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 (2:02 PM)
We've got Mel!
Mark Missouri [via mobile]
Last year the Rams traded up to draft Tavon Austin. If Austin were in THIS year's draft, where would he rank among WRs compared to Watkins, Evans, Lee, etc? Thanks.
Mel Kiper (2:03 PM)
If he were in this year's draft. He would probably be the 5-6 WR drafted.
Shaun (Austin TX)
Do you see any comparison between Anthony Barr and clay mattews? Clay did have a big football background coming out of school and there similar body types
Mel Kiper (2:04 PM)
No. Clay Matthews was more explosive. He had better instincts. Played with more ferocity. I think Barr still plays with an offensive mentality. He's still learning the defensive nuances. So, coming out, I think Matthews is ahead of Barr.
Shouldn't one of the biggest concerns about Manziel be that his success was primarily due to Mike Evans? Many times he would throw up what looked like dumb passes that Evans would go up and save. I mean Weeden looked good throwing to Justin Blackmon in college.
Mel Kiper (2:06 PM)
You could say that about a lot of QBs who had good guys to throw to. But for Manziel, he created a lot of plays due to him moving around. He did throw some jump balls, but Evans said that he thought Manziel threw with great anticipation and accuracy. It's underselling Manziel to say that's all he did, is throw it up.
Ed (Queens Village)
Which order should be Jets priorities in draft CB, S, WR, or other?
Mel Kiper (2:06 PM)
Their needs now are WR, even with Decker signing. You don't want him being your No. 1 guy. Then CB and TE.
Can Zach Mettenberger be in the late first round mix with a great pro day?
Mel Kiper (2:07 PM)
I would be surprised. I would be really really surprised if he's more than a third round pick. He has a great arm, but he has no mobility and he's coming off another knee injury.
Would you be shock if bishop Sankey was the first back taken?
Mel Kiper (2:08 PM)
No. It's between Sankey and Hyde. Sankey is a talented kid. I've liked him all year. He has a great style. I like his character. He's workmanlike in his approach. He has tremendous upper body strength. He ran 4.52. Real athletic.
brian (North Dakota)
Ultimately which QB falls to the Vikings in the first round, or do you think they take LB there and go for QB later?
Mel Kiper (2:09 PM)
They could take a LB, but they could take a QB. They have to get a QB. It doesn't matter where or when, but they have to get a QB. There could be 2 QBs where they're picking that are available. It could be Manziel and Bridgewater. But they're a tough team to project because they have so many needs. But, they have to get a QB from this draft.
morgan (El paso)
Is 16 too early for dallas to look at guys like dee ford or Kony ealy because jerry said there definitely taking a defensive lineman?
Mel Kiper (2:10 PM)
Definitely too early. Ford is a late first rounder at best and Ealy is a second round pick. I'm higher on Ford than Ealy.
Why is everyone overwhelmed with Odell Beckham Jr, i though brandin cook and marquise lee where better college players?
Mel Kiper (2:11 PM)
Beckham had Landry opposite him. Cooks was the main guy at Oregon State. Lee was hurt a lot. Lee went into the year with a higher grade, but had injuries and some drops. I would say that Beckham will be the third WR drafted and Cooks the fourth. Cooks is a lot WR and Beckham could be a No. 1 guy.
Do you think gilbert upside is better than dennards?
Mel Kiper (2:13 PM)
I think they're both going to be really good. Dennard is a better overall CB when you're talking about run support. Gilbert won't be as much of a factor in run support. But Gilbert gives you help in the return ability. In coverage, I think Dennard is equally as good.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Who is the first Sooner to come off the board next month, and when?
Mel Kiper (2:14 PM)
Jalen Saunders or Aaron Colvin. Colvin would have been hands down the guy, but he's coming off a knee injury. Colvin is a question mark because of that. He would have been a second round pick. But now his rookie year is coming into question and he might be a 3-4 round pick. He might still be the first one taken, however.
What is the most important trait for a QB prospect to have? Accuracy seems obvious, but it seems like pocket awareness can't be taught.
Mel Kiper (2:15 PM)
Instincts. I want a QB that's instinctive. Utilize the pocket. Feel pressure. I don't care about 40 speed. I want to see them sliding in the pocket. Accuracy is overrated. It's more about ball placement. You need to maximize the catch. How you manipulate the pocket is critical. And you have to be really smart.
Mel Kiper (2:15 PM)
And, let's face it, arm strength, you're asked to make so many throws now. You need an above average arm.
Mel Kiper (2:16 PM)
Definitely. I'm not sure he'll be there, but if he gets to 16, you can lock it in.
Is this one of the deepest/most talented WR classes since you've been covering the draft?
Mel Kiper (2:18 PM)
I think it's overrated. There are a lot of guys in this draft that are a little iffy. A lot of the guys should have gone back for another year. There are a lot of talented kids. But how many are going to be really good WR in the NFL? There are a lot of first five round guys. The junior influence was huge. 19 underclassmen came out. There is no first round senior WR.
Mel Kiper (2:18 PM)
That includes TEs and WRs. No senior in that group to consider for the first round.
Clowney excelled during SC's pro day, but how did Kelcy Quarles work out? Has he moved into that early day two discussion?
Mel Kiper (2:20 PM)
I think he's more of a 3-4 round pick. When I study his tape, I was underwhelmed. Quarles was a guy that is strong. He has the physical capabilities. He's not explosive. He plays too high, with no leverage. He has good strength, but he needs to use it better. I like that he chases and hustles. He's a little better at running around blocks than taking them on. He has some talent, but needs some technique work. I thought he was more of a 2-3 rounder, before I studied him, but now I'm thinking early Day 3.
Ben (Baton Rouge, LA)
Mel, Aaron Donald to Chicago seems like such a perfect fit and obviously a good pick should it happen. But it seems too obvious. Is DT still a top priority for them? Also, could he go before 14?
Mel Kiper (2:21 PM)
He potentially could be. But they have a safety need. I think Clinton-Dix could end up in Chicago due to that need.
Mel Kiper (2:21 PM)
They could also use a corner.
Word is that Louis Nix had a very good pro day recently at ND. Where do you see him going and at what spot in the draft? Thanks.
Mel Kiper (2:22 PM)
He's a NT. He's the best pure NT in the draft. Teams that are looking for a NT, the earliest could be San Diego at 25.
Can Dominique Easley be a steal for some one in the 3rd or fth round?
Mel Kiper (2:23 PM)
If he could get himself back to full strength. He's had the two knee injuries now. He's strong, but not real sudden. Has to use his hands better. He shows power on the bull rush, which I like. He was doubled a lot. He'll chase and hustle. Has good lower body strength. I think he could be a 3-4 DE or 4-3 DT. If he can stay healthy, I think he could be a good pick. The 3rd round would be a good spot for him.
Scott (Westminster, CO)
Is CJ Mosley on the same athletic level as a Sean Lee or Navorro Bowman?
Mel Kiper (2:25 PM)
Yeah. He's an oustanding football player. He ran a 4.65 40. I think he's the kind of guy that could go 8 to the Vikings, 12 to the Giants. The lowest he goes is 21.
do you see any jeff garcia in johnny football?
Mel Kiper (2:26 PM)
I have always looked at Manziel as a Fran Tarkenton. What I love about Manziel is he has the ability to elevate the players around him. He has such a great attitude and approach. He's tremendously competitive. He wins. He has the "it" factor. You can't coach or teach that and he has it. How well he does at the pro level is anyone's guess, but he has "it."
Besides Mack, who are some other names you're looking at in terms of MAC draft prospects? Obviously Dri Archer and Jimmie Ward, but is there anyone else you like?
Mel Kiper (2:31 PM)
After those guys, you'd be looking at, Keith Wenning, QB, Ball State; Booboo Gates, S, Bowling Green; Travis Carrie, CB, Ohio; Roosevelt Nix, OLB, Kent State; Rob Blanchflower, TE, UMass; Branden Oliver, RB, Buffalo; Alex Neutz, WR, Buffalo; Willie Snead, WR, Ball State; Zac Kerin, C, Toledo; Fluellen, RB, Toledo; Terrence Owens, QB, Toledo; Jordan Lynch, QB/RB, N. Illinois; Ken Bishop, DT, NIU; Bernard Reedy, WR, Toledo.
Everyone keeps talking about what the Texans are going to do with #1 but I look at what they're going to do with top 2 picks, like the Chargers when they got LT and Brees. What is the ideal two-pick combo for them? Clowney and a QB or QB and ?
Mel Kiper (2:32 PM)
Clowney and a QB. Clowney and then getting Jimmy Garoppolo. That would be my ideal scenario. Interestingly enough, it could also be Derek Carr. And who knows? What if Teddy Bridgewater dropped that far?
If the Raiders are sitting at 5 with Mack and Watkins on the board...Which player makes the most sense and will have the biggest impact for them?
Mel Kiper (2:33 PM)
I think Watkins would. It would be a tough call. That would be very hard to make. They got James Jones in free agency. Adding Watkins to the mix gives you three competent WRs.
Scott (Westminster, CO)
Can arm strength be an improved trait? I don't remember anyone really touting Brady's arm strength, but he can obviously make any throw. Hoe do you account for that growth?
Mel Kiper (2:34 PM)
Arms have gotten stronger once players are in the league. That's been proven. The only QBs that would be a concern with in this draft is McCarron. Of the top 3, Bortles has just an OK arm.
What are your thoughts on Jerick McKinnon? What round projected? And also what are your thoughts on Cedric Ogbuehi, 2015 draft prospect.
Mel Kiper (2:36 PM)
I love McKinnon. He's a talented football player. His ability to run with power and determination. His overall skills are outstanding. You have to be excited about a kid that is that strong and quick. He has incredible numbers. He is 5-8, 209. He did 32 reps. He ran a 4.39 40 and had a 40.5 vertical.
Bernie (At work)
Why do you think Ealy will fall to the 3rd round?
Mel Kiper (2:37 PM)
Just because I didn't see consistent production. He needs technique work. He's still a raw football player. I don't think he has the movement to play in space. I think he could go in the second, but probably the third.
Any chance Shazier is there in Round 2 for the Raiders and give me your thoughts on OLB Christian Jones in round 3?
Mel Kiper (2:38 PM)
I don't think so. I think he goes in the first somewhere. The possibilities are: Green Bay, Cincinnati, San Diego, New Orleans. Those are some teams that could look at him.
Can the Raiders wait until Round 4 or 5 to grab Mettenberger or Garappolo or do you not see them as future franchise QB'S?
Mel Kiper (2:39 PM)
They already have Matt Schaub. And then Matt McGloin as the backup. A QB pick is almost a luxury pick. They're not forced to take a QB now.
If the Falcons get Mack, how would you feel about them getting Dee Ford in rd2? Immediate upgrade to the pass rush.
Mel Kiper (2:40 PM)
If they got Mack, they're not taking Ford. They need a OL. I don't think Mack will be there at 6. They could go Jake Matthews at 6 and then Dee Ford in the second.
Troy Niklas--your thoughts on his decision to go pro this year--would he have benefitted from another year @ ND? Where do you see him going in the draft? Thanks very much
Mel Kiper (2:41 PM)
I thought he should have stayed another year. He's coming off an injury. He's a former defensive player. Still learning to play TE. He has the potential to be a really good blocking TE. But he's still raw and coming off an injury. If he had gone back to ND, he could have been a top pick in the 2015 draft.
Eric(indy) [via mobile]
Do the Colts by any chance move up in the 1st round to fill their holes at safety or OL or wait til day 2?
Mel Kiper (2:42 PM)
Conceivably, they could wait a little bit. The second round safeties they could look at are LaMarcus Joyner, Terrence Brooks, Jimmie Ward. They're all second round possibilities.
How big of a dropoff between Dennard/Gilbert and the tier 2 guys (Verrett, Fuller, Roby, etc)?
Mel Kiper (2:44 PM)
Not a lot. Jason Verrett from TCU is probably the best slot CBs in this draft. He and Joyner are probably the best slot CBs. Roby probably has the best talent, but he was inconsistent in coverage. Fuller had some up and down moments, but when he is on, he is a first round CB. Baptiste is a big CB that's probably a second rounder. McGill is a big CB. There is some depth at CB. I think there will be at least 4, maybe 5 CBs taken in the first round.
I love Ka'Deem Carey and Jeremy Hill in the mid rounds for the Raiders for RB depth with fragile Mojo and D-Mac...your thoughts Mel?
Mel Kiper (2:45 PM)
Yeah. They are definite possibilities. Those two performed better than where their draft rating turned out to be. Carey didn't run well. He's only been running in the 4.66-4.72 range. He's a strong kid. He runs with power, determination. I gave him a second round grade, but he probably won't go until the 5th round. Hill is a heckuva RB, and I gave him a second round grade, but probably won't go until the 4-5 round.
Do you see the Cowboys taking another TE in this draft in the later rounds? They should stick to their needs in the first 4-5 rounds.
Mel Kiper (2:47 PM)
After getting Escobar last year, maybe. But they need to address the DL. They have to get a safety. They need WR help. Another OG. Once they address that, maybe a TE late. Marcel Jensen, Fresno State; Jake Murphy, Utah; Crockett Gilmore, Colorado State; Colt Lyera, Oregon. They're all Day 3 TEs with ability.
With the Rams signing Britt, do you now believe that they won't use a first round choice on a WR?
Mel Kiper (2:48 PM)
They need a No. 1. Britt is a 3-4 WR. They have a lot of guys at WR. They have a lot of 2s, 3s and 4s. But they need a No. 1. Thta's why Watkins or Evans would make a lot of sense there.
Who are some of your underrated players that will go late but could have a large impact down the road?
Mel Kiper (2:54 PM)
Kevin Pierre-Louis, OLB, BC; Gator Hoskins, HB, Marshall; John Brown, WR, Pittsburg State; Michael Schofield, OT Michigan; Jon Halapio, OG, Florida; Keith Wenning, QB, Ball State; Terrance West, RB, Towson; Morgan Breslin, OLB, USC; Terrence Sede, DE, Marist; Zach Kerr, DT, Delaware; Khyri Thornton, DT, Southern Miss; Deandre Coleman, DT, Cal; Marquis Spruill, LB, Syracuse; Very Williamson, LB, Kentucky; Tyler Starr, LB, South Dakota; Kendall James, CB, Maine; Kenny Acker, CB, SMU.
vic (no cal)
EAGLES QUESTION!! With the release of Desean Jackson, do you think the Eagles could use their 1st rounder on a WR if one of the studs fall to them? Could that happen?
Mel Kiper (2:55 PM)
They have to take one in the first round. Odell Beckham or Brandin Cooks or Marquis Lee or Kelvin Benjamin. That's a lot of production that you need to make up for. You got nothing for Jackson, who is coming off of his best year in his career. And he went to a divisional rival. That's a nightmare scenario.
If Mosely and the top two safeties are gone by pick 21, which way do the Packers go?
Mel Kiper (2:56 PM)
If they're all gone, then maybe you could look at TE, if Eric Ebron's there. I think Pryor will still be there. Ryan Shazier will still be there, to play ILB in their scheme.
Mel Kiper (2:57 PM)
Chris Borland, an ILB from Wisconsin, is a good player. He's short with short arms, but I think he could get late first round consideration.
Mel Kiper (2:57 PM)
The Mock 4.0 will be coming out on April 15. We'll preview that next week! Thanks for chatting!