Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, 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 Thursday at 2 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (2:01 PM)
We've got Mel!
Mel, who are your 3 top rated Q.B.s in next years draft that the Browns could draft ?
Mel Kiper (2:02 PM)
It would be Teddy Bridgewater, No. 1. You need to be first or second in the draft to get him. Brett Hundley is No. 8 overall on the Big Board. Then Marcus Mariotta. Three QBs have first round grades, but the elite guy is Bridgewater.
Frank (Charlotte, NC)
Is EJ Manuel better than you thought he'd be when you graded him before the draft?
Mel Kiper (2:03 PM)
He's always been a guy with a ton of ability. He's a great kid. For a rookie QB, he's done some nice things. You can't argue with what he did last week. These young QBs are adapting quickly. But I won't make any judgements now. He's always had the character and abilities you look for.
Tom (New England)
What do you think in terms of progress that Chandler Jones made from year one to year two?
Mel Kiper (2:04 PM)
He has a lot of pass rush ability. When you can move him around and take advantage of that ability, he's a gifted athlete with length. That kind of player can wreak some havoc. He has Pro Bowl written all over him if he continues to progress.
Marcus Mariota turns 20 in October. Is he too young to consider going pro after this year? Has there ever been a successful 20 year old rookie QB?
Mel Kiper (2:05 PM)
He's a third-year sophomore. He'll be three years removed from high school and he'll have that option. He's No. 23 on the Big Board, on there for the first time this week. One of three Oregon players in the top 25.
Mike (Miami, FL)
Hi Mel, Can you give your thoughts on some of the prospects of the Miami Hurricanes? Guys like Morris, Henderson, Chickillo, and Perryman? Thanks
Mel Kiper (2:06 PM)
Morris is the one that you put above everybody. He has size, arm strength. He's the QB. He doesn't have great WR around him. You wish they had the Irvins, Johnsons around him. Henderson, if he continues to upgrade his pass protection skills, with his size, he could be an early round pick. Those would be the main guys that are draft eligible.
chris mccurley [via mobile]
Does blake bell have a chance in the nfl? Is aj mcarron a top quaterback in this years draft?
Mel Kiper (2:08 PM)
Bell has an opportunity to get back and play QB, with the injury to the freshmen. Certainly McCarron does everything you want. He has the size, competitiveness, he's a winner. Is the arm strong enough? History has proven that arms can get stronger in the NFL. If you figure he's strong enough, he gets taken in the second round area.
What do you see as the keys to the ND-Sooner game in two weeks?
Mel Kiper (2:09 PM)
The main thing for ND is for the defense to keep improving. They've had issues. Tuitt and Nix need to start wreaking havoc. Be difference makers. They have to hope the LB corps evolves. The defense has to get better. The offense has generated some points. With Rees instead of Gholston, it's a different offense. My big concern is the defense. Fortunately for ND, MSU doesn't have a lot of offense. If they score points, that's a big red flag for ND.
How do the Brown execs try to sell 'giving' a 3rd round pick for something in the teens or higher next year? Isn't it hard to gauge a RB when the Browns don't have anything? What impact guy could they get based on your projects in that range for next year's draft?
Mel Kiper (2:11 PM)
It can be a tool to move up to get a Bridgewater. It could work with your other pick to move up. They have 7 picks in the first 4 rounds. 10 overall picks. You should get 7 starters in the draft coming up. Last year, ironically, they didn't have many picks. Mingo is the main guy from the draft. They only picked five players. Now, they're slated to have 10. It looks like they have a rising star in Mingo, their first round pick last year. He's shown great potential already.
Dylan P (Vacaville CA)
I spoke with you a few weeks ago, predicting a Louisville-LSU National Championship. If LSU gets there, Mettenberger for Heisman? Cam is defiantly bringing the best out of that kid!!
Mel Kiper (2:13 PM)
I had Oregon winning the national championship. Louisville will probably be undefeated. They can't lose a game and still play for the title. They have a very favorable schedule. There will be some other one-loss teams that could trump Louisville. There are a number of teams that could go undefeated with Louisville's schedule. That's the unbalance of college football.
Bryan (Srpingdale, AR)
Is Alex Collins looking like one of the next elite RB's in the SEC?
Mel Kiper (2:14 PM)
The elite SEC RB right now is Todd Gurley. He has tremendous ability. He's the one that's head and shoulders above the rest. He has a chance to be a marquee player.
Ed (Queens Village)
You had called Jets an expansion team a while ago? Has your opinion change? More of an expansion team Jags or Browns?
Mel Kiper (2:16 PM)
I would say the Jags, because the Browns can hang their hat on a heckuva young defense. Phil Taylor, Mingo, Haden. You have other players on the front seven who are good as well. What they need are a top CB and safety. If they get those, they're outstanding. Offensively, they thought they'd have a good line, but the right side has let them down. They need 2 WR entities. QB. RB. On offense, they have some wholes.
Mel Kiper (2:17 PM)
The Jets are similar in that regard. They have some good young defensive players, but suspect on offense. Jacksonville has issues on both sides of the ball.
Hey Mel, What are your thoughts about tonight's Game, Can KC maintain enough ball control and keep Philly's O off the field? Who do you like in this game?
Mel Kiper (2:18 PM)
Philly's defense is not very good right now. Washington made that game close. KC's offense doesn't present the challenges that San Diego's did. Philly's offense will be the focus and they've put up some points. This should be a good football game. Going in, if KC gets to 3-0, it means they'd have to go into Philly and beat Andy Reid's old team.
Frank (Seekonk, MA)
If all the draft eligible offensive linemen come out, how does the 2014 draft compare to past years on the O-line? How many do you see being first round picks?
Mel Kiper (2:20 PM)
It could be very good, especially at LT. You have several guards and centers. If all of these guys come out, this is a great OL group. Right now, you're looking at 8 LTs that are excellent. 7 highly rated guards. And 3-5 outstanding centers. There could be 11 first round caliber OL.
B Mand (Sarasota, FL)
What would you recommend the Bucs do about their QB situation?
Mel Kiper (2:22 PM)
Let the season play out. Josh Freeman knows this is the year to put up the numbers or the team turns the page. There are 14 games left to go. He has the pieces in place, so there are no excuses. If he doesn't do well this year, the team turns the page. They could be in the running for Bridgewater. They're at New England this week and a tough road ahead. They could have been 2-0, but instead they're 0-2. You're looking at probably a 4-12 type of year.
Mel Kiper (2:22 PM)
If that's the case, you're looking at them being in the mix for Bridgewater.
Do you take any stock to Clowney's struggles/injuries this year? Is he still the first pick in 2014?
Mel Kiper (2:24 PM)
He's the first or second pick, I would say, depending on if the first team picking needs a QB. Clowney would have been the third pick overall after his first year and first overall last year. I think he should have been allowed to go. He could have been the first pick overall. Now he's concerned about an injury going in.
B Mand (Sarasota, FL)
I know you have said that Jacob Coker has 1st round talent, so is he better off hoping Jameis declares after next year and being the starter at FSU for 1 season, or transferring to another school, losing a year of eligibility and having 1 season as a starter?
Mel Kiper (2:25 PM)
He wouldn't be starting until his fith year senior year. You could go a level down in competition and play as a junior. Joe Flacco left Pitt to go to Delaware. For Coker, he could go down a level and play all next year and maybe the following year. He has tons of ability, but he has to play. He hasn't played yet, other than in mop up time. He'll have to make that call.
What is your take on the Trent Richardson trade?
Mel Kiper (2:27 PM)
It's equitable for both. Indy is a win now team. Vick Ballard got hurt and they needed a RB. For Cleveland, by the time they're ready to win. Richardson will have a lot of wear and tear. Now they have some maneuverability. RBs aren't the key to getting a Super Bowl, QB and WR are. RBs aren't getting phased out, their importance has dramtically lessened in the last 10-15 years.
Hi Mel, Can you give me some perspective on Bridgewater grade, what past qb has a similar grade as you give him?
Mel Kiper (2:29 PM)
I don't want to talk about grades yet, because we have nearly 8 months left to the draft. I don't want to box myself into a corner prematurely. He's No. 2 on the Big Board right now. He's high up there now. He has a favorable schedule, so he should be lighting teams up. He's smart, coachable, good decision maker. The thing I love about him, when he's rolling he doesn't look to run, he wants to throw first. Right now, he'll be a guy that could end up with the Jags, Bucs, Browns.
Are Kyle Long and Jordan Mills going to end up being 2 of the biggest steals from last years draft?
Mel Kiper (2:30 PM)
Long won't be, he went in the first round. Mills, certainly is. He was a later round pick, fifth round pick. I gave Mills a 5th round grade. He went where he was supposed to go. Senior Bowl week really helped him. After the Senior Bowl, I thought he'd be a second round pick, but then he had a bad combine. But Long's not a steal, because he went in the first round.
Brandon (winston salem)
MelEric Ebron, best TE in college, top 5 maybe?
Mel Kiper (2:31 PM)
He has the ability to be. What he needs to do is more consistent catching the football. If it improves over what it's been, eliminating the drops, he has the size, potentially a tremendous receiving TE. He's only a junior, but has tremendous potential to put it all together.
Hi Mel. Just curious what you think of Paul Richardson at CU? Top two round potential?
Mel Kiper (2:33 PM)
He's back from the injury, which is great. The thing with him is he's their best player. It's great to see him back playing at that level. Any time a kid of that ability has that kind of injury, a left ACL tear prior to the 2012 season and was out for the year. In 2011, he also missed some time with a knee injury, four games. If he stays healthy, he could skyrocket up the board. Excellent hands. Big time ability. You just hope he can stay healthy.
Early thoughts on the ATL rookie DBs Trufant and Alford? They've held up pretty well considering the Samuel injuries. What's your evaluation?
Mel Kiper (2:35 PM)
Love 'em. They're certainly off to a good start, in terms of how they've played up to this point. Trufant played well right away. They needed secondary help off the bat and so far so good. They've had rookie mistakes. Everyone will make those. The nature of the position is that you're going to get beat. Every CB will have rough moments. But it seems like they hit with those two picks.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
Hundley is an intriguing prospect to me. Could we have a a repeat of the 2012 draft with Bridgewater and Hundley? Any chance Hundley grades as high as RGIII did coming out?
Mel Kiper (2:36 PM)
I don't see Hundley moving ahead of Bridgewater. He had a great second half. They were down 21-3 on the road and came back to steam roll Nebraska. He studies film all of the time. He's a third year sophomores. If he comes out, he'll have to be somewhere in the middle first round area. But to put him with Bridgewater right now is a stretch.
Mel, How close was Tajh Boyd to making the newest Big Board?
Mel Kiper (2:37 PM)
I want to see him a little more. He's only 6-feet tall. Don't assume because Russell Wilson is 5-10 that every QB under 6 feet will make it. Wilson is one in 100. You can't assume every player like him will be a good player. Other things about QB play will be evaluated. Right now, I'd say Boyd is more of a 2-3 rounder. But that's right now.
In lieu of the Trent Richardson trade... if he was coming out for the 2014 draft where would he be picked? Would he be the first RB taken?
Mel Kiper (2:39 PM)
As a RB in this draft class, he'd still be No. 1. He'd still be at the top as a true workhorse RB and have a top 5 grade. There is no question that he went where he did.
Is Jeff Mathews of Cornell a viable NFL prospect?
Mel Kiper (2:40 PM)
Yeah, he is. He has the height, arm. He's playing in the Ivy League so the level of competition is a factor. But he can make all of the throws. You look at Cornell and the Ivy League has produced some QBs. I think he's one of the top 10-15 best draft eligible QBs.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
It's always cool to see an undrafted FA like Duke Ihenacho become a starter...what di you think of him at San Jose State, what's changed for him?
Mel Kiper (2:42 PM)
Strong, athletic. Good size. Speed and range were good and you could aruge he was the best defensive player at MSU. He made his presence felt as a tackler and should be a solid player in the NFL. Gave him a sixth round grade.
How does the '14 DE class look besides Clowney? How many other legit 1st rounder do you see?
Mel Kiper (2:43 PM)
I'd say 3-4 DEs other than Clowney that are potential first rounders. Four DTs. I'd say 8 DL go in the first round.
B Mand (Sarasota, FL)
Does Nick O'Leary profile as an NFL TE, or is he more of an H back at the next level?
Mel Kiper (2:44 PM)
I think more of an H-Back. With his hands and overall ability is more of an H-back.
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)
Wilson, Scott, Jacobs. Who should start for the Giants at RB?
Mel Kiper (2:46 PM)
I would go with Wilson and hope that he doesn't turn the ball over. He was supposed to be the difference maker. He has the fumbling issues and he was benched. You just have to hope that he turns it around quickly. He's the home run hitter. I think you have to go with Wilson. They're 0-2 and playing a Carolina team that's desperate for a win too. I'll go with Wilson and take my chances. You can't wait too much longer, but I'd go one more game and hope he fixes the problem.
WHICH BADGER QB HAS PRO POSSIBITIES? MELVIN GORDON WOULBD BE IN THE HEISMAN TALK IF HE PLAYED ANYWHERE BUT WIS.
Mel Kiper (2:48 PM)
They're all doing well. The RBs are putting up big numbers. The OL is a strong group, as always. The OL is a Wisconsin staple. It's a big, physical OL. Clement is getting the job done at RB. White is a quick, shifty guy. There are 3 excellent RBs to throw at the defense. It's college football, you can run the ball.
Lane (Kukuihaele, HI)
Which military academy player is the best prospect? Someone a team who could take a late round pick on and wait until he fulfills his obligations to serve our country.
Mel Kiper (2:49 PM)
RB Raymond Maples, Army. He would be the main guy.
Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)
Steelers are a mess. Does a T in the top 10 (Matthews, Lewan) make sense for them? Fixing the OL seems like it would help cure alot of the other problems.
Mel Kiper (2:50 PM)
They have needs at a variety of positions. They've slid back a little from a personnel standpoint. They were counting on Bell at RB. Miller at TE is injured. Some of these young linemen need to keep developing. Then Pouncey gets hurt and you lose your anchor to the line. They need to get Jarvis Jones in there. He's been productive. There will be some OTs. I have four OTs in the top 10.
Bryan (Srpingdale, AR)
Is this the NFL version of tanking, trading away your best player after 2 bad games?
Mel Kiper (2:52 PM)
No. They made a move. It was a perfect storm for them. Richardson is not going to be helping this team more than another player would. The need for a QB far exceeds the need for a RB. Once they're good, Richardson will have a lot of wear on the tires. The Colts needed some help for Andrew Luck. It's not about saying the season is over, you have to be realistic. The RB position can be filled easily. This offense didn't do that well with Richardson, scoring 10 points and 6 points.
Mel Kiper (2:53 PM)
Without a QB that can throw effectively, teams stack the box and Richardson will be limited in how effective he can be. It's not about tanking the season. They have to hope Hoyer shows something at QB. They have to hope the Gordon comes back this season and threatens down the field. I love their defense. I love their front seven.
Mel Kiper (2:54 PM)
If you're a Browns fan, you go out and watch the defense. I saw a Ravens team here in Baltimore who didn't have a great offense go out and let their defense lead them to a Super Bowl.
Shane (Robins Air Force Base, GA)
Looking at 2014, it is doubtful as many offensive linemen go in the top 10 as they did in 2013; however, overall, do you think the number of offensive linemen selected in the first round could exceed 2013's?
Mel Kiper (2:55 PM)
If it all comes together, yeah. There is football to be played. And some of them have the option to go back. 4 of the top 7 are juniors at OT. 2 of 6 are juniors at OG. 2 of the top 4 centers are juniors. Who comes out will make the classes.
Tommy (Miller, KS)
Hey Mel,Please finish this sentence for me: In three years, Matt Barkley will be ___________
Mel Kiper (2:56 PM)
We have to wait and see what happens with Nick Foles. Vick is still the starter and Foles is a young QB. How does that Chip Kelly offense shake down this season? I thought Barkley did well in the preseason. Will he get the chance to play? We'll see. Foles is a good QB as well. He's still young and has shown promise.
Tom (Hale, TX)
Does Keith Price of the Washington Huskies have an NFL future?
Mel Kiper (2:58 PM)
I think he does. He's another QB that doesn't have the great physicality for the position. I think he does have a chance to play in the NFL. He's a fifth year senior. He's the 12th highest rated draft eligible QB. Last year, he didn't play as well as expected. But injuries on the OL impacted him. Four starters on the OL were banged up. They lost four OL to injury. He is very accurate. He can throw on the move. He can move around in the pocket. Smart kid. Very hard worker. I would say he has a chance. You're talking about a QB who is only a little over 6 feet tall. He's another one of those 6-foot and change QBs.
Mel Kiper (2:59 PM)
That will be it. We have a great game ASU-Stanford is the marquee game on Saturday and a real good slate of NFL games. Enjoy and we'll be back on Thursday!