Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Mel, What Safety is the most NFL ready to come in and help the Rams, or any other team for that matter.
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
If you need a safety, this is the year to try and get one. Kenny Vaccaro is the best one. Senior out of Texas. Hard hitter. Tough. There are several junior safeties that are intriguing. Matt Elam, Florida; Tony Jefferson; Eric Reid. Those are the top four safeties. Vaccaro is a senior, so we know he'll be in the draft. He might be a mid first rounder when it's all said and done. He's not getting enough national attention because Texas' defense is struggling.
Mel, will Kenjon Barner have a better draft grade than LaMichael James. What round do you see Barner going in?
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
Yes, he definitely will. He's a better WR out of the backfield and a better overall player than James. James was a late second round pick to the 49ers. I'm projecting Barner to a be a early to mid second rounder. But remember, RBs tend to drop. But he's in the Heisman running now.
what is wrong withthe Cowboys and Eagles?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
I've always said that the Cowboys are historically overrated. They're overrated and overhyped. They have a QB in Tony Romo who I have defended along the way. I don't think he's the issue. They have some talent around the QB, but a lot of guys that are just average. Defensively, after DeMarcus Ware, there isn't a lot of star power there either. Rob Ryan has been able to put a pretty decent defense on the field, in some games. They're an 8-8, 9-7 team.
Mel Kiper (1:07 PM)
The Eagles, Michael Vick is a chronic turnover machine. He's on just a bad roll of throwing bad INTs. And injuries for the offense, on the line.
Will (Columbus, Ohio)
Hello Mel. There is no doubt that A.J. McCarron is a more than solid college QB but what kind of NFL future does McCarron look forward to if any at all?
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
He's a game manager at Alabama. When he had to make plays on that final drive against LSU, he did. But he was terrible for the majority of the game. Could he be a starter down the road in the NFL? Possibly. To me, he's a career backup. He's playing behind the best OL in college. He has a lot of talent around him. He's a winner and a game manager. He doesn't make mistakes. He's one of those guys that has mixed opinion. He's someone that a team might take in the 4th round area.
what is the answer to fixing the chiefs?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
QB. That's the biggest problem they have. They have some talent. They just don't have the right trigger man. It's a shame Brady Quinn got hurt. They wanted to give him some significant games to see what he could do. But you can't hold off for Brady Quinn. You can't ride that any more. You have to find a QB. Unfortunately, there's not a QB worth taking 1 or 2 right now. Matt Barkley's stock has dropped. Geno Smith's stock has dropped. It just tells you how fortunate the Colts were to get Andrew Luck. There's no QB to take picking 1, 2 or 3. They'll have to find a QB somehow, someway.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Is Bama's CJ Moseley a first round draft pick in 2013? Or would he have a better chance after his senior season?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
Yeah. He has a first round caliber grade right now. But he's only a junior. He's a great pass coverage LB and that's what you need in the pass happy NFL right now. He's a very very good prospect. He'll be in the first round discussion, if he comes out. Very athletic. He'll be one of those late first, early second round guys.
How high will Manti Te'o go in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
I don't think he gets out of the top 5. I have him as No. 2 on the Big Board. He could be a guy that teams trade up to get. He's an elite prospect. He's got great talent and great inspirational prospects. Great energy. Makes those around him better. You could put him first. Certainly, he's got to be in the top 5.
The conventional wisdom is that Bradford doesn't have decent receivers but in the last three years they've drafted a TE in round 2 and 5 WR's in round 4 or higher. That's more young talent than the Browns, Colts, Redskins, etc have.Have they missed on their guys or are the problems with the O line?
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
It's a combination of things. Some of those picks weren't super high. Even Brian Quick was a developmental pick. Even if you draft guys high, it doesn't mean they're ready for the NFL. The TEs weren't top of the line prospects coming out. You don't have that super elite guy. Danny Amendola was an undrafted WR. When he's your go to guy, it tells you those other guys just aren't ready. The numbers seem good, but there isn't the big time super quality players around him right now. They hope that Quick will develop into that next year.
Mel, I think Osi and Tuck might be shot. What say you?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
Osi, you think you could lose him via free agency. They like to draft DEs. They like to have that be a strength on their team. That and CB. They could have more strength in numbers there. DE, CB, OL are their areas of need.
Big D (Buffalo)
Hey Mel, the bills will most likely pick around the 10th spot. Who do you see them taking at QB ?
Mel Kiper (1:19 PM)
Picking 10th may be beneficial to the Bills from a QB standpoint. If you're in the top 5 and need a QB, that's probably too high. If you're looking at Matt Barkley or Geno Smith, 10 might be a spot for them. If you want to trade back, Tyler Wilson enters the mix. Logan Thomas is in there too. He's had a bad year, but that's more to do with the players around him. You can't sleep on him. He has a lot of talent. If you're in that 10 spot, you look at Barkley or Smith or trade down for someone else.
Who are the top 5 RBs you expect to be in this upcoming draft? Seniors or otherwise.
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
If I had to rank them, including the draft eligible juniors, I would say No. 1 is Kenjon Barner, Oregon; Ray Graham, Pitt; Gio Bernard, UNC; Andre Ellington, Clemson; Montee Ball, Wisconsin.
Mel, Can NFL teams find a right tackles coming out of the draft in the second or even the third round? thanks
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
I think you can. That's a possibility in this draft. In the second round you're looking at DJ Fluker, Alabama. He had a great game against LSU. Jake Matthews, Texas A-M. Brian Winters, Kent State; John Wetzel, BC.
Mel, Packers are desperate in need of O-Line help. Saturday is about done, Sherrod is coming of a bad injury and will probably be on IR. Bulaga just had a hip injury and we don't know his status now. I see the Packers reloading on the o-line help. Who would be some help for them?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
Yeah, where they're going to be picking, it will be late first round. They'll be looking at the guys I just mentioned. If you're looking at center, there isn't really much to pick from. Khaled Holmes, USC has had a so-so year. He's a later pick.
Mel, the more I see Ponder, the more I think he's not the answer for MN. He seems to be regressing, making terrible choices and not playing to MN's strengths. Will he get another season or will the Vikings look to another signal caller in 2013?
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
It's amazing how a few weeks change the perception of a QB. We were getting questions a few weeks back about how could you miss on Ponder? Now has the bloom come off the rose there quickly. But a lot of that is he doesn't have a lot of weapons. Harvin and Peterson are there, but Peterson is a RB and Harvin is banged up. Since they lost to Tampa Bay, I don't see more than 7-9. The WRs let him down.
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
There are some questions about Ponder, but I don't think they'll cut ties with him after this one season. He's only in his second year.
Mel, the cornerback Dennard from Michigan State doesn't look to bad. How does he grade out?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
He's an active kid in that secondary. Adams came into the year with a higher grade as the other CB. Adams has had a so-so year. Dennard's their fifth leading tackler. He's got a couple of picks on the year, 5 pass break ups. He's only a true junior.
Hi Mel The bears have obvious needs on OL, but do you think a TE like Effert from ND or a stud Defensive player be to good to pass up? Thanks
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
Yeah, when you look at the Bears right now, the OL is a critical area of need. Cutler is getting hit a lot. A OT or OG would help a lot. I'm a big Effert fan. He's clearly the best TE in the country by a mile. He's got tremendous hands. He's flexed out wide. He gives you a matchup advantage in the red zone. He's a first round caliber player, no doubt.
raul (rio grande )
Mel, I thought TExas defense was going to be good...what's wrong there? Is Manny Diaz out at the end of the year? Randy Shannon as a replacement?
Mel Kiper (1:31 PM)
They have not maximized their ability. Jackson Jeffcoat's injury hurt them. Okafor has a second round grade. Vaccaro is an outstanding prospect. The problem is their LB and they've been inconsistent. They've been lit up pretty good in some games. The offense had some issues in spots in some games. Diaz has taken a lot of criticism this year. He's gone from a hot defensive coaching prospect to someone who's taken a lot of criticism this year.
It's a shame about Lattimore's injury. He would have been the #1 RB on your list if he was still healthy, right?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
He would have been challenged a little bit. Barner is really coming on. Graham is really coming on. He's had two outstanding games back to back. It probably would have been him still, but not by a mile. It would have been tighter going in.
How does Braxton Miller compare to RG3, speed and throwing wise.
Mel Kiper (1:33 PM)
We don't know his true speed yet, but he seems to have the 4.4 speed that RGIII has. He seems to have the quick release. He could be a Heisman Trophy candidate in college. But his pure passing skills need to improve. He's listed at 6-2, so we'll have to see if he measures out.
Jeff (Phoenix, AZ)
How will USC send Notre Dame to its first loss and dash its hopes for an undefeated season?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
If they can keep Barkley upright, they'll challenge the Notre Dame secondary. Keep Barkley upright. If the USC OL can give him a fighting chance, then he can do some damage. I don't think Notre Dame will matchup with Woods and Lee. Both of those guys will have NFL careers. Give Barkley some time to survey the field and that's how they score points. Notre Dame isn't a juggernaut on offense but they'll score on that defense.
Brian (Greensboro, NC)
Mel, what's your take on the MLB Mauti from Penn State?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
The only issue with him is durability. He's had some knee issues. He's probably a third round type of pick. He plays like a first round pick. He's smart, athletic, sideline to sideline speed. His father played in the NFL and at PSU in the 70s. He's had injury issues.
Mel, With next years class jam packed with elite prospects (2014)..Do you see teams trading out of the First this year to get one for that year?
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
It's always a possibility if you look ahead. That will have to be if no player you want or is attractive to you is there. Bill Belichick has been stock piling draft picks, but he has job security. You never want to stock pile for another coach. And you have to be getting high picks. It all comes down to where you're picking this year and who's available. If no one's attractive then you might look to trade. Some of those guys you're talking about is Clowney, Lee, De'Anthony Thomas, Watkins, Cyrus Kouandjio, Antonio Richardson, Stephon Tuitt. Those are true sophomores.
Scratches (D'ham, NC)
Which college team will have the most players drafted in the first round this year?
Where do you see Alabama center Barrett Jones going in the draft at this point?
Mel Kiper (1:42 PM)
I think he goes in the third round.
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
Back to Scratches question....I think it's going to be between Alabama, Georgia and Texas A-M.
What are your thoughts on Eddie Lacy from Alabama? Is he draft material this year or should he return for senior season?
Mel Kiper (1:44 PM)
He's a solid player. Good RB. He's got that nice spin move. He's my fifth highest rated junior RB right now.
John (NC) [via mobile]
The Panthers are a young and developing team, but they still have some gaping holes. Who do you see them taking with what looks to be a top 10 pick?
Mel Kiper (1:45 PM)
The hole is DT. The guy they'd like to get is Lotulelei. They could also look at Johnathan Hankins. They could look WR, but at that point, I don't think there's anyone.
JeremyB666 (Kewadin, MI)
The Detroit Lions have moved forward each year since their 0-16 season. But this year they are taking steps backwards. What the biggest reason(s) why and how can they fix it and continue moving forward?!
Mel Kiper (1:48 PM)
People say they've taken steps backwards, but they've had a lot of injuries. They're a 4-4 team right now. They've won some games to get back into this thing. You lose an OT game to Philly. Every game they've lost has been a competitive football game. They're a 4-4 team that could be better. Now they have to get a win at Minnesota. The Vikings are down and they're reeling. They have three straight home games: Aaron Rodgers, Schaub and Luck. Then Rodgers again and Matt Ryan late in the year, not to mention finishing up with Jay Cutler. That will challenge that secondary. Hopefully Leshoure can continue to give them a boost in the running game. They're right in the thick of it. The big thing will be if that secondary will hold up.
Who is your top 5 senior RB's and top 5 junior RB's?
Mel Kiper (1:49 PM)
The top 5 senior RBs are Barner, Graham, Ellington, Ball, Franklin, Taylor. Top 5 juniors: Bernard, Bell, Randle, Redd, Lacy.
Is it Tebow time in New York? Sanchez is taking a beating.
Mel Kiper (1:51 PM)
At some point in time, Tebow has to be more of a factor, somehow. At least you have to try to make him more of a factor. They're 3-5 coming off of a bye and they're going to Seattle. That's a tough place to play. They have a big pass rush at home. They'll go to St. Louis and then New England. They're probably a 7-9 team, at best. That's being generous. At some point, you'd like to see if Tebow can give you a spark. To have him on the team and not use him, what's the point of having brought him in?
You know what I think is ridiculous? Fans and Coaches (Spurrier) saying Alabama could beat an NFL team. Any NFL team could beat Alabama which would get mauled in the trenches.
Mel Kiper (1:54 PM)
I said last week when this was being discussed by Steve Spurrier. He's a great guy. And I don't know if he said it in jest. I just said it's ridiculous. I said they could get beat by LSU. It's a waste of time to suggest that. Even a college all-star team couldn't beat an NFL team. It was ridiculous to even talk about. Alabama proved this week that they were an overhyped team. They weren't even the better team against LSU, LSU just lost. They have to deal with Texas A-M this week. They're a two TD favorite at home, but it won't be easy.
Mel- Would Aaron Murray go higher this year or next year?
Mel Kiper (1:55 PM)
He's not physically gifted from a size stand point. He's got a nice arm. He's a heckuva college QB, I just wonder about how good of an NFL QB he can become. He's one of the hardest workers you'll come across. He's the kind of guy, as a fourth year junior, he's an early round guy, but not a first rounder. I say go back. Unless you're physically imposing, go back.
With Russell Wilson playing well in Seattle, what happens with Matt Flynn? He signed a big contract are the Seahawks just going to have him as the highest paid backup in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:58 PM)
Keep in mind Russell Wilson is playing pretty well right now. But he's still a rookie. We've seen instances with guys that the bloom comes off the rose, hopefully it doesn't with Wilson. They have some improvements to make. He's probably playing with one of the worst WR groups in the league. They could all another OL. But WR is the big problem. If they improve that next year, that will help him. Let's not put Wilson into the Hall of Fame just yet. Ponder, Newton, Freeman's fallen back. They've all taken their lumps and taken steps back. I'm not into all of the hype with some of these QBs. Time will tell you about these QBs. Half a season is not a good enough evaluation period on these guys.
Mel Kiper (1:59 PM)
These Thursday NFL games have been interesting to follow. This Thursday is Andrew Luck. The most intriguing game this Saturday is Alabama-Texas A-M at 3:30 p.m. ET. Right now it's pretty amazing that Andrew Luck has the Colts with a 5-3 record halfway through the season. They could maybe win 9 or 10 games this season. That's amazing.
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