CLEMSON — ESPN NFL draft analyst Mel Kiper had some welcomed words for the Clemson football coaching staff today. Kiper told reporters in a conference call he is of the opinion Clemson quarterback Tajh Boyd and receiver DeAndre Hopkins should return for their senior seasons in 2013.

Boyd is expected to return as he is viewed as a mid- to late-round draft choice. Boyd’s own father, Tim, told the Post and Courier last month he also thinks his son should return.

Boyd’s lack of prototype NFL quarterback height is hurting his draft stock despite setting a number of school passing records this season.

“I believe seniors who are coming out are so much better served in the NFL,” Kiper said. “You ask so much of a rookie,... that extra year helps. One more year of NFL evaluations is big.

“Boyd is not going to get any taller but he can get more experience.”

Kiper said he believes only projected first-round picks should leave school early. The NFL’s rookie contracts have declined in value lessening the motivation for players to leave early.

Hopkins is projected as a second-round pick.

While Hopkins would have a hard time bettering his numbers as a senior — he caught 69 passes for 1,214 yards and 16 TDs this fall — Kiper thinks he could benefit from being participating in the Senior Bowl and other postseason workouts attended by scouts.