We can talk a little NFL or the prospects from last week's games. Whatever questions you have.
What 2008 1st rounder will be the biggest surprise (positive or negative)?
I'd actually go to the second round. The first rounders are all holding their own. I'd say Ray Rice in the second round. He's performed as well as the first round RBs in the preseason. They have high, high hopes for him in Baltimore. RBs historically from the second round on do very well. Harvey didn't get into camp, so the 8th overall pick, it will be interesting to see how he adapts.
Who did you have rated high coming out of college Demarcus Ware or Shawn Merriman? Also have the been everything you thought they would be?
It was the 2005 draft and I had Merriman and Ware with the same exact grade, but I gave Merriman the slightest edge.
Will JT O Sullivan be able to lead the 49ers to a successful season or will Alex Smith take over mid season?
I think he could even take over sooner than that. JT knows Mike Martz's offense. QBs and coaches, the familiarity with the system is so important. The QBs and coaches need to be in sync. If he doesn't perform, you go to Alex Smith. For Mike Nolan, it has to be a short leash. I would expect the QB situation in San Francisco to be very fluid.
Who do you expect to have the bigger out of the rookie RB's Stewart in Carolina or Smith in the motor city??
I think they both have good opportunities. I thought Smith would have an opportunity and he does, but Stewart has to stay healthy. Stewart is the better back. He can be a work horse, something DeAngelo Williams can't be. Durability is the only concern with him.
Is Juice Williams a NFL prospect? If so, where would he go?
I think he's a prospect, certainly. His passing skills have evolved. He's a much better passer than people thought he would be. He's only a junior. He has some weapons around him at Illinois. They put up 42 points against Missouri. I expect Juice to be a prospect. As a junior, he still has time. Another year at the college level and he should keep improving.
Is Matt Forte really ready to step up and be the feature back for the Bears? He's going to get 7-8 in the box on every play unless Hester can burn 2 guys deep every play.
That's true. That's true for any back. The QB situation for the Bears and the whole offense in general. The running game is always contingent on the rest of the offense. Forte can be a very very good NFL feature back. If he can get some help, he can have a heckuva rookie year. He has tons of ability. He's versatile. He can block, he can catch. If you see his average per carry isn't what some of the other rookie backs are, it's not because of him.
Mel I love your work. What do you think Raider fans can expect of Darren McFadden this season in terms of production?
I expect a lot out of him. If their QB comes through and gives them some semblance of a passing game. He's as dynamic as game-breaking RB as you'll find. He's a threat every time he touches the football. That's not something you can say about all of the backs in the NFL. Everyone has to speed it up a little bit.
Do you think the Giants are doing enough to make up for Umenyiora out for the season?
I don't think you can make up for that loss. He and Strahan were a dynamic and effective duo. That DL dominated in the Super Bowl. You can't lose those types of players and not have it hurt. Catastrophic injuries are tough to overcome for anybody.
What are the pro prospects of UConn RBs Andre Dixon & Donald Brown?
They both do. Donald Brown is a kid that you look at and have to like. This UConn team is solid and tremendously well coached with Randy Edsall. These guys are both juniors. They are the offense for UConn. They have a chance. They could be a team that jumps off to a 4-0, 5-0 season. They also have defensively Cody Brown, senior DE, is an outstanding pass rusher. They also have an outstanding CB in Darius Butler. Scott Lutrus, an OLB is very extinctive. Randy Edsall has done an outstanding job in the recruiting he's done and coaching he's done. Last year they went 9-4 and they could be right back in that mix again.
What are the scouts saying about Tyrell Sutton's pro-grade?
First of all, when he's healthy, Northwestern is a different football team. Their offense at Northwestern is oustanding. Sutton, not real big, but when he's healthy, really a good football player. He gives them a weapon in the backfield. How does he project to the pro level? I'd say a situational guy. But I think this team can win 8-9 games.
Does Amarti Edwards have any chance of being drafted as a WR?
WR, DB, that's where you're looking at Edwards, the QB at App. State. That's what you're looking at for him. He's about 6-0, 180 pounds. He's a very good athlete.
After seeing how well Kenny Phillips played during the preseason, don't you think he is vastly underrated and a great steal for the Giants?
No. He was not underrated and he was not a steal. He went right where he was projected to go. Everyone knew that they were going to take a safety. Phillips and Johnson both had similar grades. Earlier in the year, if you had asked people about Phillips, they were talking top 15-20. But he did not have the season projected. He wasn't a steal and would have gone higher if he had had a better year.
Vernon Gholston seems to be slow to learning his new OLB postion- would the Jets be smarter to put him as a DE?
When you establish a kid coming out, you want to keep him in that spot. He is a pass rusher and needs to realize that it's not college any more. Just having physical and athletic gifts aren't good enough anymore, it takes technique. He's in a defense where he needs to be a quality player. Normally, edge pass rushers have good rookie years.
Matt Flynn beating out Brian Brohm for the Backup QB spot in Green Bay any comments on this?
Well, Flynn was a guy that I thought that's where he'd end up - as a backup. He was projected as a 5-7 round pick. Remember, both kids are rookies. It doesn't mean long term that's how it will work out. But they're in trouble if Rodgers goes down. You can't overreact to this. Brohm didn't come into the draft last year with the shoulder question mark. I would just take that with a grain of salt. They just had to make a decision on two rookies.
I like what I've seen from Steve Slaton in the preseason. Is he going to be an every down back for the Texans this season?
No. He's 5-9 and 190 pounds. He's strong for his size and has the ability to turn the corner. He's a situational spot back. You have to utilize his strengths.
Hey Mel, what can you tell us Pats fans about Gary Guyton? He looked good in the preseason, but of course it's preseason. And why do you think he went undrafted?
He has outstanding computer numbers. He was a big athletic fast LB. He wasn't around the ball quite as much as you'd expect considering his awesome physical skills. He's 6-1.5, 245 and runs a 4.53 40. He had the computer numbers of an early round pick, but his gameday numbers were erratic. His production never matched his potential.
Joe Flacco or Troy Smith...who do you want to quarterback your team?
You have to go with Flacco now. He's the only option they have. It's not about picking one over the other.. I think they would have preferred Troy Smith to start the season, but he had the illness and lost weight and is not ready physically. Boller has a shoulder problem. Flacco is the only option. The Flacco era wasn't supposed to start until game 6 or 8 or next year. But now they have no other choice.
They really like Flacco's potential and abilities as a starting QB. But he will struggle as a rookie QB in this league. Especially since they have a lot of injuries around him.
What impact will DeSean Jackson have for the Eagles this season?
I like DeSean Jackson. He doesn't have the big frame, but he has great explosiveness. He can help in the return game. He was oustanding at Cal and I think can help that offense.
Are there any pro prospects on Nevada? Or are Dominic Green, Joshua Magua, Marko Mitchell, and Luke Lippencott just borderline prospects?
The best prospect on this team are Mundrae Clifton, DT; Joshua Mauga, MLB; Dominic Green, C; Marko Mitchell, WR; Greg Hall, OG. Luke Lippencott is a senior RB and he would be considered more of a productive, college RB. Is he electric enough and skilled enough to be an NFL RB? That's debatable, but he's a very good college RB.
What kind of impact do you see Eddie Royal THIS YEAR?
I think he could have a big impact for Denver. He's quick out of his cuts, he has good hands. I think he could be a nice contributor.
Who is the number one QB rated for next year draft?
The No. 1 rated QB for the seniors in the '09 draft is Curtis Painter from Purdue. The question is how does he adapt to not having Dustin Keller. The No. 1 junior QB is actually 5 guys that are very very good - Matthew Stafford, Georgia; Mark Sanchez, USC; Tim Tebow, Florida; Nate Davis, Ball State; Josh Freeman, Kansas State.
What are your thoughts on Josh Freeman, Kansas State's quarterback?
He can throw the football. With his size, 6-5, 250 pounds, the way he can throw and see the field. They have to replace some weapons. New WRs, RBs. Not having Jordy Nelson really hurts. Freeman is the kind of guy with his height and arm will be very highly regarded by the NFL.
Top WR prospects for the upcoming draft? Whether they be seniors or underclassmen
The guys that are draft eligible: first the seniors - Brian Robiskie, Brandon Gibson, Demetrius Byrd. From the underclassmen, Michael Crabtree, Percy Harvin, Darrius Heyward-Bey, Kenny Britt, Hakeem Nicks.
Are you surprised about Bears OT Chris Williams back injury? Everyone was saying right before the draft that he had back issues but the Bears refused to listen. Now he is out 12 weeks and Angelo is being questioned once again. Thoughts?
You look at injuries and they're a part of football. You can come in and be fine or come in without any history and get hit right away. Everyone deals with them. Teams have to assess them and they all view them differently. It's just unfortunate that he wasn't able to be the LT right away. There's no reason he won't be a good player. I could give you a list of players who had bad rookie years and went on to have great careers, and another list of those who had great rookie years and didn't have good NFL careers.
I've seen mock drafts with three Georgia Tech defensive linemen (Michael Johnson, Darryl Richard, Vance Walker) going in the first round. Possible?
Possible, not probably. Michael Johnson will probably be a high pick. Walker is a borderline first and Richard is a two.
They play this week in a very very interesting game - Tech at Boston College. BC has a couple of very good defensive linemen in BJ Raji and Ron Brace. You'll have five defensive linemen going high in the draft.
Who are your top 5 college RB's this year in terms of NFL potential? Thanks Mel
I'll combine seniors with juniors. The best RB is Knowshon Moreno. Then LeSean McCoy. Chris "Beanie" Wells. CJ Spiller. James Davis. There's a guy that I'm glad to see get back out there is Jeremiah Johnson from Oregon. He's a real good back who's taking over for Jonathan Stewart.
He had a knee injury last year in October. He's come back and he's ready to roll.
Jake Locker's potential? He could be a star if he ups his completion percentage.
He's a star. He just has to get better players around him. You're talking about a team that's physically overmatched by the opposition. He needs help. He's a talented kid and he's with a team that's probably going to finish in the bottom two in the Pac-10.
Do you see Ryan Perilloux with any chance of going to the NFL at this point? Assuming he performs well at Jacksonville State.
Yeah, he does have a chance. It would have been great to have him back at LSU, with the talent they have there on offense. If he's back at LSU, they're back in the title hunt. But he's at Jacksonville State, he's going to have to produce. He'll have to adjust. He was thrown in there right away.
Any pro prospects from Penn State this year? Thanks
The best prospect at PSU. Senior DE Marice Evans. Their second best prospect is Derrick Williams, WR/return man. Those are your top two and have the best opportunity.
How many first rounders do you think Ohio State has this year?
James Laurinaits, Malcolm Jenkins is two. Beanie Wells, if he comes out early. Brian Robiskie. Marcus Freeman.
Does Kellen Lewis or anyone else from Indiana have a shot at getting drafted?
Kellen Lewis is a junior. He lacks ideal size, but he's a heckuva college QB. From the senior class on this team, this team really doesn't have one. All of their top players are juniors. Their best prospect as a senior is probably placekicker Austin Starr. Greg Middleton is their best junior Rodger Saffold, OT; Jammie Kirlew; Austin Thomas, S.
Hi Mel, great work we love you here. How many O linemen do you see going in this years first round? As many as last year?
Yeah, I think you could. You have some really good senior OTs, Michael Ohr, Jamon Meredith, Jason Smith. Those are your seniors. For the juniors, Andre Smith, Ciron Black, Russell Okung.
A couple of other kids I like are Andrew Gardner and Sam Young.
Mizzou is begining to break into the national spotlight, what are your thoughts on Maclin, Daniel and Coffman? Overrated\underated, pro-projection?
Daniel is a great college QB, but as an NFL prospect, he's going to be scrutinized. He's in the deep shotgun every snap. Doesn't have the great arm and won't be as highly regarded for the NFL. Maclin is young and Coffman is a good pass catching TE. But their best prospect isn't any of them. Their best is William Moore. He's a top 10 pick this year.
Mel, Do you think Georgia Tech has a chance of winning the ACC? Thanks!
I don't see it happening. They're adjusting to Paul Johnson's offense. They have some talent. They're still adapting to a new offense and they'll benefit from being in the ACC. I think UNC is improved. The best team in the ACC is Wake Forest and Clemson will have to bounce back after that performance against Alabama. The conference has been taking major hits after their terrible performance last week.
I do think Georgia Tech will be in the mix. They'll make it to a bowl. They did that last year.
This is a big game this week. They play at BC this week and at Virginia Tech the following week. We'll see what they're made of the next couple of weeks.
We had a nice first week of college football. We'll just keep it going the rest of the way.