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December 12, 2:00 PM ET
Chat with Mel Kiper

Buzzmaster
  (2:01 PM)

We've got Mel!

Ed (Queens Village)

Which Heisman Finalist has highest draft ceiling come May?

Mel Kiper
  (2:03 PM)

The guy who has the highest ceiling is Winston, but he's not eligible. Out of the eligible guys, it's Manziel. He's No. 13 right now. If Winston's in the draft, he'd be No. 1 by miles.

Tom (Jax, FL)

If you were a GM would you honestly feel comfortable taking Manziel to be the "face" of your franchise. He's off the field shinanigans and attitude towards everything seems immature at best.

Mel Kiper
  (2:04 PM)

I think he's grown up a lot this year. He's matured a lot. I like the way he's handled himself. All of the comments he's said today were very mature. He's going to focus on the bowl game, and then he'll sit down with his coach and the NFL advisory board. Houston, Minnesota, Jacksonville, Cleveland all drafting in the top 10 that need QBs. He could be the first QB taken. Bridgewater's stock has dropped of late.

Israel (NJ)

Where would Bryce Petty gone in the draft, decided he were to leave Baylor?

Mel Kiper
  (2:04 PM)

Second round, I believe. He only had the one year body of work. You need more of a sample size. There are too many possibilities this year. Maybe late first, but probably second round.

a.j. (las vegas)

It seems like the QB market in the upcoming draft is thinning out. How many now get a high first round grade?

Mel Kiper
  (2:06 PM)

First of all, Mariota going back, Petty, they needed an extra year. They needed to go back. Unfortunately, the draft with the senior QBs, two are coming off of knee injuries with Mettenberger and Murray. That clouds their draft status. Right now, you're looking at probably four going in the first round.

Davis (Ft. Myers)

First CB off the board in the 2014 NFL draft is??

Mel Kiper
  (2:07 PM)

It would probably be Ifo Ekpre-Olomu, Oregon or Justin Gilbert, Oklahoma State. Making a late push is Darqueze Dennard from Michigan State.

Tim (Cleveland)

Do you feel as though the Browns will be drafting a quarterback with one of their first round draft picks or do you see them letting Hoyer fight for the starting job with a veteran that they may bring in?

Mel Kiper
  (2:08 PM)

It depends who they really like. You have to assess the QBs, figure out the range they'll be taken and go forward accordingly. I think you have to draft a QB, but you have to figure out who you want. If you want Johnny Manziel, you have to take him with your first pick. If you want someone else, maybe an AJ McCarron, you can wait until the second round.

Bert (St. Paul, MN)

How do you think that Andre Williams, Tre Mason, and Charles Sims may fare in the NFL.

Mel Kiper
  (2:10 PM)

They'll all have opportunities. Sims is my second highest rated RB. Mason is my 8th highest rated underclassman. Williams is the fourth highest senior RB. The senior RB class isn't as strong as the underclassman class. There is a strong underclassman group.

Mel Kiper
  (2:11 PM)

The top senior RB is Carlos Hyde, OSU. The top underclassman is Ka'Deem Carey, Arizona.

John (Wisc)

Where do you rank Keith Price?

Mel Kiper
  (2:11 PM)

As a late rounder.

Frank (Minneapolis) [via mobile]

Has Xavier Rhodes separated himself from this years rookie corners even though he hasn't recorded an interception yet?

Mel Kiper
  (2:13 PM)

No. There are better CBs than him in the rookie class this year. Marcus Cooper, he struggled of late. He started strong, but his grade has dropped. Then Nickell Robey, Buffalo. Then Desmond Trufant is in there. Then Rhodes. Then Logan Ryan. Then Kayvon Webster.

Mel Kiper
  (2:13 PM)

Dwayne Gratz from Jacksonville is next.

Josh (New England)

Which draft-eligible RBs could be NFL starters next season?

Mel Kiper
  (2:15 PM)

All RBs that you draft should come in and start right away. It's by far the easiest position to transition. Look no further than this year with Giovanni Bernard, Bengals; Eddie Lacy, Packers; Zac Stacey, Rams; Andre Ellington, Cardinals; Le'Veon Bell, Steelers. The highest rated RBs this year are: Carlos Hyde; Ka'Deem Carey; Melvin Gordon III; Bishop Sankey; DeAnthony Thomas; Jeremy Hill; Lache Seastrunk; Charles Sims; Marion Grice; Ameer Abdullah.

Mel Kiper
  (2:16 PM)

Also Tre Mason; Jeremy Langford.

Mel Kiper
  (2:16 PM)

The sleeper at RB is Jerick McKinnon, Georgia Southern.

Davis (NH)

Anybody in I-AA we should be looking for?

Mel Kiper
  (2:24 PM)

McKinnon, Georgia Southern; Jimmy Garoppolo, Eastern Illinois; Jeff Janis, Saginaw Valley State; Joe Don Duncan, Dixie State; Kendall James, Maine; Pierre Desir, Lindenwood; Matt Hazel, Coastal Carolina; Jamie Meder, Ashland; Dakota Dozier, Thurman; Kenny Washington, Appalachain State; Larry Webster, Bloomsberg; Zach Kerr, Delaware; Todd Washington, Southeastern Louisiana.

Dyrol (New York) [via mobile]

As I sit in the NFL offices awaiting the commissioner, I would love your thoughts on how we can improve the consistency of officiating in the NFL. Seems I missed a few calls last weekend...

Mel Kiper
  (2:26 PM)

Can you imagine if these were the replacement officials? It would be the talk of every sports show. The Ravens-Vikings game, there were two obvious calls. The no fumble by Toby Gerhart. There was a major PI call in the New England game that allowed them to win that game. There have been a number of calls. Mike Tomlin, when he was on the field, no flag was thrown by the officials. If these were calls by the replacement officials, it would be the talk on every NFL show. It would be a storm of controversy right now.

Johnny (GA)

now that the BCS is set...what do you think of the title matchup?

Mel Kiper
  (2:29 PM)

Those are the teams that deserved to be there. FSU deserved to be there. They're favored. They have been the best team all year. Auburn, to go from a 3-win team last year, with their only wins were against Louisiana-Monroe, who was 8-5 last year, in OT, New Mexico State, who was 1-11 last year, and Alabama A-M. All three of those games were at home. They didn't win a road game. That's why Gus Malzahn has done a great job. They deserve to be there. It should be a great matchup. We'll see if Auburn's defense gives up 50 points or not. That defense is not very good. There will have to be over 100 points scored in this game for Auburn to win.

John (Austin, TX)

Mel, Can Ameer Abdullah be an every down back at his size, or is he more of a situational guy?

Mel Kiper
  (2:30 PM)

The thing with him is how strong he is. That's the one thing about him that will give him an opportunity to have a solid career in the NFL. He's a solidly built kid. Very strong. One of the hardest workers on the team. Good hands. He has shown the ability to run between the tackles. He's a very good football player.

Ryan (St Petersburg)

If Clowney is already gone, who do you see the Falcons drafting with their top 7 pick? Or will they trade down for more picks?

Mel Kiper
  (2:32 PM)

Jake Matthews would also have to be in the discussion. You'd have to think about both of those kids. Stephon Tuitt, Notre Dame. Maybe a Greg Robinson, Auburn. I don't see another DE that really fits their scheme that would be a top 10 pick.

Jean-Claude (VT)

Should the 49ers use a second round pick on Zach Mettenberger and red shirt him like they did with Tank Carradine and Marcus Lattimore?

Mel Kiper
  (2:33 PM)

It depends on when he'll be medically cleared to go at full strength. This late in the year, you'd think he'd have a hard time being ready to go early next season. You have to think that you're not going to get a lot of production as a rookie. He's probably more of a second or third rounder. Aaron Murry will get drafted later. Those knee injuries will cloud their draft position.

Tim (Manhattan)

How does Jeremy Hill compare to former Alabama RBs Trent Richardson and Eddie Lacy?

Mel Kiper
  (2:35 PM)

In terms of being a top back in the SEC, he is just that. He is not a dazzling runner, he just moves the chains. He'll surprise you with his quickness. He has a burst to the outside. He'll catch the ball out of the backfield. Good football player. There are off the field concerns that push him down just a bit. But on pure talent, he's a second round back.

Oliver Canning (Boston)

Mel, who will win the Heisman trophy?

Mel Kiper
  (2:35 PM)

Winston by miles and miles and miles. It's not even close. No one else is even in the discussion as far as winning it.

Sean (Colorado)

Mel, love your work!! As for Abbrederis, what type of player do you see him becoming in the NFL? Great route runner, solid hands, shifty speed but what's the upside? Nate Burleson? Jacoby Jones? And where do you see him drafted? Thanks!!

Mel Kiper
  (2:35 PM)

He could be Jordy Nelson. That's what he reminds me of.

Nick (Texas) [via mobile]

Should the texans pick teddy bridgewater #1

Mel Kiper
  (2:37 PM)

Right now, Manziel could be the first QB taken. Derek Carr from Fresno State. Brett Hundley. Blake Bortles. Teddy Bridgewater's stock has dropped. McCarron is more of a second round pick. I think you'll have 3 or 4 first round QBs.

John (Austin, TX)

Mel, If Spencer Long from Nebraska had not hurt his knee, where would you have graded him? Thanks

Mel Kiper
  (2:38 PM)

He was a DE when he came to Nebraska. A 240 pound walk-on DE. He developed into a heckuva player. It's a shame he had the injury. He really made himself into a good player. Up until this year, he had proven his durability. Hard working. Strong. Physical. A throwback OL to the old Nebraska days. Prior to the injury, he looked like a 4-5 round pick.

Squall (Balamb Garden)

Would you rather have Nick Foles next year than any QB from this upcoming draft class?

Mel Kiper
  (2:40 PM)

I'll take Nick Foles, from what I've seen so far. He says all of the right things. He shows composure on the field. He shows professionalism on the field. He makes all the throws. Earlier in the year when they were 1-3, I don't think anybody would have thought they'd be where they are right now. At one point in time, they were 3-5 also.

Mel Kiper
  (2:40 PM)

Now they're 8-5, winning five straight. They've benefitted from the schedule. That's helped them.

Derrin (Plano, TX)

Which OU offensive lineman will be drafted the highest?

Mel Kiper
  (2:42 PM)

Gabe Ikard, senior center. And that would be in the later rounds. We don't know which underclassmen will come out yet.

Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]

From your experience, the longer it takes a player to announce his intentions, does it favor one line of thinking or another?

Mel Kiper
  (2:44 PM)

I've seen it both ways. Guys who have made up their minds right now, they can still change their minds. You have until January to decide. We've had several say they're coming back: Mariota, Petty, Brandon Sherff. Others have already also announced their intentions to go pro. The ones that are waiting, they're waiting to listen to the advisory board and their coaches and families. If I'm a player, I'm always waiting. Unless I'm staying, I don't make any announcment until after the bowl game. You don't want to take any attention away from the team and winning that game.

Craig (Braintree, MA)

Any Gophers get drafted besides Hageman this year?

Mel Kiper
  (2:45 PM)

Derrick Engel, WR; Brock Vereen, S.

Nick (Topeka)

Mel, How is it that Lavonte David has not had more pub for the way he plays? The guy has got to be the best or one of the top 2 4-3 outside lbs in the nfl

Mel Kiper
  (2:46 PM)

Yeah. I loved him coming out. He was a steal for the Bucs when they got him. You see a lot of Ryan Shazier from OSU in that same mold. He's a similar player. I said if David didn't go in the first round, something was wrong and he was a big steal in the second.

Craig (Braintree, MA)

Which conference wins the most BCS games?

Mel Kiper
  (2:49 PM)

The BCS matchup I really like is the Cotton Bowl with Oklahoma State and Missouri. It's a pick 'em game. There are a lot of good matchups. That is really intriguing. That's the game I look forward to the most. Non-BCS games, USC and Fresno State should be a good one. The Hawaii Bowl on Christmas Eve. Utah State-Northern Illinois, that oustanding Utah State defense against Jordan Lynch. Boston College-Arizona with the two RBs in Williams and Carey. Virginia Tech-UCLA.

Mel Kiper
  (2:49 PM)

MSU-Stanford in the Rose Bowl. I'm looking forward to that.

Jeff (Tampa, FL)

Austin Seferian-Jenkins entered the season as the consensus top TE in the league. What have you seen from Eric Ebron this year to move him ahead of the UW TE on your Big Board?

Mel Kiper
  (2:50 PM)

He's a very tremendously athletic, fast, agile receiver. You can flex him out wide. He became more consistent catching the football. He had some phenomenal games. He had some highlight film catches. In the NFL, he'll create immediate mismatches with his size and speed.

Tony Danza (Bethune Douglas)

Kiper, what do you think of Mike Evans to steelers in the 1st round? Big possession guy with great hands.

Mel Kiper
  (2:51 PM)

He's had a great year with Manziel. The key for him will be how fast is he? Can he show explosiveness. Remember Alshon Jeffery, he looked like a first round pick coming out of South Carolina and he was a second round pick. Kelvin Benjamin is another WR in the same mold. He has improved his stock immeasurably.

Lafferty, Daniels (White Deer)

Kiper, does Kiko Alonso have the rookie of year all wrapped up? He's a phenomenal specimen.

Mel Kiper
  (2:53 PM)

I think he's the best overall rookie, but there is a close second with Sheldon Richardson with the Jets. One of them gets my vote. Bernard is in there. Vaccaro. But it's really between Alonso and Richardson. I do a NFL Rookie Big Board on ESPN.com and Alonso is 1 and Richardson is 2, but it's splitting hairs.

Aaron (Leesburg, VA)

Where do you project UNC's James Hurst being selected?

Mel Kiper
  (2:54 PM)

He's a solid player. He's a fundamentally and technically sound players. He won't wow people over athletically, but he's a gamer. He understands how to maintain his frame between the DE and the QB. He rarely allows sacks. Very consistent. 4-year starter. Reliable. Steady. Experienced.

Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)

Where does Aaron Donald go, and who does he compare to in the pros?

Mel Kiper
  (2:55 PM)

He had a phenomenal year. His production was unbelievable. He has a chance to be a second round draft choice. They play Bowling Green on Dec. 26 in their bowl game. Donald is no worse than a second round pick. He has incredible quickness.

Mel Kiper
  (2:55 PM)

He's my fourth highest rated DT overall right now.

Mike P (Greater KC Metro)

Is sitting RGIII for the last 3 games the right decision or a way for Shanahan to get at Snyder and the DC media for his all to near exit from DC

Mel Kiper
  (2:57 PM)

He should have sat RGIII the first four games of the season before hitting the bye week. I don't think he should have played until the fifth or sixth game. That would have been a great chance to get him 100 percent healthy and ready. Now, you're sitting him because you're 3-10 and you don't want to get him injured. That's why you drafted Kirk Cousins, to start some games and get you to the point where RGIII is healthy. He proved he could play. Why they managed this thing the way they did is a mystery to me. That's haunted them all season. It was completely mismanaged.

Mel Kiper
  (2:59 PM)

We have an interesting game tonight with the Broncos and Chargers in the NFL. The Army-Navy game this weekend and then some great NFL games too. We had some great snow games last week. We had the all-time record for points scored and TDs scored. We have some elimination games this week. Teams battling for homefield, those last playoff spots. This is what you're built for. We're only 9 days away from the shortest day of the year, the first day of the winter. And we're only 13 days away from Christmas!