Five (more) minutes with ... Mel Kiper Jr.

Five (more) minutes with ... Mel Kiper Jr.

April 8th, 2009 by Darren Epps in Sports

Five minutes? We could go an hour and 55 minutes with ESPN draft guru Mel Kiper Jr. I'm not even kidding. That's how long Kiper's call lasted the other day. In our second and final installment, Kiper discussed Nick Saban's efforts to keep Andre Smith's NFL draft stock high, compared Percy Harvin to Reggie Bush and explained why Michael Oher isn't a top-10 pick.

Q. So what happens now with Andre Smith after all that happened the last couple of months?

A. "I don't think it's much of an issue anymore. Nick Saban has gone to bat for this kid, and that's helped Andre immensely and helped him make up for the mismanagement of this process. Getting suspended for Alabama's bowl game, leaving the combine early, those things are reasons why Andre might be there at pick No. 13. Nick Saban really helped this kid. And by doing that, he helped put to rest some of those doubts those teams had and helped him not drop past No. 13."

Q. You're high on D.J. Moore out of Vanderbilt. But you have him as a third-round pick?

A. "He played like a late-first-round pick. But during his workouts he did not show the kind of speed you want. When you run like he did (4.55 in the 40) there's going to be a red flag, especially when you're not real big (Moore is 5-foot-9). But the guy made plays his entire career. He has great awareness. If there's a fumble, he'll scoop it up. He'll go get the ball in the air and not drop an interception. You worry about his size/speed ratio. But I think he's going to be a good football player for somebody."

Q. Who do you like in that 18-25 range of picks?

A. "If Percy Harvin is available at No. 18, the Bears have to take him. They like Florida players there. Harvin is a special player. If he's there at No. 18, I'm taking Harvin over Darrius Heyward-Bey. Harvin is like Devin Hester, and he isn't. Harvin is more like Reggie Bush. Harvin can be your receiver, slot guy, return man and running back in some cases. If Harvin doesn't play in the national championship game, Oklahoma wins. He shouldn't be there at No. 18. Reggie Bush went No. 2, and there's not much separating Bush from Harvin."

Q. If Michael Oher out of Ole Miss has all these tools, why isn't he a top-10 pick?

A. "He'll battle. He's very competitive. He's had some outstanding games. But there were some lapses. There was some inconsistency. He went up against some guys in college that he should have manhandled, and he didn't always do that. In the NFL, you can't play left tackle and be inconsistent. That's why Oher isn't in the top 10. He might be there for the Eagles at No. 21. He's got a lot of skill, but he's inconsistent. If he wasn't, he'd be a top-10 pick."

Q. Who are some of the better fullbacks?

A. "LSU's Quinn Johnson, certainly. He might be the No. 1 fullback in this draft. Brannan Southerland out of Georgia is another kid who might get fourth- or fifth-round consideration."