ESPN NFL Draft analyst Mel Kiper held a media conference call today for a solid 100 minutes. If you were following on Twitter, I tried to send out the the best tidbits. If not, here are some good talking points. If you'd like to listen, click here.
One of the main discussion points was trading up for Baylor quarterback Robert Griffin III. Late in the call, someone asked how much is too much to give up. Kiper used the Saints as an example saying they have numerous late-round players on offense but a great quarterback. He said if a team thinks it can build it's offense on late-round pick, they shouldn't hesitate to give up a lot for Griffin.
Kiper seems to think that the Redskins will offer the most to trade up for Griffin, and not the Browns. Kiper believes the missing link in Washington is a quarterback while the Browns have a lot more needs. He doesn't think the Browns would "go the extra mile" to trade up for Griffin while the Redskins have shown in the past they would. "I think Washington goes above and beyond the (trade) chart (to get RG3). It's going to be fun to watch. The team that benefits is St. Louis."
Multiple times throughout the call, Kiper was insisted that South Carolina's Stephon Gilmore is challenging Alabama's Dre Kirkpatrick as being the second cornerback drafted. Where does this place Janoris Jenkins of North Alabama? Kiper believes near the end of the first round, possibly to the New England Patriots. Kiper also thinks players like Dwight Bentley of UL-Lafayette and Trumaine Johnson of Montana could challenge Jenkins as being the fourth corner drafted.
The Eagles will have to trade up to draft Boston College middle linebacker Luke Kuechly, Kiper said. Kiper believes Kuechly won't be there at pick 15, and currently projects him to the Chiefs with the 11th pick.
On if the Detroit Lions don't take a round one cornerback, Kiper thought Nebaska's Lavonte David could be a good choice with the 22nd pick. He said the team would be rolling the dice on a player like Ohio State left tackle Mike Adams. Kiper also said the Lions may consider a running back in the draft because of injuries to Jahvid Best and Mikel Leshoure.
He also noted that the Browns could be a suitor for David if they keep the 22nd pick. Kiper said David has first-round ability and helped himself bulking up to 233 pounds.
He thinks Georgia Tech wide receiver Stephen Hill is a borderline first-round pick and think he'll be the fourth wide receiver draft. That would be after Justin Blackmon, Michael Floyd and Kendall Wright.
He said Floyd could be in play for the Carolina Panthers with the ninth overall pick. Kiper thinks that's too soon for either Kirkpatrick or Gilmore. He said defensive tackles Dontari Poe, Fletcher Cox and Michael Brockers may also be considered. Kiper wasn't as high on Penn State's Devon Still.
On Michigan State defensive tackle Jerel Worthy: For the last two years, he did a real good job. Not a sack artist, but he occupies, he stays on his feet, he locates the ball, and he’s been a guy that’s made some good things happen. He can shoot that gap. He’s not going to get you a lot of sacks, but as a run-stuffer, he’s very good. As an occupier, he’s very good.
When he was discussing quarterback play, Kiper talked a lot about red zone efficiency and success in the second half. Kiper pointed out Michigan State's Kirk Cousins and Arizona State's Brock Osweiler as players who struggle near the end zone.
Mentioned Michigan defensive tackle Mike Martin being possibly in the third round mix and useful in a rotation.
Shea McClellin of Boise State could be an outside linebacker candidate for the New England Patriots in the second round. "I think he could be a heck of a 3-4 outside linebacker. I think he would be a guy who would interest Belichick" Kiper also pointed out that the Patriots need a "true" wide receiver and spoke about Appalachian State's Brian Quick.
He thinks Arizona State's Vontaze Burfict will be a fourth- or fifth-round pick.
If the Miami Dolphins sign Peyton Manning, they should take Iowa's Riley Reiff and move him to right tackle opposite Jake Long.
He thinks Georgia's Cordy Glenn may be the best possible option for the Pittsburgh Steelers in the first round.
Kiper said Dontari Poe won't be Haloti Ngata, but he could go top 15. Said he doesn't play with a lot of intensity.
Kiper said there is a lot of mixed opinion on Alshon Jeffery. "Ultimately, he goes mid- to late second round. At worst, early third round."
Kiper said big concern with Peter Konz is durability. Said he's a late one, or early to mid 2nd. Could help at guard.
He noted that Arkansas wide receiver Greg Childs is gaining momentum following a strong pro day workout.