Commentary

Kiper's Mel Bag: Doubting Thomas

Earl Thomas' drop, Bradford to the Broncos, Graham for the Giants, and more

Updated: February 25, 2010, 3:13 PM ET
By Mel Kiper Jr. | ESPN Insider
Earl ThomasTim Heitman/US PresswireThomas is one of the most electrifying players in the draft, but questions about his size remain.

You saw my first mailbag after my first mock, and then gilled me further a couple weeks ago. On Thursday, I'm getting into some pretty nuanced questions on guys who are tough to project -- like Earl Thomas -- and a number of topics such as whether a team like the Denver Broncos or New York Giants would pick a player at a certain position if given the option. Read up, comment and send more questions, from here, and we'll do it again.

On to the questions ...

Q: How can you drop Earl Thomas out of the first round on your last mock? You're completely off the mark on this one, Mel.

-- Chris B. (Austin, Tex.)

A: For one, I've always liked Earl Thomas and have been talking about him for a while. I've had him on my Big Board, and have added him to the Board once more. But this is a big week for Thomas, and I'm not necessarily talking about what he does in Indy, but what happens when he's getting those measurements done. It's remarkable how much you think you know about a guy -- and I talk to so many people and get piles of opinions and reports -- and there's still no exact consensus on a guy's size. Thomas has the kind of size for which people wonder if he's even a legit 5-10 -- he could be a little shorter -- or anything more than 195 pounds. Bottom line, that concerns scouts, and the mock is there to reflect where the market on a guy meets the needs of teams.

With Thomas' size, durability is a concern. In the NFL, you need a guy who can be physical, and at less than 200 pounds, doing things like handling big receivers and supporting the run can become question marks. His strengths? He's the complete package in terms of performance, particularly in coverage. He's like a cornerback: He reads eyes well, has great ball skills and gets great breaks on the ball. He's also at his best in big games. If he was naturally bigger, you're talking about a potential top-10 pick, but it's a fine line. I think he can land in the top 25, but I know other scouts and team personnel people who could see him fall safely into the second round, and you can't ignore that. I've also heard people say, "Well, Eric Berry isn't much bigger." But Eric Berry IS bigger, has shown he's comfortable in a physical game and has played longer with more reps. His physicality in regard to his size is far less a question, at least at this stage. And yes, Indy can change things.


Q: Hey Mel, if he's around why would the Broncos not try to draft Sam Bradford? Nothing against Kyle Orton, but he's not the QB of the future for Denver in my opinion.

-- Milt Herrington (Roswell, N.M.)

A: I don't think it's a terrible idea for Denver to pull the trigger on Sam Bradford, but it's a question of whether he'll be there.


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Mel Kiper Jr.

Football analyst

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