The late Ralph Wiley asked that question back in 2004 in this piece for Page 2:

"Who in the hell is Mel Kiper?!"

I'll tell you who. He's King of the Spring Bacchanal. He's Puck in A Midsummer Night's Dream. He's so Baltimore it's ridiculous. So why has Mel Kiper gone from a being just a squirrel trying to get a nut to an Oracle caught up in a Matrix? Well, there are several reasons, none of which have anything to do with hair. Mel is all NFL Draft all the time, pilgrims, and you do know what's become bigger than all spring sporting festivals, bigger than Yankees-Red Sox, the NCAA Tournament and the NHL and NBA playoffs?

The NFL Draft. The Draft! Not a game. The Draft!

Can you believe it? Does the NFL totally rule, or what? Mel happened to be there, riding that wave. Mel probably still can't believe he's getting paid to do this. When you're able to click off all the physical attributes of some 5-8¾ cornerback from Appalachian State and have projected him, by need and temperament, to a team and do all this with a straight face, and make it sound authoritative, like it matters, who cares if turns out that way or not? That's when you know you're a total geek. You do realize that Mel Kiper would be doing this for free. He has passion for it. Sometimes your personal passion is mirrored by the greater society. That's what happened to Mel. He caught the boom market, and that's when he went from being Who the Hell to not just Mel Kiper, but Mel Kiper Jr., That's Who, And I'm A Made Freaking Man.

[Image Via: The Onion]