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 (1:02 PM)
Right to the questions!
Turner (Boise, ID)
Did the real Bruce Irvin show up Monday night?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
He had the two sacks in the first quarter and then was quiet after that. They started chipping at him. Then he wasn't as effective. He wasn't productive in the first two games or the preseason. The other DE Clemons had four sacks. The Packer OL had all sorts of problems. His issue is he doesn't play the run well at all. He had some consistency issues.
Fletcher (Toronto Canada)
How high do you see Geno Smith going in this draft? How would he fit with the bills? Other QB's that would be good for Buffalo?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
He has a chance to come in and have some success. His schedule has been favorable.
Seriously. What is wrong with Vick.
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
A lot of his issues are with the OL. The fumble was a big part of that game, where I thought they should have taken the three points. That was a 10-point swing right there. Some is on Vick, but some is on the OL.
Which Seminole raised his stock the most during last Saturday's impressive win over Clemson?
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
EJ Manuel, Tank Carradine are the two guys that helped themselves the most.
Gilbert (laredo tx.)
Any Longhorns with top 20 draft potential this year??
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
All of the Longhorns that have the chance are juniors and one senior: Alex Okafor. He is on the cusp of being a first rounder. Senior safety Kenny Vaccaro is carrying a second round grade. Jackson Jeffcoat has a second round grade, a junior DE. Carrington Byndom, junior CB, has a 2-3 round grade. Those are some of the guys that have the chance to get into the first round mix.
Didier (New York)
Mel: who are the top corners in the 2013 draft? Given the pass happy NFL, I'm sure corners will be in high demand.
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
You have a couple of guys vying for the top spot. David Amerson and Dee Milliner. Both are guys that carry first round grades, both are juniors. Johnthan Banks, MS State, senior.
Which player has been the most surprising in a good way so far this season?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
It's good to see Michael Mauti back from injury. Great player, but he's had a lot of injuries at PSU. Great story. He has great ability. He is a big time guy.
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
Ra'Shede Haggeman, DT, Minnesota, junior. He's had a good start to the season as well.
What do you think of Texas' 3-headed RB?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
Brown is a sophomore and doing a good job right now. He's catching 6.4 yards per carry. He's been their leader. The best thing about the guys is they are two sophomores and a freshmen.
Is RG3 already a better passer than Newton?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
No, I wouldn't say that. Cam did a solid job of throwing the football last year. Shanahan is a master of making QBs comfortable and giving them good throws. Newton has established himself as a passer in this league very effectively.
John ( Wisconsin)
Mel, I remember in the draft you said you were really high on Jeron McMillan. He has impressed me very much. What in him made you think he could have been a 2nd round pick that you said you thought he could be?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
What I liked about Jeron is he was a guy who was a stick out performer at the CAA. The CAA is a high-level I-AA conference, but he stuck out. He did it all. He had almost 100 tackles his senior year. He had 11 or 12 tackles behind the line of scrimmage. He did it against some really good teams, including Pitt. Physically and athletically he could do everything you want. I love his passion for the game. I love his high energy. He was a fourth round pick and a value pick. He could have been a player at a major university.
Is this year's safety crop worth noting? Any franchise level safeties?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
Franchise level safeties? From the senior class? I would say no. From the junior class, you have a better chance. Eric Reid is the best shot. Ed Reed didn't have an elite grade. The No. 2 safety is Matt Elam. Kenny Vaccaro. Shawn Williams. An underrated guy is Hakeem Smith from Louisville, junior.
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
We're waiting for Georgia to get Bacari Rambo back this week from suspension.
Do you think georgia can beat Alabama?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
I would say yeah, they can, they have a chance. When you talk about Georgia and Alabama, when they would play, that would be in the SEC title game. Alabama, then, would have to beat LSU. That's no guarantee. And let's not assume Georgia will be there because they have to beat South Carolina. Right now, they're very close to Alabama. Georgia, LSU, Alabama, there is not much separating those three teams. South Carolina is a good team. Florida too. Those five are very very close.
Anthony Powell (Boynton Beach, FL)
Mel do you think the Patriots can bounce back from a 1-2 start and still make the playoffs?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
They were a Gostowski kick and a barely made field goal by Tucker of being 3-0. They're not the team they want to be right now, but they're not the team everyone is panicking about. Their OL has been struggling. They have some injuries. But at the end of the day, they're going to get better and better. They had Baltimore beat for 58 minutes of that game. They have to right the ship. They have a tough game against Buffalo this week. They need to win. After they go to Seattle Oct. 14, the schedule gets a lot easier. After mid-October, their only game that they could potentially lose are both at home against Houston and San Francisco, both in December, in the cold.
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
They're still an 11-win team, even if they start 1-3.
What's the worse championship scenario: 3 undefeated BCS conference teams at the end of the season or the prospect of replacement refs working the playoffs and the Super Bowl?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
The replacement refs, it looks like that deal will get done at some point. I think too much has been made of it. It's been overblown. It's not like every game on Sunday were poorly officiated. Not all of them were like the game on Monday night. The officials, when they come back will be like rock stars. They've been revered and praised beyond belief. It seems like everyone thinks the old officials were perfect. Will they get a standing ovation? They're like the backup QB. They were criticized. They were said to have too much control. Now we say the refs don't have any control over the games. People have a short memory with the officials. It's been way, way too negative. They did cost Green Bay the game, but it's not like the old officials didn't cost teams games.
How much has Landry Jones stock dropped this year?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
I didn't have a high grade on him when the season began. He is my sixth highest rated senior QB. He was between 4-5 when the season began. I think he's a 3-4 rounder.
Is Sean Peyton's absence the reason for the 0-3 start or are the Saints on the decline?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
It's a combination of things. It's not having Sean Payton, an offensive guru, a wizard. He has a good relationship with Drew Brees. Then the bounty situation going into the year. It's a big distraction. Players are creatures of habit. They want everything the same. It's hard to overcome all of these obstacles. They were in three competitive games. They weren't dominated, but they lost all three. Now they have to go to Green Bay and San Diego. Then Tampa, Denver, Atlanta, San Francisco, Dallas. It's a very unforgiven schedule. They could be a 10-loss team this year, easily.
Kurtis (Houston, TX)
Whats your thoughts on J.J. Watt - is he becoming the best defensive player from last years draft?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
He is really good. He's a great effort guy. He bats a lot of passes down. He's a high energy, effort guy. He's very disruptive. He's one of the most disruptive players on the defensive front right now. You're probably looking at a 12-win team. They were my Super Bowl pick back in August.
Has Logan Thomas stock been dropping, he hasnt exactly been putting up huge numbers?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
Yeah, it has dropped. He was in the top 5-7 when the season began and now he's 21. He's another average game away from being out of the top 25. He is a junior and he needs another year at Virginia Tech. He needs to get back to where he needs to be. He could be one of the top 3-5 players in the draft. VT has struggled as a team too. Against Bowling Green he did some good things with his legs, but his passing was average. He lost two key receivers and David Wilson at RB. Hopefully they get better as the season goes along.
Chris (San Jose)
How about that big match up of 3-0 teams, Texas Tech goes to Iowa State. Anybody in that game going to play on sunday? Seriously, does either team have any NFL talent?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
What Texas Tech has done is take advantage of the schedule. They haven't played anybody. Iowa State had the nice win against Iowa. Tulsa was a good win. They were underdogs in both of those games. Iowa State is at home. It's one of those underrated games this weekend.
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
AJ Klein and Jake Knott are the two for Iowa State to watch. They could be 3-5 rounders. For TT, it's a little different situation. They have a lot of young kids. Senior RB Eric Stephens has a chance to be a 5-6 rounder. Seth Doege at QB is mroe of an undrafted free agent. Will Smith, junior MLB, will be an interesting kid to watch. He is the kind of guy that has a chance to be a real good player. Also, senior DB DJ Johnson does a good job as well.
Bill (South Bend, IN)
Do you see Stephon Tuitt growing into a top 5 type player?
Mel Kiper (1:43 PM)
Yeah, I think he could. He's 6-6, 303. He could certainly be that kind of player. Physically gifted. He could have played anywhere he wanted. It came down to Notre Dame or Georgia Tech. He's had a good start to the season. They have an outstanding DL and LB corps there. He's only a true sophomore and has a chance to be an elite NFL prospect.
Fred (Walla Walla)
There is no doubt Barkley is a great college QB, but does he have any special physical gifts that would suggest he would be successful at the next level? What current player does he most remind you of?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
Well, he's a good QB. You can't dismiss him because he struggled against Stanford. He's not physically imposing. He's not 6-4, 6-5. He doesn't have the great athleticism or mobility. He's an outstanding leader. He's always working to get better. He has tremendous rapport with the team. He's a good leader. He's a very accurate, precise passer. He might be beaten down some by the draft process. Matt Leinart struggled. Mark Sanchez is struggling. The anti-USC QB movement could work against him. But, hey, Aaron Rodgers went 24. He got beat down by the process too. He was criticized as well.
Mel Kiper (1:47 PM)
A lot of people thought that Rodgers was a very ordinary QB coming into the NFL.
Manti Teo - does his recent play, especially in light of his personal situation, improve his draft position?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
Yeah, and it was already high. It was high when the season began, he was at No. 10. Now he is at No. 6. He intercepted two passes in that game and he created two INTs. He was a complete difference maker against Michigan.
JeremyB (Kewadin, MI)
As a Michigan fan I as sad to see that Notre Dame is ending the rivalry. What are your thoughts?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
I don't like it. I'm not happy about it, as a Notre Dame fan. That's something that you look forward to every year. As vivid memories of being a Notre Dame fan that I have, you remember the colors, the pageantry, the bands, the atmosphere at the Big House and South Bend. I think Michigan has the best helmet in football. To lose this is a shame. I don't know how you let this game go. I don't know how you drop this game. It's too much. I don't think it should have been done. College football has got to be more aware of tradition and maintaining these rivals. You have to win these types of games to win a national title.
The way Ponder is playing if he keeps this up thru the year Do you think then he was worth the 1st rd pick?
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
Certainly. I said he was Chad Pennington. He went right around the same area Ponder did. He has been lights out so far. The supporting cast isn't spectacular there. He's completing 70.1 percent of his passes with no INTs. Harvin has 27 catches and the next pass catcher has 13. He has been phenomenal without the supporting cast.
Michigan St. vs. Ohio St. Who wins and why?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
That's an opportunity for Michigan State to right the ship a little bit. They did not play well against E. Michigan or Notre Dame. They have a chance against OSU, who also has some issues on the OL. Braxton Miller has been spectacular. OSU is a 4-0 team that's still trying to get an identity. Miller has been their guy, but they're still trying to get some other guys into the mix. MSU hasn't played their 'A' game yet this year. This is a game that should go late into the fourth quarter undecided.
Does Peyton Manning have enough left in the tank to lead the Broncos to a Super Bowl run?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
What you're dealing with in Denver is a lot of young players around him. It's not like they have a cast of star characters around him. You have Thomas, McGahee, but it's not like there is star power around the QB. There aren't a lot of guys getting open. If they had been able to stop Atlanta or Houston, and gotten the ball back, maybe he could have brought them back. Their schedule is as tough as anybody's.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
The schedule is very tough. They get Oakland at home and after that, it's very very tough. I thought going into the year they were a 9 or 10 win team and I still say that. The pivotal games are at San Diego Oct. 15, home against New Orleans. They'll have to win the games they're supposed to win.
Mel Kiper (2:00 PM)
We have the Thursday night game this week, maybe the real officials will be back by then. Hopefully everyone's happy when the rock stars return! We'll be back next Wednesday.