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 (12:00 PM)
I just hit the Genius button on the Stones' Monkey Man. Let's get this party started!
Saw a tweet that a scout said that Mallet "thinks he's Eminem." What does that even mean? Sounds like people are just trying to pile on him with random things.
Matt Williamson (12:01 PM)
Could be. A lot of misinformation and smoke screens going around this time of year too about prospects. I take with a grain of salt what I read on player's personalities and such things. iPod just switched to Blind Faith's "Can't Find My Home."...great mood here.
Matt, I'm sure it depends on scheme and whatnot but what would you say is more valuable, a solid CB or a solid pass rusher? I'm thinking in the context of the 49ers, who I really want to draft Prince but there seems to be a lot of interest in a Von Miller or Bowers.
Matt Williamson (12:03 PM)
As a rule of thumb, I prefer the pass rusher. Closer to the action. Harder to game plan around. Of course-like you said-a lot of variables at play there though. But I think CB is a bigger need specifically for SF. And I really doubt Bowers or Miller is still sitting there. Quinn is the one guy who might be though...and would be real tough to pass on if his medical checks out. How about a DE like Cameron Jordan from nearby Cal? Would help in a lot of ways. OR-curveball like Julio Jones? I don't think SF HAS to go one specific direction in the first round.
Kev (Green Bay)
Some mocks have UGA OLB Justin Houston heading to the Packers in round 1. Do you know anything about him? Good player/fit?
Matt Williamson (12:05 PM)
What I am not sure yet on him is how well can he drop as a OLB in their scheme. He needs to do that opposite Matthews. But I do know that he is a very good player coming forward. An explosive edge rusher. Bigger/Heavier than most 3-4 OLBs though-although he has done some of it at Georgia. I like it overall-even if Houston can't help on every down right off the bat, he would be a great asset on 3rd down as a rook. Big fan of them adding an OLB very high in this draft.
I have a message for the NFL: Pro Days are so pointless. The NFL needs to do away with Pro Days and force players to go to the combine. Lengthen the combine enough where you can see a QB throw 100 times instead of 21 times, and do a real week long evaluation. And for the media, I can write their Pro Day stories for them "Player A shines at Pro Day".
Matt Williamson (12:07 PM)
I hear ya and I was thinking just the same thing about Pro Days today. Why don't I care much about Auburn's Pro Day like I did a few years ago? Of course they did well. If they didn't, that would be the story. Still, such a controlled environment. I hear where you are coming from-and just think of the cost of attending all those Pro Days, but I also think the Combine is LONG ENOUGH! I LOVE Scouting. Love it. But you go to Indy for that length of time and try not to lose your mind.
does aaron pass phillip in your qb rankings?
Matt Williamson (12:08 PM)
Yes. I can't say I have them in a specific order on this very day, but I think there are two very distinct classifications of the best QBs in this league. Elite and Legit. There are six Elite guys-Peyton, Tom, Ben, Drew, Aaron and Philip. And I would rank Rodgers over Rivers if forced to put them in an order right now. Then, there are about 9-11ish Legit guys. And I think those legit guys are good enough to win it all. Guys on that list are QBs like Ryan, Freeman, Romo, Vick, etc.
Matt, if Kevin Kolb was allowed to enter the draft, where do you think he would be selected?
Matt Williamson (12:11 PM)
Wow. Good question. I was talking to Sando quite a bit last night on Kolb to the NFC West and I told him that if I were Seattle I would give up their #1 in a heartbeat for Kolb straight up. But I wouldn't if I were SF or Zona-just because I think they are not as West Coast Freindly and want to be more of a deep downfield attack. At least I think that is the case with the Niners. But I would take Newton #1 still if I were Carolina and if I were Buffalo at #3, I wouldn't give that pick straight up for Kolb. If I were the Vikes, I would prob give up my #1 for him though-but only if they are set on going West Coast. I like Kolb. But I don't go for broke on him unless I am a WCO. Hope that helps.
Jeff (Nashville )
Do you see Chicago making the playoffs next year? Would have to be as a wild card, right?
Matt Williamson (12:12 PM)
Oh, I don't know. As it stands today, GB is a better team with a better roster than Chicago. But I am not one to make March predictions. We have to see the draft/free agency/off season moves first.
Hi MattWho do you think the Colts are going to go after in the draft.
Matt Williamson (12:14 PM)
I think this draft sets up very well for the Colts to land an OT. Maybe Costanzo from BC. Even Sherrod from Miss State. That needs to happen soon. Manning will be less and less mobile as he ages and these jokers blocking for him right now are an embarrassment.
Matt (Santa Barbara)
Hey Matt I like your name. How do you rate the defensive back class this year? as a raider fan i am having nightmares about routt/eugene/branch/johnson as our defensive backfield.
Matt Williamson (12:16 PM)
Yeah, the Raiders' secondary is going to take a monster step backwards without NA. It just is. I also really like how Huff played last year-finally came into his own. And it doesn't seem like they will be able to bring Huff back. I hate the safety class. The CB class seems decent. But the Raiders' don't have a first round pick-and they are not short on other needs to fill. I hate to say it, but this could be a rough off season for the Silver and Black.
Would you take Gabbert or Newton?
Matt Williamson (12:20 PM)
Gabbert. Go back a few spots and read about Elite/Legit QBs. I look at Gabbert and say "He is going to be one of those Legit QBs". I look at Newton and say "Maybe, just maybe, everything works out and Newton can be in that Elite class some day. But wow, that is a big risk. And I think it is a big risk that he even is in the Legit class. Just too much room for error here."...so, when I say that to myself, I again say "Hey, I am the Panthers. With the first overall pick, I would gladly take an Eli type QB."...so I go with Gabbert. I also think that this staff is coming from SD and will see more Rivers like similarites with Blaine than Cam. Maybe someday everyone calls me an idiot for passing on the most talented player in the draft, but I can live with myself.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Who would have interest in bringing Tiki in? The Broncos?
Matt Williamson (12:21 PM)
I don't think anyone will. Really. He can come out of retirement all he wants-that doesn't mean he is going to play football. I would imagine his agent has had talks with someone before Tiki pulls this stunt off, but I wouldn't be interested in that side show in training camp.
phil (san degio)
What's your take on the Chargers signing Bob Sanders and what position should they be looking to fill with the 18th pick?
Matt Williamson (12:23 PM)
Love Sanders to SD. I liked their D, but I didn't see a REAL difference maker. A REAL leader. When the going gets tough in the 2nd round of the playoffs, they will look to Sanders. That is a wonderful thing...if he is healthy! But it is worth the risk for them-they are a contender. Act now. Plus, it gives them more bargaining power with Weddle-who I really like. Would love to see those two paired together. At 18, SD has needs. They have a few "B Needs", but I don't think they have a glaring "A Need". That is a good thing. Don't have to reach. Would love a DE like Watt or Jordan I would think. Maybe a RT like Carimi. I don't see a WR worth taking there. Almost think they take the best D player available.
Scouting question for you Matt. I am just a fan, but when I watch highlights of Gabbert, it looks like the same clip over and over again. Hike, catch, immediately plant back foot, throw short to one of the 5 WRs. I want to see what he is capable of, but that seemed to be his entire offense. Is this a cause of concern to you?
Matt Williamson (12:25 PM)
For sure. All these spread QBs have a huge adjustment at the next level. Gabbert/Newton haven't ever really even done a 5 step drop or scanned the field while pulling away from center! This is going to take time. But I do think Gabbert sees the field much better than Newton and is much further along mentally with his reads.
Seahawks, I love them but they just have a ton of needs. Could you please rank them for me?
Matt Williamson (12:26 PM)
Oh my. LONG UGLY list. QB has to be 1. RT and OG also on O. I don't love Lynch either, but would live with that RB stable for now. Another WR would be great. I really dislike their secondary too. And one more Front 7 difference maker would go a long way. Yikes.
Tom (MN) [via mobile]
If the Vikings go the veteran QB route who would be their pick at #12? Cameron Jordan, Nate Solder or Jimmy Smith?
Matt Williamson (12:28 PM)
Hmmm... I would assume Edwards is leaving, but they did resign Robison. Still, Quinn would be real attractive. I wouldn't take Solder or Smith that high. I would consider T Smith from USC though. If S Rice is leaving, J Jones would be tough to ignore. But overall, I don't see a wonderful fit for Minny under those circumstances. Would took to trade down.
Tim (Saginaw, MI)
If he is there, should the Steelers think about putting the Pouncey brothers together on the O-line?
Matt Williamson (12:28 PM)
I think they would run the card up to the podium if he were available. Heck of a nice interior foundation of an OL.
Will Danny Snyders head explode if the CBA isn't signed soon so he can extremely overpay some highly over ratted FA?
Matt Williamson (12:30 PM)
I think so. Yes. He did sign Otogwe, so that will keep him at bay maybe.
bigmike (San Bernardino)
what running back will be a good fit in Greenbay
Matt Williamson (12:32 PM)
Wouldn't bet that they use a real high pick on a RB. Grant and Starks is a pretty stable backfield when you consider how deep and lethal they are in the passing game. Would start considering a guy in like the 3rd round. But...that team REALLY needs returner help. So maybe you kill two birds with a RB who can return like Todman or Fannin.
Matt Williamson (12:33 PM)
Are you guys having a tough time posting? The same group of questions has been stuck here in front of me for quite a while. Hope there isn't a technical problem on our end. If so-sorry.
David (New Jersey)
What place does the running quarterback have in the NFL? Do you move a guy up in the ratings at all for being able to add 700-1000 yards rushing, or do you just care about escaping the rush and passing?
Matt Williamson (12:35 PM)
It is a nice bonus prize so to speak. Like with A Rodgers. Can be lethal when used properly. But it has to be a secondary attribute. If you can't pass and go through your progressions, you just will not be succesful in the NFL. It is really that simple. So, when analyzing QB prospects, I rank their running skills pretty low down my priority list. But-"Mobility" is an entirely different animal. The ability to move behind the line of scrimmage and in the pocket is essential to being able to go through the progressions and kill a D late in the play.
Thoughts on Peterson... Could he be a number 1 pick?
Matt Williamson (12:36 PM)
Best player in the draft. Safest player in the draft. Utter super star. In fact, I talked to him just yesterday. Download today's Football Today podcast to see how our convo went.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
ESPN just did an article on top 10 WRs in the league, care to give us at least your top 5?
Matt Williamson (12:38 PM)
Sando sent me that list and asked for my thoughts to add to the article. I didn't read the finished article yet, but I told him that I thought the bloggers did a very good job overall. But I also said that I did the same exercise two years ago-and I thought my crop was much stronger. Just seems like the top guys were not as great this year. Anyways, I think the top 4 are pretty easy: 1. Andre J 2. Fitz 3. Calvin J 4. R White. After that, I would consider Jennings, Austin, Marshall, Nicks (soon at least).
What kind of an impact do you think Wade Phillips will have on Brian Cushing?
Matt Williamson (12:40 PM)
Phillips is a great coach, but his personnel in Houston is a horrible fit for a 3-4. Cushing included. I think Cushing could play either ILB or OLB in an odd front, but really doesn't fit either. Guy was a superstar as a 4-3 SLB-that is what he is built to do. Houston's D might actually be much worse next year...I can't even believe that I just typed that!
A lot of mock drafts have the Ravens taking a WR (Torrey Smith) in the first round. I doubt that, I would rather see a DE or hybrid OLB pass rusher. What do you think?
Matt Williamson (12:41 PM)
I see why people put Smith there-because they REALLY need speed on the outside for Flacco. But that is too early for Smith. CB (Harris from Miami) seems more logical. As for edge rusher-maybe. But what you and I don't really know is how well Kindle is doing in his recovery. They used a high pick last year on that edge rusher in which you speak. OT is also a distinct possibility. I am sure Ozzie will pull it all together-he always does. But Balt has a lot of needs right now.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Right now, how do you see the 1st 2 picks in the draft going?
Matt Williamson (12:42 PM)
1. Gabbert 2. Dareus. At least that is what I would do if I were in charge of those two teams.
Jimmy (San Diego)
Don't you think Tennessee would be better off keeping VY and taking either AJ Green or Julio Jones at #8? That offense would be pretty dynamic wouldnt it? Especially compared to the alternative.
Matt Williamson (12:44 PM)
It would be, but I actually think Tenn's skill position players are good enough. I would lean towards to taking the best D player on the board under those circumstances-at any level really. I also really think the interior OL needs attention, but not in round 1. And-if you do bring back VY (which I can semi buy), I would not be done at the QB position. Round 2 for a guy like Dalton or Ponder would be a nice long term backup plan.
Matt Williamson (12:45 PM)
Box of Rain by The Dead now...such a great song. "...if you don't, just pass it on"
I'm thinking the best RB in the draft is DeMarco Murray of Oklahoma. Am I wrong?
Matt Williamson (12:46 PM)
I don't see it. Seems too straight linish to me. Easy to knock off his pins when hit from the side. Runs kinda tall. I would def take Ingram or Leshoure or Williams over Murray.
If Nnamdi leaves the Raiders where do you think he ends up?
Matt Williamson (12:47 PM)
He will obviously get a ton of attention. How about Philly next to Samuel? Houston? Jax? Balt? Just spitballing here.
Trade a top 20 pick for Kolb? Why exactly? He looked more bad than good last season. I don't get all the hype re him.
Matt Williamson (12:48 PM)
I don't agree with you. He isn't perfect and he too is a work in progress. But I do think he can exel in a WCO. Gets it out quick. Accurate. Reads the D quick. Just think that is a more calculated gamble instead of a guy like Locker for example.
Skins take Cam Newton because it's obviously the wrong choice, right? That's how these things work.
Matt Williamson (12:49 PM)
Pretty much. But I fear they will have to really trade up to get him. I have said this a few times, I don't think there is a roster worse off than Washington's right now. It is a total mess. Just think of their needs. Honestly, I think they need EVERYthing but safety and tight end.
Matt Williamson (12:51 PM)
"How Many More Times" Zeppelin BBC Sessions. I am tearing it up over here today in case you haven't noticed.
Do you think the Panthers need to take a QB in the draft this year, if only to keep S. Smith happy and in Charlotte?
Matt Williamson (12:53 PM)
They need to take a QB because their QBs stink and QB is what is needed to win in this league. They made a horrible trade with the Pats on DDay last year, so they don't have that incredibly valuable #33 pick. So, to me, it has to be a QB at #1. Smith doesn't matter. You can't look at him as part of the long term plans. If he plays this year for Car, great-he could make Gabbert's transition much easier. But-if you can deal him for more draft picks to a contender, I certainly wouldn't object.
Best guard in the draft is John Moffitt of Wisconsin. Am I wrong?
Matt Williamson (12:53 PM)
I like Pouncey more. And Watkins. Moffitt is a good one though. Wouldn't be a bad 2nd rounder for your Bears either.
If Peterson were to fall to the #6 spot, you think the Cowboys would jump up to get him? Plus what do you think about Dez Byrant future?
Matt Williamson (12:54 PM)
I could see that move by Dallas-and I would VERY much commend it. Can't really see him falling, but if it happened and the Cowboys got him for the cost of the 6th overall pick, that would be the move of the day. And Dallas would be an immediate contender. I think Bryant will be one of the elite WRs as soon as one year from now. GREAT.
Ben (Pinehurst, NC)
Everything but S and TE for the 'Skins? Trent Williams looked at least solid based on last year didn't he? LT's a pretty important position to have locked down, so they at least have that going for them don't they?
Matt Williamson (12:56 PM)
I am not saying they need 19 other starters besides their safeties and tight ends. But they need a OT opposite Williams, who was VERY talented, but also very up and down as a rook. Of course Orakpo is great, but they still need another OLB. I like Carriker, but they need another DE. Getting my point?
Watkins is 27. Pouncey is the best center, and he's on the small side. Isn't Stefen Wisniewski of Penn State a better center than Mike?
Matt Williamson (12:58 PM)
I see Pouncey as more of a guard. But he can do both. Wisneiwski is very impressive and just as a center, I might agree with you. Guess it depends on the O scheme a bit there too. Pouncey is and plays bigger. Watkins is old, but living in PGH, I am often asked about where the Steelers will go at #31. I wouldn't object to Watkins (or in a slight trade down) and just insert him at RG for the next 8 years.
Think the Saints might look at Julian Peterson as an option at OLB?
Matt Williamson (12:59 PM)
I would LOVE to see the Saints add a dynamic OLB like Peterson....like Peterson used to be. I just think he is more or less done and no longer is an impact player. But his skill set a few years ago is EXACTLY what this D needs. BTW-don't overlook what S Rogers might do for Saints' D.
Lindsay (Granite City)
If the Colts do draft a LT do you see them resigning Charlie Johnson and moving him to RT or G ?
Matt Williamson (1:00 PM)
Maybe. At the right price. If Johnson thinks he deserves starting LT $$$, then he is out of his mind. But he would be useful for the Colts-just not as a starting LT!
Lindsay (Granite City)
Is Clint Session a product of the system in Indy or will he be highly reguarded FA LB after the CBA is done? It looks to be a pretty thin FA class at LB.
Matt Williamson (1:02 PM)
I recruited Clint from Ely HS in Miami-amazing high school player. Great person. Was also a heck of a player at Pitt. But, his type of LB is very easy to find. Pure 4-3 WLBs are just too easy to get, so you don't invest a ton in them. Indy is a perfect system for his talents. And I know the Colts have some other options and tend to let their LBs walk (Because they are easy to replace), Clint could certainly depart. But he will start somewhere. He isn't J Peterson, but wouldn't be a bad fit in NOrls either.
Rodney Hudson of Florida State is a good center, but kinda small. What round do you see Ben Ijalana of Villanova, going? The guy has had two hernia surguries.
Matt Williamson (1:04 PM)
Very true on Hudson. Needs to go to the right zone scheme. That obviously limits his appeal to just a smaller number of teams. As for Ijalana, I really like everything about him. I often mention him to PGH at #31 as well. But, what I just don't know-and cant comment on-is the medical. How bad is that situation? Will it linger/reoccur?
Matt Williamson (1:04 PM)
Folks, started early and ran late. Really enjoyed myself. Download the Football Today podcast. It should be up by now. We recorded it at 11:00 today. Take care all. See ya next week.