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, is BC's Andre Williams a legit NFL prospect?
Mel Kiper (2:02 PM)
Yes, I think he's legit. He's been productive. He's not a wow you over back, but he's a grinder. I think he's someone you think about late in the draft or a priority free agent.
Will the Packers make the playoffs?
Mel Kiper (2:04 PM)
They have to get Rodgers healthy. The sooner the better, without rushing him back. They were not prepared for a Rodgers injury. They lost two home games that they should have won. Instead of 5-4, they're 7-2. Coming up they have the Giants, Minnesota. If they keep losing these games, they're giving up winnable games. Then they have the Lions, Dallas and Chicago. Those are though games. These next two games may tell us all we need to know. They need to tread water until Rodgers comes back. You can't keep this losing streak going. If he comes back and they're 5-6, they have an uphill battle.
Which defensive scheme is Khalil Mack best suited for, 3-4 or 4-3?
Mel Kiper (2:04 PM)
I think he'll be a 3-4 OLB. He'll play on his feet, attack off the edge. That's where you maximize his ability.
Michael (Kingwood, TX)
Mel, who has improved his draft stock the most this season?
Mel Kiper (2:06 PM)
Mack has. Eric Ebron, TE, UNC; Johnny Manziel, QB, TAMU; Vic Beasley, OLB, Clemson; Brandon Schersf; Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn.
Eddie (Atlanta )
Mel, which teams that are at least two games under .500 do you see making the playoffs?
Mel Kiper (2:07 PM)
I'm curious to see what Arizona, who is actually 5-4, does the rest of the year. They've been winning recently. If they can get Palmer to be adequate. They have Ellington running well. They came out of their bye week and could string together some wins. Their schedule is not that bad. Their final two are Seattle and SF, those are the toughest. Over the next 5 games, if they can go 4-1, 3-2, they have a great shot.
Mel Kiper (2:08 PM)
As for teams below .500, San Diego is a good team. They've given away too many games. The Washington game, Houston game. They're 4-5. They have a chance. Cleveland at 4-5 has a chance.
Jeff (Tampa, FL)
Better CB prospect in the state of FL, Vernon Hargreaves or Ronald Darby?
Mel Kiper (2:09 PM)
They're both outstanding. Hargreaves is the superlative corner. But you're splitting hairs. The NFL is a league where you have to have CBs. They're both phenomenal.
Mel do you think the saints are the number one seed in the nfc?
Mel Kiper (2:11 PM)
They have a good shot. Seattle will probably be the No. 1 seed. The Saints' loss to the Jets hurts. They almost lost to Tampa Bay. They lost to the Pats on the road. Their losses have come on the road. They need to play at home in the playoffs. Seattle has been able to maintain and only have the one loss. Seattle is a great home team. They're a better road team than people give them credit for. The Saints are not playing well on the road this year, but are great at home.
Mel, How do you evaluate team needs when teams are filled with injury's? For example the Packers have injury's at just about every position. How do you evaluate their needs?
Mel Kiper (2:12 PM)
Teams that have great depth can overcome injuries. But at QB, that's tough. You can't overcome an injury to Aaron Rodgers. They've done well overcoming the other injuries. But when you have an elite QB, you can't lose him. Chicago has treaded water because they have a good backup in Josh McCown. Every other position, you can pretty much overcome, just not the QB position.
Mel Kiper (2:13 PM)
Another team that's been hit hard is SF. They're really struggling right now, but they have not been where they want because of injury. They had injuries on offense.
Mel Kiper (2:13 PM)
It will be tough for Indy to overcome the loss of Reggie Wayne. He's not a QB, but he's an elite veteran.
Stu J. (Vineland, NJ)
Mel - Will the Bengals hold on to the AFC North or will the Browns or your Ravens catch them? I think it may come down to Week 17!
Mel Kiper (2:15 PM)
Cincy has dealt with a lot of injuries. They have four key guys out on defense. Bernard is playing with the bruised rib. And he's playing well. Dalton really struggled last week. Dalton needs to bounce back. They don't want to go into their bye week with three straight losses. After that, they have SD, Indy, Pittsburgh. Those are three tough games. You don't want three straight losses going into the bye and then facing that schedule.
Steve (Twin Cities)
How good of a prospect is Hagemann from Minnesota? He seems to be the best player the Gophers have had in a long time.
Mel Kiper (2:16 PM)
He's physically gifted, he just needs to be a little more consistent. He has first round physical ability. I think he'll probably be a second round pick.
It appears now that the Texans will be near or in the Top 5 of the draft. Do they target QB or roll the dice on Keenum, who's had a decent start to his career as a starter?
Mel Kiper (2:17 PM)
You have to watch Keenum the rest of the way. I had a 5-6 round grade on him when he came out. Everybody was saying maybe he's the next Tony Romo. You have to think about QB, if you have a high grade on one of the guys coming out. Johnny Manziel could be in play for them. I would keep an eye out on that. I anticipate Houston winning five games, so that would put them right around where Manziel will end up.
Danny (Long Island)
Does Tavon's day against Indy prove the coaching staff hasn't been doing enough to get him the ball, or will he likely be a streaky player for most of his career?
Mel Kiper (2:18 PM)
I think he should be a dynamic player. He has all of the ability in the world to be an exciting player. I think what you saw was what is to come. With Bradford's injury, they still need to get some work together. And they still need to add a go-to receiver. He's not a No. 1.
jake hull (wernersville)
Just how good do you think the Eagles are?
Mel Kiper (2:19 PM)
Their defense has a lot of issues. The best thing that's come out of this year is the emergence of Nick Foles. They've developed a lot of their young players. The defense is where they need to improve. They just have to continue and monitor and chart the development of Foles. If he's the guy, that takes away a need.
Mel, who are some players we should be watching that we probably haven't heard of yet?
Mel Kiper (2:22 PM)
Antonio Andrews, RB, Western Kentucky; Damian Copland, Louisville, WR; Joe Duncan, TE, Dixie State; AJ Cann, OG, South Carolina; Marcus Smith, DE, Louisville; Keith McGill, CB, Utah; Deone Bucannon, S, Washington State.
AJ (Stutter, MN)
Being that the Giants have won three straight weeks in a row. Do you think they have any hope in pulling off a dramatic end to a season with a Super Bowl season??
Mel Kiper (2:24 PM)
No. I hope, becuase I thought they could win this division. But I just don't see it. They've only beaten, Philadelphia, Oakland, and Cleveland. Let's see how they do against some tougher teams. The only reason they have a shot against Green Bay is because Rodgers is out. And their final six games are all ones they could lose. The most wins they could get from those six is three. The most wins from the season I could see is 7.
Kenny Bx [via mobile]
Better prospect Boyd or Mccarron?
Mel Kiper (2:24 PM)
I would say McCarron.
What position do you see Carlos Hyde getting drafted?
Mel Kiper (2:24 PM)
I would say second or third round.
Does Ed Reed have anything left in the tank?
Mel Kiper (2:26 PM)
This is Rex bringing back a key guy from his time in Baltimore. This is Rex needing some veteran leadership. He's bringing him in probably to see if he has anything left in the tank. This was a tough year for Houston and you come to the Jets who have surprised a lot of people. I bet they're hoping that they can get a glimpse of what Reed was in his prime.
Will Jerry finally draft me one of those flashy new TE's that all the other good QB's seem to have. I made Kevin Boss and Jake Ballard look like studs, throw me a bone!!!
Mel Kiper (2:27 PM)
Yeah and there are some TEs this year. Eric Ebron is the top guy. Jace Amaro. Austin Seferian-Jenkins. Those are your top three. It's not a great group, but some good ones at the top. The senior group is average, the junior group is very good.
What Longhorns do you see getting the call on any of the draft days?
Mel Kiper (2:27 PM)
A lot of them. The main guys would be Jackson Jeffcoat, DE/OLB; Mike Davis, WR.
Mel, how about some special teams love. Who are your top Kickers/Punters/ and Return Specialists?
Mel Kiper (2:29 PM)
There are some good guys. The top kickers are Cairo Santos, Tulane; Chris Boswell, Rice; Zach Hocker, Arkansas. The top punter is Kirby Van Der Kamp, Iowa State.
Who is your Defensive Rookie of the Year so far?
Mel Kiper (2:30 PM)
Kiko Alonso, ILB, Buffalo. A close second is Sheldon Richardson, Jets. The Rookie Big Board rankings are updated on ESPN.com every two weeks.
Couple of MAC questions for you. Where do you see Dri Archer landing? And does Jordan Lynch get a look in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (2:31 PM)
Lynch is only 6-feet tall and doesn't have a rocket arm. But he's the classic overachiever. He throws the ball under durress. He can beat you with his leagues. I think as a late rounder or undrafted free agent, he deserves some consideration.
jake hull (wernersville)
Will the 49ers win the super bowl with Kapernick and Harbaugh?
Mel Kiper (2:33 PM)
They came awful close last year, within one drive. They were poised to win that game. Within one pass play of winning that game. They've already proven themselves as a QB/coach combo. You can't score points yourself in this league. You've seen how it impacts Tom Brady, Joe Flacco. With Andrew Luck now without Reggie Wayne. The 49ers have had key elements out. They're getting Crabtree back, but they're not as dynamic as they have been. Kaepernick doesn't look as explosive as he did last year, to me.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Where do you think Trey Millard will be drafted?
Mel Kiper (2:33 PM)
He's coming off the knee injury. It was midway through the year. That will cloud his draft position. He's the best all around fullback in this draft. Unfortunately, the injury clouds his future.
Who should we watch for in tonight's game other than the obvious - Boyd, Watkins, and Beasley?
Mel Kiper (2:35 PM)
The big matchup will be Jeremiah Attaochu, senior DE against LT Brandon Thomas of Clemson. Sammy Watkins, WR against Jameah Thomas, senior DB, GT. See how much they're matchups up together.
Is Duke Johnson a first round talent?
Mel Kiper (2:36 PM)
Yes. I think he's a first round talent, but he's injured right now. When healthy, he shows first or second round talent.
How can a once in 10 year running back like Trent Richardson struggle so much when his counterpart at Alabama Eddie Lacy have so much success in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (2:37 PM)
For whatever reason Richardson is not picking up the holes and getting the yardage. And Lacy is showing the vision and explosiveness and power. Richardson is getting used to a new team, new OL. But he didn't show it in Cleveland either. That deal was great for Cleveland.
What makes Manziel such a first-round lock? All I see in him is Jake Plummer 2.0.
Mel Kiper (2:38 PM)
Jake Plummer wasn't a bad QB in the NFL. He wasn't great, but he was good for a number of years in the NFL. Manziel should be better than that. I think he'll be better than Plummer and has a chance to be a good QB in the NFL, if things fall right. I think he'll go in the middle of the first round.
Mel, you ever think about becoming a GM? I think you'd be great!
Mel Kiper (2:39 PM)
Much appreciate, but no thanks on that one! I'm happy here!
Mel, your early thoughts on Stacey Coley?
Mel Kiper (2:39 PM)
He can be electrifying. He's an excellent athlete. He's a home run hitter. He's smooth, athletic. He just has to become more consistent in his route running.
Raul (Rio Grande City TEXAS)
MEL, do you see Dallas trying to fix their defense through the draft? What positions are 1 and 1A?
Mel Kiper (2:41 PM)
Yes. It's a poor defense. They're a defense that's had injuries. Just about at every position. Sean Lee's injury was catastrophic. He was a leader on that team. That sets them back even more. Lucky for them they have a bye week this week. That defense needs him.
Ed O (SoCal)
Who is replacing me next year at USC?
Mel Kiper (2:42 PM)
I said this today on ESPN. I would hope that Orgeron can be a part of the program moving forward. Maybe assistant head coach. He's a brilliant recruiter and a heckuva coach. This is a destination job. It's one of the top jobs in college football. They can attract a top candidate. If you can find a new coach that understands what Orgeron's done, that would be the ideal scenario.
Are you surprised by how good Mo Wilkerson has gotten within 3 years out of a small school like Temple?
Mel Kiper (2:45 PM)
I had a higher grade on Wilkerson than where he went. He was No. 11 on my Big Board. He went at the end of the first round, the 30th player picked. He was my No. 1 underrated DT. At the time, I said he brings scheme versatility in 3-4 or 4-3. When you combine his ability to disrupte the run and bring heat on the QB, he has a chance to become a very good pro. Through the draft process DL coaches around the NFL become more enamored with him.
Mel Kiper (2:46 PM)
He was a great player. His final year at Temple, he had a dominant performance at Penn State.
Does Teddy Bridgewater have any mobility or is he strictly a pocket QB? Is is like an Aaron Rodgers type who is good in the pocket but can run or is he like a Peyton Manning who is can't/doesn't run?
Mel Kiper (2:47 PM)
I think he's an Aaron Rodgers type who doesn't run, but when he moves out of the pocket, he looks down the field. Rodgers has the tremendous ability to find his receivers downfield who get open when he gets out of the pocket. Bridgewater does the same thing. He's a thrower first, runner second.
How would you rate Jake Matthews from A&M with recent top OT picks? He doesn't sound like he's in the Bosellli or Ogden realm, but will he be better than Jake Long or the two OTs taken high last year?
Mel Kiper (2:48 PM)
He will be up there. He's third on the Big Board right now. He's an outstanding player and he has great blood lines.
Thoughts on the Panthers/Patriots match-up. Can the Panthers D handle Mr. Brady enough to get a win?? Thanks!!!
Mel Kiper (2:49 PM)
I think the Panthers defense can handle any offense. This is a defense that handled the Seattle offense and should have beaten Seattle. They held Russell Wilson to 12 points. They are an outstanding defense. They held SF to 9 points. They have a great front seven. Ron Rivera is an outstanding defensive coach.
HP (St Louis)
Mel, what are the biggest coaching jobs TODAY? My top 5, in no particular order, are Alabama, Texas, Ohio St, Michigan, and USC.
Mel Kiper (2:51 PM)
My destination jobs are Notre Dame, Alabama. Georgia, I think. Nebraska. Penn State. LSU. Texas. Michigan. Ohio State. Florida. Florida State. Oklahoma. I think Jim Mora can make UCLA one. USC. Miami.
Kevin (Reno, NV)
Where does UCLA senior wideout Shaquelle Evans project to go in the draft?
Mel Kiper (2:52 PM)
He's solid. He's one of those guys that's not a spectacular player. But he's a solid player. Early Day 3 player.
Mel, do you think Tannehill can be the future for the Dolphins?
Mel Kiper (2:54 PM)
Based on what I've seen, I think he's hard to evaluate because he hasn't gotten any help. For a lack of support, he's done a pretty good job. But he's slipping now, but for obvious reasons, he's not getting any help from the OL. Losing Dustin Keller hurt. He hasn't been able to get it to Mike Wallace because of the OL problems. With the adversity he's dealt with, he's done about as well as you'd expect. He's got the versatility, the arm. They just have to help him out. I didn't see greatness in him at A-M. I thought he was good, not great. I didn't think he'd be elite in the NFL, but you can win with him and get to the Super Bowl with him. I think he can be a good QB in the NFL.
Mel Kiper (2:55 PM)
Enjoy the weekend We'll be back next Thursday!
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