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!
frank (New jersey)
Are you surpise how poised russell wilson has been so far?
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
He's one of the most mature QBs to come out in years. He has great character, great football IQ. He makes everyone better. He did it at NC State, at Wisconsin. He's experienced big stages. When I asked a GM about his character, he said he's a 15 on a 1-10 scale. The only thing working against him is his lack of ideal height.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Where does Jackson Jeffcoat rate among your top draft eligible defensive ends? Is he a better prospect than his teammate Okafor?
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
When you look at him right now versus where he could be, he's still a developing player. He could be a first round draft choice, the but question is when will that be? He's only a junior. He needs to be a little stronger, a little more consistent. I think another year could benefit him.
Michigan State laid an egg against the Irish last weekend. Are they overrated or did they just have an off night?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
I had Notre Dame in the game. That was my upset alert. It was just a bad matchup for Michigan State. They have an inexperienced QB and WRs. And a defense that allowed Notre Dame to move the football. MSU is still a good team, Notre Dame is just a little bit better.
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
They're going to be a good football team. It's not a disgrace or embarrassment to lose to them. What was a surprise was that it was so one-sided. That they were dominated.
what are your feelings on Greg Schanio?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
I've thought about that a lot. I think you play the game until it's over. As long as you line up ready to play football, it's not like they were surprising anyone. There's nothing wrong with saying you have to play every play. We tell all of the kids, play until the whistle blows. The Giants need to be ready to go. I thought it was an overreaction all the way around. You knew they were coming.
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
If Tom Coughlin didn't like it, that's his problem.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
How much did Matt Barkley's performance against Stanford last Saturday hurt his draft stock, or at least raise some additional questions?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
I dropped him one spot. His grade was equal to Jarvis Jones heading into the year and I dropped him one spot. USC just couldn't block Stanford. He didn't look good because of that. He was rattled and that will be a little bit of a red flag moving forward. He has a redemption game against Oregon. It didn't help him. It didn't kill his stock but it did impact his evaluation. In the NFL you have to deal with adversity.
Do you think Smith will now live up to that 1st overall pick for san fran if he take them to the superbowl?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
He's already silenced the critics. He did that last year. The 49ers got the TD against the Saints by throwing the ball. He's given the balance they need to move the ball. Is he a great QB? No. Is he a solid QB that you can win the Super Bowl with? Yeah. And their defense, while not as good as the Ravens defense that won them a Super Bowl, it's still a defense that can win you some games.
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
I don't think there's any reason for anyone to wonder about Alex Smith.
Mark (Toronto, Ontario)
What's the best head to head matchup between draft eligible prospects in college this week?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
Michigan-Notre Dame. Lewan against some very good defensive players on Notre Dame. Denard Robinson. Manti Te'o, knowing he'll have to make some plays in space.
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
Florida State-Clemson. Xavier Rhodes will be matched up on the good Clemson WRs. And the pass rushers like Bjoern Warner.
Joey (Oradell, NJ)
In what area of the game do you think the replacement refs effect the most?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
I think the speed of the game is too much for them now. It's a fast game. You have to make judgement calls in a blink of an eye. That should get better as we move along. It's a hard, thankless job. You don't remember the good calls, you remember the bad calls. Any time there is an incomplete pass in the NFL, the QB is yelling for pass interference and the WR is yelling. The coach on the sideline is screaming. At least these officials are allowing the DBs to play some football. Basically a touch foul is called as pass interference, but now that's gone.
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
I think the defensive players need to be able to play defense again. I'd like to see the officials back, but at the same time, I'm not worried about the NFL having a season where the best team isn't crowned. The officials haven't cost a team the game yet.
Is it a forgone conclusion that Alabama wins another National Championship? They seem to be in a class of their own?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
I disagree. I think there's an overreaction to Alabama right now. They beat a depleted Michigan team and depleted Arkansas team. Alabama has not been tested yet, even though people want to act like these were statement games. At Missouri won't be easy. At LSU. At Tennessee. Those aren't easy games. I think Alabama is a little overrated. I hate to say that, because Nick Saban is one of the best coaches out there.
Packers defense looked awfully good against the Bears. What is your expectations of them this year?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
They're getting better. They're trying to work in a lot of players. A defensive heavy draft last year. They're going to get better and better defensively. They won without Greg Jennings. The Packers will win that division. They're still the class of that division and one of the elite in the NFC.
Mel, what are your thoughts on Weeden's performance in Week 2 compared to his debut? Obviously as a rookie, he will have some growing pains, but it seems like if his O-Line can actually protect him like they did against Cincy, he has the arm strength and accuracy to be one heck of an NFL QB.
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
He finally got some help. He didn't get any help the first week. He had dropped passes. The WRs didn't help. The RBs didn't help. The OL didn't help. This week, Trent Richardson got it going. The WRs caught the ball. The QB needs help. Weeden had a heckuva day. You don't play well when you don't get any help.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Does the win versus USC on Saturday completely remove Shaw from the Harbaugh-Luck shadow and let people who may have doubted it know, that Stanford is hear to stay, and David Shaw is a damn good coach in hiw own right?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
I think he showed that. Everybody respected David Shaw. He's a great guy, a smart act. He's a phenomenal individual. He has a great defense there at Stanford. He has, arguably the best RB in college footall right now. He did it all against USC. When you have a back the caliber of Taylor, people know there is another RB that no one was aware of.
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
Shaw just got in his last recruiting class the best OL that I've ever seen. This freshmen group is as good as it gets.
Joey (Oradell, NJ)
Do you think the Eagles can continue to win the way they are playing?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
Yeah, I think they can. You can say they were very fortunate against the Ravens and against Cleveland. But they're wins. They didn't know if they'd have Maclin or Jackson by Thursday of last week. They lost their center. They've dealt with adversity. They could win that division. How many teams could turn the ball over 9 times in two games and be 2-0? The next four games will be important. Their schedule is brutal.
Paul (Dallas, TX)
How do you feel about the Cowboy's receivers this year? Is Ogletree a star in waiting?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
He's a solid player right now. He showed ability in college. He has some of the components you need to be a solid player in this league. You can't make all of the mistakes they did and win. They want to be 3-1 going into the bye week. After the bye, their first 5 games are very, very difficult.
Wes W. (Columbus, Ohio)
Which players come to mind that could make the meteroric rise at the end of the season like RGIII did last year?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
Bjoern Werner, DE, FSU. You see some Chris Long in him. Loyd, DT, Florida.
The Cardinals shocked the NFL world last week. Do you think they can be a surprise contender this year?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
No. I don't. Even though they did surprise me, I thought they could be 0-2 after two weeks and they're 2-0. They're getting good play out of that defense. Fitzgerald wasn't a huge factor and they won that game. If they continue to play like this, then I will be proven wrong at the end of the season. I'm still skeptical. I think they're a 6-7-win team. I won't change now. If they get to 8-9 wins, I will be proven wrong.
Bonnie (Chantilly, VA)
Are you surprised how Wes Welker was treated last week and ignored in the gameplan?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
The Welker thing is very confusing to me. Here's a guy that's a blood, sweat and tears kind of player. He came out of Texas Tech undrafted. Another undrafted Tech guy, Amendola, is doing great with the Rams as well. I don't know what's going on with Welker. He's such a gutty, tough guy. It's a little confusing to me.
Greg (Niceville, FL)
Speaking of Stanford's Stephen Taylor, how do you see him doing in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
He's a very good prospect. He's not elite, but he's a good prospect. He's a guy that you can get at a bargain point in the draft. He can run away from people in the open field. He's tough to bring down. Great balance. Hits the hole with authority. Just a very good fotoball player. He'll block. He's a hard working player. I think he's looking at a spot in the NFL. He's my No. 2 senior RB. I think he's in the third round mix.
How far up the board can Damantre Moore go? Thoughts on Sean Porter?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
Moore played OLB last year. He's a DE this year. He can get after the QB. He's a feared sack artist. He has a great burst off the edge. He can be a DE, 3-4 OLB. He's done a great job for them this year. He's a junior that you keep your eye on, because he'll intrigue defensive coordinators a lot because he can rush the passer.
Jalky (Dodgeville MI)
Is Brandon LaFell in the midst of a third-year breakout and will the NYG secondary make the annoucement to the nation?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
He just has to be consistent catching the football. He has talent. He has to pay attention to detail. When he was with LSU, you thought he had first round talent, he just has to play up to that talent. The consistency and reliability have to be there.
Cody (Madison, WI)
Why hasn't William Gholston lived up to the hype yet? I keep waiting for him to break out and show some consistency.
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
He's always going to be a guy that they account for. He has the bullseye on his chest. Everyone knows that he's the guy to block to take on Michigan State's defense. When you're 6-6, 270, you get a lot of attention. When you get into more conventional attackes, like Iowa, Wisconsin, those are the games where his pass rush abilities should be shown.
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
He's No. 18 on my Big Board right now. He's only a true junior. He has the option at the end of the year.
DrewTheDraftGuru (Green Bay, WI)
How big of a concern are the injury histories of Knile Davis and Marcus Lattimore?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
They are there. They are what they are. Davis had an ankle in high school. Another ankle as a freshman at Arkansas. The ankle last year. He's had three years where the ankle has been an issue. He has the talent. In terms of Lattimore, he had the knee injury. He's looked good so far. He's getting himself back to 100% mentally and physically. Lattimore has the higher grade. He's No. 23 on the Big Board. Davis is my fourth highest rated junior RB.
Luis (Tampa, FL)
Anyone on Georgia Tech's squad you like in terms of NFL future?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
They don't have any highly rated players. A guy that could be there is Omoregie Uzzi, OG. Junior DE/OLB Jeremiah Attaochu. Senior CB Rob Sweeting. Senior RB/WR Orwin Smith. But nobody that has a super high grade.
How do you think Seattle will pair up to Green Bay this weekend.
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
In terms of the game itself, it's an important game for Green Bay to keep this thing going. Seattle has a strong homefield advantage. That's probably the best homefield in the NFL. Seattle just tries to create opportunities at home. They block punts or have good returns. Your special teams have to be on their toes. Leon Washington is a great returnman. The special teams for Green Bay have to come to play. If they do, I think they win.
Matt (Whittier, CA)
Who out of this years Safety class appears more NFL ready than the others in your eyes?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
No. 1 would probably be Eric Reid, junior, LSU. Then I would go with Kenny Vaccaro, senior, Texas; Shawn Williams, senior, Georgia; TJ McDonald, senior, USC; Matt Elam, junior LSU.
Jake (Provo, UT)
When is Kyle Van Noy going to be talked about has one of the best underclassman 3-4 4-3 olbs? He is all over the field!
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
He already is. I've had him since day 1 of this year that's well on the radar. He's a guy that has a very good grade. He's my No. 3 junior OLB. He's an explosive football player. He makes a lot of plays. He is certainly a very dominant collegiate player.
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
He's the second best pure OLB, taking out Moore, who's a DE/OLB, and he's only behind Jarvis Jones, the No. 1 player on the Big Board.
Is Hankins the highest rated prospect at Ohio St?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
Yes, he is. I just want to see some more impact plays from him behind the line of scrimmage. He's taking on the double teams. I would just like to see him fight off the doubles and get behind the line of scrimmage. Here's a guy that's 320-325 pounds. He plays with a high motor. He makes a lot of tackles. I would just like to see more impact plays behind the line. Any time you have a 320-pound DT with his skill set, you're going to go high. Dontari Poe was the 11th player drafted and he wasn't nearly as productive as Hankins.
What are your predictions for the Titans? Will they get a record better or worse than 8-8?
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
No. Not better than 8-8. Jake Locker is wildly inconsistent. I don't see him being a consistent QB in this league. If you grabbed a football fan on the street and ask them to name you five players on the team, they can't do it. They're a very non-descript team. Especially on defense. I think you put them down at 8-8. 9 out of 10 people put them down as 8-8. At 0-2, this game against Detroit is crucial. They're looking at an 0-4 start if they lose this week.
nick middletown nj [via mobile]
How did you view cordy glenn before last draft? Tackle or guard?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
I had him more of a guard. He played LT at Georgia. But I have him more of a guard. We'll see how he stacks up. There was no question he deserved to go where he went int he draft. He ended up going 41st overall and he was in my top 25 for most of last year. That was a value pick for the Bills.The question was, could he be a LT in the NFL?
Lunkhead (Rocky Mountains)
Who do you have from PSU being draftable: only Mauti & Hodges?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
Mauti is an outstanding player. He gets 10-15 tackles per game. If it wasn't for the durability concerns, he'd be a high pick. He had the knee in 2009 and a knee injury in 2011. When he's out there healthy, he's athletic, sideline to sideline. Outstanding player. Hodges hasn't had a great year yet. He hasn't been productive, but he can run. He has to step it up a little bit. He has some good games ahead.
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
Also, Jordan Hill, senior DT, he's certainly a guy that can go in the first four rounds. Matt Stankiewietch, senior, center.
Matt (Green Bay, WI)
How long before Nick Perry if ever figures it out at OLB in GB's 3-4? He has been very average all camp and the early part of the year
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
He's a rookie and he's adjusting to a position that's something that's new for him. He has to be able to play in reverse and then moving forward. They have high hopes for him. He should be an impactful player moving forward. We're only 2 games into the season. You can't evaluate a rookie on two games.
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
We're ready to go for another week of football. There will be a brand new Big Board up today. New No. 1. We'll be back again next week!
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