time this year, in light of the success of a player like Aaron Hernandez and the Patsies use of him, does this boost Eifert's stock?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
The way they're using him, they're making sure to split him out some. They want to make up for Floyd's loss. The best way is to get him out and get him matched up with the CBs. He has a chance to be a second rounder.
Mac from WV [via mobile]
What do you think about Geno Smith's heisman chances? Where do you think he would go in the draft ?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
He's definitely got a chance. He's going to put up huge numbers. He has weapons in the passing game. The schedule will allow for some statement type games. If they can pull out victories against some marquee opponents, they have a shot. I think right now, as far as the QBs available, he has a chance to be the third or fourth QB coming off the board.
Your prediction for tomorrow nights game, Bears or Packers?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
It's certainly a must win for the Packers, or as close as you're going to get. Nobody wants to come out of the first two weeks 0-2. That's an awful place to be. You think you'd beat the 49ers at home. So now you have to hold serve against the Bears. Chicago could, it wouldn't be a knockout punch, but they could go out 2-0 and put the Packers 0-2. The Bears are looking at a two-game lead.
Every year at least one team falls from grace in the NFL. Out of the Saints, Packers, and Steelers which one is the most likely to be this years team to do that?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
I'd say, out of those three, the Saints. That was a disappointing way to start the season. A rookie QB comes in there and they can't get control of the game. They had to scramble to get back in the game. Maybe the distractions took their focus off the game. The Saints had to do everything just to get their house in order, they had to change coaches around, they didn't even know which players would be able to play. The Steelers will be find. They just have to get healthy. Big Ben had a good game until late. The Packers will be right there at the end of the day. The most important thing isn't winning 12, 13, 14 games, it's winning enough games to make the playoffs. Don't overreact to the regular season in the NFL. It's not college football where you have to be ranked in the top 4 or 5.
How much of a gap would there be in the ratings between RG III and Matt Barkley if drafted in the same year?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
It's impossible to determine right now because we don't know where Barkley will be at the end of the year. This time last year, RGIII was just trying to get develop enough to get a grade. At the end of this draft process, I don't think Barkley will have the same grade RGIII had.
Do you think Julio Jones has begun to justify giving up all those picks to draft him?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
They needed what they needed. The most important priority was to get someone to help out Matt Ryan. They felt like that is what they need. They're not going to see that caliber of a player where they were drafting. But Jones may be the guy they need. He might end up being more valuable than White, we'll see. They've been in the playoffs three straight years and they've lost three straight times. But they've lost three times to teams that went to the Super Bowl.
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
That should be motivation to them this year, to not go in and lose in the playoffs.
Ryan (Medford OR)
Mel, I know he is a sophomore but does De'Anthony Thomas get any pro scouts attention?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
He won't get attention yet. Everybody is aware of him, but he's only a true-sophomore. He's on the radar already. He's a big play dynamo. He's a tremendous player. He has great feet. He is shot through a cannon when he hits the hole. He has a very deceptively strong lower body. He's big time in terms of what he's capable of doing. He's one of the Heisman candidates right now.
mason (Lowell IN)
denard Robinson, what position will he play in the NFL and what round will he be drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
When I grade him out, and it's still early in the prospects, with the senior WRs, I would put him at No. 5, maybe No. 4 and that's without having played the position. He's got tremendous feet. He's a game changer. He's tough. If he goes to the Senior Bowl and shows the hands, he could be a second round pick. If he drops passes and doesn't show the ability to catch passes, then he drops significantly.
lewis (flint michigan)
Michigan's defense has more holes that swiss cheese. How much blame does the defensive coordinator get or is it lack of talent?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
First of all, there are a couple of things on that defense. They lost three key guys on the defensive line. That was a big area of concern. They lost Countess. He tore his ACL against Alabama. He was outstanding in coverage. You can't make up for that. That's an outstanding CB out for the year. They have a little break this year against UMass, but then they have to get ready for Notre Dame. They thought their back seven would be strong, but then they lost Countess.
Hi Mel, other than Barkely is it just me,or does this seem like a down year overalll for top prospects?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
It depends on the juniors. It hinges on how many of them come out. After Matt Barkley, the next 5 players are all juniors: Jarvis Jones, Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery, Justin Hunter. Hunter has Julio Jones type potential. How many of them come out? That will determine the draft.
What should DAL fans expect from Bruce Carter?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
He's a good football player. I liked him when he came out of UNC. He's working his way back from injury. He was a complete player. He wasn't dynamic. He wasn't the elite of the elite, but if he had been healthy, I thought he would have been a first round player.
Will De'Anthony Thomas have draft value next year as a junior, or is he too small to be a high draft pick?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
For the way the league is now, I think they're looking at these guys and think you have to be a full time player to have value. He's listed at 5-9, he's probably more like 5-8, 170 pounds. He has the capability to be a very valuable entity. I think he's a late first rounder and jump at an opportunity to get him.
Jason (St Louis)
Do you think the Browns are having regrets about not doing what needed to be done to get Griffin III?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
I think that's a good possibility. The reports were that they didn't have a high opinion of Matt Flynn. But at least he was more ready to play. The problem with Brandon Weeden is he threw a ball that Little dropped. The WRs there aren't good. Richardson is just working his way back. He has no talent around him. He's at a disadvantage. They picked him 22. If the Browns have a bad year and they're picking at the top spot, are they picking Matt Barkley? You'd have to consider it. I had Weeden rated the 33rd best player in the draft and they picked him 22. I don't pick the 33rd best player at 22. You have to wait and see what happens with the organization. That offense is not cut out to be that productive.
Think USC's defense got exposed a little bit in the Syracuse game, or was it more of an anomaly due to weather delays and the semi-neutral stadium?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
When you look at the game itself, they showed they have some areas of concern. I said before the season started that they had four sophomres playing key roles on that defense. They have to restructure the entire defensive line. That's the area of concern. I've said all along that they don't have a national championship caliber defense. The only game they should have an issue with on their schedule is Oregon and that's at home. If you want to be a national championship caliber team, the rest of those games, you shouldn't have a problem with.
Mel, how good is south carolinas Clowney gonna be when he is draft elgible. Will he be a top five pick?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
He will be a potential No. 1 overall pick. I said that last year when he was a freshman. His rating was accurate coming out of high school. He's an enormously gifted player. He has abnormal quickness. In games he's almost unblockable. He has to wait to his junior year. Next year, you'll probably be looking at the No. 1 overall pick.
Is C.J Fedeoriwicz one of your top 5 junior TE's?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
Yes. He's the kind of kid they're getting involved in the offense more and more. That was a key for them in the offseason. It's a very strong junior TE class. You go six deep and he's No. 4. Physically and because of his size, he's 6-7, 265, he's a huge target. He was a very good high school basketball player. He's very agile.
Does AJ McCarron have a future as a NFL starter?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
I think he does, sure. It doesn't have to be the first year. He has a chance to develop into a starter. He's not just the product of the Alabama running game. The running game right now is all about Yeldon. He will be the guy that saves the day for them. Eddie Lacy is struggling a bit. Yeldon has quickness to the hole. He's going to help out McCarron big time. And he has new WRs emerging. McCarron has size. He's adjusting to the new OC. He doesn't have elite skills, but he has good size and an adequate arm. He's a winner, smart, accurate.
mason (Lowell IN)
Tommy Rees or gohlston? who do u start this weekend
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
I have to believe you go to Gohlston. He's shown he can beat you and shown he's a multi-dimensional QB. He's shown that he's a guy that make defenses think. He's mobile. He can do things with his legs. He does lack ideal size. But if this team has a chance to improve later in the season, you have to go to Gohlston.
How many games will be lost due to poor officiating done by replacement refs?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
None. I don't think it's a factor right now. The fans, if there's a bad call, it's a bad call. We're making it like the regular refs were perfect. But they made bad calls every week. It's not like there was a perfect game every time. Look at what happened in MLB with the Yankees and Orioles. They made a bad call in that game with Mark Teixiera. Fans move on. If a bad call happens, one group of fans are happy, another group is screaming and the rest of the fans don't care. They're not losing any sleep. At the end of the day, I don't think it's that big of a deal. They're doing an acceptable job.
Do you think the Titans can make the wild card spot in the playoffs?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
I would doubt it. Even though Jake Locker was injured in the game, I still think he's inconsistent. We'll see how the weapons around him emerge. Defensively, they have some young LBs that can get it done. I see them as an 8-8 team. They're very non-descript.
Jalky (Dodgeville MI)
Clay had 2.5 sacks vs. Staley who is pretty good. What can he do tomorrow vs. the Chicago sieve?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
In terms of the Bears OL, it's impactful on Cutler. We saw it last year when he wasn't healthy what happens to the team. That team is contingent on Cutler staying healthy. They have some WRs now. Alshon Jeffrey has helped that offense. They have the RB and some other components around Cutler. It's not about matching up this week against Green Bay for the OL, it's about keeping him healthy. There are ways to protect him.
Hi Mel - Have you scouted Chase Reddig from Boston College and do you think he can be an NFL quarterback? He seems to have a big arm, but I'm not sure he has the accuracy needed to go to the next level? Also, is anyone else on the BC roster draftable? thanks
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
You think of that personnel with that team, he's a veteran QB, he's played a lot of football up there. It seems like he's been in college football for a while, and he has, this is his third year starting and he's only a junior. He's very cerebral. This is a team that will have a tough time. Their win total has declined. 11 in 2007, 9 in 2008, 8 in 2009, 7 in 2010, 4 in 2011. They played a lot of freshmen and sophomores late last year. They have a young team overall and a tough early schedule. They're at Northwestern, Clemson, at Army, at Florida State, at Georgia Tech. They could be 2-5 after 7 games, assuming they beat Army on the road. I think they go 3-9, which means their win total drops again.
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
But Reddig is not the problem. He's a decent college QB. He's a later rounder, undrafted free agent.
JR (Tampa Bay)
Mel, how do you feel about Russel Wilson starting for the hawks? Were you surprised when he beat out Flynn?
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
Surprised, but not shocked. Wilson is a very mature QB, he's very smart. The big issue with him is the height. And they don't ahve great WRs in Seattle. I don't see any quality WR on that team. You have Sidney Rice, Edwards, Tate. A lot of guys, but no stud WR on the team. They're going to run the ball. Leon Washington gave them a big boost with his kick returns. I think Matt Flynn can direct this offense, and we'll see him at some point this year, I think.
Could Syracuse conceivably be called the best 0-2 team in the country? They should have won against Northwestern but there was a bad call on the sidelines and they played USC relatively closely
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
I'm a little leary saying the best 0-2 team. You're 0-2 because you didn't get it done when you needed to. They scored some points against USC, but they have a very young defense. Syracuse doesn't have Chandler Jones any more. Nassib is a guy I think has a chance to be a 3-4 round pick. He's a solid veteran. They have some solid OL that have a chance to play at the next level. You could make the argument that they're the best 0-2 team, but you're 0-2 and you haven't played a road game yet. They have to be 3-2 after five games.
Ken Waters (Scottsdale, AZ)
Any explanation for the Cardinals refusing to upgrade their offensive line in five years and running?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
They went out and drafted Bobby Massie which was a nice pick for them. I like it a lot. They drafted two other OL. They did address it. The biggest issue for them was losing Levi Brown. Michael Floyd isn't even starting right now. They have some issues. I still think they'll win 5-6 games. I like Skelton. Floyd has to make progress. I like some of their defensive personnel. I like Peterson at CB. They have a very good DL. They have some LBs that will go to the football. That's not a bad defense on paper.
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
It was a good start. We have some outstanding games this week. Florida-Tennessee, USC-Stanford, Notre Dame-Michigan State. Those are the best games this weekend.