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 (2:01 PM)
Mel is here!
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Did Mike Evans solidify his Top 15 status with his 40 time at the combine?
Mel Kiper (2:02 PM)
I think he might have moved up even higher. I could see him going as high as 9. He could be in that spot. Maybe even higher than that. He might be a guy a team trades up for. I think he's the 6th best player in the draft.
Why is Bridgewater falling behind Manziel & Brotles? He was everybody's fav for #1 when the season began. Is it just the case of people are tired of talking about him.
Mel Kiper (2:03 PM)
He really hasn't. I still have him No. 1. He's been my No. 1 all year. Bortles and Manziel are battling for the second spot. That's due to Manziel being hyped as the possible No. 1 overall pick. But I still say Bridgewater is the safest of the three QBs.
Jean Claude (Vermont)
Which of the top 5 WR's in the draft benefited least from the Combine?
Mel Kiper (2:04 PM)
Marqise Lee benefitted the least from the combine. The guy who dropped was Jarvis Landry. Now, he was hampered by an injury in the 40. But he needs to run better at his pro day.
Derrin (Plano, TX)
Who impressed/disappointment you the most at the combine?
Mel Kiper (2:05 PM)
The biggest winner was Brandin Cooks, WR, Oregon State. On defense, the biggest winner was Aaron Donald, DT, Pitt. Cyrus Kouandjio, OT, Alabama and Marcus Roberson, CB, Florida were the biggest losers at the combine.
Jon (Seattle, WA)
So, Jared Abberderis is fast (ran in the 4.4s), you said he's the best route runner in the draft, and he put up great numbers despite having a very mediocre QB throwing him the ball, who repeatedly missed him throughout the season. And oh yeah, he absolutely torched Roby at the Shoe. I know they're other factors at play, but I fail to see a major weakness. Yet, he's ranked by most in the 10-15 range of wideouts in the draft. It's a strong class yes, but I think he's destined for success. What's your analysis of him?
Mel Kiper (2:06 PM)
He's got a lot of Jordy Nelson in him. I could see him going in the second round, maybe. I think the consensus is the third round. But he could get into the second round.
What team is the best fit for Dri Archer if any?
Mel Kiper (2:07 PM)
He looked great running that 4.26. People forget, what goes unnoticed, how great he was up until this season. He had a phenomenal junior campaign. He was banged up this year. That was the only thing that held him up this year. Two years ago, he was a healthy player.
Mel Kiper (2:08 PM)
In 2012, he accounted for 22 TDs, 39 receptions out of the backfield, 3 returns for TDs. He showed as a junior that he could do it all. He got banged up in the first game of the season and wasn't able to do the same. He has a chance to be a second or third round pick. He's a Darren Sproles type that would interest anybody. He could go anywhere.
How much did good combine numbers help Roby and Shazier?
Mel Kiper (2:09 PM)
Shazier is a great player. He's a 4-3 OLB. He showed great strength and athleticism. He's worthy of being a first round pick, I don't know if there is a spot for him in the first round, but he has the talent. Roby didn't play up to his talent his year. He's tough, he's good in run support. I think he's a first rounder, even though he didn't always play up to his talent.
Did Connor Shaw improve his draft stock?
Mel Kiper (2:10 PM)
You know he can run. When you feel like you've got the play shut down, he can run. He'll interview well. He's a tough kid. I think he's an outstanding career backup type. If you need 3-4 games from him, he can do it. I think there's value for him in the 6-7 round area.
Al (Kansas City)
KC's needs are pretty obvious. Do you see the Chiefs looking to add a game-breaking receiver or defensive depth with their first rounder?
Mel Kiper (2:10 PM)
WR is their main need. It will fall where you could get Cooks, Beckham Jr. Those are two guys that would look good. They need another weapon at WR.
What is your thoughts of Pryor after the combine? He came in measuring 3" shorter then what he was listed at Louisville. He ran a slower 4.58 40. Did his draft stock get hurt?
Mel Kiper (2:12 PM)
No. He ran the same time as Clinton-Dix. A lot of these guys play faster. The 40 times don't tell it all. The main thing is how you play. He can play free safety or strong. He can hit. He can cover. He's a ballhawk. I think he's a first rounder. Sure, you'd like him to run faster, but Clinton-Dix didn't run faster.
Did Jace Amaro's numbers at combine knock him into round 2?
Mel Kiper (2:13 PM)
Yeah, I think they did. Right now. He'll have a pro day. He didn't run as well as I'd thought. He ran a 4.7. I thought he'd do 4.6. People forget with Joe Haden at the combine he ran a 4.6 and at his pro day he ran a 4.4. Guys go through a lot at the combine. Sometimes the measureables aren't what you hope at the combine. Pro days make up for that.
Rick (Los Angeles)
Could Mack be a 3-4 ILB?
Mel Kiper (2:14 PM)
You don't want him inside. You want him outside. Off the edge. Rushing the passer. With his skill set and his closing speed, you want him outside getting after the QB.
Mel Kiper (2:14 PM)
They'll move him around. They'll shift him around. He's not locked into one spot, but in the base defense, he's a 3-4 OLB.
Kris G (Indy)
If Minnesota waits until round 2 or later to get a QB, which QBs that have those grades are Norv Turner QBs?
Mel Kiper (2:15 PM)
AJ McCarron. Derek Carr. Jimmy Garoppolo. Logan Thomas. Those would be some of the guys that would be in the mix for the 2-3 round area. Zach Mettenberger too.
Mel Kiper (2:15 PM)
The red hot guy is Garoppolo. He had a good East-West week. He had a good Senior Bowl week.
What are your thoughts on Kelvin Benjamin and Jordan Matthews now that the combine is over? What range do you see them getting drafted?
Mel Kiper (2:16 PM)
Benjamin is 240. He's a big guy at WR. I think he goes in the late first round, 20-32. Matthews ran well. I don't think he played as fast as he timed. He did have some drops. I think he's a second round pick.
Mel, how high can Keith Mcgill get drafted and is he the next Richard Sherman?
Mel Kiper (2:17 PM)
Big CB with recovery ability. He's not tremendously fluid. But with these big CBs, you sacrifice some fluidity. In some press coverage situations and the coverage they provide, I think McGill's a 2-3 round pick.
Seth (Los Angeles)
Anyway Marquis Lee drops all the way to Browns pick at 26 with his 4.5 40?
Mel Kiper (2:18 PM)
I don't think so. You go back two years ago when he was healthy, he was a great player. It's possible he drops, but not probable. St. Louis at 13, Baltimore at 17, the Jets at 18 are all looking at WR. Philadelphia, KC also. They all pick before Cleveland. I will say this, Lee is going to be challenged by Cooks and Beckham to be the third WR off the board. Watkins and Evans are the clear 1 and 2. Now there is a battle for the third WR.
Keith H (Seattle)
Did Bishop Sankey improve his draft stock? Where do you think he will get drafted?
Mel Kiper (2:20 PM)
He is a heckuva all around back. Great work ethic. He ran a 4.49. You could argue he's the best back in the draft. I have him second among RBs. I think he could go in the 2-3 round.
Kris G (Indy)
Did the combine help Hageman's stock at all? What about the other Gopher there, Brock Vereen?
Mel Kiper (2:21 PM)
You knew he would have great physical ability. He just didn't always dominate as you thought he should have. He flashes ability, but he needs to sustain it. I think he's a 2-3 rounder.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Will Clowney not participating in the drills have any impact on where he goes in the Top 5-10? Or did his 40 time render that mute?
Mel Kiper (2:22 PM)
First of all, he was the lock No. 1 pick going into the last two years. Had he come out after his freshman year, he was the No. 3 pick. After his sophomore year, he was No. 1. Now he's No. 1. He's a great player. His 40 time was not a surprise. If Houston doesn't trade out of the No. 1 pick, it's got to be Clowney or a QB.
Which OG might go in first round? Any top-15 worthy last like last year?
Mel Kiper (2:23 PM)
No. No OGs in the first round. I will be very surprised if a OG/C goes in the first round. Marcus Martin is the best interior OL in the draft.
Other than Clowney, any DE's make sense in top 15?
Mel Kiper (2:24 PM)
No. I don't see any DEs in the top 15. Tuitt is a 3-4 DE who you could move inside in a four man front as a DT. I think he's a late first rounder. Koney Ealy is a late first rounder. That's why Clowney is it.
Did Cooks do enough then to secure a spot in the 1st round? It would seem the Niners would be a good fit for him.
Mel Kiper (2:25 PM)
I think he's a lock first rounder now. There are 8 teams between 20-32 in the first round that need a WR. I think Cooks could be in the discussion for 13, 17, 18. He's up there in the mid first round discussion. I had him at No. 28 before the combine, but I don't think he's getting down there now.
Where do you see Darqueze Dennard getting drafted?
Mel Kiper (2:26 PM)
Gilbert is the first CB off the board, which I have thought. Followed by Dennard. I would say Dennard could go to Pittsburgh at 15, Arizona at 20, Cincinnati at 24.
Who are the guys that you feel have to have a very good pro day to improve their stock?
Mel Kiper (2:28 PM)
Manziel is going to need a good pro day. He didn't do any drills at the combine. Bridgewater too. Carlos Hyde, RB; Thomas, RB; Hill, RB; Ka'Deem Carey, RB; Jarvis Landry, WR; Jace Amaro, TE; Cyrus Kouandjio, OT; Kony Ealy, DE; Yawin Smallwood, ILB; LaMarcus Joyner, CB; Marcus Roberson, CB; Loucheiz Purifoy, CB.
Do the Bears go DT or Safety with the first pick?
Mel Kiper (2:29 PM)
Aaron Donald could heavily be in the discussion. Jernigan too. Pryor or Clinton-Dix at safety. But the DTs are reated higher than the safeties right now.
Derek (Salt Lake)
Do you expect a lot of movement regarding trades day 1 of draft? Any teams in particular?
Mel Kiper (2:30 PM)
The big one I'm looking to see is if anyone tries to trade up to get Clowney. Atlanta at 6 maybe moving up. You might see some shuffling around for Cooks. Aaron Donald is red hot. Mike Evans. I could see someone targeting Evans. I could see somebody targeting Taylor Lewan, the third OT coming off the board.
Mel Kiper (2:31 PM)
We'll be back next Thursday! Enjoy the weekend!
Buzzmaster (2:31 PM)
Mel had to run early this week. We'll be back chatting next Thursday.