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)
matt (miami, fl)
how worried should I be at the Fins new offensive coaching staff, lack of RB and QB situation?!
Matt Williamson (11:58 AM)
Can't say that I feel wonderful about the Phins "Progress" of late overall. However, let's look at this glass half full. Keep an eye out this week in the AFC East blog on a peice I wrote about the Dolphins' DL-it is very encouraging to say the least. And this D could be superb. Also, Football Outsiders did something on Henne, stating that no quarterback was unluckier when they did make a bad decision-Sanchez was the luckiest. I was very big on Henne going into last season. Maybe it isn't quite time to bury the guy yet-but competition is needed for sure. Also, more time with B Marshall could pay off. I think Miami has the best set of OTs in the NFL and it shocked me just how bad their interior OL played last year. But interior OLinemen are easy to find. As are RBs.
Hey Matt, Thanks for taking my question. Which wide receiver, braylon edwards or santonio holmes, do you see the Jets keeping? Is there any way they will be able to keep both?
Matt Williamson (12:00 PM)
Holmes is the far superior player. Edwards didn't have a bad year and he cut down on his drops, but I would much rather have Holmes. However, he has already been suspended by the league and has an off the field history that might make NYJ reluctant to give him big money. Honestly, I would have Franchised Holmes over Harris. As for signing both, I suppose it could happen-but that is tough to comment on without a CBA in place. Will there be a cap?
Matt, just read your interesting article on Crabtree. Should we expect greater things from him sheerly by virtue of the switch to a West Coast offense in SF, apart from any upgrade at QB? His weaknesses (straight line speed) seem to make him a terrible fit for the downfield attack SF has tried to run the last couple of years, and an ideal fit for an offense involving lots of short passes and YAC.
Matt Williamson (12:01 PM)
Very well said. And Yes, I think so. Remember how young he is and all the things he has had to overcome in his NFL transition. But still-he needs to play better and hone his craft better. But who is throwing him the ball? I bet Harbaugh quickly falls in love with Crabtree though.
Thoughts on Thompson and McCarthy's extensions in GBay? Through 2015, allegedly...
Matt Williamson (12:02 PM)
How can you argue with that right now? Esp Thompson.
Will you be putting together any sort of pre-draft or offseason power rankings? How about a quick top 5 or 10 going into next year?
Matt Williamson (12:03 PM)
Not sure on that. To be honest, it seems kinda meaningless to me to do it now. Every team's roster is going to change so dramatically and we have no idea if they will even keep their own players. Like everyone, I am real high on the Pats and Pack for the long haul. But I would rather discuss something like that after some players sign and are drafted.
AJ (AKRON OH )
Student of Akron U, Congrats to Mens Soccer team... GO ZIPS!!!!!
Matt Williamson (12:04 PM)
I guess they did something good? If so, great. Zippy is the man.
BEN SALURI (DSM,IA)
Wouldn't the Steelers be wise to sign Willie Colon, move him to right gaurd, keep Adams 1 more year and draft a real left tackle? For example give Sherrod 1 year start him at l tackle and put Starks back at r tackle.
Matt Williamson (12:05 PM)
That could be a plan. Colon was an excellent RT though before his injury. And I would think that Woodley and I Taylor are higher on the priority list than Colon right now. But that does sound good. From what I understand though, Colon didn't take to OG very well early in his career.
Ryan (San Diego)
Vjax for a full season! Now just need to re-sign Weddle and Floyd. I know the franchise tag isnt guaranteed to be back in the new CBA, but in reality it is
Matt Williamson (12:06 PM)
Yeah, I don't think VJax is going anywhere. Floyd is a nice player, but he is replaceable for sure. Weddle should be the next priority. And SD is loaded with draft picks.
Matt do you think gabe carmi will be there for the pack to take over for chad? Or do you move a brian to lt move tj lang to rt and get pouncey to take over for colledge.
Matt Williamson (12:08 PM)
I highly doubt Carimi is there at #32-and I am not sure he is a real LT. I also doubt Pouncey is still there. Would expect Colledge to be gone-but who knows. There are a lot of options here-as you have alluded to. But they do need to add at least one more starting caliber body. Also not sold that Bulaga is a real LT.
Which playoff team has the most holes to fill to return?
Matt Williamson (12:09 PM)
You recruited Darrelle Revis to Pitt, do you think he is the best defensive player you ever recruited, and has he gone beyond all your expectations of him as a player?
Matt Williamson (12:10 PM)
I did help recruit Revis to Pitt. Watched a TON of Aliquippa tape-including him playing basketball. But I had already moved on to Akron when Revis reported to the team. But I do live in PGH and obviously watched him very closely at Pitt. Knew he was quite good and rather special, but didn't expect him to be the best CB in recent memory!
Sanchez or Henne, who has the better year next season, if there is a next season?
Matt Williamson (12:11 PM)
This was asked to me very often going into the season. I always took Henne. But Henne just played too poorly this year. I have to take Sanchez, even though I am not a believer in him either. But Henne could redeem himself.
ahmed (london )
can you see nmandi going to the ravens
Matt Williamson (12:12 PM)
Hadn't thought of that one, but it is a pretty good fit for sure. He would make that secondary very formidable-while now it is pretty average.
Ryan (San Diego)
What do you think about the oline of the Chargers? I think it's good but can probably be upgraded. Just not sure if the need is more pressing than spending those early picks on D guys
Matt Williamson (12:14 PM)
The OL is solid and I do believe that Norv does a nice job of getting more from his line than their collective talent would indicate. They have enough picks though that if an attractive RT/OG type were there at a value spot, I would suggest that they pounce. The D could use things, but I dn't see glaring needs on that side of the ball. Was a pretty strong unit last season.
Vince Young (Austin)
Where do I land? Twin Cities ? San Francisco? Seattle? Phoenix? Miami might be the best fit offensively Or is the release or trade me just a ruse from Bud to fire Fisher and keep me anyway because he can always say we didnt get the right price
Matt Williamson (12:16 PM)
VY, that is a tough one. Could see you sticking around-but are you a Munchak type of guy? I tend to doubt it. I would think you are in the 2nd wave of vet QBs who move. I always think of him in Philly backing up Vick if/when they move Kolb. I don't see him fitting with Harbaugh. I honestly don't see a great fit.
Any chance the Jets go after Floyd if they only resign Holmes. Sanchez would need another weapon on the outside.
Matt Williamson (12:17 PM)
Do you think Floyd and Edwards would demand that much different price tags? I would guess Edwards gets more-he is younger and more talented-but I doubt the difference is massive.
Chris (Ann Arbor, MI)
Big Ben reminded me a lot of Favre (at his worst) in the Super Bowl. Sometimes he plays great, but sometimes he makes killer mistakes in key spots. What does #7 need to do to become more consistent?
Matt Williamson (12:18 PM)
He will always have some of that to his game-it is both his greatest strength and his greatest weakness. I am going to sound like a huge homer here, but after watching the game the 2nd time, I question how healthy he was. We know he had a broken foot and he did something to his knee early in the game. His accuracy was just very off. It wasn't the decisions that hurt as much as his inability to put the ball where he wanted-which is usually what he does extremely well.
Matt how come sam shields had a better year then kareem jackson sam was undrafted and is cushing playing mlb or rolb in 3 4
Matt Williamson (12:20 PM)
I would go with Barwin and Cushing as the OLBs, but I don't think Cushing fits the new D very well overall. He could play ILB next to Ryans, but again-not a great fit. As for Shields vs. Jackson-their talent level really isn't all that much different. Shields was just a one year player at CB at The U-many saw him as just too much of a work in progress. But you are right-he was the better player of the two. Rob, you do know that Houston also let go of Tramon Williams, right?
Where is the best fit for TO?
Matt Williamson (12:22 PM)
Home in his driveway doing sit ups. He (& prob Moss) should be late additions. Teams that want someone better/younger, but realize that they need a WR. Owens did play pretty well though-not going to take that away from him. He is just so much work.
Sameer (Nashua, NH)
Should the Patriots trade for Steve Smith?
Matt Williamson (12:23 PM)
Could see that. I do think he has something left and could really help a contender. That would be ideal for him. I would think they would prefer a taller deep threat though.
What moves do you anticipate the Bears making this offseason?
Matt Williamson (12:23 PM)
Doubt they get real crazy. Would attack the OL first and foremost. Maybe add one more WR to the mix, but I don't think that is as massive of a need as others seem to think. I would like to see them add another contributor at DT.
Marc (Malden, MA)
When there is a new CBA, will the Cardinals listen to offers for Larry Fitz?
Matt Williamson (12:24 PM)
Wow, that would really be throwing in the towel-but isn't exactly what they did last off season? Better get a TON in return to move Fitz.
Andrew (Springfield, MO)
How do you see the future of the Chiefs in the next coming years? I know next year they may slip a bit but I feel they have something good going there in KC.
Matt Williamson (12:26 PM)
I do too. But I do worry about Cassel (Esp without Weiss). He had a good year, but is he the guy? And KC does have needs. RT. WR. OC. OLB for sure-even if they keep Hali (who they better Franchise). Maybe NT as well. Their needs are pretty substantial. I think there are good things going on for sure in KC, but also could see next year as a step backward. Two steps forward, one step back.
Matt, I am literally waiting in the delivery room for my son to be born! Please help me pass some time. Do you think there is any chance the Vikings let Sidney Rice go this offseason via a trade?
Matt Williamson (12:27 PM)
Well, glad you thought of me while waiting! And hopefully everything turns out well for Momma and Baby. But-delivery takes forever. Chill. I really like Rice. It would be a crime to let him go. About to get to his prime.
Nick (Dayton, OH)
How do you see the whole Carson Palmer situation ending?
Matt Williamson (12:29 PM)
The Bengals are not a team to give into a player-right or wrong. I bet he stays. But, maybe they take Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert and move Palmer post-draft. Again, the CBA has a lot to do with that too. But I don't think Cincy is as bad of a team as they were last season. I also have more doubts about Palmer than most do too. Not sure he can still play. If I were Cincy and could get a 2nd rounder, Buh-Bye.
Alex B (New Philadelphia, OH)
Matt will the Browns defense be immediately improved by switching to the 4-3 or have they set themselves back?
Matt Williamson (12:30 PM)
I think they set themselves back-which is an obvious problem considering how much work their passing game needs. I know they prob got tired of S Rogers routine, but he could be a great 4-3 DT. I don't really see a true 4-3 DE on the roster-maybe Roth. Just made more needs for themselves.
Is Colt Mccoy the real deal?
Matt Williamson (12:32 PM)
Not saying No, but leaning towards No. At best, he is Garcia/Gannon, which would be tremendous. At worst, he is a guy who can't throw the deep out in the Cleveland weather. The Browns will go more West Coast-and he fits that well. But I hate the town he plays in for his skill set. Showed moxie and moved the chains consistently though-until the weather hit.
Matt, Thanks for the chat. The Falcons made a lot of moves on D last year. Yet Rodgers still tore them up (as did the Eagles, Ravens, and Saints...all good offenses). Scheme or players?
Matt Williamson (12:33 PM)
A little of both. Those Os tear everyone up though too. Their Safeties are decent players, but much better vs. the run. Another pass rusher would sure be nice. I see the arrow pointing up on that D overall though.
Broncos resigning Bailey make sense ?
Matt Williamson (12:34 PM)
Sorta. They are not close to winning it all-so as a rule of thumb, I would say you let an expensive vet walk. But with Champ, he is still an excellent CB-and I really see him being a Lott/R Woodson type FS after his CB days are done.
Marc (Malden, MA)
I would think it's easier to go from a 3-4 to a 4-3, than the reverse?
Matt Williamson (12:36 PM)
All depends on what you have. Would not say one over the other generally speaking though...but I VERY much think doing it correctly is MUCH harder than many people (including esteemed coaches and front office people) tend to think.
Matt, I would rather keep Greenway who played great last season. Rice is coming of a major injury.
Matt Williamson (12:37 PM)
That isn't a bad point. I like both players a lot. But give me Rice-assuming the team doctors think he is not an injury concern any more. 4-3 WLBs are one of the easiest positions to find. Like L Briggs a few years ago, Greenway might find that the market isn't as great for him as his play would dictate.
Ryan (San Diego)
Do you think the Tampa Special Teams coach coming to the Chargers can make a big difference? I heard he was pretty well respected
Matt Williamson (12:40 PM)
I don't know a ton about him, but I do know that the Chargers ST could not possibly be any worse than a year ago. However, I had also heard that SD's former ST coach wasn't bad at his job either-just had a horrible year. That team did have a ton of injuries-and I don't think many fans realize how much that affects every special teams unit. Constant rotation of bodies on the bottom of the roster.
What are the biggest needs for my Bucs, outside of DE?
Matt Williamson (12:40 PM)
DE for sure. RT would be great. Joseph is a free agent-and didn't play well last year. So maybe two OLinemen. I really think a complementary RB (pass catching type) to Blount would be huge. Ruud could leave too. Decent list, but not crazy.
Ben (los angeles)
Matt, no one is talking about the niners much. what do you think the attitude difference will be with Harbaugh? Singletary seemed a bit aloof......
Matt Williamson (12:42 PM)
I thought Singletary did a very bad job last year. And I have to think that Harbaugh will only be better. But you need a QB to win in this league-and they don't have one. To me, a guy like Kolb might be worth more to SF than to any other team.
Champ Bailey on the Patriots as a FS? Trade meriweather for a 2nd rounder ?
Matt Williamson (12:42 PM)
I think you are getting a little nuts. Merriweather certainly was not a deserved Pro Bowler, but that seems like more work than it is worth-and you get much older.
Richard (Greensboro, NC)
Singletary was aloof? Aloof? Has someone redefined aloof?
Matt Williamson (12:43 PM)
Yeah, I should have commented on that myself. I am slipping. Never should have let that slip by.
Mike (Rutland, VT)
Matt,Cowboys need a solid draft this year. Can Jerry deliver?
Matt Williamson (12:44 PM)
He can. Their needs are really well defined to me. RT. Maybe some OL depth/youth. FS for sure. Another CB.
Almost every team in the NFL has needs at O-line.Is this a product of the college game using spread offense or just a cycle where the talented big guys are on the defensive side of the ball?
Matt Williamson (12:46 PM)
I have been saying that for a while too. There is a def OL shortage right now. Even GBay and PGH-not great OL play. But I do think all the spread in college has a LOT to do with this problem. Also, more player movement now than at any point in history-and OLs REALLY need continuity to excel. Of course the men they are trying to block are now even more freaks of nature and the DCoordinators are mad scientists-which doesn't help either.
What could the Patriots reasonably expect to get for Mankins in a trade at this point?
Matt Williamson (12:47 PM)
Sure doesn't seem like they are planning on parting with him. I would want a late first rounder. The guy is exceptional. If I am BB, I don't care that Mankins isn't real happy-but he is going to be a Pat! And I would certainly try to lock him up long term. Might be the best OG in football.
Matt (Granbury, TX)
Is it time to question the super-elite status of Brady? While his regular season was great, it's been 3 playoff stinkers in a row for him, by my count.
Matt Williamson (12:48 PM)
I think that is fair. He deserved the MVP, but did stink vs. the Jets in the playoffs. Obviously an all time great and HOFamer-and might still be the #1 QB in football, but your points are legit.
Do you think teams around the league will take a closer look at the Green Bay model of developing your talent? High priced free agents are a huge gamble and they got terrific production out of several undrafted free agents.
Matt Williamson (12:49 PM)
For sure. But most fan bases and owners are not as patient as Green Bay's (or Pittsburgh's). It is a tremendous model-no doubt. But I don't think a GM can go to his owner and say "We are going to get an undrafted free agent to fill our #1 CB need."
The Football Gods (In the Sky)
NEVER question Tom Brady...and by the way, he sleeps with Giselle.
Matt Williamson (12:50 PM)
These are also extremely good points. And-like I said with Big Ben in the Super Bowl-you can't tell me that Brady was healthy for his playoff game.
Brady's postseason record is still 14-5. I'm sure Peyton Manning, among others, would take that.
Matt Williamson (12:50 PM)
Everyone would take that.
Joe (St. Louis)
Do you see the Rams taking Julio Jones or a lineman like Pouncey or even Kerrigan? I'm hoping that they get Jones.
Matt Williamson (12:51 PM)
J Jones would be great, but the more I think about their WRs, the more I like it. Avery, Clayton (needs resigned), Amendola, etc...they have some bodies there. Adding a true #1 would be great-I hear ya, but I am not sure it is as big of a need as most tend to think.
who are the ravens going to get in the nfl draft
Matt Williamson (12:53 PM)
I see a lot of needs here all of a sudden too. REALLY need a WR to get deep downfield. Yanda (who is excellent) and Gaither are both free agents-and I am not sold that Oher is really a LT. Better at RT. Birk isn't a youngster either at OC. Can they count on Kindle? If not, an edge pass rusher is needed opposite Suggs. CB is def a need and Ray won't be around forever. GREAT organization, but they have their hands full.
Are the Falcons executing a similar franchise building plan to GB?
Matt Williamson (12:54 PM)
I would say so. Building from within for the most part. But they have gone out each off season with this regime and spent big money on a free agent or two.
Matt, I like your work but I think sometimes you are enamored too much by the skill-set of a player. Undrafted players (Zombo, Blount) and those lacking elite tools (Sanchez - although I don't think he will be) can be great too like John Randle.
Matt Williamson (12:56 PM)
I def recognize that and your critisism could be valid. Real tough to count on finding those type of guys consistently though. But-if I were with a team and knew say, our OL coach extremely well-you know how well he can handle the average athlete would has a heart and work ethic of gold. But, as a general scout, that is tougher where I sit. But trust me, I do look at much more than what they roll out of bed with every day in terms of abilities.
On talks about Kevin Kolb. If a team is going to draft a Cam Newton, Blabbert, Mallet or Locker wouldnt it be better to spend that 1st rounder on Kolb a proven starter instead. Why take teh risk any rookie is the next Jamarcus or Ryan Leak, Couch etc.
Matt Williamson (12:58 PM)
Gabbert, but I hear ya. Perhaps. There is no guarentee with Kob either. He doesn't have a ton of snaps under his belt yet. And I see Kolb as a bit of a system (WCO) QB. If you are not running that scheme, he might not be for you-where one of the big armed youngsters might be the better skill set fit. But yes, I do think you have valid points. Using first round picks on 22 year old QBs is a risky business. But the Eagles are not going to give Kolb away either-might cost you the same price tag.
the patriots have several draft picks this year. what do u see them addressing
Matt Williamson (12:59 PM)
OLB has to be #1. Might be time to add OL help. Light is up for free agency and the Mankins situation is sticky. Grooming another DE makes sense. Downfield WR like I mentioned before could be a great get as well.
Matt Williamson (1:00 PM)
Folks, I am out. Good chat. Stop back next week!