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!
Kenny, Bx [via mobile]
After slow starts to their year, Tuitt n Clowney seem to have turned it on. Tuitt seems to have the edge based on actual performance tho. Any chance he gets picked ahead of Clowney? Has mack from buff cracked your top 1o?
Mel Kiper (2:03 PM)
I don't think so. I think Clowney is still up there in the top grouping. Tuitt has helped himself. The best game of his career came against USC. He's No. 9 on the Big Board. Clowney is No. 1. Tampa Bay would love to have Clowney. Tuitt is a 3-4 scheme guy. He's a Richard Seymour type. Two different styles of players. Clowney is a 4-3 DE and Tuitt is a 3-4 DE.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Where does the Missouri pass rusher Sam rank on your Big Board?
Mel Kiper (2:03 PM)
He's moved up. He's helped himself as just about as much as anybody. He's moved from a 6-7 rounder into maybe a 2-3 rounder.
Ed (Queens Village)
Who's talent is worse Jags or Bucs?
Mel Kiper (2:04 PM)
I would say the Jags.
Mel Kiper (2:04 PM)
Tampa Bay did try to help Josh Freeman. They went out and signed some guys. They got Revis and Golston. They had some draft picks on the defensive side. They'd be superior to the Jags.
Mel Where do you think Aaron Murray will go in April? I am very curious to see what NFL teams think of him.
Mel Kiper (2:05 PM)
Third round. I've thought that back in August and still do. He may draw some second round interest if he does well in the Senior Bowl.
Where does Gabe Jackson fall on the big board and how does he compare to Chance Warmack?
Mel Kiper (2:06 PM)
He's got a chance to be a first round pick, at worst a second rounder. He's been on the cusp of being on the Big Board, like 27, 28. He won't have quite as high a grade as Warmack, but it will be close. He's incredibly strong. He's a 335-pound destroyer. He handles the elite DTs in the SEC. He's the leader of their line. I think he's worthy of first round consideration.
If there was a 2013 draft do over where would David Bakhtiari be selected. Been a rock. Thanks Mel
Mel Kiper (2:08 PM)
First of all, he was the 109th player picked, the fourth round. I graded him out in that area. If you did a redraft, he'd probably be a first round pick. That was a fourth round steal.
Danny Moriarty (Long Island)
Will Connor Shaw get a chance in the NFL as a UDFA? Injuries obviously an issue, but his combo of toughness, athleticism and accuracy are hard to ignore.
Mel Kiper (2:10 PM)
He's a gutty kid. He was the reason why they defeated Missouri. He completed 20 straight passes against them last year. He's the reason why they won. He's a great leader. Gutty competitor. Tremendously tough. He'll play through pain. He is one of the tougher QBs in the nation. Hard nosed runner. I'd never bet against him making an NFL roster. He's tough. He's a winner. He's very critical to South Carolina's success. But he's not a draftable entity.
Right now, who are your top 5 QBs of the 2014 draft class?
Mel Kiper (2:11 PM)
1. Bridgewater; 2. Mariota; 3. Hundley; 4. Manziel; 5. a tie - Mettenberger, McCarron, Petty.
Mel being that UCLA has crumbled on offense . how much does that hurt there Qb in the draft
Mel Kiper (2:12 PM)
It's a case where you have to evaluate him on his physical ability and performance. But they have three freshmen on the OL due to injuries. That's all factored into the mix.
WADE (Newark, Ohio)
Mel, does Kenny Guiton of Ohio State have any chance of sneaking in as a late round draft choice? thanks
Mel Kiper (2:12 PM)
Yes he does. He's another guy who just hasn't played. That Cal game will be a great game for scouts. He lit it up. He can move. I think he could go in the 5-6 round with some good workouts.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Do you think Sean Mannion should stay one more year? If he leaves he'll be drafted in round.........
Mel Kiper (2:14 PM)
I would say stay another year, because there are so many QBs in this draft. He's a drop back pocket passer. There are some QBs that are more multi-dimensional. If he comes back, then he would have a chance to be a guy that everyone is looking at. A lot of it will hinge of if Cook comes out at WR. If he leaves, that could influence Mannion's decision
Matthew (Pennsburg, PA)
Hey Mel, is it becoming more clear the Eagles need to draft a QB in the 1st round of the draft next year?
Mel Kiper (2:15 PM)
Foles has had the unfortunate concussion and injury. Barkley has been forced in there. You can't go by what he's done in these games. I would think they'll look at QB. This is a "Now" game. You don't develop QBs. They have to play right away. I would think they'd look at Manziel. Mariota as well. He played for Chip. But he is probably going in the top 3 and they're not picking in the top 3 unless they move up.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Where do you Oklahoma's Jalen Saunders being selected in next year's draft?
Mel Kiper (2:16 PM)
Nice player. He has run after the catch ability. He can blow past CBs on deep routes. He's a guy that you can look at in the 3-4 round.
Bert (St. Paul, MN)
What do you see in Denver's backfield? Moreno is solid but doesn't seem to have the explosion you look for in a highly drafted back, Ball really hasn't shown much in limited time, Hillman is fast but coaches hate fumbling more than almost anything (it happens), and little is know about CJ Anderson from limited college and pro exposure.
Mel Kiper (2:18 PM)
I've been impressed with Moreno. He catches the ball. He helps with the blocking, especially with Manning back there. He runs hard. He's determined. He runs with an attitude. He shows good acceleration. He hasn't been dynamic, but he's solid. He's a professional. He's done a good job. Ball is a developing guy. Hillman has ability, but he needs to take better care of the ball. You can find RBs in the draft every year. RBs always present great value.
Jeff (Tampa, FL)
Are you surprised at how well Kenny Stills in performing in New Orleans? It appears that a lot of teams dropped the ball on this one.
Mel Kiper (2:20 PM)
There are always reasons why players draft further than you thought. Stills, as a freshman, he looked so good. He caught 61 passes. 61 as a sophomore and 13 TDs his first two years. As a junior, 82 catches. He kept going up and up in his stock. My final comments were "he has speed, talent, plays with confidence. Had to be more consistent. Dropped too many passes. Needs to run crisper routes. Showed first round ability, but leveled off during his career." With his talent, to be a fifth round pick, that's a steal. He really should have been a second round pick.
Raiders (of Oakland)
Are we going to give Pryor the chance to develop? Could Mike Evans be the answer? Seems to work for Johnny when he starts running all over the place.
Mel Kiper (2:22 PM)
I think he'll be the guy they key on. They're counting on him. But his passing is still erratic. I thought he turned the corner and was going to keep progressing. He's become more consistent of late. He's had some games, where he looked like he was going to be the guy. But he doesn't have the quality receiving corps. He's playing behind a subpar OL. Once his passing becomes more consistent and more accurate, he has the skill set to be a good starting QB.
Mel Kiper (2:22 PM)
I don't think any good young QB could be doing any better with their porous OL and lack of big play WR.
Mel Kiper (2:22 PM)
They're 3-4 right now. They could end up a 7-9 team.
I beleive Kadeem Carey is one of the best running backs in college, where do you think he goes in the draft if he decideds to do so this year?
Mel Kiper (2:23 PM)
Right now he's my fifth rated draft eligible RB. I think he could be a second round pick.
Hindsight's 20/20, if the Jets ahd taken Richardson at 9, not picked Millner and taken Tampa's 1st pick in the 2014 draft it'd be a top 5 pick for sure.Why has Millner been such a disapointment injuries or ability?
Mel Kiper (2:25 PM)
He was coming off an injury going into this season. It was an injury where when you're a CB and you have a shoulder injury, that's significant. He wasn't a turnover machine at Alabama. I thought his hands were questionable. You have to be a Pro Bowl caliber CB to justify being a high draft pick and I don't know if he's that. He was a backup at Alabama until late in his career. He lacks confidence, knowing if he gets beat he'll get pulled. Next year, when he's more removed from the shoulder injury and another year of experience, that will be when you can evaluate him better.
Mel, who are your top TE prospects right now? What rounds do you have them graded at right now?
Mel Kiper (2:27 PM)
The best is Eric Ebron, UNC and he could go middle of the first. Austin Sefarian-Jenkins. He's a second round pick. The rest are underclassmen. Ebron lit up Miami's defense a couple of weeks ago. He's at No. 12 on the Big Board.
Do you still think Sam Bradford has the talent to be that franchise level Quarterback?
Mel Kiper (2:28 PM)
Right now, you'd be skeptical about franchise QB. In his defense he was having a pretty good year without a quality running game around him. They don't have a true No. 1 WR. They have to get him a No. 1 WR and a complimentary addition at RB. I think he can be a good to very good QB.
Josh (Fairfax County VA)
Mey Mel. Defensive Ends Vic Beasley, Michael Sam, Frank Clark, and Jeremiah Attaochu all seem to have similar potential. How do you rate each as we enter the final weeks of the season and heading into the draft?
Mel Kiper (2:31 PM)
At DE, I would say there are a lot of guys at DE. I would rank them: 1. Clowney; 2. Tuitt; 3. Crichton; 4. Chris Smith, Arkansas; 5. Dominique Easley, Florida (injured). Vic Beasley will be a 3-4 OLB, BTW.
Magic Mike (STL)
Mel, better QB class - 2011 - Cam, Dalton, Kap, Locker. Or 2012 - Luck, Griffin 3, Wilson, Tannehill?
Mel Kiper (2:32 PM)
I think 2012. Luck could be one of the all-time greats. Griffin, if he's healthy is a great QB. Tannehill has struggled, but they don't have a lot around him. And Wilson has been good again. Without question I take that group.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
Would you take Jameis Winston over any other draft eligible qb this year?
Mel Kiper (2:33 PM)
He would be the hands down No. 1 pick in this draft if you needed a QB, not even close. His grade will be close to Luck's. He doesn't have anyone rivaling him.
If you're the Vikings and you're sitting at 3 and Mariota and Barr are still on the board, who are you taking??
Mel Kiper (2:34 PM)
I'm taking Mariota. You have to take a QB. In that division with Rodgers, Stafford and Cutler, you can't be miles away at QB. I like Barr, but you have to take Mariota.
what do you think of Cam's play so far this year?
Mel Kiper (2:35 PM)
Cam's a good QB. He's a gifted, talented QB. He has Steve Smith and Greg Olsen, and what else does he have? At the WR position, he doesn't have a dependable guy after Smith. They have a good stable of RBs, and a good TE, but after Smith, they don't have anyone at WR.
Mel Kiper (2:35 PM)
They also had key injuries on the OL. Newton is a very good starting QB in this league. Once they add a few pieces at WR, his numbers will go way up.
Baron (Large, PA)
What do you see as far as NFL future for Aaron Donald (when drafted, position played, etc)? Thanks
Mel Kiper (2:37 PM)
I like him. He's a fire plug. He's quick. Explosive. He gets into the backfield. I think he could be an early round draft choice.
Mel, Is this Ted Thompsons best draft as whole as a Green Bay Packer? I feel he found 3 steals in the draft so far in Eddie Lacy, David Bakhtiari, and Micah Hyde. Datone Jones had a bad ankle injury and is now starting to come on a little more. Franklin has flashed. Palmer has played decent enough in replacing CM3. Barrington has been very good on special teams. And then to throw in undrafted guys like Andy Mulumba. I think this is Thompsons best.
Mel Kiper (2:39 PM)
I gave him a B-plus the day after the draft ended and now you probably upgrade that to a solid A. Lacy is probably one of the best offensive rookies. Bakhtiari is one of the best defensive rookies. Jones is playing solid.
Mel Kiper (2:39 PM)
They also have some undrafted free agents that find a way on to the roster.
How would you grade Reggie McKenzie's first 2 drafts thus far in OAK?
Mel Kiper (2:41 PM)
You have to give this some time. If Pryor is the guy, it puts them ahead of the game. If he turns out to be a good starting QB then they're right where they want to be. Manning is getting older. Rivers has been in the league 10 years. Alex Smith manages the game well and he is what he is. I gave them a C-plus, B-minus after the last draft. They have to strengthen the OL. They need another WR or two. I would think they'd let McFadden go. At the end of the day, it's all about Pryor.
If you're Brandin Cooks, do you come out this year? Any incentive to stay another year?
Mel Kiper (2:42 PM)
Mannion and Cooks work in sync. If you're a WR, you work with the QB, so if he's not there, you might think about leavin. Cooks could be in the second round discussion, so do you just think you've done what you can in college?
Is the important difference between this year's Oregon team and the 2010 squad that made the national title game an NFL-ready quarterback? Is Mariota the reason the Ducks could beat 'Bama?
Mel Kiper (2:44 PM)
Yeah. I think Oregon's the best team in football. It's like the Denver Broncos. They were down and they came back to win. Oregon was 14-14 at the half and ran UCLA off the field. They outscored them 28-0 in the second half. They're like a basketball team that can fast break you to death. They have a lot of underrated defensive players. This team is loaded. They had Thomas out with injury and haven't missed a beat. Mundt replaced their TE who left the team and haven't missed a beat. I don't see any hiccups along the way this year.
Keith H (Seattle)
What do you think of the draft moving back to May? It seems the rookies would need more time with their new teams and hurts UDFAs.
Mel Kiper (2:46 PM)
I'm not a fan of it. I would rather it be in the traditional spot. I would even prefer it to be in March. I think a middle of March draft would be great. The late April I liked, but it is what it is. Move it up, not back.
Will J (Portland, OR)
Does running the spread offense in college hurt QB's in the long run from having productive NFL careers?
Mel Kiper (2:48 PM)
No, I think it gives them more chances to throw the football. What is hurting college players is the run game. The spread linemen don't know how to run block. They come into the NFL and they don't know how to move linemen. They're not preparing those collegiate linemen for the NFL. They're playing finesse football. They're backing up to pass protect and not moving forward in an attack mode.
Mel Kiper (2:49 PM)
You see teams in the NFL on third and 1, throwing the football. Peyton Manning from the 1 yard line threw a 1-yard TD pass. You never saw that 20 years ago. The NFL is going so skewed to passing the football that you don't see teams run any more.
2 questions about Melvin Gordon. Will he enter the draft and if he does, where does he go?
Mel Kiper (2:51 PM)
He's had a great year. You could argue right now that he's the best RB available for the draft. I have Thomas No. 1, but he's more of a jack of all trades, versatile guy. You could make a point that Gordon is right there as one of the best pure runners. Monte Ball went in the second round and Gordon is a better runner. I have always said you never draft a RB in the first round. You can find them anywhere in the draft.
B Mand (Sarasota, FL)
What have been your overall impressions of the new targeting rule has been enforced in college football?
Mel Kiper (2:54 PM)
I hate it. I hate it. I don't know why you would ever go to replay and still allow a 15 yard penalty. That penalty cost Georgia a win against Vanderbilt. It causes players to back off. It will cause more low hits which will cause more knee injuries. It's happening in the NFL now too. If you can't go high, you go low. If you can only do your job 50% and not 100 percent, you're going to go with the 50 percent and go low. Back, 15-20 years ago, players never wanted to be hit in the knees. Now, the rules are basically saying that you have to go low. Will the NFL adjust and say you can't go low? I don't know how you can have tackle football. As long as you tackle, guys will get injured. You can't legislate injuries out of the game. I've seen some games this year where the defensive players choose not to hit him.
Mel Kiper (2:55 PM)
I can't stand the fact that you lose guys out of the game. A quarter? Maybe, but the game? It definitely cost Georgia that game. It's a terrible rule. Ridiculous rule. It lacks common sense.
Mel Kiper (2:55 PM)
Thanks for the questions. We'll be back next week!
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