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!
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Where would Marcus Lattimore be drafted if he declared and was available in April one year removed from a serious knee injury?
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
Without the knee injury, you don't really know. He missed some time last year, the final 6 games. He looks good this year. He's gotten progressively better. He's always been around 21 on the Big Board. If he had been healthy last year and this year, he would probably be around 10-15. He'll be better next year when he's 2 years removed from the injury.
Let's say the Seahawks will be drafting in the 16-24 range. Obvious first need is WR. Anybody in that range that you think will make a great fit for Pete Carroll? Or will they default to BPA?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
Justin Hunter, WR, Tennessee. He's coming off an injury and working his way back to full strength. Last year he had an ACL against Florida in the third game of the year. He'll be better next year as well, just like Lattimore. Keenan Allen, California is projected to be a mid first rounder. Those are the two WRs that fall into that category.
Billy (Eastchester, NY)
Hey, Mel. I was really impressed with WV's offense this weekend. Do you view Tavon Austin as a possible first rounder?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
I would say more of a second rounder right now. He's a slot WR/return man. He played high school at Dunbar in Maryland. I saw him play there. He runs in the 4.3 range. I think he's probably an early to mid 2. Bailey, the other WR at WVU, has a chance to be a highly regarded prospect as well.
Mel - You are a NFL GM trying to reestablish your defense - who would you prefer to build around and why: Jadeveon Clowney, Manti Teo, Stephon Tuitt, Jarvis Jones, Barkevious Mingo, Sam Montgomery or someone else?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
It depends on what you need the most. If Clowney were a draft eligible junior, he would be the No. 1 player in the draft. He's had a monster year. Next year, he'll be the No. 1 pick barring an injury. This year, I would take Jarvis Jones. He's a complete player. If you want a 4-3 DE, who can also play on his feet, Mingo, Sam Montgomery. If you want the top DT to build around, Star Lotulelei, Utah. If you want a dominant ILB, Te'o. The best CB will be Dee Milliner, Alabama. If you need a space eating, run stuffing DT, Jenkins, Georgia. Those are the guys that would be high on the board.
Kenny Bx [via mobile]
How badly has the transition to Golson hurt Eiferts status in draft? He's easily best TE in nation, howeva not very productive. Does he fall outta 1st rd?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
He had a couple of catches last week. He's a talented kid. He's still hanging on to the Big Board at No. 25. He's a WR/TE type of guy. He has TE size and WR skills. He'll be the guy the most intriguing to the NFL. Ertz, from Stanford, will be another guy that's interesting. Notre Dame-Stanford on Saturday at 3:30 p.m. ET will showcase two top TEs. Some great NFL prospects on the field there. Levine Toilolo, Stanford, will also be on the field. Eifert is still in that late first round mix.
Tebow's career QB rating after 17 starts=75.0. Sanchez's career QB rating after 52=72.6. Tebow has never had an offseason as a starter- Sanchez has had 5. Not to mention the 700 rushing yds Tebow will give you. Why do you think the Jets are sticking with Sanchez?
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
I think a lot of it has to do that they haven't had their full complement of offensive players around the QB. Holmes is injured. Nick Mangold hasn't played up to his ability. Dustin Keller has been hurt. Not having any dynamic players on offense. The OL has not played well. What Rex Ryan is saying he's not getting a lot of help. The QB is only part of the problem. Tebow's time is going to come. I don't see Sanchez having a lot of success with that talent around him. They have to play New England, Miami, Seattle, a lot of tough teams to play. I think the Jets are a 5-win team. You could say let's put Tebow in as a last ditch effort to save the season.
Mel, with teams hesitant to draft ILBs early in the first round, how far does T'eo last? And assuming that it's in the latter half of the first round, do you think the Bears would look at him as the heir to Urlacher even given their urgent need for OL help?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
Rolando McClain went 8th overall in 2010. Jerod Mayo went 10th overall in 2008. Patrick Willis went 11th overall in 2007. Vilma went 12th overall in 2004. Urlacher went 9th overall in 2000. Te'o is the sixth highest rated player on the Big Board. This draft isn't a great draft, so he could get pushed up a little bit. Alec Ogletree will also be in that mid first area.
Dana (Flower Mound, Texas)
Mel, in College Football week 7, what big upsets can we look for? Can Iowa State beat Kansas State? What about Utah over UCLA or Fresno upending Boise? LA Tech is hot and at home, could they possibly beat A&M?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
Texas is an underdog against Oklahoma. They could be an upset. Iowa against Michigan State. Duke is playing really good football, it will be interesting to see how they do against VT. Virginia Tech is struggling, we'll see how that goes. Wisconsin is an underdog at Purdue. Iowa State is an underdog against Kansas State. That will be an interesting game. Washington did it a couple of weeks ago at home against Stanford, they are underdogs again against USC. They could do it again. Stanford could upset Notre Dame. Louisiana Tech is a touchdown underdog to A-M. there are a lot of underdogs that have a chance.
Obviously Logan Thomas and VT are not having the season they were expected to have....how much can a mediocre season hurt his draft status...6'6", 260 lb, rocket arm, high intelligence, very hard to bring down.
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
He hasn't played well this year. He hasn't had the kind of year you'd expect. They had to restructure most of their OL. Logan has to step it up. He has another year at VT if he wants it. I think he should go back for his senior year. His stock has dropped enough. Looking at his body of work, I think he would be better served to go back. VT is 3-3. You could be looking at a year where they go 7-5.
Hey Mel my Cowboys offensive line has looked poorly this year so far who is a mid 1st rounder in your mind that could make an impact for the Cowboys next year thanks Mel!
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
The mid first round OL are guys like Luke Joeckel, Taylor Lewan. They're both LTs. The top RT is Jake Matthews from A-M. Another LT is Eric Fisher, Central Michigan. Chance Warmack is the top OG. Jonathan Cooper, North Carolina is another OG. The top center is Khaled Holmes, USC. Depending on which position they deem to be the critical one, you have OT, OG and OC all in that mid first round area.
Mel, did you think JJ Watt would be this good in the NFL, I thought he would be good, but not Defensive Player of the Year good?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
He had a great year in 2010 in college. He has tremendous size, powerful hands. Great ball location instincts. Tireless worker. Bats down a lot of passes. I thought he would be perfect for a 3-4 team. He did 34 reps at the combine, making him one of the strongest players at the combine for his draft. He wasn't thought to be a great pass rusher coming out of college, but he's been just that. He was a great kid, great production and great workouts, that was a recipe for success.
David DeCastro was considered on of the "safest picks" coming out last year. Who do you see as being among the "safest" first-round prospects this year, and would you rate Warmack ahead of DeCastro?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
Manti Te'o would fall into that category. There aren't a lot of those types of players this year. Chance Warmack, OG. Jarvis Jones, the No. 1 player, is so complete. But he had the injury. I would go with Te'o and Warmack.
Mel, does your opinion of the Georgia defensive players change after the blowout loss 35-7? I'm a Georgia fan and they had a really bad game.
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
It effects your evaluation, not change it. You watch them closer moving forward. But the team has a whole played so poorly. All facets of the game, Georgia was vastly outplayed by South Carolina. These kids will all have to step forward. South Carolina had almost 400 total yaerds of offense. Georgia didn't tackle well, they didn't fly to the football. All of the things that you would not want to happen, happened. Connor Shaw only completed six passes.
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
But there are more statement games ahead for Georgia.
Mel, UCLA's TE Fauria last year he was doing great and I thought he was one of the better receiving TEs in college. But I haven't heard anything about him this year, what is your read on him? Thanks
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
He still has a very good grade. He's still the No. 1 rated senior TE. He's a talented kid. He has imposing size. He has very good hands. He has good blood lines. Christian Fauria is his uncle. He has 16 catches this year, averaging 12.5 ypc and 5 TDs. He's been solid. Last year he caught 39 passes for 6 TDs with a similar ypc.
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
I believe that Christian went in the second round, which is where his nephew projects, second or third round.
Mel, What is your thought on Collin Kline from Kansas State as a NFL caliber QB?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
I like him as a TE/H-back entity. He's not the passer. He's not going to be a QB in the NFL. But he has the refuse to lose Tim Tebow mentality. He caught a few TD passes at Kansas State. He's already shown he can catch the football. He's 6-4, 228, runs a 4.65 range. I think he'll have to change positions and go back to what he was as a sophomore. It's the same thing with Denard Robinson.
Nash (Fort Lauderdale,FL)
Who is the best CB in the 2013 draft class?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
Going in, it was David Amerson from NC State. He hasn't had the year he had as a sophomore, but he still has a lot of talent. Dee Milliner is the moving ahead of him. He's the No. 1 rated CB in college football as s junior.
Mel, What position is Barrett Jones set to go into the Draft as? Currently he is playing Center but has played both Tackle and Guard.
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
If I had to say right now, I would probably say a center or OG. He's not a OT, even though he did an admirable job last year for Alabama. He'll be a swing man type in the NFL. He has short arms and he's a guard. He's an overachiever. He'll have to be a center or a guard.
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
He has a mid round grade.
mike nj [via mobile]
How good is notre. Dame bcs ?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
I wouldn't go as far as the BCS title game. First thing, they need to beat Stanford. Very evenly matched game. They need to beat them on Saturday. I think they can beat BYU. Then a tough, tough game against Oklahoma. They shouldn't have a problem beating the next three opponents before USC. They have three games that will determine their season. Stanford, Oklahoma, USC. I love Notre Dame's defense. I love their front seven. Their offense is turning into an effective unit. I think they can finish 11-1.
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
They can certainly get to a BCS bowl game at 11-1 or 10-2.
Hi Mel! The Broncos defense is a mess in the middle. What does the draft look like in terms of ILB and S to fix the middle in the offseason?
Mel Kiper (1:46 PM)
The ILB are Te'o and Ogletree. They'll be the two first round ILB. As far as safeties, I would go Eric Reid, LSU; Matt Elam, Florida; Kenny Vaccaro, Texas; TJ McDonald, USC; Williams, Georgia; Bacarri Rambo. Some underrated ILB: CJ Mosley, Alabama; Kevin Minter, LSU. Underrated safeties: Bradley McDougald, Kansas; Hakeem Smith, Louisville.
Cory (Geneva, IL)
Where does Louis Nix project as an NFL player?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
He's still a very young guy. He's a third year sophomore. He's in the best playing shape of his career. More stamina, more endurance. He can occupy two blocks. He frees up Manti Te'o to make tackles. He's had an outstanding season. That defensive line has dominated games this year. Nix has 3 tackles for loss, 1.5 sacks, forced fumble. He is a great occupier. He forces the center and guard focus on him.
If you were running the Jets, what would you do? Totally tear it down and rebuild, or try to rebuild on the fly? Who/what position would you target if they have a top 10 pick?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
There are going to be organizational changes. I'm a big Rex Ryan fan. He's a heckuva football coach. This year the personnel wasn't what it needed to be, particular on the offensive side. Revis' injury demoralized that defense. In a league that you have to throw the football to win, you have to have balance. People think teams like the 49ers are a pounding running team and hide their QB, but he's emerged. He's completing right around 70 percent of his passes. Only one INT. Granted Frank Gore and Kendall Hunter are doing a great job. Michael Crabtree has really stepped up this year. His passer rating right now is the highest in the NFL of any starting QB.
Mel Kiper (1:53 PM)
The Jets need to bolster that offense dramatically. The GM situation is something everyone is talking about. This division, Miami might end up being the second best team.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
By definition, a good draft, top picks would have significant trade value. Conversely, nobody wants a top pick in a poor draft, and the picks have little or no trade value in comparison. Agree with that simple assessment?
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
I don't think this year will be a poor draft, just not as good as in previous years. You don't have the QBs you've had in the recent years. Matt Barkley has a high grade, but he's not elite. You don't have an elite RB like Trent Richardson. You don't have the super elite LT. You don't have the super elite WR. The top elite CB is not there, neither is the safety. Te'o is a top ILB in any draft.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
We have a great slate of games on Saturday. I'm very excited about it. It's an outstanding week. You have the Red River Rivalry. Stanford-Notre Dame. There's nothing better than night games down in Baton Rouge. South Carolina is No. 3 in the nation down at LSU. You have some nice noon games. Kansas State-Iowa State is a nice game. The high noon game with the Red River Rivalry. West Virginia-Texas Tech at 3:30 ET. Another interesting game. Very intriguing weekend in college football. Great football weather now that we're in mid-October.