Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Tuesday, 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 Tuesday at 11 a.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (11:00 AM)
Mel is here!
Do you think Bridgewater or Carr will be there for the texasn in the second round?
Mel Kiper (11:01 AM)
Carr will definitely will not be there. Bridgewater possibly will.
Whats Laurent Duvernay Tardif upside? can he play left tackle in the nfl
Mel Kiper (11:02 AM)
He can, but he has to get stronger. He's a developmental OT. He has the feet and athleticism. He has to get stronger. Get him in the weight room and thinking about football 24/7/365. By Year 3, you might have yourself a LT.
Are the clowney expectation so high that we should expect 15-20 sacks this year?
Mel Kiper (11:02 AM)
That's a lofty goal. But if you're going to block him one on one, there aren't that many great LTs in the league. He should be in line to be defensive rookie of the year, no question.
Who do you think can emerge a starter out of all of the mid to late round corner like Ross Cockrell, Walt Aikens, Jaylen Watkins etc etc...
Mel Kiper (11:03 AM)
Of that group, I like Aikens the best. He had an oustanding Senior Bowl week. He has the physical qualifications you want. He wasn't even invited to the combine. He is fluid. A lot of skill. I'll say 2-3 round pick.
Mac (Portland, OR)
Mel, with the recent signing of Anthony Spencer, have the Cowboys put themselves in a position to select the best available player? If so, what players do you like at #16?
Mel Kiper (11:04 AM)
They need a DT. They need a safety. And they could use a third WR and a OG. Those are their areas of need.
Mel, Aaron Donald is getting a ton of hype. Is he that good or is it a result of a lack of other DT prospects?
Mel Kiper (11:05 AM)
He had a great year. Great combine. Great Senior Bowl. He's been good in all of the evaluations. You could make a strong case that he's the third best defensive player behind Clowney and Mack, even the second best. He was productive. He goes somewhere in the top 16. I think he's one of those surprising top 10 picks that people don't project there.
What are the Rams going to do at 2? Will they trade it? Does it depend on the Texans pick?
Mel Kiper (11:06 AM)
The Rams, depends if Clowney goes No. 1. If he doesn't go No. 1, they'll have big trade opportunities. It gets down to Sammy Watkins or Greg Robinson, if they do make a pick there.
Mel, going to be brutal waiting until day two for the Skins to pick. Any first round talent that could slip to them? Or a chance that someone trades picks to get one on the QB's that fell to round 2?
Mel Kiper (11:07 AM)
Yeah, there is a lot of first round talent that could be there that could fit need areas. Chris Borland, ILB; Jimmie Ward; RT, Morgan Moses. There will be a lot of players there.
Mike (Houston )
Why is everyone saying Clowney to Texas when obviously Manziel has been a great player and the Texans need a QB and not a DE.
Mel Kiper (11:08 AM)
I don't think they can pass Clowney up. Unless you get bowled over by an offer.
Can Bruce Ellington find himself in the 2nd round?
Mel Kiper (11:08 AM)
Yes he can. He's a point guard on the basketball team. He's athletic. He has tremendous leaping ability. He's dynamic after the catch. He's a second round pick.
Cant get enough of the draft and your thoughts. What if Donald is gone and so is Ha Ha what way do you think the Bears should go? Pryor? Dennard? or who?? Or should they trade back? Who could the Bears get from the 49ers for the 14th pick? Thanks keep up the amazing work.
Mel Kiper (11:09 AM)
They could go Dennard or Pryor.
Michael (North brookfield)
Jimmie Ward is a former corner and probably has the best cover skills of any of the top guys at safety. do you see a scenario where he squeeze into the first round maybe with san fran or denver?
Mel Kiper (11:10 AM)
No, I think they're looking more for pure CBs. He's a good safety. I'm a big Jimmie Ward guy. He's an oustanding football player. I'm looking at him in the second round. I don't know if there's a good fit for him at the end of the first.
is Johnny Manziel a better prospect than Rg3 coming out of school?
Mel Kiper (11:11 AM)
He doesn't have the elite grade RGIII did. He's more of a wild card. He'll go in the top 8. But he won't have the elite grade. There's no consensus that he should be the second pick like RGIII. It's not much of a comparison with Manziel. Some like him, some don't.
Please tell me the Jags are at least 90% chance to not draft a QB in the first round.If we don't which I hope who do you see us drafting at Qb and where?
Mel Kiper (11:12 AM)
If they don't pick a QB at 3, and take Watkins or Mack, they could be looking at Bridgewater, Garoppolo, Savage. Those are the second round options.
What do you see the biggest needs for the Bengals and whom do you think they may take in first 2 rounds? Thank you so much for your hard work.
Mel Kiper (11:14 AM)
That's a tough one. Their needs are three needs and a luxury pick. CB, OL, DE and the luxury pick is QB. There is some speculation that they could look at QB in the third round, like Tom Savage, to put some pressure on Dalton. He needs to win a playoff game. He's gotten them there, but he needs to win.
Hey Mel- Could the new format of the draft serve as a favor/disfavor for certain styles of GMs? For someone like Ted Thompson and Ozzie Newsome, it seems their disciplined and adaptable approaches within the draft, who believe in their pre-draft boards, would be better served by a quicker, faster-paced draft. For those GMs who tend to spontaneously react, slowing the draft down over a few days could be a favor to them.
Mel Kiper (11:15 AM)
The two more weeks gives you more of a chance to see what these juniors can do. There are 98 underclassmen. That's an incredible number. You don't normally see that. Everyone's trying to scramble a little bit. That part has been underrated this year.
Barry (from work)
I trent murphy better suited to play end with his size and what round will he go?
Mel Kiper (11:16 AM)
I don't think he's quick enough and explosive enough to play end. I think he is more of a OLB that can seal the edge and handle run responsibilities. He will get you coverage sacks.
Batman (Gotham) [via mobile]
Hey Mel, do you see receivers dropping since the class is so stacked?
Mel Kiper (11:19 AM)
You could see Marqise Lee, USC; maybe Davante Adams, Fresno State into the second round. It wouldn't shock me if they both dropped into the late first, early second.
Mel Kiper (11:19 AM)
Also, Jarvis Landry, after running the subpar 40 went from a late one to mid to late two.
Wayne (MA) [via mobile]
If the QBs are not elite then why take any of them early in the 1st round? Are these teams that desperate?
Mel Kiper (11:20 AM)
Some of the teams are desperate for a QB. Houston, Jacksonville, Cleveland, Minnesota have to improve the QB position significantly. They have to figure out which QBs will help them. Oakland, even with Matt Schaub could be looking at a QB at some point.
Any comparison between Teddy Bridgewater's draft stock and Aaron Rodgers? Both were consensus top 3 QB's coming out, and it seems like Bridgewater is now not even projected as a 1st round pick. What gives?
Mel Kiper (11:21 AM)
Some similarities. And similarities in how they approach their business, in that Bridgewater likes to throw rather than scramble. Rodgers was projected to go high and went in the 20s. Bridgewater is projected in the same way. They both like to roll out.
Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)
With Bell (hopefully healthy) and Blount and 1 & 2, Steelers backfield seems strong, but need a change of pace back, maybe someone who can return kicks too. Who will be available late, say 5th or 6th round, who could contribute as a rookie in that defined role?
Mel Kiper (11:22 AM)
If they went 3-4 round, you could look at Dri Archer, 4-5 round could be DeAnthony Thomas. Those are the two draftable guys.
What do the Steelers do in the first round?
Mel Kiper (11:23 AM)
They have to look at one of three positions: CB like Dennard, WR like Beckham Jr., or OL like Martin. In the second they could look at NT Louis Nix III.
I feel that Kyle Van Noy is the perfect fit for the Packers. Is he. 1st round talent, because I don't see him lasting until their 2nd rounder....
Mel Kiper (11:24 AM)
He's a first round talent who will probably go in the second, because he didn't have a great year rushing the passer. He's a great player. He understands what to do on the field. He can play middle or outside. I'm a big fan. I think he belongs in the top 30 overall.
Are the Jets looking to draft a CB or WR in round 1? both are huge needs, but which way is the team leaning?
Mel Kiper (11:25 AM)
Depends on how they view those positions from a ratings stand point. I think it comes down to Kyle Fuller or Brandin Cooks. Whomever they like better.
Do you think My Falcon should trade up to get clowney or Khalil?
Mel Kiper (11:26 AM)
I'd be careful how much you give up. You'd only trade up to get Clowney. But my concern is if they give up too much, they can't help the OL. They have to get much better on the OL. You're in trouble if you don't improve the OL. If the OL was set, I'd say go for it.
Jon (South Carolina)
is gilbert physical enough to play in a cover two scheme like the bears or tampa? he will be asked to come up and make tackles
Mel Kiper (11:27 AM)
I don't think he tackles well enough. He has to improve as a tackler. He has to throw his body around more. He has to be more aggressive. The biggest underrated part of playing CB is tackling after the WR catches the ball. It's not just about run support tackling. Gilbert struggles tackling in the open field. He's a good cover guy, he just needs to tackle better.
Mel, what would be better for the Vikings Bortles/Manziel and Van Noy combo in 1st and 2nd rounds, or CJ Mosley in the 1st and Savage or Mettenberger in the 2nd?
Mel Kiper (11:28 AM)
I'd probably say Bortles/Manziel and then Van Noy. I am concerned about so many Alabama defensive players not living up to the hype.
Does Aaron Donald's sneaky but steady climb up the draft board emulate JJ Watt's?
Mel Kiper (11:29 AM)
Watt was always projected pretty high. Donald has been climbing and climbing and climbing. He's done everything right in the process. He's No. 11 on my Big Board that will be posted tomorrow on ESPN.com.
Seems to me the Raiders best options would be Clowney, Mack, and Watkins. The first two will almost surely be gone, and possibly all three by the time they pick. Assuming that's true, would you go QB or OL?
Mel Kiper (11:30 AM)
They could go OT with Robinson or Lewan. They have a OL need.
In the unlikely scenario that Dennard, Gilbert, Beckham and Cooks are gone by the time the Jets pick at 18, do they reach for another WR, CB, go with Barr or trade down?
Mel Kiper (11:31 AM)
That's an unlikely scenario that all four are gone. Then you're looking at Kyle Fuller at CB, Cody Latimer at WR. Those would be other options.
Do you think New England drafts a quarterback, and if so who are you thinking?
Mel Kiper (11:32 AM)
Yeah, Tom Brady was a late sixth round QB when they had Drew Bledsoe. Some options on Day 3 could be Jeff Mathews, Cornell; Keith Wenning, Ball State; David Fales, San Jose State.
Mel Kiper (11:32 AM)
Logan Thomas from Virginia Tech, even, if he was still there on Day 3.
Jacob S (Minneapolis)
Hey Mel...congrats to you on all of your successes! I am thinking the Vikings trade down. What are your thoughts?
Mel Kiper (11:33 AM)
They could. If they don't see a QB worth picking there, they could trade down. They need a QB. The QBs available there could be Bortles, Manziel, Carr. If all three are there, you have to believe one of them they like. One of them, you would think, is better than what they have now at QB.
Mel, if Kyle Fuller doesn't have the injury, do you think he's up there with Gilbert and Dennard?
Mel Kiper (11:34 AM)
Yeah. He could be. I saw him play high school football. He's a tough kid. Versatile. He's a good tackler. He runs well. He's athletic. He has a lot of ability. He has to be in the mix between 18-32.
will the jets draft a TE in the second round, or will they pick a CB/WR (whichever one they did not pick in the first round)?
Mel Kiper (11:35 AM)
Depends who they have highly rated. There aren't many TEs, it's a weak position this year. Sefarian-Jenkins. Amaro. Nicklas. Could be second round TEs, but the more highly rated player is probably a WR or CB.
If you were a GM in need of a QB this year, would you feel more comfortable selecting one from this draft class, or trading a 2nd or 3rd round pick for someone like Cousins or Mallett?
Mel Kiper (11:37 AM)
Kirk Cousins moreso. He's proven himself that he can play. He's dealt with poor weather conditions. If you're Cleveland, you have to look at it. Kyle Shanahan worked with Cousins. If the Redskins are willing to part with him, then giving up that early second round pick would be a good thing. That's the trade you want to make before the draft, so you know what you want to do at 4 and 26. Because then you need a WR and you could get a CB at 26.
Brian (New York)
Mel, who do you like the Bills taking at #9? I think if one of the 3 top OTs are on the board there's no way they could pass them up, thoughts?
Mel Kiper (11:38 AM)
No, I don't think Jake Matthews is someone you can afford to pass up. He's a skilled athlete. EJ Manuel got hit too much. They have to protect him better. OL issues are there. At that point, Matthews would be the pick. They allowed 48 sacks, tied for 4th most in the NFL.
Mel Kiper (11:39 AM)
If the 3 top OTs are gone, don't overlook Zach Martin from Notre Dame. He wouldn't be a reach at that point.
Love Lamarcus Joyner, he is relentless, but is small and not a great athlete, which round would be a good round for him to go?
Mel Kiper (11:40 AM)
I think he goes third round, maybe second. He is a good athlete. He had almost a 38 inch vertical. He ran in the 4.5 range. But he's only 5-8. He's an impactful player. Very instinctive. Nose for the ball.
Do you have an opinion on Tyler Russell QB from Miss St? Injured late in his senior year but evidently performed really well for the Patriots and Chiefs recently.
Mel Kiper (11:42 AM)
There was a lot to like at various stages of his career. He has the size and the arm. Physically, he had a chance when he was healthy that could have factored in. He lost his confidence down the stretch. Threw too many INTs in 2012, forced too many passes. But he has talent. He might be a priority undrafted free agent. Russell is 6-4, 223, but he had the injury. He can make all of the throws. He's had some moments where he looked like a 4-6 round pick.
What rd do you see Brandon Coleman going in?
Mel Kiper (11:43 AM)
He's risen, because he's so big. He is 6-6, 225. He's got long arms, he's strong. Runs a fast 40. Length. He's a nightmare to cover. I think he goes 2-3 round. The combine really helped him.
Jeremy Hill and Kadeem Carey you have graded out round 2 but don't think will go until round 4-5...Why is that?
Mel Kiper (11:44 AM)
I think Hill goes 2-3 round and Carey in the 4-5. Hill has huge hands, long arms. He's 6-foot. Strong kid. Carey is solid. He's strong, but only ran 4.7 at the combine and that hurt him. That's why he is a later round pick.
ted (cape cod)
What is your assessment of TCU cornerback Jason Verrett?
Mel Kiper (11:45 AM)
Love him. I really like him. I would like him more if he were bigger. He's only 5-9, but he's a tremendous athlete. He plays taller than that. He will run consistently in the 4.4 range. He competes hard. As a slot CB, probably goes late first, early second. I could see him going to Cincy at 24, San Diego at 25, Cleveland at 26, San Francisco at 30, Denver at 31.
Andrew Z. (Struthers, OH)
Where do you think Jack Mewhort gets drafted and who would be a good fit for him?
Mel Kiper (11:46 AM)
I think he ends up a RT or center. He ends up going, I think, 2-3 round. He's 6-6, 310, strong in the upper body, long arms. He is, at worst, an early to mid third round pick.
Mel Kiper (11:47 AM)
We're almost a week away now. We'll be back next Tuesday before I head to New York for the draft!