Print and Go Back ESPN: SportsNation

February 18, 1:25 PM ET
Chat with Scouts Inc.'s Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:54 AM)

MW here. Let's get rolling.

Mike (Boca Raton)

Do you anticipate any changes to the Ravens offense? Rumors are circulating around Heap and possibly McGahee being released.

Matt Williamson
  (11:58 AM)

That doesn't seem far fetched to me at all-and Jason Brown could very well leave. McGahee wouldn't bother me and Heap isn't anywhere close to where he once was. Still, those guys will not be easy to upgrade and Heap is more of a key in that regard than McGahee, as Rice and especially McClain can get the job done running the ball. You gotta think that Flacco and Gaither and maybe Clayton all will step their games up as 2nd year starters though. Will be interesting and they might not have quite as dominant of a D to lean on if they are hit hard with defections on that side of the ball. One note with Baltimore though is that K Gregg returns. That guy can play and while they didn't miss him, he is a real handful to keep blocked.

Kyle (OH)

If the Rams draft Andre Smith is it okay to turn in my fan card? It would mark the second year in a row they refused to take the best available talent at #2...

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

I hear ya and Smith certainly worries me. Crabtree would be my pick, but one good thing with A Smith early on is that he could come into the league as a OG befor moving to OT, although I am sure he would beat out Barron right off the bat at RT. But still-Crabtree and Avery would make quite a twosome for years to come and that makes dealing Holt that much easier.

Drew (Baltimore, MD)

Matt, Charm City seems to be up in a frenzy with the amount of free agents the ravens have. However, I'm feeling extremely relaxed about the situation knowing Ozzie Newsome is in charge. His decision to release McAlister was big, and I am sure more big decisions are to come soon. What advantage do the Ravens have over other teams in the off-season by having a GM like Ozzie?

Matt Williamson
  (12:01 PM)

It is huge and that is something that I should have mentioned earlier. How many first rounders has Ozzie missed on? Doesn't really happen too often at all. Exceptional front office. Like I said, losing someone like McGahee really isn't much of a loss. Heap and McAlister may not be either. However, having a quality TE for a young QB to throw to is sure a nice thing to have. It hasn't been talked about much, but this is also a very deep TE draft, so keep that in mind.

Mike (Boca Raton)

Hines Ward is scheduled to make nearly $7mm in salary in the last year of his contract. Do you think the steelers extend him to get cap space and let him finish his career or do you think they go their separate ways after next season?

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

Could be the right time to do that. PGH has quite a few big named guys up for free agency after next season though and I would be more inclined to give deals to Heath Miller, James Harrison, etc than Ward. But, if some sort of cap friendly deal can be worked out, by all means.

Bill Romanowski (Denver)

If the Broncos take a RB with #12 I am going to organize a posse to march on Dove Valley. Will you join?

Matt Williamson
  (12:03 PM)

Sign me up as well

sam caine

Do you see the Packers possibly adding julius peppers to play in our new 3-4 defense? It'd be pretty formidable to have these four linebackers: aaron kampman, aj hawk, nick barnett, and julius peppers

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

Let me start by saying that I hate the move to a 3-4 for GBay, but sure, that is a lot of talent at LB...but, also four good players who are MUCH better in a 4-3 than 3-4 and who have never played their new position.

Joeseph (Denver)

I hear Malcolm Jenkins would be a nice convert to Safety. Do the Broncos pick him if Raji is not available?

Matt Williamson
  (12:05 PM)

Not sure he will be there and yes, he does have some fine FS qualities-but I do worry about how good of a tackler he really is. Obviously that is important as a last layer of D. Can the Broncos afford to make position changes with their high picks right now too? That D is a nightmare right now.

Guru Pitka (South Africa)

So what do you feel is the reasonable option for the Browns to draft?

Matt Williamson
  (12:07 PM)

Two guys who I expect to increase their stock in the coming week or so are Orakpo and E Brown. Both should be OLB options for Clev. Looking at the Browns, adding a LB has to be the top priority-esp OLB. Mauluga also could be an option at ILB, but finding a pass rush is huge. Would live with the RBs for now, at least as first round picks go. A stud RT might be hard to pass on though.

chris (az)

Who are viable trade partners with the pats for Cassell and waht can they expect in return

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

I said yesterday-by the way, this is my third chat day in a row...rolling. Anyway, I thought that they would end up getting something along the lines of the Vikes first round pick or something of about equal value. Plenty of teams will show interest. Some that come to mind are obviously Minny, but also TBay, Det and KC.

Danny (NC)

Can the panthers EVER get back to the SUPER BOWL?????

Matt Williamson
  (12:11 PM)

Obviously made big strides last year, but I worry going forward. The Panthers' decision makers were on the hot seat one year ago. They mortgaged the future to win now-and accomplished their goal. But now, they don't have a first rounder and must upgrade their DL and possibly find a QB of the future. Still not in love with their pass catchers outside of S Smith either and that really hurts this O. But, I assume they will lock up Gross and then franchise Peppers-who will yield draft picks in trade. But-that DL is a real problem.

Matt (Boston)

Which team is the leading candidate for Matt Cassell?

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

Gotta think Minny. No inside knowledge here, but they are very close to be contenders and look to be the best team in their division even with QB questions.

Os (Jersey)

Dub! You should chat every day. With Haynesworth apparently decided to test the market, who makes a run at him?

Matt Williamson
  (12:13 PM)

Pushing for it. Just a chatting machine here of late and loving it. TBay seems to be the early leader in the club house for Haynesworth-and that could be a real good fit. Others surely will kick the tires though.

Dustin (Minnesota)

Do you think the Vikes will actually upgrade their quarterback situation?

Matt Williamson
  (12:15 PM)

I don't know how they can't. Even it means bringing in someone like Leftwich and going with him, TJax and Booty-that would be an upgrade and they wouldn't have to break the bank with $$$ or draft picks to do it. Use their first rounder on a RT or WR to help the O further. Not a terrible option. Garcia could factor in here as well.

Hernando (Pueblo)

Do you have a hybrid defense in mind that you could recommend to the Broncos so that they are not faced with such personnel issues?

Matt Williamson
  (12:17 PM)

Not really-quite the nightmare. Starting from scratch. Defenses are not built in a day-or one offseason in this case. Who are true keepers on their roster right now on D besides Champ (aging) and DJ Williams, who is better as a WLB in the 4-3? How succesful was Nolan in this quest to balance the 4-3 to 3-4 transition in SF? Not very-and he actually had better players to work with then.

Ramblin Man (Colorado)

Garcia is a quick fix. they need to look long term and really groom a QB

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

Easier said than done, but they are close to competing. Could really use two QBs. Sign Leftwich and draft Freeman in round one, but the window for winning rarely stays open long. Might be time to live for today.

Matt (Detroit)

Would the Lions really make a run at Cassell? There is so much work to be done that the first round picks [and C. Johnson] seem to be untouchable. Besides that, the O-Line is so terrible that I'm not sure any QB would succeed. Thoughts?

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

Not disagreeing with you, but would you give up that first pick in round 2 and maybe a 2nd rounder next year for Cassel? Tempting. Still would have two first rounders in the meantime and 2nd rounders are very alluring-don't cost nearly as much to sign. Detroit needs everything. That isn't a secret. That roster is not going to be transformed in one off season. Just isn't going to happen. Just start getting pieces.

Kev (NYC)

In your estimation, is Eli worth 100M+?

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

Sorta. How about that for a terrible on the fence answer? Think about it. How many QBs in the NFL right now would you trade Eli for straight up? Off the top of my head, I would trade him for Rivers, Brees, Ben, Ryan and then it gets a little foggy. Obviously Big Bro and Brady are better players but much older when thinking big picture. I can easily name ten teams who would kill to have Eli behind center. There are two types of teams in this league-those with QBs and those without. NYG is one of the former...and QBs cost money.

Robert (Latrobe, PA)

Does Mendenhall take over for Parker this year? I loved that kid in college.

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

I do a lot of local radio here in PGH and said before the season that Mend would replace Parker as the top dog by about WK 8 of this past season. Obviously that didn't happen, but I expect it to next year. Not a big believer in Parker here. PGH got ZERO from last year's draft class and could really add a wealth of young talent from this and last years' classes combined...led by Mendenhall.

Jorge (New Orleans)

Matt- Where if anywhere do you see deuce McAllister going?

Matt Williamson
  (12:24 PM)

Home. Put his feet up and watch games from his couch. Very good career, but I think it is over.

Kev (NYC)

Quick follow-up...Who won the 04 trade? or would you rather have Eli with the one ring or Rivers and his potential from 2009 on?

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

That one ring carries a TON of weight, but who is to say that Rivers wouldn't have pulled that off too? SD won. They got Rivers, Merriman and Kaeding (I think) for Eli, right? Pretty hefty package.

Chris (Broadview Heights, OH)

What do you think the Browns will do with Sean Jones? I've read they won't franchise him and their internal options are poor at best. Any ideas on what will happen?

Matt Williamson
  (12:26 PM)

That is a tough one. I really don't love him at all and don't think he has played up to his abilities. But, finding a S in this market this year is a tough task and someone out there will pay Jones more than he is worth. Very tough call.

Jorge (New Orleans)

Matt- I tend to agree he really punished his body over the years and will be greatly missed

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

RBs don't last long-just the nature of this brutal, but wonderful, game.

Adam (Jersey)

What does the market for Derrick Ward look like? I think he's looking for 4.5 a year

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

I like the guy, but remember that running behind that OL makes average runners look very good and very good runners look great. But, if I were a team with a so-so starter, I would love to add Ward to the mix. Versatile and tough. Not a lot of tread off his tires. 4.5 may end up being a bit steep, but it is also hard to guess what the new market will be like. Nice addition though.

Shawn (Toronto)

Matt, if KC opts not to take a QB at # 3, I'm not sure what they will do. Seems like there is no defensive end to take there. Is Curry a good selection there? I worry that a linebacker in a 4-3 defense doesn't have the change to make enough impact plays to be worth a pick that high. Your thoughts?

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

I very much agree and remember, Pioli will be the one making the decisions. NE's D was built on DL play and KC's needs a lot of work. A stud pass rusher is far and away their biggest need. Just a terrible pass rush last year. Orakpo/Brown? Maybe, but that seems early and they are not the biggest guys for the 4-3. KC obviously could look to trade back, but that isn't easy. Curry is very solid and while I don't love the position he plays, there is very little bust potential there, which is obviously a huge thing to consder when rebuilding.

Adam (Jersey)

I agree with you, but this is the year for him to choose free agency while people are looking for the next Michael Turner. But again, you're right, I think he might be asking a bit much.

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

Think about every team in the NFL right now though-how many of them really have RBs a top of their needs list? I realize that a lot of teams love the 2 RB system, but this is going to be two drafts in a row that is stocked with RBs. So that means there will be a plethora of young legs in the NFL next year-which hurts all free agent RB's cause.

ed (ny)

Do you think the Broncos offense will be unstopable next season with new coach McDaniels and their young group of receivers?

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

Pretty much so. A few concerns: Cutler needs to continue to cut down on the turnovers, but the guy is a star. Oh yeah, I would rather have him than Eli as well. Also, that OL is excpetional-no one seems to know that. I hope McDaniels is wise enough not to tinker with their rushing attack, but that is a very different system than what he ran in NEng. But yes, I hear ya.

Morgan (PA)

Will you ever answer one of my questions?

Matt Williamson
  (12:34 PM)

Sure...now you are cut off. No Soup For You.

Steve (Rochester, NY)

Should Fred Jackson send Marshawn a thank you note?

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

Whew. Wow. Come on dude. Take your job/life just a little more seriously. Lynch's stock is falling through the floor.

Alex (Chicago)

Will the Raiders be any better that this past season? If so, why?

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

Can't see a real good reason why they would be much better. Obviously Russell could continue to improve as he did late in the season, but I expect the D to be worse. That team REALLY needs a WR and OLineman or two. Maybe two WRs. And most of all, remember who will be making the personnel decisions once again and his recent track record. Ouch.

Jorge (New Orleans)

I cant wait to see where Orakpo goes and what he will do. the guys a monster. I wouldnt mind having him here but its not a real need or possibility for my Saints

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

I agree. My personal fav at DE/3-4 OLB and I expect his stock to soar this week. Yeah, you are right though, won't be a Saint.

Max (Chicago)

I love the Seinfeld reference!

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

Thanks Bro. I have been calling Peria Jerry, Fucilli Jerry of late. No one seems to be getting the reference though. Makes me chuckle however, so I will surely keep it up.

Dan (Pittsburgh, PA)

Chances of a repeat in Six-Burgh?

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Very possible. Of course it won't be easy. One chatter called it the Stairway to Seven a few chats ago. I dig it. Big Zep guy here too. Anyway, of course it will be very difficult and things like injuries can derail a season. But who do you like better? I like PGH and NEng right now for next season more than any other.

Jerry (Laredo, TX)

When does the FA signing period begin?

Matt Williamson
  (12:40 PM)

A week from Friday. Will be fast and furious.

Mike (OH)

Doesn't anyone realize Cassell is this year's Derek Anderson. One good year does not warrant a first round pick

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

I have compared him to Scott Mitchell. Certainly worrisome. He's had one good year since 1999! But, he did really come on more and more as the season progressed and for that, I give him a lot of credit. Playing in that O really helps though. I wouldn't tie my franchise to him like a Peyton Manning and ask him to do it all though-that is for sure. But, if you are Minny, he is the best option out there.

Brad (Baltimore)

Which CB are the Ravens targeting in rd. one, Vontae, DJ, or Alphonso? Also, wouldn't Loadholt be a perfect pick in round two?

Matt Williamson
  (12:42 PM)

I don't see OT as a need for Balt at all. In fact, it is a strength. They will have plenty of needs, so I really doubt they go that direction. I also think V Davis will be gone by that late of a pick. The other two make a lot of sense.

Howie (SD)

Do you think Oakland and KC could put their rosters together and field a playoff team?

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Not really. Honestly. Both rosters will improve, but taking what they have today and combining them wouldn't be all that pretty. Better, yes, but I would still take qutie a few rosters over that one.

Dr. Azzman (New York)

So does that mean Peria "Fucilli" Jerry is a million-to-one shot then of making it then, doc? A million-to-one!

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

Fantastic

Paul (Denver)

What's the position most likely to be addressed first in free-agency for the Bears...WR, QB, DE, or FS?

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

DE is the biggest need, but they could go a lot of directions. Not forced to do any of the above. Obviously Grossman will be elsewhere, so a QB must be added in one way or another. They have options overall though. Balanced.

Philip, Columbus

49ers have a lot of cap space and the #10 draft pick? Any comments on where they will go.

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Tough one for me, but RT or WR would be very attractive at that spot. Would love Maclin or one of the top three OTs. Mauluga also is intriging to put next to Willis. I think I would live with their QBs, but Sanchez is also quite tempting. I expect SF to improve next season and could have a fine off season if they play it right. A DB wouldn't hurt either.

Keith (IOWA)

Where do you think Shonn Greene will be drafted?

Matt Williamson
  (12:48 PM)

Mid to early 2nd round. Real nice player. Also like Brown from UCONN. By the way, did anyone happen to see the beat down that Pitt gave UCONN hoops on Monday? That is what I am talking about.

Kyle (OH)

Where would Jared Gaither rank among OT in this draft? He seemed like a supplemental steal at the time (and in retrospect).

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

Big time steal. Right near the top. True LT tools. Another tremendous move by Ozzie.

Jay (Middletown, CT)

Matt, I was at the game and Thabeet got beat down by DeJaun Blair...I love UCONN but that was scarey!

Matt Williamson
  (12:50 PM)

Beat down. Blair is a full grown man. Okay, back to football.

Alex (Indianapolis)

What are the Buccaneers going to do with the quaterback situation?

Matt Williamson
  (12:52 PM)

That one is hairy. I really liked Josh Johnson a year ago and if they are still high on him, maybe they just live with Griese until Johnson is ready. But that seems like wishful thinking. However, TBay does have a lot of cap room. Let's get hypothetical and say they resign AB and go grab someone huge like Haynesworth. Nice work obviously. Then, maybe they become players for a first round QB like Freeman. Could also add a Losman/Grossman/Boller type cheap to compete. Hairy though.

Chris (Lancaster, PA)

What are you thoughts on the eagles two first round draft picks, are they gonna draft replacements for runyan and dawkins

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

I bet Runyan walks, Thomas resigns and Dawkins comes back. Just my hunch. The Eagles have to a be a player for Boldin. Also a big RB should be in the round 1/2 cards. Obviously a young OT is important as well, but the Eagles have drafted a lot of OLinemen of late and Herremans or Andrews could move to RT.

M (DC)

Other than the Giants, who will make it to the playoffs out of the NFC East?

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

Wow M, give me a break on that. It is Feb 18th.

Chad, Madison, WI

How do you think the Packers will do now that everything with Brett is finally over with?

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

I really like the O, Rodgers and Jennings in particular. Should be a tremendous hook for years to come. Just hate the move to the 3-4 and it will cost them in 2009.

J.B. (Dunmore, PA)

Are there any teams interested in Matt Birk?

Matt Williamson
  (12:56 PM)

I would certainly think so. Not sure who off the top of my head though. Hmm, Washington? STL? Cin? Buf?

ESPN Radio

don't forget to 'plug' your radio appearance (time and place) so we can keep up with you on the airwaves in addition to the internet machine

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Thanks, but it differs. Pretty sure I am on with Stan and Guy tomorrow. Thanks again.

Jorge (New Orleans)

What will the Jaguars be looking for this draft season? Ive always thought of them as a strong team but it seems like they've hit a wall lately

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Made some terrible personnel decisions this time of the year one year ago with moving up in the draft at such a heavy price, the signing of Porter/Williamson (no relation) and dealing Stroud. Plus, they then got just pounded by injuries, obviously to their OL. They could rebound and I would expect them to nab a OT in the first round.

Anthony (NYC)

Hey M-Dub in regards to the Broncos wouldn't they be better off drafting Knowshon Moreno? With their defense the more fire power the better chance they'll have at winning.

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Gotta address the D. I would use one of their many draft picks for a RB, but probably not in the first round.

Tim (Maryland)

Is Brian Orakpo the best available pass rusher?

Matt Williamson
  (1:00 PM)

Really starting to think so

Lloyd Braun (Shady Acres)

Where does Juluis Peppers find serenity now? And what does it take to get him there?

Matt Williamson
  (1:01 PM)

I have worries. Inconsistent player. Two sacks in 2007? Come on man. Still, he will have plenty of suitors. Could really help the Bears. How tough is Peppers though? I have my doubts. KC would love to have him for sure.

Matt Williamson
  (1:02 PM)

Alrighty. That is a wrap. A lot of fun as always. I will be here every Wed at noon for the forseeable future and surely will have more chats sprinkled in like we did this week. Take care all and enjoy the Combine. Gold Jerry. Gold.