Mel Kiper Jr. asks a lot of questions about college football prospects. But here's a question about Mel: Could his hair fit into a football helmet? Kiper, the longtime NFL draft analyst for ESPN, answered questions in a call last week about Matthew Stafford, Knowshon Moreno and prospects moving up and down his board.
Q: Any similarity with Matthew Stafford and Matt Ryan?
A: "There is no similarity with Ryan because Ryan played his senior year. If Matthew Stafford would have played his senior year, there would be no concerns. I think he would have lit it up. A.J. Green is a developing star as a wide receiver. He was a true freshman last year and he's ready to be one of the great receivers in college football. The offensive line, which was so young last year with freshmen and unproven players, is now a cohesive group. Granted, (Knowshon) Moreno left, but there's some quality backs in the program. Had he stayed another year, he would have been off the charts."
Q: Why is the opinion of Stafford all over the place?
A: "They have to determine if he's worthy of being the No. 1 pick in the draft. How NFL-ready is he? How much time do we have to spend with him? Do we want to commit all these dollars? They don't treat quarterbacks like they did back in the 1980s where you have three to four years to develop them. They want them to play right away. In Matthew Stafford's case, that's not realistic. In Mark Sanchez's case, it's not realistic."
Q: How should the Lions group their picks with No. 1 and No. 20?
A: "At 20 you could go defensive end. I don't think offensive tackle is going to fall that way, but they could take a Michael Oher, a left tackle out of Ole Miss. As far as Stafford going No. 1, I'm not making the choice. All I say is for the Detroit Lions, if you don't take Stafford, who do you take? And if you don't take Stafford and you take someone else, who's going to be your quarterback? You've got Daunte Culpepper and you've got Drew Stanton. Are you going to forget about quarterback this year? There's no guarantee that (Josh) Freeman is going to be there at 20. There's no other quarterback to think about until the fifth round. So for me, it's Stafford. And if you don't pick Stafford and he goes to Seattle and starts lighting it up ..."
Q: Who might be a good find in the middle rounds?
A: "D.J. Moore at Vanderbilt. People say, 'Well, he's not big.' But he's a good football player who played at a high level in the SEC for a bowl team. D.J. is a very underrated kid. You're going to find guys like that in the third round - guys who don't have great measurables but are good football players."
Q: Who are some players who have moved up or down on your board?
A: "Michael Crabtree having the injury pushed him down a little bit. A lot of people are now enamored with Percy Harvin. He had the ankle injury, but now everyone is seeing how explosive and versatile he is. I've also moved Robert Ayers at Tennessee up to No. 20."
Q: Can you talk about the running backs?
A: "Beanie Wells from Ohio State is plenty fast enough. You saw him run away from defensive backs. They couldn't catch him in the open field. They caught Moreno. Wells needs to work on his hands and his blocking. Moreno is a better blocker and a better receiver. But as far as a runner, it's hard to find somebody better than Wells. One of those three running backs - Wells, Moreno and Donald Brown - will be there for Arizona at No. 31. Moreno is more of a safe pick and he's got good character, so there's a chance he'll go in the middle of the first."