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!
Hey Mel!! Is Clemson's wr NUKE HOPKINS a 1st rounder if he goes pro? Thanks!!
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
Potentially. I have him right now as a second rounder. If you had to rank the WRs right now, he would be the fourth highest rated junior WR, fifth overall. That would probably put him in the early to mid second round. That's prior to the workouts. He's got great speed. He could elevate during the workouts.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Is Trey Millard versus Manti Te'o the most intriguing individual matchup of the Sooners-Irish clash Saturday night?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
Certainly it's one of the many we'll see. Landry Jones against this outstanding front seven. He's going to have to manipulate the pocket in this game. It's a good game to evaluate him. When you look at the defense on Notre Dame. Gabe Ikard at center for OU. Nice matchup there. Nice evaluation game for Aaron Colvin, junior CB for OU and Demontre Hurst, senior CB for OU. The FS Tony Jefferson for OU too. Tyler Eifert, junior TE, is the highest rated TE overall and No. 23 on the Big Board for Notre Dame. Te'o is the highest rated player on the Big Board, followed by Eifert.
Tim Irvin (Los Angeles)
Saturday November 3rd in Los Angeles...Oregon v. USC. From a scouting perspective which team has more potential pros? As a college football observer, who do you think will win the game... Thanks, Mel!
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
That's a pretty even game. I would say USC. They have the higher number of draftable prospects. You start with Barkley. Then you have Robert Woods, the junior WR. Those are the two lead guys. Khaled Holmes, senior C is next. Oregon has some guys that are very intriguing. My fourth highest rated senior RB Kenjon Barner, my third rated DE Dion Jordan. Ironically the two most exciting players in this game aren't even draft eligible De'Anthony Thomas, sophomore and Marqise Lee sophomore are the most exciting players in the game.
Robert (Warsaw, Poland)
Is Logan Thomas a legitimate pro prospect at QB? Or a better bet as a TE?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
He'll be a QB. He'll be evaluated as a QB. He needs another year at VT. He's had to deal with a restructured OL. He's had a new look offense around him. He's still my highest rated junior QB.
Landry Jones (Norman, OK)
Have I moved up on your Big Board after such a rocky start?
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
No. He's been anywhere between 4-6 among the senior QBs. Right now he's at 4. I have him as a second or third round grade.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Mel, Who's your leading candidate for "Rookie of the Year" at this point of the season?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
I would say right now it would be RGIII or Andrew Luck. RGIII has the much better team around him. Luck already has won more games than a lot of people thought. Those two would be the two that are in line for ROY.
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
Another guy that has had a phenomenal year is Greg Zuerlein, a sixth round pick at kicker and Justin Tucker. They've had great years. Two kickers who have had outstanding years.
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
The steal of the draft so far has been Alfred Morris, the sixth round RB to the Redskins.
Vanderbilt Fan (ATL)
What are your thoughts on Zac Stacy's draft prospects? Been a productive player for a while in Nashville.
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
He has been a very productive player. He's their all time leader. He's set some records. If you look at the way he runs, he has a little Ray Rice in him. He has a low center of gravity. He got his weight up to 210. Very shift and fast. He's one of the strongest players on the team. He'll be an interesting guy. He'll be one of those mid round guys that has a nice impact on the NFL.
Hi Mel, Am I missing something on the LSU D Lineman (Mingo, Montgomery)? I was watching the LSU A&M game and I didnt see much there to be honest w/ you. How are these guys top 10 draft picks wothout being able to get pressure or sacks on the QB, especially in college. Are they all potential or is this just a terrible draft class?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
They have a lot of ability. I've dropped them to 7 and 8 on the Big Board. Mingo had a decent game against A-M. They have two excellent OTs, one of which will be a top 10 pick. These are both juniors, so they have a chance to go back. I agree with you. There is another senior DE that's been in the rotation is Lavar Edwards. You definitely want to see more productivity. That's a corrent assessment. The Alabama game will be huge. Alabama has one of the best OLs in all of football. It will be a good game to show their talent.
Craig (Braintree, MA)
Jerry Kill for now is not going to put MarQueis Gray in at QB but at receiver due to his injury and that he will probably end up there in the draft. How do you see Gray's career and where do you think he will get drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
He's played WR. That's his future. He played WR his sophomore year. He's 6-4, he's a big strong guy. His lack of top notch passing skills won't allow him to be a QB in the NFL. He has some experience at that spot. It depends on the workout and how fast and athletic he ends up being. He has the size. He's strong. He's athletic. How he catches the football will be important. Gray, Robinson, Klein, a lot of college QBs will project to WR in the NFL. It seems to be the year of that.
Who is the best draft-eligible pass rusher in college?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
Damontre Moore from Texas A-M.
Hey Mel, will this be the year the Patriots finally draft a good DB?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
They've tried. They've had a couple of drafts that they've gond heavy DBs. They've had a tough time evaluating DBs. A couple of times they went heavy on DBs and it just hasn't panned out. They'll probably go back to it again. Dee Milliner is the best CB right now. Matt Elam, junior, Florida is the best safety.
Can Notre Dames defense shut down Oklahoma?
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
I don't think shut down. Notre Dame goes in a 10 point underdog. It's at Norman. They have a lot of weapons. Landry Jones has made some progress. They have a lot of guys that can change the scoreboard. They have the ability to go away from Jones to a running QB. It will be a good challenge for the defense.
Is the Mettenburger experiment over yet?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
No, it's not over. And it shouldn't be. This is a QB as a first time starter in the SEC. You're asking a lot of a kid to come right in and deal with SEC football. He's a big, strong guy. He's taken a lot of criticism and has dealt with it. He should improve with another spring. I should expect significant improvement as a senior. The defense isn't as good as it was last year. There are a lot of factors involved. Some OL issues. Some dropped balls. There have been a lot of factors. First time starters in the SEC, you expect a learning curve.
Any division 2 or 3 players that have a shot in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
There is a load of them small school players. Aaron Melette, Elon, WR; Tyrone Gorde, WR, Eastern Kentucky; E.W. Webb, CB, William and Mary; Montori Hughes, DT, Tennessee-Martin; Rogers Gaines, OT, Tennessee State; Mike Catapano, DE, Princeton; Brandon Williams, DT, Missouri Southern; Keith Pough, OLB, Howard; Mark Jackson, OT, Glenville State; Brent Russell, DT, Georgia Southern.
Is Manti Te'o's future in the NFL at MLB or can he play OLB in the 4-3?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
He's an ILB in a 3-4, MLB in a 4-3.
What teams as of right now are looking to draft a QB Day 1?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
The one that immediately jumps out over everybody is Kansas City.
Drew (Green Bay)
What LB positions can Alec Ogletree all play in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:30 PM)
He's an ILB, preferably in the 3-4. He is one of those guys that has tremendous versaility. He is No. 19 on the Big Board right now. He has a lot of ability. He's 6-3, 238 pounds. Covers a lot of ground. He's an ideal 3-4 ILB, he could be OLB. Because of his size and ability, he could help his team in a variety of ways.
FEHIII (Asheville, NC)
Mel long time follower, love your work. What round would you pick EJ Manuel.
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
To me, he's like a 3-4 round type QB. There are some things you like about him. He has the right skill set for the NFL. I just don't see levels of consistency. He has talent though. He needs a good week at the Senior Bowl in Mobile.
Early grading on Shea McClellin? I know you thought it was a reach for the Bears, but Shea is really talented and fast.
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
He's one of those guys that's a versatile player. He can get after the QB. They can do somethings in coverage with him. He complements Julius Peppers very effectively. He wasn't that big of a reach when all was said and done. I had him to be a projected late first round pick. I had him as the 26th best player on the Big Board. I had him going 27 to New England. It's not like he was projected to be a third round pick. My last comment on him prior to the draft was: athletic, versatile, gets low off the edge, never lets up over 60 minutes, had a big week in Mobile at the Senior Bowl practices, can drop into coverage, played like a first round pick at Boise, great attitude, great approach. He's been exactly what they thought he would be and hoped he would be.
Hey Mel. What are you hearing about BYU's Ziggy Ansah? Is he rising in the draft boards?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
He's a guy that everybody was aware of as a guy to keep an eye out on. But he hadn't done anything. He didn't play football until 2008. He's from Ghana. He's 6-6, 270 playing LB. He's had some strong games. He's fast, athletic, tough, smart, long arms. He's had 9 tackles for loss and 3 sacks. He could be a 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB. He is solidly in that second or third round mix.
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
He's a young, raw talent with a ton of upside.
Mel, Seahawks have to go WR in the first round, right? Russell Wilson hasn't been great, but his recieving core has been dreadful.
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
I would agree with that. If you look at a WR to go after early is Keenan Allen, Justin Hunter, Stedman Bailey, Hopkins. Those are the juniors. Tayvon Austin, Terrance Williams, Aaron Dobson, Markus Wheaton, Quinton Patton. There are a lot of WRs. Allen and Hunter are the only guys with solid first round grades. Allen is at No. 17 and Hunter at No. 20. There is no top flight super elite WR this year.
Troy (Seattle, WA)
Would Austin Sefarian-Jenkins be the #1 TE this year if eligible . Will he be next year?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
He's a great player, but only a true sophomore and he's not eligible for the draft. He's 6-6 and has Rob Gronkowski type ability. But he has another year.
What is Da'Rick Rogers potential draft status? He's your typical ultra talented head-case, no?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
He, to me, is in that second round mix. He has some off the field red flags. He had 6 catches for 76 yards last week. A lot of scouts were at that game with Gorde and Rogers. Rogers had 3 TD receptions last week. He's a man among boys at the I-AA level. He is a junior.
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
He's a super talented kid. You could make the argument that he's the most talented true WR out there. He could be in the second round discussion.
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
He has first round ability.
Is Jarvis Jones the best defensive player in college after Clowney? Also, I'm not seeing the Von Miller comparison with him. Jones looks like he's slow and lacks explosion.
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
I would say that would be an accurate statement, yeah. Those are the two super elite guys. Clowney is only a sophomore and not eligible. Jones is my No. 1 player right now. Damontre Moore has to be put in there too. He's had a great year.
Are there any draftable players from the University of Houston?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
The one guy that will be interesting is their CB D.J. Hayden. It will depend on how he runs at the combine, he has a chance. Good cover guy. He can flip his hips, turn and run. He could be the guy that gets into the 3-4 round discussion.
Philip Vivirito (VA)
Do you think that West Virginia is the biggest bust team in the country?
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
One of them, yeah. That defense has been awful. They can't stop anybody. That's demoralizing to the offense. They took that defense on the road and they were fortunate to beat Texas. Then against Texas Tech, they were leveled. They gave up 63 points to Baylor, people forget that. Marshall scored 34. Maryland gave them a game at 31-21. They couldn't stop Collin Klein running or throwing. Teams now are getting after Geno Smith. He's been throwing picks, fumbling the ball in the pocket. He's not a scrambler or a runner like RGIII. He's a pocket passer. His accuracy is not what it needs to be. When it's pitch and catch, 7 on 7 football, he's been lighting it up. He's dropped a little bit. Moving forward, there are some big games for them coming up.
Michael (Sacramento, CA)
Arthur Brown was the top LB coming out of HS. Where does he rank now among nation's elite in CFB and draft prospects?
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
He is the third highest rated senior ILB. Great production. He doesn't have great size. He has added weight to his frame since he's been at KSU. He's 6-0, about 235. He runs consistently in the 4.6-4.65 range. He's been a tackling maching at KSU. He's a hard worker. Good head on his shoulders. Plays 100% all of the time. He has a chance to be a nice player in the NFL.
Mel Kiper (1:50 PM)
Kansas State has a hall of fame head coach in Bill Snyder. They could have a Heisman winner in Klein. And they have a great MLB in Brown. If you line all that up, you end up with a pretty good year.
Does Levon Bell have a 1st round grade?
Mel Kiper (1:52 PM)
I don't think so. He's not in my top 25 right now. The OL woes have really effected him. He doesn't have the jet power out of the blocks, so he needs the OL to get him some cracks. He's 6-1, 240. He can run away from people in space. He's one of those smooth, gliding, patient runners. He needs help from the OL and he's not getting it. Dion Simms, their outstanding TE has been hurt. He's the kind of guy that would impact the passing game. They lost three key WRs to graduation. They lost their QB in Cousins. It's been a combination of issues. He's a true junior. I would say going back to MSU is something I would do.
What is your thoughts of Jared Abbrederis? He is the Badgers only proven WR and he continues to make big plays.
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
He's a solid, solid collegiate WR. He's a fourth year junior. He was a former walk on QB. He's got good hands. Outstanding route runner. He can help out in the return game. They thought he was coming to Wisconsin to run track. He's the kind of guy with deceptive speed. Good route runner. Hopefully he comes back for his senior year and has a shot at the NFL.
How would you rate Jesse Williams, and do you think he has a good future in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:56 PM)
Right now, he's one of the top 5, my fifth highest rated senior DT. He's a plugger at NT. He was a juco kid. Bench presses 600 pounds. He's an occupier. He's a pure NT type in a 3-4 scheme. He's played some DE as well last year.
Mel Kiper (1:57 PM)
Halloween is coming up, so we're at the end of the trail for October. We've got some great games on Nov. 3. Oregon-USC, Alabama-LSU.