We're getting Mel right now!
Let's get to the questions!
If Ryan Mathews enters the this year, what round do you expect him to go? Is it worth it for him to leave early?
He's had a great year. He's coming off of an outstanding performance last week. He runs with power. He has good balance. He's my 5th highest rated junior RB. I'd say he could go 3rd to 5th round. No matter how productive and solid RBs are, they'll drop in the draft every year. Sometimes 2-3 rounds further than you'd expect.
If you were to rank the top ten senior quaterbacks, who would they be?
Colt McCoy; Tony Pike; Tim Tebow; Dan LeFevour; Jarrett Brown.
I know it's early, but who projects to be some of the top tackles in the draft next year? I'd prefer a left tackle, but the Packers need to upgrade both, frankly.
The LTs that are coming out Russell Okung, he figures to be a top 10 pick. Trent Williams at OU, might be best suited to be a RT. Charles Brown at USC. Chris Scott from Tennessee could play LT, RT or OG. You also have Bryan Bulaga, Iowa; Anthony Davis, Rutgers.
Who are the top 5 LB's coming out
The top five overall LBs are Rolando McClain, Alabama, ILB; Sean Weatherspoon, senior OLB, Missouri; Sergio Kindle, senior OLB, Texas; Brandon Spikes, senior ILB, Florida; Eric Norwood, senior OLB, S. Carolina; Sean Lee, OLB, PSU.
Mel-I know Jimmy Clausen is talented and as a ND fan, I am extremely impressed by his decision making, but what are pro scouts saying about his measurables (arm strength, footwork, mechanics) and if you can compare him to another QB already in the pros, who would it be? Thanks
The NFL people that I've spoken to about him like him. He's improved a lot over the last year. The improvement has been so significant that's what stands out. Despite the turf toe injury and playing without Michael Floyd. He's dealt with all that and he's still performed exceptionally well. He doesn't have Matthew Stafford's arm, but he's still got a good one. He's a tough, gritty competitor. Playing for Charlie Weis helps him. He's the 9th highest rated player on the draft board right now. If I had a gun to my head right now, I'd say he's coming out and be an early to mid first round choice. He'll be off the board by pick No. 15 and could go in the top 10.
Oregon was impressive against USC. But who are the Ducks' NFL prospects? Masoili can't be considered an NFL prospect. He's too small. Their backs are small. Who's playing on Sundays? Thanks, Mel.
Ed Dickson, their senior TE is their best pro prospect. He's my second highest rated TE from the senior class. Very athletic. He can really really assist the passing game, with the way he catches the football. That would be their No. 1 guy. Defensively, their best player Walter Thurmond is out for the year. Their CB.
Nick Aliotti is my coordinator of the year. If you asked who's done the best job with a defense this year, he's my defensive coordinator of the year.
That's a completely restructured defense from last year. They held USC to 3 points in the second half.
Better pro prospect Gerald McCoy or Colt McCoy?
Gerald. He's ranked third on the Big Board and Colt is ranked 19th on the Big Board. Gerald is right there with Ndamukong Suh. I thought Gerald would be a top 5 pick if he came out last year. He'll still be in the top 5 this year. He's been a major bright spot in a very trying year for Oklahoma.
Colt's coming off a very strong performance. He's in a zone, dialed in now. He's as confident as he's been this year. It seems he's primed to play his best football down the stretch and be in that late first, early second mix.
Mel: How do you rank Jahvid Best and are there any other draft worthy players from Cal?
Best is the 17th highest player on the Big Board, my No. 1 junior RB. On defense, Tyson Alualu, senior DE and Syd'quan Thompson, senior CB/KR.
Does Tebow play Fullback in the NFL? What kind of player do you think he will be and what team do you think fits well for him?
I question him as an NFL QB. I think he's an H-back and a very effective H-back. He doesn't have great speed and that's a negative at H-back. But he's a powerful kid. He has great football intangibles. He has great hands. I watched him before a game and it looked like he had great hands, like he's a natural pass catcher. To me, he's an H-back. As a QB, and the elongated delivery and the system he's coming out of, I don't think it translates. Some might think about him in the second round as a QB. I'd think about him in the third as an H-back.
People thought Joe Theismann wasn't going going to be an NFL QB. He was returning punts. And look what happened to him. He had an outstanding NFL career.
Mel, how did Russell Okung do in his matchup against Sergio Kindle? Is Okung an elite LT prospect worthy of a topp 5 pick?
Held his own. Kindle had a very good game. He's stepped up in the last several games. He's playing with passion, with a fiery attitude. Sam Acho was also matched up against Okung. Okung had a so-so start to the season. But he's an outstanding player. Very smart, very coachable. He'll be the first OT taken in the top 10. I thought Kindle's grade dropped a little bit in the early season, but has improved and will be in the late first round pick. Okung is 6th and Kindle is 23rd on the Big Board.
how many tackles should be taken in the first round this year?
Okung; Trent Williams is a possibility. From the senior class, Okung is the only definite. Bulaga, Anthony Davis and Anthony Costanzo are the three juniors. If you need a LT, this isn't the year to need one.
Williams played RT up until this year. He is playing LT to replace Phil Loadholt.
Will more players declare for this years NFL draft due to the uncertain future of the CBA?
I do. But still you have to be smart about it. Players can't be forced in before they're ready. If you aren't ready from a physical or technical standpoint, you need to go back. It would be easy for Jake Locker to say he was injured all last year, playing well this year, and should declare. I think he needs to go back and get another year with Steve Sarkisian. Another year would really help him. He's one I think should really go back. Jevon Snead is another one. He had a rough start to the season. Rob Gronkowski, the TE from Arizona, missed the whole year and I think he would be better served to go back.
I do expect a lot of juniors to come out. Right now 12 of the top 17 on my Big Board are underclassmen.
Can Javier Arenas play corner in the NFL? We know he can return punts in any league.
He's definitely a corner. He's my fourth highest rated senior CB. He's a football player. He's a tough, aggressive, instinctive football player. He supports the run, he's an effective blitz CB. His coverages skills are solid. He doesn't look good measurable wise, but he's a football player. He's an outstanding punt returner and that adds value. In the NFL, receivers are going to catch the ball, so you need CBs that can tackle. The rules favor the WRs right now. I don't care if you're Deion Sanders, you can't cover guys right now. They're calling ticky-tack fouls. You need to tackle and Javier can do that. He's at worst a third rounder. I think he's a second rounder. He won't get into the first round because of those measurables.
Where will Sam Bradford go in the draft?
He's going to stay at No. 5. I kind of made that decision a couple of weeks ago. He's not No. 1 because we have to see about his shoulder. Dr. James Andrews did the surgery and he said it went great and he will be back to normal. He was the No. 1 player on a lot of teams boards before the surgery. He was No. 1 on my board. I still think he's the first QB taken and goes in the top 10.
IF he comes back, will Blount do anything more than be a 2nd half, clock churning battering ram? How will this affect his draft status?
I wouldn't fool with the chemistry this team has. They have a kid who is a redshirt freshman and he's electrifying LaMichael James. He's been outstanding. They're getting great play out of him. Blount is probably a late round, undrafted player.
What do you think about Christian Ponder? Draft status, should he stay another year? NFL potential?
Good question. I felt bad this week, because it's hard to get him into the top 5 junior QBs: Bradford, Locker, Clausen, Snead, Case Keenum. I was thinking about moving Ponder to five this week, but Keenum threw for almost 600 yards this week. I could see someone putting Ponder at 4 and Snead at 5. Right now Ponder is 6 on my list. We'll have to watch Snead the rest of the way. Right now, you could argue that he's the fourth best junior QB. He could come out and be in the 2-3 round mix.
Will Jordan Shipley find a place in the NFL? Where do you seem him being picked?
He definitely will. I've compared him to Rickey Proehl. He had a very nice career in the NFL. A nice long career. Right now, Shipley's the third WR behind Gilyard and LaFell. After the catch, he takes it up the field quickly. He has a little Wes Welker in him. He gets away from the defender after the catch. You see that with Shipley. He gets off the line of scrimmage. He has some separation. That's big for a WR. He is a 3rd round pick, maybe 2nd, but I'll say 3rd conservatively.
Will the eye gouging incident affect Brandon Spikes' draft position? And what do you think of the length of his suspension?
No. He said he let his emotions get away from him in that situation. He's an outstanding football player. He has intensity, he's productive. He's apologized. He got suspended for the first half, some say it should have been the whole game. The main thin that determines his first round or second round projection will be his 40 time. I have him right now as the 24th best player. He's a guy that can emotionally fire that team up, like Ray Lewis. He gives you that emotional boost and confidence boost.
Who are the top d-ends coming out this year? Any Julius Peppers-type talents?
There are Peppers type talent in Carlos Dunlap. He's starting to pick it up. He's the 4th highest rated player on my Big Board. You have an up and comer, former junior college player, Jason Pierre-Paul, DE, USF; Everson Griffen, jr. DE, USC is at 14; Jerry Hughes, TCU, he's like a Terrell Suggs player, an OLB; Brandon Graham, Michigan; Greg Hardy from Miss.; Willie Young from NC State; Derrick Morgan, Georgia Tech; Allen Bailey, DE, Miami, he's had an outstanding year; Greg Romeus, Pitt; Jason Worilds, VT. It's a very deep and talented group of DEs and very talented and deep group at DTs. Dan Williams has been an underrated star at Tennesse at DT. He's 26th on my Big Board right now. If he plays well this week, he'll be on my Big Board next week. He's only behind Suh and Cody.
Mel - Which rookies have been the most impressive so far? I am thinking Sanchez, Percy, Murphy (pretty good considering the raiders are horrible), the kid with all the interceptions whose name escapes me at the moment, etc.
I'd agree. Certainly Michael Oher, Webb, Shonn Greene. Jarius Byrd, Bills; Johnny Knox, Bears; Al Afalava, Bears; Rey Maualauga, Bengals; David Buehler, Cowboys; Matthew Stafford, Lions; Brandon Pettigrew, Lions; Louis Delmas, Lions; Clay Matthews, Packers; TJ Lang; Brian Cushing, Houston; Austin Collie, Colts; Derek Cox, Jags; Phil Loadholt; Julian Edelman, Patriots; Louis Murphy, Raiders; Jeremy Maclin, Eagles; LeSean McCoy, Eagles; Mike Wallace, Steelers; Michael Crabtree, 49ers; James Laurinaitis, Rams; Sammie Stroughter, Bucs.
Hey Mel whats up ummm since i went to curtis with my boy Joe Mcknight just woundering were do you think he will go in the draft this year if he leaves
He's a very interesting guy. He's had some nicks along the way and some consistency issues. I think he's a super talented kid. I don't think he's shown the promise that he has. If he comes out, his workouts will determine where he goes. He's a first round caliber talent, who I don't think has consistently played up to his ability. I can understand if he comes out. That's a tough call. At USC, you share the workload too.
Mel, do you think the media party for USC will ever come to an end? They lose to an unranked team and then get absolutely destroyed by Oregon yet remain in the top 15... what gives?
I think this: my father used to always tell me when I would talk about teams that they're just a bunch of names. They're just a bunch of names, not the team you thought they'd be. They're an underachieving football team. I understand they had to replace a lot of key elements on defense. Taylor Mays is being utilized a little out of position. I don't think they're maximizing him in their defensive structure. Something is lacking. Every year they seem to lose to a team that they shouldn't. They lost to Stanford, at Oregon State last year, which cost them shots at the title game. Then they come back against Oregon State at home this year and they let them run up and down the field on them. USC lacks killer instinct. That was an embarrassing performance against Oregon, in my opinion. Oregon doesn't have the talent that USC does. USC scored 3 points in the second half. USC has to take a reality check. You don't win with names, with media hype, you win with performance. Their national title hopes are over. That should not have happened. You don't let Washington beat you. You can't let a 41-point underdog Stanford beat you like a couple of years ago.
USC was a favorite in both of the games that they lost. They barely held on to beat Notre Dame. They have to look in the mirror and realize you don't win with hype. Until they realize you have to match intensity, it seems like every year they'll have these stumbles.
Mel, who is the D-II or D-III prospect that will find his way to the first/second round this year?
There are several of them that I'm keeping an eye on for the draft. Check out Personnel Points on ESPN.com, I highlighted some small school guys there. CB from Indiana (Pa.) Akawasi Owusu'Ansah; OG Casey Bender, S. Dakota St.; WR Donald Jones, Youngstown St; OT Tony Washington, Abilene Christian; Will Ford, RB, South Carolina St.; Adrian Tracy, DE, William and Mary; Joique Bell, RB, Wayne St. (MI); Scott Ravanesi, P, S. Illinois; WR Pat Simonds, Colgate; James Williams, OT, Harvard; OT Vladimir Ducasse, UMass; Scott Sicko, TE, New Hampshire; James Mallory, RB, Central Connecticut State.
Excellent games in college this week. LSU at Alabama. Ohio State at Penn State. Oklahoma at Nebraska. It should be a fun week of evaluations and games. PSU only has one loss. OSU has the two losses. Oregon, trying to come off of that emotional win against a Stanford team.