Chat with Mel Kiper
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 1 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:01 PM)
Mel is here!
Harry (Babylon) [via mobile]
Hi Mel - if one of the top 3 WR isn't there at 18 can you see the Jets drafting a TE?
Mel Kiper (1:02 PM)
Yeah, I would think if Ebron were there, you almost have to take him. I don't think he will be. Jace Amaro from Texas Tech would have to be in the discussion, if the WRs were gone.
In your mock draft you have Manziel number one. So is it safe to say you think he's a better passer than Teddy Bridgewater?
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
I don't think there is anything that Manziel lacks in being a QB in the NFL, except the durability. Does he have the body size to stay durable? He's a good passer. He's a magician on the field. He'd also be great from a marketing standpoint.
How far can the Rams trade down until Watkins isnt available?
Mel Kiper (1:03 PM)
Probably no later than 5, where Oakland's picking.
Hi Mel. Who are the best interior OL in the draft and do any of them go in the first round?
Mel Kiper (1:04 PM)
Cyril Richardson, Baylor; David Yankey, Stanford; Gabe Jackson, Mississippi State. They're all pretty equal. All three could be in the late first round discussion. All theree are very good guards.
Mel Kiper (1:05 PM)
Yankey could also play OT. He's versatile and that makes him very valuable.
steve (princeton, nj)
with respect to your first mock draft of 2014 what do you think of the chances 4 qb's come off the board in the first 4 picks? we've seen 3 before but this would be unprecedented. regardless it's a qb league now and I bet it happens.
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
I don't think four. I think three. Carr struggled in their bowl game, unless he has a good Senior Bowl week. I thought about putting him in 15-32, but I don't see any team there that needs a QB. He could go mid to late first round.
Did Taylor Lewan end up hurting his draft stock by staying another year at Michigan?
Mel Kiper (1:06 PM)
I think he solidified a top 12 grade. He helped himself a little bit. Most of the problems Michigan had were on the interior line. They had a lot of trouble. I thought Lewan played well. He has a lot of talent. I have him going No. 11.
Mel, in case Jernigan isn't there (and I agree wholeheartedly they need a DT) who else could fill that spot a DT is not there where the Bears pick...Clinton-Dix, CB? Thanks.
Mel Kiper (1:08 PM)
They desperately need a safety. Also throw in Pryor at safety. He's a complete player. I wouldn't be surprised to see him end up in Chicago. He may end up being the best safety in the draft. I'm waiting until the combine to see how well he runs. If he does, he could be the No. 1 safety in the draft.
Does Marcus Lattimore have the upside to be even more productive than Frank Gore, Thank You Mel, Love your chats
Mel Kiper (1:09 PM)
He could. He was a first round caliber back. Keep in mind Gore had a significant knee injury at Miami. With Lattimore, if he can get back to close to where he was, he could be a real good NFL RB.
Frank (Minneapolis) [via mobile]
Mel, if there isn't a quarterback available when the Vikings pick do you see them taking Justin Gilbert or Darqueze Dennard to pair with Xavier Rhodes?
Mel Kiper (1:10 PM)
It would be a little early. I have Gilbert going No. 10. He's a gifted athlete. I could see him jumping up there. He had some good battles in practice with WRs at OSU. He could be in the discussion. I don't think Dennard, though. I think he's more 15-25. I have him going No. 24 to Cincy.
Seems shocking that the Jags would NOT select a QB... that said, regarding the falcon's pick - are you absolutely convinced they take the best defensive player available at 6? what are the chances clowney falls to them?
Mel Kiper (1:11 PM)
Don't think it's happening with Clowney. I'll be shocked he drops past three. Anthony Barr can play on his feet, with his hand on the ground. He has versatility.
Bert (St. Paul, MN)
How do you rank the top 5 draft eligible running backs at this point? Does anyone stand out?
Mel Kiper (1:12 PM)
The one that jumps out is Carlos Hyde, Ohio State. No. 2 is Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona; then, Bishop Sankey, Washington; Jeremy Hill, LSU; Lache Seastrunk, Baylor.
Would it make sense for the Raiders to pick defense at #5 (hopefully Clowney) and look at a qb like Carr or AJ in the 2nd? Or if Watkins is available, do they grab him bc WR is a big need too.
Mel Kiper (1:13 PM)
They could go that route. But they also need a WR, so Watkins would make a lot of sense.
The Sage (Sterling, VA)
Have any teams asked Logan Thomas about potentially making a switch to TE? I know he is a 2-3 day pick at qb right now, but with his height/athletism he seems like a potential Jimmy Graham in the making. Thanks!
Mel Kiper (1:14 PM)
It's been out there, because he had shown that ability. He projected to that position because he didn't have a great year at QB. It wouldn't surprise me to go a lot earlier than people think, at QB. I think he could go as high as the second round. I could see him going then. He has good size. Strong arm. He didn't have great weapons around him. He'll be drafted as a QB.
Hey Mel, if Auburn's Greg Robinson has an awesome Combine, how high do you see him going?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
I think he could go as high as 7 to Tampa Bay. 9 to Buffalo is a possibility. Atlanta at 6 posssibly.
what quarterback do you see going rounds 2-5 that has the potential to be a starter?
Mel Kiper (1:15 PM)
AJ McCarron, Alabama. Zach Mettenberger, LSU. Brett Smith, Wyoming. Logan Thomas, VT. Those are some guys.
Mel Kiper (1:16 PM)
Aaron Murray, Georgia. David Fales, San Jose State. Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois.
Danny (Long Island)
I'm as big of a Johnny Football fan as there is and I would also take him #1, but doesn't Clowney 1 and McCarron/Mettenberger at 33 make more sense for a coach like Bill O'Brien who prefers that QB Type and pairing Clowney with Watt?
Mel Kiper (1:17 PM)
It depends on who Bill O'Brien likes. I don't think you can pigeon hole this thing. Brady was there and Brady was the QB. It doesn't mean he couldn't work effectively with Manziel. The misnomer is that Manziel isn't a good passer. I don't think Bill O'Brien would have any problems with Russell Wilson.
Jeff (Baton Rouge)
Mel, do you see any teams draftingin the 15-30 range that have the fire power and/or need to trade up in the draft significantly to take someone like Clowney?
Mel Kiper (1:18 PM)
Maybe Philadelphia. If they wanted to go up and get a WR. KC too. Those are probably the best guesses right now.
Raoul Duke (Upstate NY)
You don't see Manziel as having an inability to consistantly go through his progressions? Very rare that he sat in the pocket, looked at options 1, 2, 3 then hit a receiver in stride.You have to do that at some point in the NFL.
Mel Kiper (1:20 PM)
His ability to throw in the pocket improved. His decision making improved. His mechanics won't always be sounds because he's always moving around. His creativity is a plus. He does things with eyes in the back of his head. I don't think you can ever try to curtail his improve ability. He just has to play smart. He has to learn to slide down and not take as many hits.
Jeff (Baton Rouge)
What are your thoughts on Connor Shaw? He is a winner that is comparable to Alex Smith IMO. Will he be drafted?
Mel Kiper (1:21 PM)
Shaw is a Day 3 pick. He's gritty. Competitive. He wins. I think he'd be a good career backup type. But you never know. You bring in guys that you think are backups and they develop into a starter. He'll probably go down as one of the most underrated players in SEC history. He was a very good player for Steve Spurrier. He won a lot of games for that program. He's a blue coller player.
Mel, are you convinced St. Louis will definitely take a WR with one of their two picks?
Mel Kiper (1:22 PM)
I think they will. They need to. They don't have a true No. 1 WR. At No. 2 they could take Watkins. At 13, they could get a Mike Evans or Marqise Lee. If they could come out of this draft with a LT like Matthews and a WR like Mike Evans, that would help out Sam Bradford. That would complement Tavon Austin, who had just that one break out game.
Mel, great work my friend. In the case that Bears decide to go DL who are you liking? Jernigan, Tuitt, Hageman are all some notable names - if they decide to switch to a 3-4 though doesn't Nix III become a must have player?
Mel Kiper (1:23 PM)
The Bears I think would look at Jernigan from FSU. He'd be a nice fit for what they do in Chicago.
Mel, how many offensive skill-position players in the upcoming draft do you think have the chance to be special in the NFL?
Mel Kiper (1:24 PM)
I would say 12 overall skill position players. A lot of WRs in that group. A TE. A few RBs and a few QBs.
lamont (los angeles)
what round do you believe deanthony thomas wil be drafted in
Mel Kiper (1:25 PM)
I think he'll end up in the third round. Maybe the second, if he has good workouts. He's not a true RB, he's a scat back. He could be a third down receiver. A return man. It depends on how his workouts go.
Derek (Salt Lake)
What are your thoughts on Anthony Barr and Khalil Mack in 4-3 schemes?
Mel Kiper (1:26 PM)
I think they could. They could be 4-3 DEs. They could also play on their feet in a 4-3. People thought Von Miller couldn't play in the Broncos scheme and look at how he's done.
Mel, Vic Beasley was a beast for Clemson. Do you see that translating to the NFL? Or is his size a concern?
Mel Kiper (1:27 PM)
He has to get bigger, stronger. He has to play the run better. He tailed off late. I think he's smart to go back to Clemson. He's a boderline first round pick this year and he could become a top 10.
Jermaine (Frisco, TX)
Hey Mel, big fan. Who should the Eagles look at?
Mel Kiper (1:28 PM)
The Eagles need a WR and to help their defensive backfield. I thought about a CB/S. Or a WR. I thought about guys like Pryor, Clinton-Dix at DB. I gave them Kelvin Benjamin, WR, in the mock.
Do the Chiefs have any chance at addressing their biggest need in the first round with some of the top end WRs?
Mel Kiper (1:29 PM)
They could. The guys they could look at, like Benjamin, I have going No. 22 and KC picks 23. Odell Beckham, LSU is another option. Cooks too.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Is AJ McCarron making a mistake not attending the Senior Bowl? Or is it a smart, tactical move, to hide his deficiencies, and prevent him from being picked apart and dropping in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:32 PM)
If he doesn't go to the Senior Bowl, my question would be, are you throwing at the combine? The combine isn't a great place to throw for guys without great arms. You don't know the guys you're throwing to. You're going to be poked and prodded. I would have gone to Mobile. Maybe he doesn't feel 100%. I don't know if there's any underlying problems. But if he's 100 percent, then I go to Mobile. If you have a great Senior Bowl week, they don't hold it against you. You can not throw at the combine and no one will care. I'm surprised, especially knowing that Carr will be there. Carr's his competition. It's a risky move.
Keith (New York)
Why do you think Blake Bortles while get drafted before Teddy Bridgewater?
Mel Kiper (1:34 PM)
It's just a guess. The consensus to me was that was the order they're coming off the board. I still have Bridgewater as the No. 1 ranked QB. But I'm trying to predict what will happen. Bortles had a great second half against Baylor. Bortles is more impressive physically than Bridgewater. And he had three statement wins. Bridgewater's statement win was beating Florida two years ago in the bowl game.
Do you see the 49ers trading up in the 1st round to get a real difference maker at either WR or CB? They have a ton of draft picks and with a young loaded roster I doubt many rookies make the roster out of training camp anyway so why not bundle a few picks together a good after a guy like Watkins?
Mel Kiper (1:35 PM)
They could. They're sitting in the late part of the first round. The CBs that they'd look at are Marcus Roberson, Florida; Bradley Roby, Ohio State; Loucheiz Purifoy, Florida; Aaron Colvin, Oklahoma; Jason Verrett, TCU. There are options. But if they want a Justin Gilbert or Darqueze, Dennard, they have to move up to at least 20, if not higher.
how much did tahj boyd hurt his draft stock this year?
Mel Kiper (1:36 PM)
I think he moved from maybe a 3rd round pick to maybe a 5-6 round pick.
Mel-you have the Giants taking CJ Mosley in Rd1. Do you see this area as more pressing than OL? Super strong OL draft and it seems LB could be a position they address later on. Thoughts?
Mel Kiper (1:37 PM)
The two players I considered were Mosley and Taylor Lewan. You could flip their pick with Tennessee, who I have taking Lewan. I have OL ahead of LB. I just had Lewan going one pick earlier. I agree, OL is a huge need.
Gavin (Biscoe NC)
Is Sammy Watkins the best WR in the draft?
Mel Kiper (1:38 PM)
He stacks up pretty well with the best previous WRs in drafts. He's a beast with the ball in his hands. He was more consistent catching the ball. I think he goes somewhere between 4-9.
Who you think the Skins and Mr. Gruden take in the 2nd round?
Mel Kiper (1:39 PM)
They need OL help. That's one thing they have to do. They need to help out RGIII, particularly at OT. Reed getting hurt really hurt their offense. They have some competent WRs. They need to improve this defense. RT is a key area of need. I think they should bring in multiple OL.
Any way the Browns don't take a QB at #4? If Clowney is there, do you have to take him?
Mel Kiper (1:40 PM)
Yeah, I would take Clowney. I don't think he's getting past 3. They would have to look at QB. They could look at WR. They also pick 26. They could get a RB there, like Hyde. A CB
Mel Kiper (1:41 PM)
You can get the whole first round projection right now on ESPN.com. Thanks for chatting. Busy day. We'll be back next week at our regular Thursday time of 2 p.m. ET.