Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Thursday, NFL draft Insider 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 (1:57 PM)
Hang on folks, Mel is going on SportsCenter before coming over for our chat. Keep those questions rolling in!
Buzzmaster (2:11 PM)
Mel is here!
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What did you think of Super Bowl XLVIII?
Mel Kiper (2:13 PM)
I picked Seattle to win the game. It wasn't 35 that's for sure. I had 29-26. I was happy because they had 29 at one point. So, I give myself credit that I picked 29. You have to go back to the 1985 season, when New England just got outmanned by Chicago. It was completely dominant effort. Where would this team be without Russell Wilson? It's great to see a kid barely 5-11 win a Super Bowl. It speaks to today's NFL.
What are some of the deepest positions in this draft? Stronger on offense or defense?
Mel Kiper (2:14 PM)
I think it will be stronger on offense. The depth at WR, the depth at OT. There are some really good RBs. Some good 2nd, 3rd round RBs that will play a long time. There are 4 centers that have good grades right now. Overall, this draft is a lot better than last year.
Can Khalil Mack put his hand in the ground and play in a 4-3?
Mel Kiper (2:15 PM)
He could. I prefer him to be on his feet, though. This past year, he was unbelievable. He had 10.5 sacks, 3 INT, 7 pass breakups, 3 fumble recoveries and 5 forced fumbles. He had 2.5 sacks against the Buckeyes. He led the team in tackles. It's a tremendous story. He's a great kid. He was productive. When it's all said and done, he could go in the top 3-5 overall.
Norv Turner ( Minnesota)
Help me out Mel! When the Vikings pick at #8 the "Big 3" QBs will be off the board. Spielman won't trade up and we can't reach on Carr at that spot. Which QB should I target in round 2 or 3?
Mel Kiper (2:16 PM)
I would say in the second round, Carr could be there. AJ McCarron. Jimmy Garoppolo in the third round. Those are some possibilities early.
shane (jersey city)
Who's the best pass rushing defenive tackle in the draft?
Mel Kiper (2:17 PM)
I would say Aaron Donald from Pittsburgh.
Can Johnny foot play in a discipline office like a bill o' brien offense?
Mel Kiper (2:18 PM)
The ideal QB for his offense in New England is Blake Bortles. But is No. 1 too high for Bortles? He still has some work to do. If you go by who is the best playmaking QB of the group, you go with Manziel. If you want the physically imposing, pocket passer or does he want a unique, explosive QB?
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Where do you see LSU's Anthony Johnson getting selected?
Mel Kiper (2:18 PM)
Second round. Not productive enough, but incredibly talented. Had he been more consistent, he would have been a mid to late first rounder.
Mel, I see you have Jake Matthews falling to the Bills in your latest mock draft! I would love that. Can Matthews be as good as Joe Thomas?
Mel Kiper (2:19 PM)
He could. There are some that are concerned about his ability to be a great LT. Some feel that he would be best as a RT. The quick, explosive pass rushers may give him some trouble initially. If he gets to No. 9, that would be a real good pick.
B Mand (Sarasota, FL)
All Greg Blair did at Cincinnati was make tackles even though he lacks the measurables teams look for. Do you think he can make it in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (2:21 PM)
Yeah. Blair has pretty good instincts. He fits the mold of what you want your ILB to be back in the old days. His cover skills will be something he'll have to show. He's 255 and hits really hard and fills the inside running lanes. The problem is that it's a passing league now. I think he could end up being a 4-5 round pick.
Brad (Kansas City)
In 2010 I argued with my brother that Earl Thomas would end up a better safety than Eric Berry. Now with 4 years behind them, who is the better safety? Or do they play such different positions (strong vs. free) that a comparison isn't valid?
Mel Kiper (2:22 PM)
They're both outstanding players. Berry had the injury two years ago. Thomas was a key component of a Super Bowl team. So, right now, I would say that Thomas is the better player right now. He's been more durable. He's a great player.
Jordan (South Florida)
Do you think Connor Shaw is perhaps the most underrated player in the draft?
Mel Kiper (2:23 PM)
No. I wouldn't call him underrated. He's rated to be what he's supposed to be - a career backup. I think he's a career backup. I think you look at him in the 7th round or a priority free agent. He has some ability, so if he proves to be more than that, that's great. I think he'd be a nice late round choice.
Steven (North Carolina)
Is this the best wide receiver class you've seen?
Mel Kiper (2:24 PM)
Let's hold out judgement on that until these guys run. A lot of these underclassmen we don't have good numbers on them. Of my top 10 WR, all are underclassmen. The key guys are going to be Mike Evans, Allan Robinson, Jarvis Landry, to see how they all run.
What are scouts saying about Caraun Reid, the DT from Princeton?
Mel Kiper (2:25 PM)
Mixed opinion. Senior Bowl week he was OK. In a couple of games I saw at Princeton, he was underwhelming. A couple of times, he flahsed second round talent. I think early Day 3 right now. Maybe third round. But I'll say fourth round.
Do you think De'Anthony Thomas should consider moving to receiver and playing a percy harvin role for a team?
Mel Kiper (2:26 PM)
I think that's what he will be. You put him in the slot. Situational RB. Jet sweeps. It basically makes the pass an extension of the run. Reverses. Return game. You can't have Thomas take a lot of hits. He'll have to prove his durability. He's a scoreboard changer. He could go second round.
mike (tampa bay)
Will any runningbacks go in the first round this year?
Mel Kiper (2:27 PM)
The only one that could is Carlos Hyde from OSU. A lot of second and third round RBs. If you need a RB, you can find one in the 2-4 rounds.
You and McShay both have the Steelers passing on Ebron. I think the Steelers need an offensive weapon who can be dominate in the redzone. If they take another defensive linemen in the first name I think the fanbase wont be happy.
Mel Kiper (2:28 PM)
I factor in needs and what direction the teams are going. They could look at a receiving entity, which is what a lot of these TEs are now. But a NT could really solidify that line.
Frank (Charlotte, NC)
Which players do you think will run the fastest 40's at the combine?
Mel Kiper (2:30 PM)
De'Anthony Thomas, Lache Seastrunk, Dri Archer, Tevin Reese.
I can't believe people are so bullish on Manziel and would even entertain the idea of taking such a prospect over Clowney, Mack or Robinson. Manziel played behind an offensive line that was loaded with NFL talent, is undersized, isn't a developed pocket passer, and, most of all, has serious character issues. I understand that teams need a QB to compete, but isn't shoe-horning a QB into the #1 slot the dumbest move a franchise can make?
Mel Kiper (2:32 PM)
It depends on what you feel about the QBs. They're all getting a bump up because they're QBs. You have from now until May 8 to decide. The books aren't closed on these QBs yet. Everyone's looking for a final opinion on these QBs and I'm not ready to make them yet. I won't have that until the pro days are over. The teams need to interview all of them, they need to see how they command a room. I'm not backing myself into a corner this early. It's a guess right now. None of these teams know what they think about the QBs yet, they haven't worked them out, interviewed them, no medical reports. A lot is still to come.
any players from the MAC besides K Mack looking promising?
Mel Kiper (2:35 PM)
Jimmie Ward, S, NIU, could be a second rounder; Zac Kerin, C, Toledo; Keith Wenning, QB, Ball State; Dri Archer, RB/WR, Kent State; Rob Blanchflower, TE, UMass.
What type of TE is Austin Seferian Jenkins? Is he more of a Brandon Pettigrew or Gronk?
Mel Kiper (2:36 PM)
I don't think he's either. He's not in that league to be as good as those two. He's probably a third round pick who I thought leveled off late this season. Early in his career he looked like a potential elite guy. Depending on his workouts, I think more third round.
What are the odds the Jets dont take an offensive player in Rd 1?
Mel Kiper (2:37 PM)
They have to help out the QB. Help out Geno Smith. Then draft a QB in the 4-5 round, in case Smith isn't the guy. They could use a Marqise Lee or Zac Ebron or Jace Amaro. So, a WR/TE in the first round.
Mel, Is Ebron the type of guy that teams would "reach" for in lieu of one of the top WR's (besides Watkins)? I would love to see the Bills get a weapon like him to help with Manuel's learning curve.
Mel Kiper (2:38 PM)
He would be a guy that Buffalo could look at. Chandler's a free agent. I thought about giving Ebron to Buffalo at No. 9. That's a good call. He'd be a nice fit there. They have Spiller, but they don't have enough weapons around the QB.
Scott (Westminster, CO)
As a prospect, is Clowney better than Mario Williams and Julius Peppers were coming out?
Mel Kiper (2:39 PM)
Yeah. He's right there. Back to Bruce Smith in 1985. He'll have a high grade. There are reasons to explain away this year. Very clear cut and well defined reasons. You could almost excuse it away. He'll have a high grade. He would have been the No. 1 pick overall, hand down, last year.
Raul (Rio Grande CityTEXAS)
Mel, would Jax Jeffcoat to Dallas in the first round be a big reach?
Mel Kiper (2:39 PM)
Yes. Yes. At 16, 17 it would be. In the second round? I have no problem with it.
How much did his Sugar Bowl performance hurt Kouandjio's rating?
Mel Kiper (2:40 PM)
No, he was going up against a 6-foot, 198. It brought up memories of Freeney going up against Ogden. These quick, small guys give problems. Kouandjio's been inconsistent. He's talented and gifted, but he needs to be more consistent.
how did greg Robinson jump jake matthews on your big board?
Mel Kiper (2:41 PM)
He had a great year. He's explosive as a run blocker. He has great balance. He has enormous talent. He could go as high as No. 1. Some even thought he could be the No. 1 pick.
Mel, is Justin Gilbert a better prospect than Dee Milliner was last year?
Mel Kiper (2:41 PM)
Mel Kiper (2:42 PM)
Dennard is an underrated guy. He's right there with Gilbert. Whoever has the better workout will be the higher pick. I thought Dennard was the slightly better player in terms of performance. But I think Gilbert will have better workouts. Whoever has the better workout, I will rate higher.
Who are the best receiving RBs in the draft?
Mel Kiper (2:43 PM)
Dri Archer, Kent State; De'Anthony Thomas, Oregon; Charles Sims, West Virginia.
How much can a quick release elevate a QB's stock? Jimmy Garoppolo may not have the strongest arm in the draft, but no one in this class gets the ball out faster.
Mel Kiper (2:44 PM)
The East-West Shrine Game and Senior Bowl helped him. He has small hands, but his quick release helped him and he has enough arm strength. I think he's a 2-3 rounder.
biggest movers in your latest mock?
Mel Kiper (2:45 PM)
Greg Robinson, OT, Auburn; Odell Beckham, Jr., WR, LSU.
Give me your scouting report on WR Marqise Lee! Great hands? good YAC? Explosive?
Mel Kiper (2:46 PM)
I like him a lot. He had a subpar year due to injuries. He has the ability to stretch you vertically. He loves to practice. Good character. I thought he'd be a top 10 pick going into the year, but he had those injuries. Now, I'd say mid first.
David (Bethlehem Pa)
Where will WR Devin Street get drafted?
Mel Kiper (2:46 PM)
I would say early Day 3.
ER (Boulder, CO)
Which players should the Broncos draft to turn their defense into one that is more physical to be able to compete with the NFC teams?
Mel Kiper (2:47 PM)
The biggest thing they have to do is get a CB. They could use another safety. Another ILB. They have to get some personnel in there. I have them looking at Bradley Roby, CB, Ohio State near the end of the first round.
Atlanta has been aggressive in recent years and needs a pass-rusher. Could you see them making a deal with St. Louis in an attempt to grab Clowney?
Mel Kiper (2:48 PM)
That seems to be a lot of talk. Dimitroff was aggressive when they moved up to get Julio Jones. I could see that happening. Definitely.
Did you have Wilson winning a Super Bowl this early in his career?
Mel Kiper (2:48 PM)
Mel Kiper (2:49 PM)
He went in the third round. He's 5-10 3/4. They brought Matt Flynn in to start at QB. They didn't figure him in to start. They hit the jackpot. I know some other teams that liked him. At the end of the day, give Seattle credit.
What about Jared Abbrederis? What round do you see him going?
Mel Kiper (2:49 PM)
I would say third round. Like a Jordy Nelson type. One of the best route runners in the draft.
Why doesn't the combine have some stuff done in pads? Why can't there be at least a few things that players could do in pads versus everything done in underwear?
Mel Kiper (2:51 PM)
They've already gone through these all-star games at that point. And you can't get these guys hurt. The main thing is to get the measurables. You need the medical testing. The interview process. There are a lot of evaluations going on. You've seen them play on film and tape. It's important to get the other numbers. You can compare those numbers to others in the past.
Mel Kiper (2:51 PM)
We'll be back next week. Mock 2.0 is up on ESPN.com right now.
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