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)
What's up Folks? Still a lockout-sure, but that isn't going to slow us down today.
Through his rookie season, would you say that Ndamukong Suh is not quite as good as people thought he was going to be, just as good, or even better?
Matt Williamson (12:01 PM)
Better. But not quite as good as many think he is. To me, he is not yet an elite all around DT-not one of the very best in the league. He will be though. And he seems pretty special. But his run D was a weakness for much of the season. It did improve down the stretch though. He's legit, but I just think some think he is already Elite-but not quite there yet.
Jared (Denver CO)
Matt my man! Thanks for the chat as usual. Denver has to take Dareus at #2 right? He can play the 4-3 nose tackle (he is a great run stopper) in Fox's scheme but he also has the ability of an undertackle to penetrate and get after the QB. He is a 2 for one!
Matt Williamson (12:03 PM)
I very much believe that if Dareus is there, Denver takes him. As they should. And you are right. Every down player who can be really effective all over the formation. The only other guy I would not critisize Denver for taking at #2 is Peterson. But Dareus would be my #1 guy on the board if I were in charge of the Broncos.
ELI (MY CUBE)
Matt, what is your opinion of Locker? between him, Ponder and Kaeppernik who do you feel will have a better career, and if all 3 were available who would you pick?
Matt Williamson (12:05 PM)
I like Ponder the best of those guys-by far. Very high on him...but particularly for a West Coast O. I would actually consider him on a QB-starved team in the middle of Round 1. These three have very different skill sets though. What O are you running? Throw Mallett into that mix too-and I think you need to rank them by which O you want to employ. Locker is such a tease. Has it all-except the accuracy in the pocket. That is a big problem though! Maybe a coach (Shanny?) gets a hold of him and fixes it. But few guys really improve their accuracy in the NFL...when everything gets more difficult.
Curt (Rocklin )
Matt I had a question about teams draft boards. I keep hearing that certain players are safer picks. I am Broncos Fan, and I am worried that we are taking a safe pick, and not the best player. What are your thoughts.
Matt Williamson (12:07 PM)
Well, some players are certainly riskier than others. Maybe the guy isn't a self starter and doesn't love football-but is Crazy Talented. If he plays hard, you win. If he doesn't, you lose. Some guys you just have a better idea of what they will do than others-higher floors, but sometimes shorter cielings. As for Denver at #2, I see Peterson and Dareus both being very safe-but also exceptional football prospects. Could Fairley be the better pro than Dareus? Sure, but this is a huge decision and there is more tape and proof that Dareus is not going to let you down.
Max (Lake Charles(LA))
What do you think the Saints will be looking for come draft time?
Matt Williamson (12:09 PM)
I think NOrls solved their DT situation by signing Rogers. But they could use another DE to complement W Smith, esp on throwing downs. I also think that Gregg Williams would love to have a versatile do-it-all OLB (Ayers?) in the mold of what Julian Peterson used to be like in his prime. SS is another consideration, but not a super high priority. The OL (OT and C) could use an influx of talent too.
Do you agree with the top ten coaches ESPN posted yesterday? in order - Belicheck, Tomlin, Reid, McCarthy, Payton, Coughlin, Rex, Lovie, Mike Smith, M Shanahan & John Harbaugh tied for 10th. I think Reid, Lovie, and Mike Smith are a little too high, but don't know who would replace them.
Matt Williamson (12:10 PM)
Funny you said that-because I thought the same thing. You have to think, there is only 32 teams-and how many of those will have a 1st or 2nd year head coach? A LOT. I was actually pretty happy not to get invited on that panel to chose! And I agree on the three you mentioned as "Overrated". But again, who is better? Not a stellar crop.
If Akeem Ayers falls to the Giants at #19, do they have to take him?
Matt Williamson (12:11 PM)
No, but he would be a real nice fit as that versatile SLB to put next to Goff. Should be an every down LB. Spags would have used those talents better, but still, I think the Giants could get a lot from Ayers. Good fit. But "Have To"? Nah
What do the Saints do at LB??
Matt Williamson (12:12 PM)
I mentioned Ayers for them-would be a great fit. M Wilson from Illinois could be that type of guy too. But this isn't a great LB draft for these type of guys. I think the Saints need 1 starter at LB-SLB type. Vilma is overrated, but Casillas could surprise at WLB.
Jason (San Francisco)
In your profile of AFC South Wide Recievers you mentioned that Kenny Britt might be a better all around reciever if he had QB's that could get him the ball deep. It seems as if he is already a deep threat and needs to work on his short stuff. The intermediate game is also there and consistent.His hards per catch went up in second season from 15 to 18
Matt Williamson (12:14 PM)
I think he is awesome. Not sure exactly how it read on the .com, but I would take Britt over all the AFC South WRs right now except for Andre J. Wayne is probably the better player today, but won't be by the end of the 2011 season.
If NO lands Adrian Clayborn at #24 is that a steal?
Matt Williamson (12:16 PM)
No. From what I understand, because of his medical (arm) condition, Clayborn can only line up at RDE. That is Smith's spot. Smith could move to the other side I guess, but I want my best guy coming off the blind side. I usually don't look a ton into injuries, but this one really scares me. You can't get by with half of your upper body being a liability as a DE in the NFL. Again, medical situations are VERY tough for me to comment on-so maybe I am wrong. I hope so.
Nick (Middletown, NJ) [via mobile]
Will the Bills address the OT position this year or totally disregard it again and throw whatever scrub comes along in there?
Matt Williamson (12:17 PM)
Well, OT certainly isn't their only need! And they won't take one in the 1st round. There should be a nice crop though in Round 2: Ijalana, Gilbert, Franklin, etc.
Joseph (Sacramento, CA)
Robert Quinn to Washington and opposite Orakpo? Solid way to build the 3-4?
Matt Williamson (12:18 PM)
I think that would be tremendous. And two years from now, it would not shock me if Quinn was the best player from this entire draft. I tend to think he doesn't make it to #10 though any more.
Colts fan since andy dalton is a high second round guy how about keeping our 1 for a tackle trading our 2&3 to gb 32 to get dalton thanks.
Matt Williamson (12:22 PM)
I bet Indy is VERY intrigued with Dalton. They should be. He would fit in very well. But not sure that is enough to get the deal done with GBay. And not sure that going QB that early is prudent for Indy right now. They are bringing back a ton of injured players-and should be a true contender once again in 2011. I might just live for today. Side note on Indy: I too see OT (& OL in general) as their biggest need. And there should be a guy who really fits their system for them in Round 1 like Costanzo, Solder or Sherrod. But here is my thought on that: Indy wants athletes-and will comprimise strength/power to get it up front. Fine. But, to me, these guys I mentioned are all prob a year away from being strong enough to deal with an NFL bull rush. So-maybe you go DT in Round 1-Paea, Luiget or Nevis for example...and live for today.
MW, you missed the NYG question on Ayers - do they have to take him if he's there?
Matt Williamson (12:23 PM)
I answered it: (3403163) Matt Williamson: No, but he would be a real nice fit as that versatile SLB to put next to Goff. Should be an every down LB. Spags would have used those talents better, but still, I think the Giants could get a lot from Ayers. Good fit. But "Have To"? Nah
Josh (clearwater fl) [via mobile]
Dubs! I think the assumption the Bucs need to look at CB is a little overstated. With Lewis, Biggers and Mack, we have enough youth and 2nd tier CB's for the forseeable future. Why not go Carimi in the 1st and Jarvis Jenkins in the 2nd?
Matt Williamson (12:24 PM)
Not sure that Jenkins is the real edge rusher they need. And I hear you on CBs, but there isn't anyone who resembled a #1 in that mix-someone to cover White/Colston. But Carimi would be an excellent addition for TBay-wouldn't argue at all with that pick. Can still use free agency to add D help as well. Adding one big time prospect on O might be all you need on that side of the ball.
yo matt! what do you think of the chances of the panthers selecting a quarteback with the first pick of either Gabbert or Newton
Matt Williamson (12:26 PM)
Very very high-and they should. I would take Gabbert. But overall, I see this situation as being VERY friendly for a 1st round rookie QB: They have an OL, a very good running game, a decent D...all are things that most teams that have the first overall pick rarely have. Plus-new coaching staff with some rope to do their own thing in terms of job security. Now is the the time to draft that Franchise QB prospect for the Panthers.
Matt, the Ravens' bigger need: OT, DE, CB or WR? All are positions of need, but I hate taking WRs in the first round. Your thoughts?
Matt Williamson (12:28 PM)
Can't see going WR in Round 1 for Balt-Ozzie doesn't reach in round 1 and getting any WR other thna Jones/Green would be a reach. But Dave, your Birdies very much need speed on the outside to free up the intermediate routes, the running game and to let Flacco use that big arm. But Round 2 might be the spot to do that. Those other needs are legit as well. But Ozzie is a fantastic GM-he isn't going to reach..esp this year when he can fall back on free agency if he doesn't fill every need in the draft.
MW, What's your opinion of Phil Taylor? Do you think KC would look at him at 21?
Matt Williamson (12:30 PM)
Should consider him for sure. Might be a little early, but he seems like the only pure two gapping NT prospect in this draft to count on as a starter. And KC has a need there. KC is another very intersting team to me for this first round. They need a WR, but like Balt, shouldn't take one there. Carimi looks like a great Chief. So does Pouncey. A pass rushing OLB would be fantastic as well-and there should be some options available. Trading down seems prudent. And remember-Pioli grew up with Belichick in NEng...trade down!
Thanks MW, for some reason an answer about Adrian Clayborn posted under the initial Ayers question. Anywho, can you see NYG trading up for someone? Maybe if Amukamara slides past Detroit at 13?
Matt Williamson (12:31 PM)
Doubt it. I think they take the best OLineman available in the end. Ayers or M Wilson also would be very intriguing. What about Mark Ingram if he is there?
Ponder a good fit in DC?
Matt Williamson (12:32 PM)
Okay fit, but not great. Shanny wants an athlete like Ponder and a smart guy like Ponder, but he also covets guys like Cutler with big arms to drive the ball deep downfield-esp off play action. That is more Locker to me and I bet Shanny really likes Locker. Could trade down for Locker in Round 1 or trade up from Round 2 for him.
Tom (MN) [via mobile]
With your recent article on Jared Allen do you think DE would be the best choice for the Vikings in the first round? Perhaps a former Vikings son?
Matt Williamson (12:34 PM)
Download yesterday's Football Podcast-we talk Vikes for about 20 mins. I think Minny MUST leave this draft with a QB in the first two rounds. And I suggested Ponder even with their first rounder. But, if they don't go QB in round one, DE would be a fine choice. Quinn would be great, but I doubt he is there. A Smith? Listen to the podcast...then get back to me!
Dont you think Pouncey is a little overrated? Did you watch any of his games at Florida this year?
Matt Williamson (12:35 PM)
He is safe. Good football player. But I also tend to think that if his last name were Smith, he would be a high 2nd round player. Great timing on coming out of the draft for the twin bro.
Spags is STL's HC. Fewell is NYG's DC.
Matt Williamson (12:36 PM)
I am aware of that. What I was implying was that Spags would be a better fit for using a multi-demensional OLB like Ayers than the group they have in NY now. But thanks for catching that.
Matt Williamson (12:36 PM)
If Peterson and Miller are both there at 5 . Who should the cardinals take and why?
Matt Williamson (12:37 PM)
Miller. They need pass rush/OLB help SO bad. Can live with the secondary. I can't live with the OLBs.
If his (Mike Pouncey) last name was Smith, he'd be the Atlanta Falcons head coach - old, white, with silver hair.
Matt Williamson (12:38 PM)
Good point. In fact, I bet there are a quite a few human beings named Mike Smith...in all shapes and sizes.
Would Cameron Jordan or JJ Watt be a better fit for the Patriots if both available at #17?
Matt Williamson (12:40 PM)
If I were a Pats fan, Jordan is the guy in this draft that I covet most. I bet BB is salivating over him. Does it all. But I doubt he is there in #17. I would have a very tough time passing on him at #9 for Dallas. But BB would work serious magic with this guy. In fact, I know it isn't their style, but maybe-just maybe-the Pats move up a few spots to grab him. Not a knock on Watt-who they prob like a lot too-but BB could be SO week to week specific with his D game planning with a versatile chess piece like Jordan.
Mike Smith looks like John Gotti
Matt Williamson (12:40 PM)
I see that. Good call.
How well do you think the Chiefs will be this year?
Matt Williamson (12:41 PM)
I wanna see the off season before prediciton time, but I tend to think they will be #2 in the West behind SD. They made great strides last season, but we can't overlook just how easy their schedule was either.
when is the preseason and regular season schedules due out??
Matt Williamson (12:41 PM)
No idea-anyone have this answer handy?
So which player should Jerry pick? Tyron Smith or Cam Jordan?
Matt Williamson (12:42 PM)
I like both of them over Prince. And wow, I would have a real tough time deciding between these two. Maybe JJ can trade down three spots or so and hope someone makes the decision for him. I tend to think there will be better RTs in round 2 than there will be DEs though.
Matt Williamson (12:42 PM)
You Da Man
Scott (New York)
Hey Matt, hope all is well. Dark Horse pick...Quinn doesn't make it past Buffalo at #3. You heard it here first!!
Matt Williamson (12:44 PM)
Wow. I actually would not be critical of that. V Miller is a real nice player, but I am afraid of his ability to handle the run right at him as a 3-4 OLB...esp in that division. Quinn is the bigger body and just as talented.
Any chance Carimi, Solder or Carimi can fall to #29?
Matt Williamson (12:45 PM)
I do think one of those three will be there. Or Sherrod, who is in that class to me. I assume you ment Costanzo instead of saying Carimi twice, but Carimi would be a GREAT Bear.
Matt is my question not good enough to answer?
Matt Williamson (12:45 PM)
I haven't noticed specifically...but maybe you answered your own question for yourself there Kyle.
Ben (Overland Park)
Matt, where does Aldon Smith get taken off the board?
Matt Williamson (12:46 PM)
High. Doesn't get past Jax. STL, Minny, Hous all could really covet him as well.
Really, Matt??? I think the only tackle with a shot at 29 is Ijalana. Too many teams from 19-23 need tackles/OL help. Hmm.
Matt Williamson (12:47 PM)
I feel ya, but it isn't like those are the only needs for those teams. I gues I did sound a little more confident about that than I should have. How about Watkins for Chi as a fall back plan as a RT or OG? That kid is a player-bet PGH and NEng would love to land Watkins.
Craig (Braintree MA)
Vikings are one of those teams that has done consistently well in the first round because they usually don't reach and take the best talent on the board. Who do you think might surprise them at 12?
Matt Williamson (12:48 PM)
Again-listen to the podcast. But overall, I don't love how this is looking right now for the Vikes needs vs. their draft spot at #12. Seems like an excellent team to move a few spots up or a several spots back. Again...Ponder?
Hey Matt, what are you listening to today? Should the Raiders go draft Oline help or first or take a shot at a QB at #48?
Matt Williamson (12:50 PM)
Just have my huge playlist going now on random-about 3300 songs. Great songs. A tune from New Jack City is on right now-prob shouldn't type the title. SO hard to predict what is sitting there for Oakland. But I bet they LOVE Mallett. And wow, do they need OL help.
I'm with you on Danny Watkins; could be the best guard in this class with apologies to Pouncey (or if Pounce, er Smith, ends up at center). Seattle should quit messing around with a QB and pair Watkins with Okung and rebuild the line.
Matt Williamson (12:51 PM)
Could be similar to the W Jones/Hutch glory days. I love Watkins. The only real negative I see with the guy is that he is an old prospect. Has that hockey defensemen attitude...I like that.
Which QB would be the best fit for the 49ers in the second round, Dalton, Ponder, Mallet, Kapernick?
Matt Williamson (12:52 PM)
I don't like Mallet or Kapernick for SF in their WCO. I love Ponder, as many of you prob know by now. Not sure how Ponder can get past the Hawks. Dalton would also be a great fit. If SF can get a stud at really any position at #7 (Peterson, Green, Quinn) and then get Ponder or Dalton (even in a trade up) that would be an A+ draft for me for the Niners.
From your analysis of Carolina, if they hit on a great QB, the NFC south is going to be a beast.
Matt Williamson (12:53 PM)
True. But Car isn't going to be beastly in 2011-even if they hit.
If i ask a question i expect it to get answered Matt!! Not get blown off!!
Matt Williamson (12:53 PM)
Then keep up your pouting and see how that works out for you.
Jay (Bloomington, IN)
If John Fox does not start Tebow and things go badly, will the public outcry be too much to overcome?
Matt Williamson (12:54 PM)
He will have a long leash-as will Elway. But that very well could get messy at QB when considering that Fox/Elway were not the ones who went out on a very weak limb to take Tebow.
Jason (Moon Twp.)
So everyone thinks the Steelers need to grab a corner, OL & DL in the first round. If they don't resign Ike there are obvious issues, but while the Oline is heavily criticized, there really aren't that many open spots if Legursky is expected to compete. Therefore we are basically back to the same premise: draft the best player available!
Matt Williamson (12:56 PM)
Hard to argue with that theory in this case. Legursky or Colon (if resigned) might be the RG. But Watkins would look great there-then you have depth and options. I don't love the CBs that should be there at #31. Smelling a Steelers trade down. How about Ras I Dowling? Think about it. I actually like Ironhead Heyward's kid a lot too at #31. We do know that they will not go QB, TE, WR, RB, LB or S at #31 though.
what round do you see the Jags getting their future QB?
Matt Williamson (12:57 PM)
Top 2. But I say that for a LOT of teams in this draft...not all are going to get that accomplished!
Marc (Malden, MA)
If Carolina isn't going to be any good, then why use the #1 pick on a QB? See if Claussen is any good and if he isn't, they'll have the #1 pick next year and get Luck.
Matt Williamson (12:57 PM)
I said they won't be a Beast. They should improve. You can't just assume that you will be the worst team in all of football!
Regards the Chargers--at 18th....DE or OLB seem to be their top priority...who will be on the board with their selection?
Matt Williamson (12:58 PM)
I also like Carimi here. But I would bet on a DE. They are pretty good shape. Can do a lot of BAA drafting...and they have a lot of picks.
Is Ruud deserving big time money? From the Bucs or another team?
Matt Williamson (12:59 PM)
No. Solid starter, but not a "Big Money Player". There are a lot of guys out there than can do what he does. Again, good player though.
Jason (Moon Twp.)
Do you think the Steelers overdrafted Jason Worilds, or do you think he could have a Timmons like emergence a few years down the road?
Matt Williamson (1:00 PM)
I like what I saw. Harrison isn't going to last forever-up in age and had two surgeries recently. And PGH VERY much understands the value of OLB in their D. Plus, with Woodley's contract situation (doubt he leaves though) they needed the insurance. Let Worilds marinate a little...
Matt Williamson (1:01 PM)
Folks, that is a wrap. Starving. Need some grub. Stop back next week. Great work today.