We’re seeing more and more Mel Kiper Jr. on ESPN, which means we’re in the heart of NFL Draft season.
While the draft itself isn’t for another few months (April 29th, in fact), this point on the sports calendar is such that the various morning shows have plenty of time to kill and only so many NBA All-Star snub debates to fill it with. Hence the annual increase in appearances for Kiper, ESPN’s longtime draft guru.
Kiper’s hit on Get Up this morning, though, was a bit out of character, and resulted in his name trending on Twitter. While discussing Ohio State quarterback Justin Fields, Kiper launched into a passionate rant against scouts who, in Kiper’s estimation, don’t understand how to do the job.
Don't come for Justin Fields in front of @MelKiperESPN ? pic.twitter.com/FNe0FnK3uv
— Get Up (@GetUpESPN) February 25, 2021
“I heard the same things about Josh Allen, I heard the same thing about Justin Herbert. It’s a scout’s job to project. So scouts are critiquing Fields about what they should be doing and they’re not doing. If they’ve got to see it, then they’re not a scout that I want. They’ve gotta scout with anticipation, they’ve gotta project what a player will be. They didn’t do it with Josh Allen, I heard the same criticism.”
From there, Kiper gets very animated, while also tossing Sam Darnold under the bus out of nowhere. Honestly, it was just refreshing to see this kind of emotion on the topic, especially in defense of a player. A lot of NFL Draft coverage can get uncomfortably comfortable talking about what players don’t do well, not to mention reducing people to measurables. Plus it was lively! It wasn’t manufactured shouting debate, it was Mel Kiper airing out grievances with how prospects get scouted and evaluated. Even if you disagree with him, it’s still the kind of thing his decades in the business gives him the right to discuss.
All in all, not exactly what we’re used to getting from this kind of segment on a show like Get Up, and that’s a good thing.