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 (2:02 PM)
Mel is here!
Rob (Smyrna, GA)
Mel, I personally would have loved to see FSU match up against Alabama. We know that won't happen but if it had who do you think would have won?
Mel Kiper (2:04 PM)
It would have been interesting to see Winston against Alabama, because he's from there. I would take Florida State in that game. They're a better team. That's not because Alabama lost, they're just a better team. FSU has a better QB, better OL. They don't have the star power at WR and RB, but they have great depth. They have a great kicker. FSU overall is the better team.
Dave (Redding, CT)
Thoughts on the Jameis Winston announcement. I assume this guy will be projected to go number 1 next year (assuming he declares)?
Mel Kiper (2:05 PM)
He'd be No. 1 this year by a mile, in terms of QBs. He'd be the guy that Houston, Jacksonville would look at. That pick would be more valuable. Next year, it will be the same thing. If you need a QB, he's miles ahead of anybody. If you don't need a QB, that pick will be very valuable.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
How does Mariota's return to Oregon impact your big board? Do you think he made the right choice long term in regards to his NFL future provided he stays healthy?
Mel Kiper (2:06 PM)
Great decision. He needs to improve his accuracy. He completed less than 60 percent of his passes in the first five games of the season. He needs better accuracy throwing down the field. He could be the second overall pick behind Winston. He's not going to get ahead of Winston, but Mariota has a chance to go in the top five next year, just like this year. He can go back and get better and become a better QB in the NFL. It doesn't matter where you go. You need to be really good right away, so you can get that second, big contract.
Justin K (Atlanta, GA)
Thoughts on Bryce Petty returning to Baylor? I say smart move just because he's young but it's hard to pass up millions.
Mel Kiper (2:07 PM)
Great move for a one year starter. He was just a one year starter. You can't come out after just one year. It's just not a smart move.
Mel what are your thoughts on Clowney slipping in the draft? Seems insane to me that he wouldn't be the number 1 pick; a few months ago everyone agreed he was a once in a generation type talent...
Mel Kiper (2:08 PM)
I don't see him slipping past the second pick, at worst the third pick. Anthony Barr and Jake Matthews are great players. Three outstanding players are at the top, but I don't think he gets past No. 2 or No. 1. I think he goes 1 or 2.
Jacob (Birmingham, AL)
Everyone seems to be giving the B1G title to Ohio State. Am I crazy for thinking Michigan State has a good enough defense to eek out a win?
Mel Kiper (2:09 PM)
MSU's defense is outstanding. They definitely have a chance to win this game. Their offense is not very good, but then the OSU defense is subpar. There is a great OSU offense against a great MSU defense. Something has to give here. Which one wins out? Who gets the better of the other? OSU's defense has to play better than it did against Michigan. But MSU's offense has to generate some points. They need at least 24 or more points to win this game, you'd think.
what bcs matchup would you like to see? How do we get there?
Mel Kiper (2:11 PM)
FSU is the best team. Them against somebody. Who would I like to see them play the most? I would have loved to see them play against Alabama. But they lost. So, now my dream matchup is now, Ohio State. They haven't lost in two years, if they beat Michigan State. That would legitimize OSU. Wouldn't you like to see a team that hasn't lost in two years, see what they're made of? I'd like to see them against a top team.
Mel Kiper (2:12 PM)
We've had 7 straight SEC champions now. The QB from FSU is from an SEC state in Alabama. That would be interesting if he wins a national title. Still an SEC connection there.
So the way I see it... the winner of tonight's game will probably lose out on getting Bridgewater and they both lost out on Mariota earlier this week. IF... these teams ends up 1 and 2 in the draft and Bridgewater goes first, where do they focus for the 2nd pick....
Mel Kiper (2:15 PM)
First of all, I don't think Bridgewater goes first or second. He's 4th on my Big Board. He's closer to 10th than first. He's not in the mix, in my opinion to be first overall. The third round for QBs has brough Foles, Glennan and Wilson to the NFL. If you want, you don't need to take a QB early. Kirk Cousins was a later pick. You could get Tom Savage, Jimmy Garoppolo, David Fales in the 3-4 round area. Stephen Morris would be another one. There will be options out there. Will AJ McCarron make it to the third round?
Mel,Where would you rank Stafford with the other young top QBs in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (2:16 PM)
He's right up there. People talk about the INTs. But the majority of them have been drops. They are balls that should have been caught. He had four INTs a couple of weeks ago against Tampa Bay and three weren't his fault. He's a tough kid. He has one of the best arms in the NFL. He's one of the elite QBs in the NFL. He has to win some playoff games now. You have to get your team into the playoffs and win some games. He's an outstanding young QB.
Jorge (Duarte, CA)
What do you think of the USC hiring of Sark?
Mel Kiper (2:18 PM)
I have no problem with that hiring. He's familiar with the program. He brought some good players to Washington, so he's a good recruiter. He knows what it takes to win at USC. It would have been nice to have seen Orgeron stay on. That would have been a nice asset to keep on. The hiring made sense. The reason that Orgeron didn't get hired was they lost to their cross town rival in UCLA, as a favorite, 35-14. And the game was at home. Had he beaten UCLA and Notre Dame, he would have been the coach.
Keith (Seattle, WA)
Are you surprised at how well Russell Wilson is performing in the NFL? Should he be receiving serious MVP consideration at this point?
Mel Kiper (2:21 PM)
Definitely, he should be. And you have to be surprised with his play. He had to prove that 5-10, 3/4 can play at this level. He's been better than Doug Flutie. If he were 6-2, he would have been the third overall pick behind Luck and Griffin, maybe even second ahead of Griffin. He didn't have passes batted down at Wisconsin. He had a 15 out of 10 on intangibles. He had everything except height. He's shown that in this day and age in the NFL, with the deep shotgun formations and the rules favoring the WRs that you can play well. So, yeah he needs to be among the MVP consideration. They didn't win any home games before Russell Wilson. They weren't as good of a home team before him. They're 6 points away from being undefeated this year. So, now they're winning at home and on the road. If he's not the MVP, I don't know who is.
Mark (Miami, FL)
Which Noles wide receiver is the most NFL ready? Do you think Benjamin and Greene both declare early?
Mel Kiper (2:24 PM)
Greene at FSU is the higher ranked prospect. But Benjamin has improved more than anyone this year as a third-year sophomore. But you're splitting hairs between the two. Benjamin really stepped up this year. Greene, you always knew what you were getting. He has great hands. Deceptively quick. Deceptively fast. Really works hard to get better. Gets everything out of his ability. Over the course of their career, Greene has been more consistent, but Benjamin has come on this year.
Tex (somewhere in Arkansas)
Has Alshon Jeffery impressed you this year? I thought coming out of S Carolina he was way too slow. But he's been very good lately.
Mel Kiper (2:24 PM)
The big question with him was can he get the separation when he needs to. He's kind of like a young Anquan Boldin. You're throwing him open. You throw him the ball when he looks covered and he's still getting the ball.
Are Tahj Boyd and Aaron Murray even draftable now??
Mel Kiper (2:24 PM)
Murray is hurt. He has the knee injury. That impacts his rating. He was probably third round before and now fifth round. Boyd, he was 3-4 before, now more 4-6 round.
Mel, Do you think Melvin Gordon should enter the draft this year or go back to school for another year?
Mel Kiper (2:26 PM)
Running back is a hard one. It's about tread on the tires. They don't go as high as they should at times. This isn't a RB league anymore, it's a passing league. Now, with Trent Richardson struggling, teams may be reluctant. It's a tough call for Gordon. I wouldn't say it's a good or bad move either way. I could see the rationale either way. Petty was smart going back. Hundley was smart. Mariota was smart. I think Braxton Miller needs to go back. But at RB, with the tread on the tires, I'm 50-50 on it.
Mike Rasmussen (Kerman, CA)
Where do you have Derek Carr ranked Mel? What do you think of Carr? Thank you.
Mel Kiper (2:27 PM)
Right now, he's my No. 1 senior QB since Mettenberger suffered the knee injury. He is my fourth highest rated QB overall. He has a late first round grade.
When is the right time to select Johnny Manziel? Top 10? 10-20? Later? How far has his stock fallen after the last 2 games?
Mel Kiper (2:28 PM)
Not a lot. You can't overreact to one game. This TAMU team has no defense. They have one big time WR. They have a great LT, but there isn't a lot of talent around him. He's right now my second highest rated QB. Some may have him rated as the top QB.
Lance (Destin, FL)
Mel! I've heard analysts say that Missouri is a BAD matchup for Auburn. If that is true and Auburn loses and Michigan State gets a W, we'll see Mizzou play FSU. I'd love to see that game.
Mel Kiper (2:30 PM)
Yeah. First of all, Missouri is a heckuva football team. I think they're getting a lack of respect. Missouri only has one loss. And it wasn't by a lot. It was to South Carolina with Missouri playing their backup QB and lost by a FG in OT. Missouri is very well coached. They have big WRs. What you want to see in this game is their pass rushers. That's their big positive on defense, but they're playing against a running team. So, how does their defense hold up? And, can Auburn defend against these big, imposing WRs of Missouri? I expect some points to be scored. The matchups favor the offense.
Henry (Shalimar, FL)
What has happened to Oklahoma? Stoops lost a step in my opinion. It can't be lack of recruiting. What's the deal?
Mel Kiper (2:32 PM)
They've had injuries, which isn't an excuse, but they have had injuries. And there's a lack of talent. If I go through the top five seniors and juniors at each position, you don't see a lot of Oklahoma players. The personnel is lacking. They had a good recruiting class last year. They'll need a lot of those kids to play key roles next year. I don't see a lot of talent in the junior and senior class.
Jayson (Yermo, CA)
Matt Barkley is buried on the bench with Philly. Do you think they might trade him next year?
Mel Kiper (2:33 PM)
In Philadelphia right now Nick Foles is the guy and he was a mid round pick. Barkley elevates to the second spot, with Vick's unknown status for next year. I thought he played pretty well in the one game where he came in. Barkley has a chance to be a QB who makes some noise down the road.
Falcons have needed a young pass rusher for a decade now. This seems to be setting up perfect for Clowney. If Clowney is gone, what do you think the Falcons do with their top 5 draft pick?
Mel Kiper (2:35 PM)
Clowney would be the guy they want the most. After that, they could trade out. They could look at Jake Matthews the LT from TAMU. They could pursue a DE later on if they trade out of there. Crichton would be a good pick later on. And we have to see which juniors come out early. Calhoun, the DE from MSU, could be interesting.
Did Seattle really expose NO? Or just an aberration? Do you think they take care of business at home vs Carolina?
Mel Kiper (2:36 PM)
They're a different team at home. They are not the same team on the road, despite what the record says. They were very fortunate to win the second game of the year against Tampa. This is a team that doesn't play well on the road. Lost to the Jets. Barely beat Atlanta. When they're at home, they're completely different. They're be 7-0 at home if they win.
Mitch (Montgomery, AL)
Best RB in the coming draft is...
Mel Kiper (2:36 PM)
Carlos Hyde, Ohio State.
Dorial Green-Beckham was one of the top recruits in the nation coming out of high school. I've pretty much lost track of him since but noticed he was playing well last week for Mizzou. How do his nfl prospects look? Is he a candidate to go pro after next season?
Mel Kiper (2:38 PM)
He's still a young kid. Everyone wanted him coming out of high school. It was a coup for Missouri to get him. He's only a sophomore. He led them in TDs as a freshman. He's a guy with enormous upside. We'll watch him very closely next year. He has a lot of ability. They have three big WRs who will be tough matchups for Auburn.
Mel, if you were advising Nix and Tuitt, what would you tell them? Both of them struggled this season with injuries or other issues, but you still have them both Top 15 on your board.
Mel Kiper (2:40 PM)
Tuitt played well. He was ejected early in the one game against Pitt. He had some dominant performances. Nix was getting double and triple teamed until he got hurt. But you know what you're getting with him. He's a 3-4 DE. Both of those kids have pretty much shown what they're capable of. It would have been nice to see Nix finish up healthy. We'll have to wait to see what their decisions are, but both are early to mid first round caliber players.
With all the distractions and the mess on the O-line how are the Dolphins even in the discussion for wild card at this point?
Mel Kiper (2:42 PM)
They're in the discussion because there is no one else that has a chance. They're 6-6. They've been able to maintain things. I give Tannehill credit. He's taken some hits. He's stayed positive. He's made some plays. The running game has helped. They have to win this game against Pittsburgh. They'll probably win against the Jets. They have New England and Buffalo also on the schedule. They've certainly benefitted lately from playing the Jets. They had a tough game against San Diego. A big win against Cincinnati. They played Carolina tough. The situation there has galvanized the team. They've fought hard. They're right in the mix. They could have easily packed it in.
Thomas (Miami, FL)
better chance of happening. Miami or Gators getting back to glory days of dominating their conference?
Mel Kiper (2:43 PM)
Good question. Both have issues from a personnel standpoint. Miami has some good young players in the program. Florida has some outstanding young players in the program. I think it's a push. When they played earlier in the year, Miami won 21-16. That was basically an even game. Florida could have easily won. They're pretty evenly matched.
Stu J. (Vineland, NJ)
In the AFC, which likely playoff team is most likely to knock off the Broncos and Pats? Thanks!
Mel Kiper (2:46 PM)
I don't think anybody does. Cincinnati, Indy, KC are the only teams that could. You could argue KC when they're at full strength, but they've lost two games to Denver. They didn't have Houston at OLB. If they can get back to full strength, they're interesting. Cincinnati has some injuries on defense. I don't like Indy's OL and I don't like they don't have a lot of weapons at WR. I think it comes down to New England or Denver.
Blake Bortles has came out of nowhere to be the number 2 QB prospect..
Mel Kiper (2:48 PM)
He hasn't come out of nowhere. I had them putting Penn State on upset alert earlier in the year. He hasn't come out of nowhere. I think some like him more than I do right now. I would have liked to have seen him play better against South Florida. He had two picks and a fumble. He wasn't precise with the placement of his passes. I'm not going to talk glowingly about him coming off of a subpar performance. He has an NFL arm. He's a very tough kid. He's been a clutch performer this year. He has good size. He is well coached. I have him as my sixth best underclassman QB right now. Maybe fifth.
Is Mike Glennon the future in Tampa Bay?
Mel Kiper (2:49 PM)
Yes. I think without question. He has a great work ethic. He studies the game. He's more vocal than I thought he would be. He's shown energy in the huddle. He's a Joe Flacco type. He can move around just enough. With a third round pick, they'll save a lot of money. That will allow them to build up the personnel around him. It saves you money when you hit on QBs like that. The key for Seattle has been hitting on Russell Wilson.
How many seasons does Lynch have left in those legs?
Mel Kiper (2:50 PM)
He keeps running hard. Sometimes RBs hit a wall quickly. His running style is so violent and he's an aggressive, tackle breaker. When he starts to regress, maybe it will happen quicker, because he takes so many blows. He's a remarkable player. He has numbers like Earl Campbell. But he's done a great job and he's a key element for a team that thinks it can win.
How do you think Mettenbergers ACL injury will affect his draft status? Where could you see him going?
Mel Kiper (2:51 PM)
I had him as a second round pick before the injury and I'll have him in the third round now.
Have you ever seen another season where two preseason super bowl contenders are now fighting for the worst record in football?
Mel Kiper (2:52 PM)
Well, when you look at Atlanta and Houston, it's amazing. People could have picked them for the Super Bowl. Look at the Giants. They're 5-7. They could have been in the Super Bowl too. Baltimore is the defending champs and they're 6-6. The Ravens last year won the Super Bowl and they fired their offensive coordinator Dec. 10. We're not even to Dec. 10 yet, so you can't count anybody out just yet. No one gave them a chance last year.
Cade (North Carolina)
Assuming Calvin is #1, who are your next 4 ranked WR's in football?
Mel Kiper (2:53 PM)
Jeez...that's a hard one!
Mel Kiper (2:54 PM)
I like Larry Fitzgerald. I'm a big Steve Smith fan. I love his attitude and approach. AJ Green. Brandon Marshall. A healthy Julio Jones. Dez Bryant is as talented as they come, but he's inconsistent. Demariyus Thomas is talented.
Mel Kiper (2:55 PM)
Those are the guys. Trying to rank them is tough. Fitzgerald and AJ Green would be right at the top of the mix.
Mel Kiper (2:56 PM)
Jordy Nelson is a very underrated WR. He's an outstanding player. DeSean Jackson is super talented. This league is loaded with quality WRs. Look at what Josh Gordon has done of late, especially with mediocre QB play. Can you imagine what he'd be doing with a good QB? He's enormously talented. As long as he does what he needs to do off the field, he has enormous talent.
Mel Kiper (2:56 PM)
Victor Cruz is another one. The Giants hit the jackpot with him. Vincent Jackson. Boldin. There are a lot of them.
Mel Kiper (2:58 PM)
We'll have some great championship games this week. When we come back next Thursday, all of the regular season games will be over, other than Army-Navy. And we'll have just three weeks left in the NFL season. And we'll be 9 days away from the Winter Solstice.