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 (2:09 PM)
Hang on folks. Mel is finishing some shoveling and will be here to take your questions in another minute or two!
Buzzmaster (2:10 PM)
Mel is here!
If Jernigan is gone for the Bears, who is the next best DL that is worth a 14 overall pick?
Mel Kiper (2:13 PM)
The option there would be to trade down a little to get a guy like Kelsey Quarells.
How big of a jump can Tuitt make with a good/great combine performance?
Mel Kiper (2:13 PM)
With a really good combine, he could then be in the mix for the late first round.
michael (at work)
What makes you believe that Marqise Lee is not another ted ginn?
Mel Kiper (2:14 PM)
He's a dynamic player. Very good hands. Tremendously competitive. Loves to practice. Tremendous work ethic. There are no guarantees. But I think he's a strong possibility for the Jets.
Woody (Kansas City)
Mel, looking at the Chiefs needs in the 3-4 defense and was wondering who the top 3 defensive ends may be for their scheme?
Mel Kiper (2:15 PM)
You would be looking at Stephon Tuitt, Kareem Martin, Jeoffrey Pagan, Dominique Easley.
Ed (Queens Village)
Personal life aside. Michael Sam a fit for Jets 3-4 D?
Mel Kiper (2:16 PM)
It depends on how he works out. He struggled a little bit in reverse at the Senior Bowl. He needs to show the skill set necessary to play on his feet. He never did that at Missouri. I think he is a 4-3 DE. But if he works out well, that will interest the 3-4 teams.
cam from Texas [via mobile]
Mel we needs a QB for Texans, In your opinion can manziel be an elite NFL QB.
Mel Kiper (2:17 PM)
The jury is out on that. I'm tossed on Manziel a little bit, because he's so unique. There is a little bit of a hit or miss there. We haven't seen that kind of player. Fran Tarkenton. Doug Flutie. But those were different eras. Right now he's No. 11 on my Big Board. All three of the top QBs will all get overdrafted, just because they are QBs. You could say there is a little bit of boom or bust with them.
Marshall (Regina, Saskatchewan Canada)
What are the 2 biggest needs the Vikings have going into this draft that they can solve in the draft?
Mel Kiper (2:18 PM)
The big need is QB. They have to get a QB. Whether a veteran, trading for Kirk Cousins, they need a QB. DE/OLB, they need DB help, NT, OG. At No. 8, they have to see how the QBs stack up. Then they have to be hopeful that one of them drop to No. 8.
bree's, manning, and brady dont have rocket arms so why is everyone holding it agains blake bortles?
Mel Kiper (2:20 PM)
It's a combination of factors. Every QB is different. Peyton Manning has nobody that you can say is the next Peyton Manning. A lot of times you can take a bust and compare him to a former bust. But that's after the fact. I don't think arm strength is the issue with Bortles. I think he has average arm strength. His accuracy and ball placement bothers me at times. Even on the shorter throws he has issues. I'm not concerned about his arm strength.
Mel-Lache Seastrunk was super productive when healthy. What do you see that makes you (and others) not as high on him as his production would suggest? Is he an every down back in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (2:21 PM)
He had some gaping holes to run through, due to their offense. And he was a part of a stable of RBs. He was one of three. And he didn't catch a pass. He was a non-factor out of the backfield in the passing game. He has to show he's got the hands necessary. The combine workout will be crucial. I think maybe a third round.
In your opinion, who's the most likely to trade up into the top 4-5 spots to snag a QB?
Mel Kiper (2:22 PM)
I think Minnesota at No. 8, if they saw a QB that they really wanted. But nobody after that. You could say Tennessee, but that would be next year after they decide whether or not Jake Locker is their guy. Minnesota could be the only one.
Mel, Who are some of "safest" prospects in the upcoming draft?
Mel Kiper (2:24 PM)
The RBs are all pretty safe. 6 of the top 7 are underclassmen. Carlos Hyde is the top guy there. TE Eric Ebron is safe. The OTs, led by Greg Robinson are all pretty safe. Gabe Jackson, OG; Marcus Martin, C/OG; CJ Mosely, LB; Calvin Pryor, S. Obviously the top guys would be in that group: Clowney, Watkins.
Grant (Los Angeles, CA)
How does Sammy Watkins compare to the top WRs of the past two drafts (Tavon Austin and Justin Blackmon)? Would the Rams consider drafting him at #2?
Mel Kiper (2:25 PM)
After giving up as much as they did to get Austin, I don't think they'd take Watkins at 2. Maybe at 13, maybe Mike Evans. Then a OT at 2. Watkins would be good for Cleveland at No. 4, Oakland at No. 5.
Ryan (Green Bay)
Mel, the Packers more than likely will be parting with BJ Raji this offseason, creating a big need for a true 3-4 DT. I have seen a lot of mocks with GB taking Nix. Please tell me why Nix will be a good choice as i am scared to death to take another DT in RD 1 after Raji. Thanks Mel.
Mel Kiper (2:26 PM)
Nix will go somewhere in the middle of the first. I think Green Bay would look more at safety like Calvin Pryor. I think Nix could go to the Steelers before Green Bay picks.
is aaron murray a career back up?
Mel Kiper (2:28 PM)
When you draft him, you think more than that. He'll have a chance to start. He made steady improvement. He just doesn't have a big wow factor. He has an underrated arm. He is poised. Confident. Had it not been for the injury, he'd probably be a third round pick. I wouldn't count him out from being a starter down the road.
Keith H (Seattle)
Where do you project Austin Sefarian-Jenkins to go among TE's and overall?
Mel Kiper (2:28 PM)
I think he will be the fourth or fifth TE drafted and goes in the third round.
Mel Kiper (2:28 PM)
Maybe second round, if he has impressive workouts.
do you go younger on defense if your the steelers or do you give big ben some more weapons?
Mel Kiper (2:29 PM)
The big thing is to get a NT like Nix. They need help at CB, S, OT, WR. They have a lot of needs. They also have to hope that the young guys they drafted last year will develop. On both sides of the ball they need help.
Thoughts on Mettenberger? Too much potential to last into the early 3rd round?
Mel Kiper (2:30 PM)
He would have been a 2nd rounder if not for the injury. Now, I'm thinking 3 or 4.
Any chance Lewan drops to the G-Men?
Mel Kiper (2:31 PM)
Tennessee at No. 11 is where I have him going, one pick before the Giants. And I thought he might go higher than that. St. Louis at No. 2, Atlanta at 6, Buffalo at 9 and Tennessee at 11 all could take a OT. So, no, I don't think he's there for the Giants.
Can you tell me where you rank Calvin Pryor compared to the safeties last year in Elam, Cyprien, Vaccaro, etc.? Where does he rank among them?
Mel Kiper (2:33 PM)
He would have been right behind Kenny Vaccaro and probably the second ranked safety. He would have been right there with Reed, Cyprien, Elam. Right in the mix.
Is there a player out there that no one is currently talking about about but will test well and could become a real hot topic by draft day?
Mel Kiper (2:36 PM)
Dri Archer, RB/WR, Kent State; Jarvis Landry, WR, LSU; Jordan Najvar, TE, Baylor; Crockett Gillmore, TE, Colorado State; Demarcus Lawrence, DE, Boise State; Carl Bradford, OLB, Arizona State; Bashaud Breeland, CB, Clemson; Jimmie Ward, S, NIU; Jerick McKinnon, RB, Georgia Southern; Tony Washington, WR, Appalachian State; Howard Jones, OLB, Sheppard; Kendall James, CB, Maine.
Does Sammy Wadkins have too much mileage on the odometer? A top 5 pick who did it all for four years seems destined to underperform a top 5 slot.
Mel Kiper (2:37 PM)
He only played three years at Clemson. He had the great freshman year, fell back as a sophomore and had a great junior year. You don't worry about that as a WR. You only worry about that as a RB.
Could Davante Adams end up being the best receiver in this draft?
Mel Kiper (2:37 PM)
No. I don't think so. He's a first or second round pick, but I don't think he's one of the top WRs. You could argue 4 or 5 best, not the first.
Am I crazy for thinking that Kelvin Benjamin is one of the most underrated guys in this draft? It's not very often you have a 6'5 WR projected to go late in the first round, and do you think the Eagles could take him even though they need help on defense?
Mel Kiper (2:38 PM)
I don't think underrated. Some would argue he's a second round pick. He was inconsistent this year. He made some great plays, but he also had some concentration drops. He needs some more polish. He has some upside. He's not underrated at all.
Do you see any ray rice in tre mason?
Mel Kiper (2:39 PM)
Yeah. A low center of gravity. Quick. Runs hard. Tough to get a good angle on. That's a good accurate comparison. I think Mason could go in the 2-3 round. That's an accurate comparison.
Any chance Haha drops to packers at 21?
Mel Kiper (2:40 PM)
Yeah, I do. I think it comes down to Pryor or Dix.
Due to his lack of bulk, do you think Shazier has a future moving to maybe a 3-4 ILB?
Mel Kiper (2:41 PM)
I think he's a 4-3 weakside OLB. I think he'll end up being a second round pick. I see a lot of Lavonte David in him. He's had a great career so far. Everyone is looking for the 3-4 OLB, the great pass rusher. But Shazier is a great tackler in the open field. Great instincts. I think he's a perfect 4-3 OLB.
Marcus (Seattle WA)
Whats up with derek carr stock?
Mel Kiper (2:43 PM)
I think there is probably more mixed opinion and wide range of opinion on Derek Carr than anyone else in the draft. Why? I think it was the schedule. There were a lot of short passes. He had the bad game against USC in the bowl game. He had a decent Senior Bowl week, but there weren't a lot of great QBs there. I think he could go as high as Cleveland at 26 or in the second round. I don't see him getting past the second round. I don't think he's a top 10 pick, like some say. The only team picking in the late first round that needs a QB, it's Cleveland at 26, but that's only if they don't take one at 4. If Minnesota at 8 doeesn't get a QB, they might trade back into the late first round to get a QB.
What are the strengths vs weaknesses when comparing Clinton-Dix to Pryor?
Mel Kiper (2:45 PM)
A lot of that is still to be determined. We don't have accurate measurables on them yet. The big thing that Pryor has is versatility. It's hard to find holes in his game. Dix, he's a big play guy. He's good in coverage. He'll miss a tackle here and there. After looking back at their years, I think Pryor had a slightly better year. I'm giving him the edge now.
Doesn't the overall depth of the WR position make taking one at #4 counterproductive?
Mel Kiper (2:46 PM)
It depends on who you have the best feeling for. How high your grades are. Watkins, you have the highest grade because you're considered the best WR in this draft.
Bryan (Springdale, AR)
Any advice for the Cowboys at 16 or 17 if no DL are there? Clinton-Dix of OL?
Mel Kiper (2:46 PM)
Yeah, I think safety is a big need for them. Dix is a guy they'd have to look at. I don't see a DL at that point that would be under consideration. Either Pryor or Dix.
mookie (venice ca)
why is no one talking about de anthony thomas? i think he is the most versatile player in the draft. he's equal parts danny whitehead and desean jackson.
Mel Kiper (2:47 PM)
He's not being talked about as much because he's a third round pick, maybe a second. He's being discussed, but normally right now you're talking about first and second rounders. He's a good player, he just doesn't have a set position.
What pass rusher can be a day 3 steal?
Mel Kiper (2:50 PM)
Demarcus Lawrence from Boise State, if he dropped down that far. Larry Webster, Bloomsberg; Prince Shembo, Notre Dame; Tyler Starr, South Dakota; Howard Jones, Sheppard.
Jamil ( Portland,Or)
Odell Beckham seems to be shooting up the draft boards. Could you see him as the #2 WR after Watkins?
Mel Kiper (2:52 PM)
Right now, it's Marqise Lee, Mike Evans and then Beckham. You could make a strong argument that he's No. 2. I have him at No. 4. Teams that could look at him would be St. Louis at 13, Baltimore at 16, Jets at 18, Philadelphia at 22, KC at 23, Cleveland at 26, Carolina at 28.
Jake (J-ville, FLA)
Why isnt FSU's Joyner getting more love? Perhaps a good 2nd round pick up?
Mel Kiper (2:53 PM)
He's always been considered a second rounder. The only thing that's prevented him from being a first rounder is his size. He's only 5-8. He has a ton of ability. He's a slot CB. He has always been a second round pick. He's one of the best pure football players in this draft.
Man if Cleveland did grab Watkins that offense would be very explosive with him, Gordan, and Cameron. If they could do that and trade for cousins it seems they would be sitting pretty on offense.
Mel Kiper (2:55 PM)
Yeah, if they could make those moves, that would be good. Right now, they're talking about Cousins for a third round pick. They have 7 picks in the first four rounds. If you can get Watkins and then Cousins via trade, you're looking good. That's assuming Washington wants to trade Cousins. If they are and you can get him for a third round pick, that's a good move. If you add Watkins, you'd need a RB. They'd be well on their way to becoming better in that division.
If Nebraska corner Stanley Jean-Baptise has a good combine any chance he's a first round prospect? Seems to have elite size and would be a good NFL cb
Mel Kiper (2:56 PM)
I think he's a press corner only. He struggles playing off. He has tremendous size. Everyone is looking for the Seahawks CB. He checks in with that imposing size. He has the size to be a second round pick. For a team looking for press corners, he's an ideal fit.
Bernie (Cleveland, Ohio)
Your thoughts on the Cleveland Browns situation? Dysfunctional or Haslam finally got it right?
Mel Kiper (2:58 PM)
I don't know what's going on with the Browns. It's hard to get a good guage on them. Letting go the coach after one year. Then getting rid of your two front office guys. You have to trust Haslam to make good decisions. If he's making those moves, he's making them for good reasons. He knows as well as anybody that this draft will impact the team for the next 5-8 years. This draft will either catapult them into the playoffs or to the basement for the next 5 years. You have to make these picks count. You're in a division with Flacco, Big Ben and Dalton. They're a distant fourth at QB. You can't have that.
Where do you see darqueze dennard going?
Mel Kiper (2:59 PM)
I'd say first round. He could be an early first round pick, if he runs well. He could go as early as 10 to Detroit. He could end up at 24 to Cincy, 25 to San Diego or somewhere between there and 10.
Mel Kiper (2:59 PM)
We have the combine starting late next week. We'll preview that next week. We'll be back next Thursday.