Chat with Matt Williamson
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson will stop by to chat some NFL.
Williamson has been scouting football players at different levels for six years. Before joining ESPN and Scouts Inc. in 2005, he was both an NFL and college scout for the Cleveland Browns. Before that, he spent three seasons as assistant recruiting coordinator at the University of Pittsburgh and followed J.D. Brookhart from Pitt to the University of Akron, where Williamson was the director of football operations.
Send your questions now and join Williamson Wednesday at noon ET!
Matt Williamson (11:55 AM)
Hey everyone. It is a smidge before noon, but let's get this rolling. It is Super Bowl week after all.
Matt, is it wrong that I see a little bit of Aaron Rodgers in Kevin Kolb?? My prediction is that the Eagles receivers overtake the GB receivers in RAC by 2011.
Matt Williamson (11:57 AM)
That is not a bad comparison. I see the same. A little bit-like you said. I still like the Pack's RAC abilities more. Bigger guys-more physical, esp when factoring in J Finely.
Matty (Enola, PA)
Matt, I keep seeing the mock drafts showing the steelers taking a DE or DT, we have to go CB or S right?
Matt Williamson (12:00 PM)
DE seems like a stretch since that is what they did last year. NT could happen, as they need to find a replacement for Hampton, but I also think Hampton gets franchised and with Hoke on board, do you really need 3 NTs on the roster this year? To me, FS or CB would be ideal, but this is also a very deep draft at those positions and help can be found in round 2 and 3. More importantly, there looks to be a huge dropoff at CB after Haden. With the CB depth, don't reach at #18 for a CB just because of the position he plays. Earl Thomas from Texas is very interesting for Pittsburgh-but he might be gone. To me, that leads to one of two things: OL (Iupati?) or a trade in either direction. Of course the draft board will also further reveal itself to us as we get further along in this process.
Matty!!!!!! Super Bowl week, indeed. Did you happen to catch Clint Session's glorious neck beard yesterday?? That thing is freakin' amazing!
Matt Williamson (12:01 PM)
I didn't, but can surely picture it in my head, as I have known Clint since he was knocking people around during his senior year at Ely HS. I bet it was amazing. If I started today, the O/U on how long it would take me to grow a similar beard is approx 15 years.
What can you say to the success of rookie QBs in today's NFL? That was very rare over this history of the game. I watched Peyton Manning struggle his first year as well as many others.
Matt Williamson (12:03 PM)
Most do struggle-no doubt. Also, it seems that the time of having QBs hold a clipboard for an entire season is going away. You have to think-just SO much cash invested in these guys now in round one and there are usually like a half a dozen NFL Head Coaches replaced every year. Got to play the guys you invest in. While I hear what you are saying about this year's crop, how many collective wins did Freeman and Stafford accumulate this year? Plus, I still have some doubts about Sanchez.
Dubbster!! How is Super Sunday going to play out at Casa de MDubb??
Matt Williamson (12:04 PM)
You know what? I honestly don't even know. I might be hosting Cover it Live, but I haven't heard yet. That has been the usual game day routine, but last year, I went to my boy Murr-Man's pad and just watched the game like a fan with my buddies-which happens so incredibly rarely now. Invite me over!
Hi Matt, thanks for chatting. Do you see teams being creative with Uncapped year and contracts? Seems some teams could lock up their Blue Chips (Manning, Revis, for instance) by big front loads. Would NFLPA frown on this?
Matt Williamson (12:05 PM)
I do see that and I also see teams massaging the system and finding all sorts of loop holes. I think it ends badly.
To Criag (Chicago) point...recent rule changes have severely hampered the way defenders can play the pass. When Manning broke into the NFL in 1998, DBs could mug receivers. Look no further than the 2004 AFC Championship game and the mauling that the Pats put on Indy's WRs and TEs. No penalties were thrown. That next season, rules changed.
Matt Williamson (12:06 PM)
While that is VERY true, I am not sure how very relevant that is for the success of rookie QBs-that is, if you are judging them against the other starting QBs around the league in that given year.
Matt Williamson (12:07 PM)
Remember, Sanchez, Freeman and Stafford each had some games were they were completely overwhelmed and threw the ball to the wrong team WAY too often...which was rather Manning/Aikman like in their rookie seasons.
Following up on your Pittsburgh draft comments: Isn't Bulaga the pick if he's available? He could start at RG immediately, would be the top backup at either tackle position, and gives them insurance in case Colon leaves. No brainer, right?
Matt Williamson (12:09 PM)
Would be really hard to pass on, but from what I have seen and know about Bulaga, I have a hard believing that he will be there that late. I expect his stock to really rise over these next few months. A lot of teams (SF, etc) could use a OT before the Steelers pick. I would also be inclined to put Bulaga at LT, move Starks to RT and Colon to RG.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Matt, keeping with Matty from Enola's spirit, I'd like to ask where you feel the Vikings should go in Round 1 of the draft. DT (this is my feeling due to Pat Williams possibly retiring)? CB? QB? Some other position?
Matt Williamson (12:10 PM)
All of those are very good options. Would consider a guy like Cody or Dan Williams for sure. A CB like Wilson from Boise might be attractive at the end of round one. Which QB assuming Bradford and Clausen are gone? That worries me. But, if they went OL, I would have no problem with that either. That running game needs fixin'.
Happy Draft Season! (Is that politically correct?) Do your best here, but can you compare Jordan Shipley's game to a non-Caucasian current NFL WR?
Matt Williamson (12:13 PM)
Not sure how politically correct any of that is, but I will address it. First and foremost, Happy Draft Season to you and yours as well-although it doesn't officially start until they hand the Lombardi Trophy on Peyton Manning on Sunday Night. It does bother me that Caucasian WRs and non-Caucasian QBs are seemingly ALWAYS compared to current players of their same race. To me, that is just a short cut to thinking. As for Shipley, I see him being a very good slot WR, but also has the ability to excel on the perimeter as a starting option. A true #2 WR. How about the Giants' Steve Smith for a comparison? Reliable. Okay size, but not great. Not a burner, but good body control and routes.
Brian (Salem, NH)
Who is ultimately going to take the majority of snaps in Buffalo next season?
Matt Williamson (12:14 PM)
I don't think that QB is currently on the roster. Would bet on Vick or Clausen if I had to pick two.
Did you happen to see Asomugha's comments about how he'd love to play opposite Revis (even intimating that it's been discussed with Rex)? What would it take to get Nnamdi in Green and White?
Matt Williamson (12:16 PM)
I did not hear that, but that would be amazing. He has a monster contract that he recently signed, I do know that much-which could certainly complicate a deal. Raiders' Fans, would you consider it for say, two number one picks? This year's and next year's? If I am the Jets, I do that in a heartbeat. Leave them both on islands and crush the run game with extra bodies near the LOS. Blitz like crazy. Lester Hayes and Mike Haynes...but better.
How many roughing the passer calls do you anticipate. Easily the dumbest pre-SB comments ever by Greg Williams. Go ahead, tell the league you will have your guys taking shots at their poster boy in the biggest game of the year. Enjoy the yellow flags.
Matt Williamson (12:17 PM)
Yeah, there prob isn't any good reason to announce such a thing.
I know there's little hope for my Bronwns, but what non-playoff team do you see having the potential to make a run next year?
Matt Williamson (12:18 PM)
A lot of them actually. You probably don't want to hear this, but Pittsburgh for sure. Others: Atlanta. Maybe Carolina if they can get some passing game help. SF might be ready for a jump. The Giants could certainly get back to that level. Houston certainly could be ready with one or two key additions. Miami with a stud WR. Tenn for sure.
is Freeney a lock hall of famer?
Matt Williamson (12:19 PM)
My immediate thought on that is: After just a couple more very good years. I wouldn't have a problem with him going in if he retired today though.
Even with the Freeney injury, do I detect that the dubbster picks Indy??
Matt Williamson (12:19 PM)
Colts 30. Saints 21.
Last year the 49ers drafted QB Nate Davis. He showed some flashes in the preseason (albeit against inferior competition). In your opinion, can he develop into a starting NFL QB, or is he more of a career backup type?
Matt Williamson (12:20 PM)
I liked that pick an awful lot. But it is too early to project that. To me, if he can establish himself as the #2 this season, that would be a tremendous step in the right direction.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
On Sunday, can New Orleans generate the kind of pressure they had on Brett Favre, or will Manning have the protection he enjoyed during the Jets game?
Matt Williamson (12:23 PM)
Blitzing 18 isn't such a great idea, but he has had more problems when defenses bring 6-which the Saints will surely do at times. The Saints trust their secondary much more than many "Experts" seem to realize. So, I think Manning gets hit. Probably gets sacked a few times. But he doesn't nearly take the beating that Favre did. Projecting two sacks and a few more hits-and at least one huge play by Manning against a big blitz. Also realize that Manning isn't bashful about laying down in the pocket when a sack in inevitable instead of allowing himself to get blasted.
Jared (West Union IA)
I know your buddy Kidd is a scout in Denver but for the future with McDaniels how hot is hes seat? Will Denver be more free agent agressive or try to build with the draft
Matt Williamson (12:24 PM)
They were very free agent aggressive last year, so that very well could be their MO. I think McD's seat is hot-has really stirred things up within that organization and that roster as a whole. Personally, I do not project a good year in 2010 for Denver, but obviously I want to see what moves they pull off. They have not been afraid to make moves-that much is for sure.
trai (big blue nation)
should we be optimistick in Teenesee with the turnaround and with filling very few holes.........
Matt Williamson (12:25 PM)
Yes. I did mention them as a team that can comeback very strong. I can't say that I am in love with VY, but surely the job is deservedly his. What I would do, is look for an influx of D talent at each level. Really build that D to be amongst the best in the league-while also getting much younger on that side of the ball.
Saints at 21 points? How do you think Indy will choose to play them? I actually think you have to shut down the run and keep everything in front of you. make Brees dink and dunk down the field. However, I'm not sure the Colts can pull that off.
Matt Williamson (12:27 PM)
I think they can pull that off. I also have a hunch that the bright lights, pressure of the game, and the pressure of doing battle with Peyton all adds up to a slow start for NOrls on O. That isn't to say at all that I think Brees is going to be overwhelmed, but the first time in that environment for a team that has very few players that have been there can take it's toll early. I also see a little more running in this game than most tend to think, which of course, will hurt the point total.
Tenn. without Bullock is going to be weird
Matt Williamson (12:28 PM)
Still could come back, but all things must pass. His position on the field isn't a particularly difficult one to find quality at a decent rate.
Russell Okung = slightly less athletic but more aggressive D'Brick Fergusan
Matt Williamson (12:29 PM)
Well said. Also stronger than Ferguson at this stage of their respective careers. Remember, it took Brick a while to really get to the level he is at now. Was very lean and lacked the power needed to play the position for a while. As these guys get older-like us-they add weight and some mature strength as well.
Do you think Darren McFadden can ever fully live up to his hype, not in Oakland, but somewhere else?
Matt Williamson (12:32 PM)
Nope. Very straight-linish. I don't like his agility, wiggle, peripheral vision and power. Runs high for his body type too. Can see injuries being a problem year after year. I don't want him running up the guy often. Certainly capable of improving and should become more of a receiver as he grows up. Plus, always will have big play capabilities. Could be more of a R Bush type-detached from the formation. But, in the end, he isn't a RB to build around in the true sense of the position.
Sounds like LT is leaving SanDiego i can see him staying on the west coast do you?
Matt Williamson (12:32 PM)
I see him looking like Edge and especially Emmitt did when they played for the Cards. He's done Mike.
Brad (Green Bay)
Any chance Reggie Bush ends up in Green Bay next year? Seems like a perfect compliment to Grant and would give Rodgers another weapon.
Matt Williamson (12:34 PM)
While I think in the end, the Saints and Bush both realize that they are perfect for one another, Green Bay isn't a bad call. Nice complement to Grant, which is something the Pack could use. Plus, I also trust McC to use his skills properly. However, Reggie is from Cally, played at USC and then in New Orleans. Just can't picture him on the frozen tundra in December sliding all over the field.
Steven (Linlithgow, Scotland)
Any good games on this weekend?
Matt Williamson (12:35 PM)
Haven't heard. But, I must take to say that this weekend saddens me. The end of a season. Free agency and the draft are awesome and of course the season goes 365, but it still makes me sad.
McFadden was yet another great pick by Al. They could have had an elite back, Jamaal Charles, two rounds later that same draft.
Matt Williamson (12:36 PM)
I would rather have Charles than McF for sure and I was incredibly critical of the McF pick when it happened. But, it is also VERY easy to say such a thing today after the fact. In fact, at the time, I CRUSHED the Raiders for passing on G Dorsey when they took McF. Dorsey has been pretty bad.
I've read rumors that the Ravens are interested in trading for Boldin. Why? Boldin is the same receiver that Mason and Clayton are. They need to trade for Marshall, someone who can actually make it further than 10 yards down the field.
Matt Williamson (12:38 PM)
For Baltimore, I would rather have Marshall as well. But, in the end, they need someone and if they have to "settle" for Boldin, so be it. I don't see similarities between Boldin and Clayton though. I hear ya overall, but most importantly, they need to get Flacco another guy to get the ball to. I do agree that a downfield guy would be preferred, but in this case, beggars might not be able to be choosers.
But I have a sneaking suspicion that taking DHB instead of Crabtree will haunt them!!!!
Matt Williamson (12:39 PM)
I was also VERY critical of that pick. We will see how that turns out. In fact, I said Crabtree was the best player in last year's draft. Still feeling pretty decent about that call.
if the Rams take Suh what do they do next season for a starter at QB?
Matt Williamson (12:40 PM)
Well, they could go QB at #33. Could trade back into round 1 if a guy starts to slip. Could go for someone like Vick. I must say though, how it looks today, none of these options seems all that exciting.
Josh W (Wisconsin)
How do you see the Cowboys making improvements this offseason and what would you say is thier biggest area for improvement besides the obvious kicker situation?
Matt Williamson (12:41 PM)
Of course kicker, but overall, I hope they just stay the course and by keeping the current staff, it looks like Jerry Jones realizes that. I don't see a massive singular need. I would love to see a playmaker at safety. Maybe another WR to push Roy W. Wouldn't have a problem going OT in round one. Maybe a nickel CB. I like where the Cowboys are heading.
Doug (WINTERS, CA)
Do you think the Eagles and Rams could trade the #33 pick for Kevin Kolb?
Matt Williamson (12:43 PM)
Considered that. Also considered the Browns making a heavy play for him. #33 doesn't seem like enough for me. Remember, when Kolb came out, they used a 2nd rounder to get him. If anything, he is worth more now than ever. I might give you McNabb for
Shane (Los Angeles, CA)
MW: What do you see as being the top priorities for the Cardinals this offseason? My thought is LT, linebacking corps (cause Dansby will likely sign elsewhere), backup for Leinart, and sign Darnell Dockett to a long term contract (maybe restructure Rolle's contract too). Thoughts?
Matt Williamson (12:45 PM)
Ideally, I would love to see them find a demon pass rusher at OLB in their 3-4. They don't have one now and that D predicates having that guy. Not sold on their NTs either, but can live with what they have for now. An extra CB could be useful, but Toler shows promise. LT-and maybe even one more OLineman-makes sense as well. Surely the Cards will transition into much more of a running team and Leinhart doesn't get the ball out nearly as quick as Warner. That present OL could be ready to be exposed if they don't upgrade.
how much will Earl Thomas's size hurt his draft value? He played like a Polamalu clone at Texas
Matt Williamson (12:46 PM)
I bet it doesn't kill him. To me, that is really his only glaring negative-and he isn't a munchkin. I see him more as a FS type in the NFL though and playing further from the LOS. Really can't see him getting out of the top 20.
what are your thoughts on Calais Campbell? would be best suited as a 4-3 left end?
Matt Williamson (12:47 PM)
I think he could pull that off for sure, but I also really like what he is doing now. The Cards' 3-4 isn't a real slow playing scheme. Like Dockett at DE, CC can use his upfield ability. And he has a lot of ability and seems to really be harnessing it now.
Rich (Bayonne, NJ)
hey Matt, I despise the Rams, but their fans should relax. Draft Suh, draft playmakers and depth as they draft goes along, abd play Boller this year. They are going to stink regardless. They get a top 5 pick next year and can draft Locker or Mallett.
Matt Williamson (12:49 PM)
I also really like what you said. Let's realize that the Rams are not going to win next year's Super Bowl and are a massive rebuilding project. As the great Chuck Noll said when he took over the hapless Steelers, "Our needs are great and our needs are many." So, just keep taking the best guys available (Suh) and go from there.
Tim (El Cajon, CA)
It will be good when all this Super Bowl is finally done. Then it's Daytona 500 Baby!!!
Matt Williamson (12:50 PM)
My three year old has become a Nascar junkie. Three. I know nothing about Nascar-but I think I am about to find out. Bought him two preview mags today in fact. I might have to read them cover to cover to help coach him up. Consider me a football fan who doesn't even know what a first down is when it comes to Nascar...but that could be a nice offseason family project at the Dubb household.
eddie (Stratford, CT)
who do the giants take in the first two rounds of the draft i say LB S CB what do u think
Matt Williamson (12:51 PM)
I want to see massive upgrades in speed/coverage abilities with their LBs and Safeties. Can live with the CBs for sure.
So why still questions on Sanchez, what concerns you?
Matt Williamson (12:52 PM)
I will concede that he took major steps this offseason, but in the end, watch those first two wins-very little was asked of him and he really made few high end throws. I really worry about his ability to threaten a D outside the numbers and make stick throws-esp in the Jersey winds. Don't get me wrong, I am not saying he isn't the answer-and his supporting cast is perfect for him-but I am not sold yet either. Will say this: I liked him more a year ago than I do now.
Earlier you said the Cowboys draft a slot reciever, if so what do they do with Crayton?
Matt Williamson (12:53 PM)
Not a slot WR, but adding another guy in general would make sense. Williams is worthless. That being said, I like Crayton and Ogletree and certainly can live with their pass catchers overall when you consider Witten/Bennett/Felix into that equation.
How can Rich (NJ) hate the Rams? They've won six games the past three years...leave the poor team alone!
Matt Williamson (12:55 PM)
Actually thought that myself. Wow, I really hate the Lions. That's like a Yankee fan saying, "Wow, I can't stand those Pittsburgh Pirates." Aren't there more threatening foes out there to concern yourself with?
Fun question for ya. Who is the one player you thought would be a star but for whatever reason (injury, situation, personal issue) it never happened?
Matt Williamson (12:56 PM)
Okay, let's make me look bad. First off, there have been many. Inexact science. Two come to mind off the top of my head though: Dorsey, who I mentioned earlier and I thought was the best player overall in that entire draft. In his/my defense, he is a terrible fit in the 3-4, but started his career in an even front. The other is Matt Jones. I thought he would be a star. He isn't a star.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
do you like rex ryan?
Matt Williamson (12:56 PM)
Mike Shannahan (D.C.)
I HATE the Raiders, dubbster.
Matt Williamson (12:57 PM)
Like the Pirates, Lions, Rams, Oakland fits that mold as well. But Shanny, you are allowed to hate those guys.
M-Dub earlier you made a reference that McFadden is similair to Bush, I've made the same claim when the Raiders drafted. Why don't they use Micheal Bush as the #1 RB, he's an excellent back.
Matt Williamson (12:57 PM)
I would. Also, while I made that comparison, I would rather R Bush than McF. More wiggle.
Hayden (Logan, Utah)
would you rather have vick, or any qb in the draft?
Matt Williamson (12:59 PM)
Not at all sold on Vick...but getting Bradford or Clausen is going to cost you a top 10 pick. Not in love with those guys either, but Vick is MUCH cheaper.
Matt Williamson (12:59 PM)
Folks, I have to run. Great chat. Really enjoyed it as always. Enjoy the Big Game. Colts win.