15 NFL Players That Proved Mel Kiper Wrong

I honestly think Mel Kiper Jr. is the reincarnation of Dracula. Let's break it down: ridiculous Widow's Peak and haircut,  only seen a few times a year, and instead of sucking blood, he sucks at predicting the NFL Draft. Certainly, over the years, Kiper has had his fair share of success.  I mean, you can't fault the guy for being the father of the draft analysis industry, but come on!  There have been extensive studies on his accuracy and even some that show it's better just to guess than to go with his advice.

Some of the players  Kiper predicted to be stars who were: Ryan Leaf, Ricky Stanzi, JaMarcus Russell, and Mike Williams.  By far his most overrated player was (or is) Jimmy Clausen.  He even said in 2010...

Kiper: “If Jimmy Clausen is not a successful quarterback in the NFL, I’m done. That’s it. I’m out.”

McShay: “What is your time frame, Mel? When do we make that assessment?”

Kiper: “I want eight years.”

I think all football fans are looking forward to this day in 2018.

Anyway, today, we are not focused on players that Kiper absurdly overrated, but on the players that proved him wrong. The Pro-Bowlers that he said would be duds. The HOFers that Kiper predicted wouldn't amount to anything in the league. So throw out your "Big Board" and gear up for the Top 15 NFL players that proved Mel Kiper wrong!

15 Ray Rice

AP Photo/Patrick Semansky

Let's be clear. Before his 2014 domestic violent, Rice was a top-tier back in the NFL. He was able to slice through defenses, stop on a dime, and occasionally truck a safety.  In his prime, only two other backs, Chris Johnson and Adrian Peterson, had run for more yards than Rice.

Mel Kiper thought that the "undersized" running back from Rutgers didn't have a shot in the league. Rice was drafted 55th overall in the 2008 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens, but proved to be a first-round talent during his short stint in the NFL. Kiper and his ageless hairstyle graded the Raven's draft that year a B, but grabbing both Flacco and Rice in the same draft, he should have graded them higher.

14 Anquan Boldin

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Even though the ESPN "Draft Guru" has praised Boldin the past few years, that wasn't always the case.  During the 2003 NFL Drfat, Boldin went 53rd overall to the Arizona Cardinals. Kiper thought Boldin would contribute, but not to the magnitude he did. He even gave the Cardinals an overall draft grade of C. Now, Kiper uses Boldin as a comparison for potential top-tier wide outs.

Boldin, over the course of his career, defied odds and had several outstanding seasons. He was a three-time Pro-Bowler and played a major role in the Raven's XLVII Championship. In 2017, the former Florida State Seminole retired as a member of the Buffalo Bills, leaving his 1,000+ reception career behind. Now retired, we wonder if he laughs at the doubters like Kiper.

13 Clay Matthews

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Again, Kiper never really knocked Clay Matthews, but never gave him the full credit he deserved. The Pro-Bowl linebacker was undersized and his father, who was the defensive coordinator at his high school, didn't even start him until his Junior year!  Matthews received no FBS offers and decided to walk-on at USC, where he continued weight training and gaining mass. Eventually, Matthews made the team, but only started in 10 games in his Senior season. The Packers traded both their second and third round picks in 2009 to move up and grab the OLB, a move in which many analysts, including Kiper, viewed as bad due to Clay's limited playing experience. Clearly, the Packers made the right decision, and Matthews has been a defensive force in the frozen tundra for almost a decade.

12 Jeff Lageman

via marketplace.beckett.com

Back in 1989, the Jets needed some help on the defensive side of the ball. So like any organization would do, they drafted the versatile (yet undersized) OLB/DE, Jeff Lageman. Boy, was Kiper not pleased. Now, he never said that Lageman would suck, but clearly thought the ex-Virginia Cavalier should have been taken much later in the draft. Kiper went on to state that "It's obvious to me the Jets don't know what a draft's all about."

Well Mel, your level of arrogance is only second to the amount of hair care products you use. Lageman was not a HOFer, but made the All-Pro team in 1991, and led the defenses of both New York and Jacksonville in his career. The so-called "expert" was made to look like a naive novice.

11 DeSean Jackson

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Round 2, 49th overall. That is where DeSean Jackson went in the 2008 NFL Draft to the Eagles. Kiper was never big on the guy, mostly due to his size, but in today's NFL, it's clear that Jackson is a star. On his 2008 "Big Board," Kiper had Limas Sweed, Malcolm Kelly, and even Mario Manningham originally ranked higher than Jackson. Jackson made the top 25 on Mel's board right before the draft, but was never on his watch throughout the 2007 NCAA season.

According to Kiper in 2014, if he were to re-draft the 2008 NFL Draft, DeSean would have went sixth overall to the New York Jets. That would have been an interesting change, but he would not have shined as much in New York, even if his attitude would have.

10 Jason Witten

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The problem Kiper had with future HOF TE was that he had not seen enough of him in college. At the University of Tennessee, Witten only played tight end in 20 games, and was not considered an elite receiver, or even an elite blocker. A lot of teams (even Kiper at times) had first round grades on Witten based on his potential, yet he fell to the third round in 2003, where the Cowboys snagged him. Other tight ends taken before Witten were Dallas Clark, Bennie Joppru, and L.J. Smith.

Clearly, Dallas' future all-time receptions leader was the right selection. Mel Kiper was not 100% wrong, but Witten clearly exceeded all of the analysts' expectations with his longevity, toughness, and ability to dominate the middle of the field.

9 Matt Hasselbeck

Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports

A waste of a pick. That is what Mel Kiper Jr. called the Packers' sixth round draft pick in 1998, Matt Hasselbeck. Clearly, Hasselbeck did not do much in Green Bay as Brett Favre barely ever missed a snap, but the three-time Pro-Bowler followed his coach to Seattle in 2001, hoping for an opportunity to be a starter. In his early years as a Seahawk, Hasselbeck battled for playing time with the incumbent, Trent Dilfer, but after a strong finish to the 2002 season, was able to snag the starting job. The ex-BC QB helped bring the Seahawks to dominance in the mid-2000s, and is known as a great "game manager." He continued on with his career in Tennessee and Indianapolis, retiring in 2015. Boy Kiper, you sure were wrong with this guy.

8 Chris Johnson

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Another 2008 NFL Draft misprediction, Kiper did not have Johnson in his Top 25 draft board.  The heart of East Carolina University recorded the best 40-yard dash (at the time), clocking in at 4.24 seconds. He was, and still is, insanely fast. The Titans selected Johnson with the 24th overall pick, and he was one of the most productive backs of the last decade. He holds the record for most yards from scrimmage, with 2,509 yards, and had some electrifying runs early on in his career.

In the 2017 offseason, Johnson was cut by the Cardinals, but was re-signed when their star running back, David Johnson, was placed on the IR with a wrist injury after Week 1. Hopefully, CJ can keep proving Kiper wrong for another season.

7 Chris Spielman

via elevenwarriors.com

The Ohio State Buckeye standout linebacker, Chris Spielman, was only a "decent-to-good" player according to Kiper. The draft expert thought he was going to go in the fourth or fifth round and didn't trust what he saw out of Spielman on tape. Well, Spielman was drafted in the second round of the 1988 draft by the Detroit Lions, and went on to make four Pro-Bowls.  Is that "decent-to-good" enough for you Mel?

Kiper did say in regards to Spielman years later, "Had a great NFL career. Chris always tells the story: When he woke up at 3 in the morning, he'd look at a picture of me he put on the wall and would do 300 sit-ups, 300 push-ups. It motivated him to say, 'This moron, this idiot, said I couldn't get it done."

6 Aaron Rodgers

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Kiper graded the 2005 Packers draft a "C." What?!  How could someone that is supposed to know this stuff grade a team that poorly, that got a steal in Aaron Rodgers? When scouting the Cal QB, Kiper said " He has above average arm strength, but he can be a bit mechanical in his throws. To speed up his release, head coach Jeff Tedford had Rodgers hold the ball up at his shoulder, but that made his movements too mechanical. I'd like to see him be more natural and fluid in his delivery, while still maintaining that quick release."

What a joke this guy is. Rodgers' arm strength is incredible (several Hail Mary plays), and to mention Kyle Boller in the same statement; that is just insulting. Step your game up Mel, because Rodgers clearly proved you wrong.

5 Wes Welker

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“Wes Welker is not worth a second round pick. I don’t care how much you like his work ethic… he has done nothing to show a value that high.”  

Clearly, this is one analysis that is not part of the draft. But, Come on Kiper! You, of all people, should know size doesn't mean everything.  Of course, Welker has a crazy work ethic, he made it to the NFL!  In 2007,  the Pats decided Welker was worth a second and seventh-round pick for the slot specialist.  Kiper vehemently criticized New England.  And like most critics of New England, Brady, Belichick, made Kiper put his foot in his overly talkative mouth.  Welker went on to five Pro-Bowls and made first- or second-team All-Pro in four of his seasons with New England.  How about them apples?!

4 2011 Seattle Draft Class

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Originally, Kiper gave the Seahawks 2011 Draft a grade of "D+", but soon adjusted it to a "B"  after just one season. Wouldn't that be great? You mess up at your job and a year later you can just say, "Oh hey, I was wrong, but it's okay, I'll just change what a wrote earlier and it's no big deal." Most people would have been fired by now. But not good ol' Kiper. Sherman and Wright clearly proved the analyst a moron.

A snippet from Kiper's comments about the Seahawks "re-grade":

"A D+ draft in terms of value got a lot better, although if Carpenter and Moffitt don't become a solid right side, the Hawks have nothing to show for the early rounds. And the quarterback question is perhaps even bigger now because there's enough talent elsewhere to compete."

3 2012 Seattle Draft Class

I think this Instagram post says it all!  But it's not 100% factual. While some experts gave the Seahawks an "F," Kiper gave them a solid "C-." Who is more wrong? The weather man or Mel Kiper! This is your job, and clearly you were way off on this one. Russell Wilson, Bruce Irvin, Bobby Wagner, Jeremy Lane, and company sure did prove Kiper an idiot. Let's take a look at what Kiper actually said following the 2012 Draft:

"The needs were met outside of wide receiver, but in terms of maximizing value, there are huge questions. Again, this is a grade of the draft process, not the players alone."

While he does state that the grade is strictly about the "draft process," I'm sure Seattle knew what they were doing, as they won the Superbowl two years later.

2 Marshall Faulk

via stltoday.com

Faulk was selected second-overall in the 1994 NFL Draft by the Indianapolis Colts,  and Kiper was not happy.  He criticized the Colts for being in the top 5 and not taking a quarterback.  Trent Dilfer was on the board and the egg-head analyst thought the Colts should have snagged him.  This sparked a huge feud between Colts Owner, Bill Tobin, and Kiper.

"Who is Mel Kiper?" Tobin said. "He's never been a player, he's never been a coach, he's never been a scout, he's never been an administrator and all of a sudden he's an expert. He has no more credentials to do what he's doing than my neighbor, and my neighbor's a postman."

"I have a right to my opinion and he has a right to his. You can't go for Jim Harbaugh and pass up Trent Dilfer. Forget it. That's why the Colts are the laughingstock in the league year in and year out," Kiper said.

"So every chance that Mel Kiper gets to shoot at the Colts and Indianapolis, he's going to do it," Tobin shot back said.

Check out Kiper's ridiculous comments here.

1 LaDainian Tomlinson

via sandiegouniontribune.com

By far, the player who proved Mel Kiper Jr. wrong was Ladainian Tomlinson.  In college, at TCU, Tomlinson was dominant, but may experts, including Kiper, believed that this was because he was playing in  weak conference.  On his "Big Board,"  Kiper has Tomlinson rated 25th overall and the third-best running back. San Diego drafted the future HOFer sixth overall in the 2001 Draft.

Clearly, Kiper was way off on the guy as he rushed for nearly 14,000 yards on the ground, was a five-time Pr- Bowler, was on the NFL All-Decade Team and won the NFL MVP in 2006. So the moral of the story is, just don't listen to Mel Kiper, because you can clearly see there are many NFL players that have proved him wrong!

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