We've got Mel!
We can get right to the questions. We have the final four weeks of the regular season in the NFL and the final regular season in college. This should be the start of a real nice month in the NFL.
Hey Mel. Is there any concern that Michael Crabtree will be injury-prone in the NFL?
No, I don't think so at all. He had the ankle earlier in the year. But I don't think there's any concern moving forward.
Should Leech go or stay?
I think the perfect spot for Leech is Lubbock. He knows it's difficult. The one negative is that you're in the Big 12 South. You're in there with Oklahoma and Texas every year. You have to tweak the rules about 3-way ties. It seems like he's an ideal fit. He's recruited some great players. You'd have Jack Locher coming back. I'd stay at Texas Tech. I would stay there. You've reached the benefits monetarily.
Where do you have Rey Maualuga going in the draft?
He's right now my third highest rated player in the senior class. He has the chance to be one of the top picks in the first round.
How would Andre Smith of Alabama compare with other top picks at OT from recent years? Does he make sense as a Carson Palmer's blind side protector the next 10 years?
He'd be way up there. He has a chance to be the No. 1 pick overall. His grade would be right up there with Jake Long. We've had Orlando Pace go high. It's not just Andre Smith, you have a host of high OTs. Michael Oher is up there. Okung, a junior from OK State. There are about 5 OTs that have elite grades. That doesn't mention a couple of other senior OTs. There could be 5 guys that potentially go in the top 10-12.
Hey Mel, How has Joe Flacco performed so far this year in comparison with what you projected coming into this season? Who would you compared him to in the NFL past or present?
He's done a great job, considering he's from a I-AA program. You're beating the odds, for any QB, to come in and start and make the playoffs. What Flacco and Matt Ryan have done is extraordinary, getting their teams to the playoffs. all of the mistakes that he was making, he's correcting. In Matt Ryan's case, he has Turner to lean on and Flacco has three RBs to lean on. I watched Ryan on Sunday and he made throws that you'd expect to see from a veteran. He looks composed, confident. In a million years, if you turned on the Falcons, you think he was in the league 6-7 years. Joe Flacco is one of the most calm, cool and collected QBs you'll ever see. People talk about Jay Cutler's arm and he even says that his arm is like John Elway, but Joe Flacco's arm might be as good as Cutler's or better.
better defense, USC or Denver?
You laugh about it and joke about it, but Denver does. But they would love to have some of those players on that defense. There are three LBs in that program right now that will go, two possibly in the top 10 and another in the first round. Denver needs a couple of those studs that USC has. Denver's defense is sieve-like at times.
They're really not a playoff caliber team. The only reason they are is that San Diego is probably one of the most disappointing teams in the history of the NFL. How can they have all that talent and that record? Now they got some bad breaks. But still to be 4-8, that's the only reason Denver's in the playoffs.
Mel, what's wrong with Dorsey? He was supposed to be a stud DT, whats happening? Who do you see the chiefs drafting or what position do you see them taking?
He'll be fine. you have to have players around you. They're very young. Herm Edwards will get another year in KC, I believe and Dorsey will be a factor. But when you're in the middle of the line and you don't have any help, it's easy to scheme against the team.
who do uthink is better overall? lesean mccoy or knowshon moreno?
Right now, I have Moreno a little ahead of McCoy. Moreno is an aggressive, tough runner. His style of running is more condusive to someone who's bigger. He only goes about 5-11, 205-208. Great vision, great balance. Plays the game with a ton of enthusiasm. McCoy had some fumbling issues early on. Quickness to the hole. Tremendous cut back ability. I have Moreno and McCoy 1-2, with Wells right in there.
Moreno and McCoy are both third-year sophomores. But those three are better than any senior in the country.
goin into the combine , which running back will have the scouts attention?
I think the RB that everyone is going to keep an eye on is Jeremiah Johnson. He's compact. He changes directions. He can hit the home run when the opportunity presents itself. The problem with Johnson is durability. If he has a good workout and he shows that medically everything's fine. He's a heckuva back. It's going to be important for him. Devin Moore is another one, and he's considered one of the fastest guys in the country. On the negative side, the guy that people question the speed of is James Davis. He's going to have to show his speed at the combine.
I just cannot see Graham Herell in the NFL. Am I missing something that he could bring to a NFL team
He's the best of the Texas Tech QBs of the ones they've had. It has been a system to allow the QBs to do well. He has the ability and skills to throw the football than some of the others to go through there. He's got to put some weight on. His arm strength and he's pretty accurate throwing the football. He'll probably end up a 3-5 round pick. He's not playing in an NFL offense. He tends to throw falling back when he has been pressured.
How good do you think LB Nate Irving from NCSU is? Do you see him as a good pro prospect?
He has a chance to be a very good player. He's already that. He had some injury problems this year. He's still a very young football player. He is only a sophomore. The other guy that's one of the best defensive players is Willie Young at DE. He's not going to be like Mario Williams was and be a No. 1 overall pick, but he has to be more consistent. He has a chance, because of his physical prowress to be the next big NC State DL. It will be interesting to see Irving progress.
Do you see the Saints targeting a safety with their first pick? Who will they be looking at?
The defense overall. It's unfortunate their defensive line has two potential suspensions coming up. Their secondary, I've been talking about for years. The defense overall, they don't play consistent every week. That's a team that very rarely holds the opponent down and limits points. They only gave up 20 to KC, but that's KC. They only gave up 20 to Tampa Bay. But their defense has been challenged all year. They need defensive help.
What do you think about Tennessee/Kiffin deal.
I personally like it. I like Lane Kiffin. I think he's a good football coach. when you look at him and stack him up as an offensive mind, he had great weapons at USC to work with. I thought he would have done a good job at Oakland if he were allowed to stay there. I think his dad will do a good job. He was at NC State, people forget that he was a college guy. He was at State from 1980-82 and 2 of the three years he had a winning record.
Tennessee is in a tough conference in a tough division. Every year, you have to battle Florida every year in the East and Georgia every year. I think it was a real good hire.
When will shonn Greene get drafted
He's a junior, first of all. RBs, historically do drop a little bit. He didn't play last year, but came back this year to play really good football. This was the first year he was a featured back. He's about 5-10 and averaged 6.1 yards per carry. What he has to do, what he has to work on is becoming more of a threat in the passing game. He has to work on becoming more of a factor to work on his pass catching skills. As a runner, he's powerful, picks up a lot of chunks of real estate.
Hey Mel, Alabama has no potential NFL picks, so why are they so good? Also, where do you see Percy Harvin in the NFL?
But they have some high NFL picks, they have Andre Smith, the OT and a junior who could be one of the top guys picked. They also have an outstanding sophomore LB in Rolando McClain. He's an outstanding player. Then, throw in the No. 1 junior DT in Terrence Cody. Then throw in one of the top senior safeties in Johnson. You have one of the top 3-4 senior centers. You have the top or second best receiver in the country in Julio Jones. And you have a senior QB in John Parker Wilson. Saban is a good coach, down there they call him St. Nick, which is a different St. Nick then the one with the holiday season. Sometimes he's not jolly and he's not old. But they barely beat Ole Miss and they barely beat LSU. They were struggling in the second half of some games. This team is not without some significant talent. They don't have the great senior prospects, but from the junior, sophomore and freshman class they have some elite players.
Ole Miss' Michael and Oher and Peria Jerry are first round locks, right? What about Greg Hardy? Should he come out or stay another year in your opinion?
Hardy came on. He had a big game. If he decides to come out, it's a year you're not putting your best rating out there. He had a foot injury. This past Saturday, he had a ton of hurries in that game. But if he comes out, people are going to look at him. Jerry, I've said all year he's one of hte most underrated players in the country. He had a great game last weekend. I think he's a first rounder. He's No. 12 on my top 25 Senior Board.
Mel, How would you rate Ryan Clady's performance so far this year?
He is a good solid LT because he can pass protect. He has good balance and pass protection. But to protect the franchise QB, who has to be more consistent. Cutler needs to be "on" more. It was the same thing at Vanderbilt. He relies on his arm sometimes. He's one of those that with the media, he can do no wrong. He's a Hall of Fame QB if you listen to the media. I've always pointed out the fact that he hasn't played as consistent as he needs to. Any time Jay Cutler has a bad game, it's excused to something else. I was the first one that ever had him in the top 25.
Mel, how many Buckeyes do you have going in the first 2 rounds this year? Thanks.
In the first round, some of these guys, their stock has dropped. Laurinaitis is a first rounder, Jenkins, Wells. I think Robiskie will be a second rounder. Wells is the highest rated. And Freeman is probably more of a third rounder now.
Should Sam Bradford come out this year or would he be better served spending one more year in college?
I always tell QBs to stay in college. When they come out early, sometimes they don't play as well as expected. He's a third-year sophomore. He's not harrassed much, but with the system some of these QBs are in, you're in the shotgun and throwing it. You thwart any possibility of any pressure. We don't see him moving in the pocked. Stafford probably has to deal with that more than anyone this year. You see a little of Peyton Manning in Bradford, but you don't see him move around.
A lot of juniors will be scared out because of the speculation about the slotting of players in the draft. But I think he's a high first rounder.
Mel, who wins bama or florida?
I'm going to stick with Florida. I've grown to appreciate Alabama more the weeks have gone by. They have key entities on this team. The guy that's really improved is their junior CB Javier Arenas. A much more improved player in coverage. Brandon James is a great return man for Florida. Florida doesn't have to try any long field goals. For Alabama, they've been inconsistent this year. The kicking game is going to be very fun to watch, if it comes down to that. you have to monitor that Harvin injury. But Florida does have great depth. They have Tebow, who will go down as one of the greatest college football players of all time.
Nick Saban is a great football coach. I think this team feels disrespected and I think they feed off that. They haven't been given much of a chance. They have stars on defense.
Are you surprised at how Desean Jackson has evolved into a solid route runner for the eagles and not just the deep threat most draft guru's pegged him to be.
Well, I'm not surprised that he's been electrifying, because he was at Cal. He was the second highest graded player at WR. My final comments for him were: explosive and a game changer. Add it all up and I don't see why he won't provide juice at the next level. The only thing was his size. He was not 100% in all of the games at Cal. As a sophomore he was phenomenal. The rules really help the WRs in the NFL, so a number of smaller receivers have benefitted in the NFL. When he was healthy as a sophomore, he was a great player. He was hampered by injuries as a junior, that's why he was a second round player. He was the 29th highest rated player on my Big Board. He ended up going 49th.
Mel, do you think Kyle Orton is really the long term solution at QB for the Bears?
No. I think Kyle Orton is a very good backup QB. I don't think he is a big time starter. He's the kind of guy that if you're team is playing great on defense, but they're not. No one can figure out what's going on with their defense. You talk about the Chargers not playing well, one of the other shockers has been how bad the Bears defense has been. They give up 37 points to Green Bay, 41 points to Minnesota the first time. In certain games this year, this defense has been a big disappointment. They've had Matt Forte this year who has been a good player.
Mel, Is Brian Orakpo a top 10 pick? I dont think there is a better DE, let alone a more athletic defensive player in the country. Also, what do you think about Sergio Kindle's draft stock? 1st round talent?
He missed some time as a junior. Going through an entire season healthy hasn't happened. In a 4-3 scheme, he can beat you with speed, with power. He's probably my 11th highest rated prospect. Mid first rounder.
What is your take on UCONN DE/OLB Cody Brown. Is his most likely spot a 3/4 rush linebacker in the Lamaar Woodley mold?
He could be. He falls into that category. He's 6-2, 244. He would be the Colts style DE. He's a Robert Mathis kind of guy. He runs 4.65. He could be an OLB in the 3-4. He's the Pittsburgh Steeler type guy or he could be a 4-3 DE with the right team. He's an undersized DE, but he's fast and has some pass rush skills.
right now who are your top 5 guys mel?
The juniors would be the top guys. The elite guys in the draft would be Matthew Stafford, Sam Bradford, Andre Smith, Michael Crabtree, Knowshon Moreno, Chris "Beanie" Wells, LeSean McCoy, Jermaine Gresham, Jeremy Maclin, Aaron Curry, Michael Oher, Rey Maualuga, Jason Smith, Brandon Pettigrew, Brian Cushing and Vontae Davis, Brandon Spikes, Greg Hardy, Eugene Monroe, BJ Raji, William Moore, Michael Johnson, Brian Orakpo, Peria Jerry, Malcolm Jenkins, Tyson Jackson. Alex Mack is the No. 1 center is a good center group.
We covered a lot of ground today. We'll try to get more prospect stuff in the chat. The Big Board was updated this morning. Anyone interested in the ratings of the juniors and third-year sophomores, that was updated this morning. We'll be back next week.