Mel Kiper, Jr. has been a staple of ESPN’s annual NFL draft coverage since way back in 1984, making one of, if not the most well-known and respected NFL draft pundits working today. Haircut be damned, he is.
So a very clear claim of impropriety on Kiper’s part by former first round pick Lawrence Jackson, dating back to the 2008 NFL draft, is certainly cause for concern where players coming out of college and hoping to be drafted in the early rounds are concerned.
It all began when NFL Network’s Rich Eisen, columnist Jason Whitlock and former NFL lineman Geoff Schwartz posted tweets commenting on the New York Times exposé regarding thousands of famous people buying millions of fake Twitter followers.
And that’s when 2008 Seattle Seahawks first-round pick, defensive end Lawrence Jackson, decided to break out this heater.
“Mel Kiper has greased pockets. That’s why the big board always has some whaaaaat names. I had an agent promise to get me atop his big board.”
That “whaaaaat” name Jackson seems to be referring to is former 49ers defensive tackle and 2008 first round draft pick Kentwan Balmer, according to Niners Nation. Balmer was ranked far higher on Kiper’s mock draft board than most every other pundit.
Balmer was also represented by agent Gary Wichard. The same Wichard who Sports Illustrated implicated as being part of a payoff scandal by former football agent Josh Luchs back in 2010. Something Jackson is apparently well aware of having taken place.
ESPN reportedly “looked into” the allegations, but I couldn’t locate anything online about whether Kiper had ever been punished.
Not that any of this matters at this point since Kiper will be retiring very soon anyway, right, Mel?