ESPN Insider: Ask Mel Kiper Jr.! 1-6-05
Mel Kiper: Hello! We have a lot of juniors to speculate about and much more to talk about! Let's go!
Jake (Chicago): Hey, Mel. You see any cornerbacks moving into the top 15 of this year's draft? Are there any junior defensive backs who'd carry this high of a grade if they decided to come out? Thanks.
Mel Kiper: We already have one .. Justin Miller from Clemson. Big play guy. A CB who intercepts passes and returns them for TDs. He has a chance to go the distance every time. Thomas Davis from Georgia could be in this draft. I think he will be a Derrick Brooks type guy. Adam Pacman Jones from WVU could be in the top 10-15 of the first round.
Justin (Lincoln, NE): Fabian Washington announced he'd skip his senior year witht he huskers and enter the draft. Where do you place him on the list of cornerbacks coming out?
Mel Kiper: Right now he is a first day guy. How high will depend on his workouts. Remember DeAngelo Evans whose 40 time in the workouts bumped him up. He's about 5'10, 180 .. we'll need to see about his jumping ability and other things.
Adam (Atlanta): Mel, I don't get it...Leinart looks like another Harrington, albeit a bit taller...
Mel Kiper: Well, Harrington went third and still has a chance to be a good QB. He has yet to have a full compliment of players around him. As far as Leinart, he has a lot of Tom Brady in him. He can throw on the run. If a play breaks down, he makes smart decisions. He doesn't have the pure skills Carson Palmer has but he keeps his team in good situations. I think he will be the No. 1 pick overall.
Tony (SLC): Alex Smith-First round or not
Mel Kiper: Definitely. Could be high first round. 6'3'' and change, 205-210 and had an incredible TD-INT ration. He scored 10 rushing TDs! He accounted for about 40 TDs this year. He is very accurate. He can run for significant yardage. He is a finesse thrower.. a Chad Pennington type. He is very young but has tremendous intelligence and is very accurate. He hasnt' been tested against top competition yet .. but I think he will be top 5 or 10.
Ryan (Pittsburgh): Mel, any chance Shawne Merriman falls to Pittsburgh at the end of the first round? I think he'd be a great fit in the 3-4.
Mel Kiper: Phenomenal fit. There are five teams using a 3-4 scheme and he would be unbelievable in any of them. He had a 41.5 inch vertical jump! He can run a 4.5 40 routinely. In fact, his vertical was the best ever by a DL in Maryland history. He had 17 tackles for loss, 9 sacks and forced 3 fumbles! He is a 4-3 DE or 3-4 OLB .. He is a Peter Boulware type guy. I think he is a mid first rounder.
marwan shousher (toledo): do you think jason avant will stay at michigan?
Mel Kiper: I don't know. He is a good football player, playing in the shadow of Braylond Edwards. He could move right to the forefront. I think because he wasn't able to finish teh season the way he wanted, he probably should go back.
Lafayette, Louisiana: What is your opinion on Ryan Moats? He is not a scat back and has outstanding vision - watch his game tapes!!!
Mel Kiper: No question. When you rush for as many yards as he did, you will get attention. He is tremendously productive. But RBs historically drop father than you indicate. You could probably get him early on Day 2.
Ken (Scottsdale, AZ): Hey Mel, what is Andrew Walter lacking in you're mind? If he goes in the second round, he could be a steal.
Mel Kiper: He needs to show more fire and more of a swagger. He also has to put more zip on his passes. He shows enough velocity when needed but he needs to make better decisins on when he zips it in there and when he finesses it. He has a seperated right passing shoulder and they hope he will be ready in the Spring.
Mike, DC: If the junior QB's come out this year, it seems there will be a ton of first day talent in the draft, but how many teams are really looking to spend a high draft pick on a quarterback? It seems most teams already have a starting quarterback, or have more important needs.
Mel Kiper: 49ers, Dolphins, Browns all looking at young QBs. Dallas could be. Green Bay possibly. Denver could look at a young QB.
Mel Kiper: We'll have a lot of 2nd-4th round QBs this year. Kyle Orton, Jason Frye, Dan Orlovsky, Adrew Walter, Ryan Fitzpatrick, Derrick Anderson .. all will go 2nd-5th.
Ryan (Richmond, VA): Mel, your 9th best prospect...Braylon Edwards. Redskins get 9th pick...could there be a better fit?
Mel Kiper: That would be a good fit .. esp. if he runs a good 40 time. Speed is very important to the Redskins in this draft. If he runs a good 40, he very well could be a Redskin. He will go top 10 overall.
Paul, Ohio: Will Mike Williams get drafted before Braylon Edwards?
Mel Kiper: I'd say probably no. Braylon will go first. Braylon had a good year but did drop some balls. But when you look at him overall, he did a heck of a job. There are lingering concerns about how fast Williams is right now. The workout for him in terms of speed will be huge. I think he goes 10-20 and Braylon goes in the top 10. The under the radar super blue chipper of the Jr. WRs has already declared .. Troy Williamson from South Carolina. He was a track star in H.S., incredible speed, he averaged 28 yards as a freshman, 99 yard TD as a sophomore, 19.4 yards per catch this year in that offense ... he can flat out fly. He was productive in a non passign offense. He could end up in the top 15 of the draft and nobody is talking about him.
Craig (San Fran): Is anyone interested in the #1 pick so the niners would trade down and get multiple picks? Is there a "franchise" type #1?
Mel Kiper: I think that is possible. Depending on how they feel about Ratay. Remember they have no coach or GM right now. That will deterimine a lot. A new coach and GM has no ties to Rattay. That is important to remember. If they don't think he is the guy, San Fran doesn't look at an offer and take Leinart. They could possibly trade down and get Rodgers or Alex Smith. They are in a great spot of course.
Andrew (Woodbridge VA): I heard Ahmad Brooks is eligible for the draft despite being a sophomore. Will he go into the draft or stay another year?
Mel Kiper: I don't know if he will. He went a year to Hargrave Military Academy so he is eligible. I think he's the best LB playing right now. Better than Derrick Johnson who I really like. Channing Crowder will also be in this draft. He will need some good workouts though. If Ahmad comes out, he is a potential top 10-15 pick if he comes out. Heath Miller, Darryl Blackstock and D-Brickashaw Ferguson are also ones to keep an eye on.
Josh (Devils Lake): Do you think its smart Alex Smith is entering the NFL Draft?
Mel Kiper: I do. His coach is moving on. What else can he accomplish at Utah? The schedule won't change. He can't prove much more. He had an unbeleivable year. He has what the NFL is looking for. He will be a top 10 pick so why risk it.
Brian (Weston, FL): As the draft gets closer, do you see more teams shying away from picking Maurice Clarrett at all?
Mel Kiper: He is at best a late round or undrafted free agent. There are just too many other good RBs in this draft.
Jake ( St. Jo, MO): A recent report in the LA Times says that the 49ers are wanting to make Pete Carroll their head coach. If he was to take the job would Leinart declare and be taken #1?
Mel Kiper: I would think it would be a great match. It would be a natural fit. Pete has all that NFL experience behind him. But would he want to leave a phenomenal situation to go to the worst team in the NFL? They have a lot of rebuilding in front of them. He can be in the mix for a national chapionship every year at USC.
Luke (Chicago): Should the Bears spend their entire draft on the offensive side of the ball? It sounds ridiculous, but the Bears' offense was ridiculously bad this year.
Mel Kiper: Their offense was completely inept. They just could not move the ball and score any points. They need playmakers, speed, etc. They need help at receiver, OL, etc. The def. has a chance to be outstanding. But yes, they need to go heavy offense.
Floyd Reese (#6th Pick): If I trade down will Antrel Rolle still be there?
Mel Kiper: Hi Floyd! Why aren't you busy doing other things?! I think his recovery speed, he will have to prove he has it. I think conservately he is a mid first round guy.
Brandon Devils Lake: Why dont Nebraska QB's make it in the NFL?
Mel Kiper: You have to have the passing skills to make it. Tommy Frazier was a running threat. Not a pure passer. Turner Gill same thing. Eric Crouch was not a very good passer at all. They just don't have guys with the passing skills.
Mel Kiper: Bill Callahan is going to try and change that though. He will want a guy that can beat you with his arm.
Anthony (Bethesda, MD): If D'Qwell Jackson were to come out, where would he project?
Mel Kiper: He really had a great year .. 120 tackles, 4 tackles, etc. .. but he doesn't have the physically imposing body that the NFL looks for. He could be an early round pick but his size will work against him.
Thanks for the questions! Sorry I couldn't stay longer .. we'll keep doing this every week heading up to the draft .. we'll talk NFL playoffs next week as well .. I look forward to talking to you all again! Take care!