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 little early, but let's get this started. Hope everyone is doing well and ready for great NFL talk.
Matt, is there a possibile scenario where Dallas cuts Barber and signs LT for less money?
Matt Williamson (11:56 AM)
I suppose that is possible and I could see Barber being let go. What I don't know is exactly what he is making, but I do know it is substantial. I wouldn't sign LT as a replacement though-unless it was for MUCH less money. As you will see, I think LT is done. Done. I also worry that Barber could have possibly reached that point too.
Brian (Columbia, SC)
Should the cowboys release Flozell Adams? His oft penalized and declining quickness definitely effects Tony Romo and the offense. he is pretty good in run blocking but i feel he can be replaced at this stage in his career. I feel it should come in the draft though, keeo odug free on the right side. What do you think?
Matt Williamson (11:59 AM)
Well, there isn't a cap and Dallas is a wealthy team and a contender. So, like Barber from the previous question, maybe they just hang on to Adams. Drafting a future replacement makes sense for sure and I do think Adams is declining. But he isn't a massive liability at LT yet. I do think Free is better at RT as well. Therefore, I bet Adams stays. Could still release him in camp if the rook looks terrific.
Rather than over-paying Julius Peppers, what would you think about Philadelphia instead trading for someone like Aaron Schobel, who will likely be redundant if the Bills go to a 3-4 scheme?
Matt Williamson (12:01 PM)
Seems very logical. Maybe even pursue Kampman. Wouldn't be as excited about Vanden Bosch however. Even L Little as a spot pass rusher would be a nice addition. You gotta make sure that Schobel isn't on the fence about retirement though. I still say Franchise Peppers and trade him for less than he is worth. Just can't see getting zero in return-esp when you don't even have a first round pick.
Matt every year it seems that one of the top prospects fall at least a few spots from where they are projected. This year i just have a feeling that Eric Berry may be in that spot mainly due to his position. IF he does not go in the top 3 how far does he fall? Personally i think that if he is there at 5-6 someone tries to come up for him.
Matt Williamson (12:02 PM)
I could see him dropping slightly. Maybe he doesn't weigh in particularly well at the Combine, runs just an above average 40 time and his position is a concern. But how could Seattle pass on him? Or Cleveland? And yes, I do see teams (SF?) getting aggressive for his services if he falls.
What do you think the Cowboys will do with their draft?
Matt Williamson (12:03 PM)
I love where they sit and don't see one massive need that they have to attack. I do think a real difference maker at safety would be the best thing to add, but adding a project LT also makes a lot of sense. But all in all, they have a pretty stacked roster.
Mike (Boca Raton)
Earth to LT Fans: If he still had something in his tank he would not have been cut. See historical examples, most recently Shaun Alexander. good grief!
Matt Williamson (12:04 PM)
Well said. He should have been cut this time last year. Someone will pick him up, but it screams Emmitt-in-Zona to me.
Matt PLEASE tell my the Redskins go OT with the 4th pick, also do you see any round 2 QBs' worth a look?
Matt Williamson (12:06 PM)
I would do that for sure and no, I don't. Wouldn't use #36 on anyone outside the top 2 QBs. This is a bad QB draft. Build the OL! I know Shanny has had great success finding mid round linemen and running backs, but he also sure liked having Clady at LT in Denver.
With Dunta Robinson not being franchised, could the Steelers go after him?
Matt Williamson (12:07 PM)
Seems rather rich for their history, even without a cap. Would fill a need, but I also don't think his play on the field has lived up to his reputation of late, which would make it a very un-Steelers like signing. Leigh Bodden is more like it.
As a Colts fan, I'm still depressed over the big game. Can you say a few positive things about this team please?
Matt Williamson (12:08 PM)
I bet you are. Well, they still have the best player on the planet, exceptional star power overall, a great front office and in an uncapped year, maybe they are not so tied by the cap (with all their monster contracts) and they actually get a bit more aggressive in free agency this go round. Also, as you surely know, your team will have double digit wins again next year-as always-and be in the thick of it once again. Jon, you could be a Rams fan!
Vince Young (Houston)
You have always said that I am not elite but my RB & Oline are...What steps do I need to take to make my offense the best in the league?
Matt Williamson (12:11 PM)
I am more and more of a believer in VY. Still a long way from elite. That is a big word. But, I really like this O for next year. Guys like Britt and Cook could be on the verge of breakout campaigns. Both are dangerous. VY should be better with his reads and be able to put more on his plate. As great as Johnson was this past season, I would have to say that it is unlikely that he matches that production, but obviously he is a tremendous asset that makes the whole thing work. Work on the D this off season!
Do you think the patriots will make a play for LT?
Matt Williamson (12:12 PM)
Once again-I think he is done. It would be a Belichick type of move to get the vet, but it would be an unBelichick type of move to sign a guy who is over the hill. Would rather have F Taylor or Maroney or Faulk than LT. Seriously.
M.C.Rauh (Buffalo, NY)
Hi Matt, where do the Bills go at #9? Also, will thet trade Marshawn Lynch? Anyone interested in Lynch?
Matt Williamson (12:16 PM)
I would shop Lynch heavy, but remember, his play has consistently declined and he has already been suspended once by the league. Those are not marketable qualities to put on your resume, so I think a 3rd pick is the most you get back. Let's go through this again: Buffalo is a nightmare. It drives me crazy that they are switching to a 3-4 on D. Their D wasn't horrific last year. Tweak it a bit and go extremely heavy on O this offseason. But no, they have to do what all the cool kids are doing and switch. Who on that D-besides Maybin, who was terrible as a rookie-fit the 3-4? Where is the NT? So, what they did was more or less double their off season needs by switching. I don't get it. And...oh by the way....their O has about 5 or 6 guys who are worth keeping and building around and the toughest positions to find-QB, LT, RT, WR-all are horrific. Done ranting now.
Any chance Sproles walks?
Matt Williamson (12:17 PM)
Because he was franchised last year, he needs to get a pretty substantial deal, even though now he is restricted. Odd case with him. Maybe SD looks at him and realizes that RBs are not hard to find and decides not to pay him, but I bet he stays considering that SD is a contender and they are very weak at RB.
I Got Ripped in 4 Weeks (Unconfirmed)
I have a feeling Jerry Reese will make a play for a free agent defender...but I'm not sure which one it's going to be. My guess is Karlos Dansby. Your thoughts?
Matt Williamson (12:18 PM)
Could see that too and yes, Dansby makes a lot of sense to me. Need to add his kind of speed and versatility.
SprungOnSports (Long Island)
What do you think the Jets do with Thomas Jones and how do you think they'll attack free agency? I've heard about Travis LaBoy.
Matt Williamson (12:19 PM)
Wouldn't get excited about LaBoy. What has he done lately? Well, judging by the Jets two past off seasons, they are not going to be bashful. Pair that with a final 4 appearance and I think they live for today and keep Jones. Maybe listen to a trade offer for him though. My needs for them are CB, WR and DE along with another OLB type pass rusher. But their D surely was not bad last year-even without Jenkins.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
M-Dub: With Westbrook now out in Philly, can you see Andy Reid actually giving McCoy a chance to run the football?
Matt Williamson (12:21 PM)
No. His role will grow. Weaver should remain in the mix and they will prob add another RB in the draft. But, as always, they are going to throw and throw a ton. McCoy needs to improve on his protection, but you need to remember, that this is still a very young player-came out as a Soph.
Chad (Las Vegas)
The Saints have serious restrictions being one of the last 4 teams in FA. Since this in an uncapped year should they just spend the money and lock up all their RFA's and 2 key FA's so that next year isn't even bigger of a pool of FA's?
Matt Williamson (12:22 PM)
Sounds very wise to me. Obviously what they have is good enough to really make some noise. Would still like to see an OLB and DT added in the first two rounds of the draft.
Mark (Encinitas, Ca)
Matt, There has been some chatter about San Diego possibly having major holes. Do you see SD struggling this season?
Matt Williamson (12:24 PM)
The rest of the division is rather terrible, so No. But I agree. I am not sold on the right side of the OL, the RBs, the DL depth, maybe the pass rush once again and they might need one more CB if they deal Cromartie. But, that is a good front office and will plug some holes rather soon. Let's see what they do first before sinking them.
Ron (Grey Skies, Grey Lake, OH)
What does Cleveland draft in first and second round?
Matt Williamson (12:26 PM)
What do they NOT need? LT, LG, OC, NT....other than that, I think anyone is free game. Seriously. Best guy available almost with little regard for the position he plays? A second CB like Haden? Okay. A stud OT to bookend with Thomas? Okay. A QB of the future? Sure. How about a stud WR like Bryant? Fine with me. A demon pass rusher? Why not.
You don't hear alot about Toby Gerheart, the RB from Stanford. What round does he get drafted and why isn't he being talked about more. I think he'll be awesome in the NFL. Mostly around the goaline.
Matt Williamson (12:27 PM)
I seem to be higher on him than most and he looks like a productive 2nd round type RB to me who could make a lot of teams happy. I also have a hunch that he runs pretty well this week as well.
Chad (Las Vegas)
If we combined the Lions and Browns rosters would they have a playoff team?
Matt Williamson (12:30 PM)
Hmm...let's kick that around and you tell me: Stafford, Harrison, MegaTron, Muhammad, Pettigrew, Thomas, Steinbach, Mack, Prob Backus and Cherilus to finish up the O starters. The DL would still be pretty bad outside of Rogers. I like all of the Lions' LBs along with D Jackson. Can live with that crew. Wright is one CB and Delmas is a safety, but the secondary is still pretty weak. Could live with Pool and Buchanon I guess. I would say no, but it wouldn't be terrible. Depends on Stafford I guess. Maybe throw the Rams roster into the mix for fun too!
Will the Pats make a serious run at Dunta Robinson or Peppers or just focus on extending Wilfork and Brady and finding a third receiver?
Matt Williamson (12:30 PM)
I bet they make a serious run-esp at Peppers.
What are the deepest positions in the upcoming draft?
Matt Williamson (12:31 PM)
Really impressed with all the potential starters at safety along with the top tier talent at that position. DT is strong as well. DE isn't bad either. CB seems deep too. Could see a ton of CBs going in from picks 20ish to 40ish.
Is Chad Jones from LSU a suitable replacement for Darren Sharper in N.O. should they not get a deal done ?
Matt Williamson (12:32 PM)
I think Malcolm Jenkins would be/will be the replacement in time.
Steve (Atlanta, Ga)
Do you think Westbrook will find a home or is he destined to retire this year?
Matt Williamson (12:32 PM)
Can he pass a physical? Will a doc clear him with his concussions? Could see him as a 3rd down RB still, but not an everydown guy.
J.B. (Dunmore, PA)
M-Dub: If you combined the Browns and Lions then moved them into one of the Western Divisions, I think you have a playoff contender.
Matt Williamson (12:33 PM)
Perhaps. Might still take SD over them. Does this team still get to pick first overall? Are we adding Suh to the mix as well as a the 33rd best guy? Can they go out and spend in free agency? Quite a few variables here!
As a Seahawks fan I am happy with their two first round picks, but with so many holes on the team I am having trouble figuring out what I think they should do. I see 4 huge holes for them: QB, RB, OT, DL. Do you agree? And what would you do with those picks in a best case scenario?
Matt Williamson (12:35 PM)
I see CB as a major need as well and would prioritize RB as last of that group. Live with Forsett and find a cheap vet or mid round pick. Maybe even keep J Jones around. DE moreso than DT up front too. OG is a massive need as well. Can you live with Locklear and Willis at the OT positions? Maybe-that's a stretch. So, maybe you need to find 2 starting OLinemen. Having the two first rounders is massive, but they had better make it count. Can't say that you should be 100% content at WR either Yogi.
Travis (Columbus, OH)
If the Bengals don't take Gresham at #21, and it looks like they might not, who do they take?
Matt Williamson (12:36 PM)
Might prefer Hernandez at TE. Benn makes sense. Maybe Tate. I think it has to be a pass catcher of some sort. The only other option that I would not criticize is if a big time pass rusher fell (yeah right).
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Which College Football player do you think would be a perfect fit for the New York Giants?
Matt Williamson (12:39 PM)
Earl Thomas from Texas should be very appealing to NYG. I want to see them improve their play making ability and overall speed/range at safety and LB. Also, remember that Fewell is taking over that D and he is more of a Cover 2 type of guy-which means speed. Their LBs were a massive liability in coverage.
Travis (Columbus, OH)
I'm not quite clear on why Hernandez at 21 makes sense. The Bengals have always been block first with their TE's. Can Hernandez be a strong enough blocker to be their #1 TE? I wouldn't be surprised if the Bengals went with a UT or a FS, either.
Matt Williamson (12:40 PM)
I hear you and he doesn't at all fit what they have done at the TE position. But, neither does Coffman, so my thoughts were that they are at least considering using that position as a pass catcher of some sort. They are not innovative on O at all though. Move TE to give the 3-4 LBs in the division a hard time. Maybe just out of the box thinking by me on a team that doesn't do much of that.
Eli Manning (Hoboken, NJ)
Is my 2009 season as good as I get? Is that level of play good enough to get the Giants to another Super Bowl?
Matt Williamson (12:41 PM)
Well, it was your best season to date and you obviously led your squad to the Lombardi Trophy already. He might still be improving. This year was very impressive. Instead of having those around him make him look better, it was the other way around. His team-and they are becoming a throwing O.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Matt, following Chris from Latham, NY's question, which college football player do you think would be a good fit for the Minnesota Vikings?
Matt Williamson (12:44 PM)
I see a lot of needs here too. QB is at the top of the list-even if #4 returns-but you won't get value at the end of the first round there. I don't like the OL much at all either. Maybe two more starters up front. A NT type of the future will be needed soon for sure. CB is a big need right now. Can live with the safeties, but don't love them. Still, this is an extremely talented team-but don't overlook their needs. Their needs are plentiful.
Matt, I hear a lot of speculation of Julius Peppers going to a 3-4 team. I know he is an athletic freak but do you think a 290 pounder could drop back in coverage and not be a liability on a regular basis?
Matt Williamson (12:45 PM)
I think he can. But-considering what you have to pay this guy-doesn't that really compound the risk? Asking him to not only change teams, but to change positions? And oh by the way, here is X million to do so? That would worry me. But strictly from an athletic standpoint, I think he can do it.
No #18 (PGH)
Is it true your son likes NASCAR better than NFL
Matt Williamson (12:46 PM)
Yes and it isn't even close. Knows every car. 3 and a half years old. Glued to the Daytona 500. Certainly knows more about NASCAR than I do. I still have the leg up in football though.
Jesse (Harrisburg PA)
Rank the best recieveing cores in the NFC East.
Matt Williamson (12:48 PM)
The Skins are last. We including TEs? Yes, sure, let's do that. Maybe surprisingly, I want Dallas #1. Roy W stinks, but I REALLY like Austin and Witten. Guys like Crayton/Ogletree are decent too. Then I guess Philly. Wish there was more size here-esp near the goal line. But obviously there is a ton of big play talent on the Eagles and Maclin might take a big step forward. I see Nicks taking two big steps forward though, but the Giants' TEs hurt them in this conversation. 1. Dallas-which I bet most argue with 2. Philly 3. Giants 4. Wash
Chris (Myrtle Beach)
What team could really utilize CJ Spiller the best?
Matt Williamson (12:49 PM)
I hear someone say this-so don't want to take credit for saying it first-but if ANY team in the league added Spiller, how could you criticize that? Seriously. Use him as your primary returner. Give him 10 carries and 3-5 catches. Every game. Spell whoever the RB is and add a huge play element to your O. So, the answer is, Everyone.
Jared (Denver CO)
Matty W the Man! Thanks for the chats. Who should Denver take for their 1st rd Pick, McCalin? Trade up for Bradford? Thanks.
Matt Williamson (12:51 PM)
Wow, this is another team that I see a lot of needs. McClain would be very hard to argue with, but I am also working under the assumption that B Marshall will be somewhere else. That leaves WR as a glaring need and I agree that Orton isn't good enough. But wow, that DL is flat out bad. They need two more starters up front on D. Now, a center and/or guard is required too. Can't say that I am impressed with their roster.
Blake (Fresno; CA)
Will any team make a move for Vincent Jackson if it costs them a first-rounder and a third-rounder?
Matt Williamson (12:53 PM)
I would, esp if I picked near the end of round 1. Balt? Cincy? Would do that in a heartbeat. SD had better be careful with that tender. That dude is for real and human beings like him are few and far between. Remember, he went to the tiniest of tiny schools. Still very much growing as a WR. And there are a lot of WR needy teams.
Rudy (Kansas City)
Matt, what would you recommend to the Chiefs if they go offense in the first round, do you draft the offensive tackle and move Albert to right tackle (or guard) or go with a skill position like Dez Bryant and pick up a good right guard with one of your two second round picks and address the line that way?
Matt Williamson (12:54 PM)
Hard to argue with either, but I am leaning towards the LT. But-I can't lie-my attitude might change after really seeing Bryant at the Combine. I like what I know about him and he is a difference maker. That Pats-style O needs a serious WR threat and I don't trust Bowe. But the OL does stink and Albert doesn't belong at LT. Let's see who really steps up at OT as well between now and DDay.
Charles M (Mt Sterling,Ky)
Do you see Kyle Wilson being there a34 for the Lions taking.
Matt Williamson (12:56 PM)
Yes. Right in that neighborhood. Love that kid. Could go to Minny at the end of round one. Maybe even Baltimore. But, he doesn't look like a first round pick. I know that sounds crazy, but when he walks in the door and meets the owner and gets a huge chunk of cash from ownership, looking the part helps! But he can play. Would be a great fit for Detroit. He and Delmas would be a great start for that awful secondary.
Miguel (Stockton, CA)
As the Raiders looking to unload players who is mostly likely to go?
Matt Williamson (12:58 PM)
What on Earth are they doing? Unloading players but giving up first round picks for aging DEs that don't fit their 4-3 system and signing kicking specialists to massive contracts? Things get weirder and weirder in Oakland. Remember when the Pats stole Moss from them for a 5th round pick? Yes a 5th rounder! Maybe every GM in the league should call Big Al and offer up some beads and trinkets for the island of Manhattan. How about a 4th rounder for Nnamdi Al?
What are your thoughts on the Skins coaching staff? Seems a more professional staff than the amateur one here last year?
Matt Williamson (12:59 PM)
No question and while I love Haslett, like the Buff situation, I am not a fan of a very solid D switching schemes-esp when you have SO many needs on O, no true NT and just invested a fortune in Albert Haynesworth. But overall, a strong staff.
Matt Williamson (1:00 PM)
Folks, great questions today. Really enjoying it, but I got to run. See ya next week.