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March 16, 12:00 PM ET
Chat with Matt Williamson

Matt Williamson
  (11:58 AM)

Let's get this chat rolling. Rainy day here in Pittsburgh. A little sleepy. There is a lock out. I need you guys to boost my energy a bit. Although-the Rolling Stones are quickly helping in that regard right now. Let's go!

Robb (Colorado)

Okay, MW, let's all pretend there will be football in September. My question relates to the Broncos drafting #2. Would it be crazy to pick Peterson, pair him with Champ, and have two lockdown corners? Seems like in this draft they can still get a solid DT picking early in Round 2 and they have Elvis coming back.

Matt Williamson
  (11:59 AM)

Not crazy at all. Peterson is such a good prospect that I really would have a hard time being critical of any team selecting him at any point of the draft. If I picked for Carolina, I would take Gabbert or Dareus, but Gabbert would be my pick. At #2, I would want Dareus for Denver. But the Broncos' secondary (Even with Champ) is far from perfect-and it wouldn't shock me if Champ moved to FS after another year or so. Again, this D is a mess, but Dumervil and Ayers at DE isn't the worst thing in the world either.

Matthew (Columbia, NJ)

Matt, do some teams consider Ryan Mallet a better QB than Cam Newton?

Matt Williamson
  (12:00 PM)

I really don't know. But if you are a big time deep passing team with a good OL and serious downfield weapons, I could see why Mallet would make more sense for your respective club.

SC (Boston)

Any prospects in this draft that you would compare to a young Richard Seymour? Patriots need to get nasty up front!!!

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

Seymour is very special: A HOFAmer and the best 3-4 DE of this generation...so no. But I really like Jordan from Cal for the Pats. Watt would make some sense too, as would Wilkerson from Temple. But Jordan is my favorite of that group. I know the Pats would like another DE, but remember, they just signed Stroud (who played terrible last year) and have Warren coming back-who is a stud.

Steve (DC)

Matt - if you are the Redskins at sitting at the #10 slot, who do you hope is there to even begin the rebuilding process? SO many holes to fill.

Matt Williamson
  (12:04 PM)

SO many holes. Julio Jones seems like an excellent fit. Trading down would make a lot of sense. Get the hunch that Shanny loves Locker-but you gotta trade down for him. Aldon Smith isn't a bad pick. Jordan makes sense for sure. So many holes.

gregg (madison)

M dub we need a wr for the pack I like randall cobb he's a good pr/kr/wr.driver is old & Don't let the door hit you james jones but u probably can't catch that either.

Matt Williamson
  (12:06 PM)

I love Cobb. He would be a tremendous Packer, as they REALLY need returner help. Do you take him at #32 though? One note on those teams picking at the end of round 1: I would bet the bad teams at the top of round 2 are anxious to move up for QBs like Mallet/Ponder/etc. So trading down a handful of spots might be an excellent option for those clubs.

Jamie (Baltimore)

Who will the Eagles take at 23? I find it hard to believe that they'll take a tackle like most mock drafts suggest.

Matt Williamson
  (12:08 PM)

I tend to think Carimi is just too good of a fit not to take him. Pouncey too. Reid loves the big guys up front. But to me, CB is the #1 need. Jimmy Smith or Brandon Harris would be good fits.

Nick (Middletown, NJ) [via mobile]

I've seen a couple mock drafts saying the Bills are landing Casey Matthews in the 4th round. Is it possible he's still on the board at that point?

Matt Williamson
  (12:09 PM)

I don't think that is too far fetched. He isn't his brother! And ILB types tend to fall on DDay. They just are not that difficult to find. And Matthews is fighting injury right now.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Matt, in your opinion would the Vikings be under greater pressure to draft a QB in the first round because of the lockout (since current players can't be traded between clubs while the lockout is in effect)?

Matt Williamson
  (12:10 PM)

That is sorta the case for many teams right now. Those needing QBs are really at a disadvantage as it stands today. You have to remember, even if you draft a QB (say Cam Newton for example)-they can't even sign Newton or get him in the building to work with coaches and teammates. To me, that is a massive disadvantage for a rookie more than anyone. So-we might see teams like SF stick with Alex Smith...almost because they have to. Yuck.

John (NJ) [via mobile]

I have been trying very hard to get a feel for who the Giants like for their first 2 picks. Some say OL in the first and OLB in the second, others flip flop that, and other analysts have crazy picks like Ingram falling to them at 19. So Matt, who do they LOVE right now?

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

I just wrote that I love the fit of M Wilson from Illinios to Big Blue in Round 1. Many think that is too high, but I don't. Could be a perfect do-it-all Dansby type with more pass rush. But, if I were to bet, I bet they go OL. That is just how that organization builds its roster. They build with big people. Carimi. Costanzo.

Eric (Chicago)

Any news, chatter, whispers, texts regarding Gallery and the Chicago Bears?

Matt Williamson
  (12:12 PM)

Haven't heard that, but it would certainly make some sense. You do keep hearing Gallery to Seattle to join back up with Cable.

Dan (Pittsburgh)

What area do you believe the Bengals will address first given the turmoil surronding the QB position.

Matt Williamson
  (12:14 PM)

It is messy. If they are not going to resign J Joseph, then Peterson would be VERY hard to pass on. No one else seems to be seeing that angle. Otherwise, I think you really have to consider QB-even if you are not going to deal Palmer. It isn't like Palmer is playing well these past few seasons. You hear AJ Green a lot too-I get that. But they used a first round pick on a TE last year and have a nice young stable of WRs in Simpson, Shipley and Caldwell. Can live with that young 4some with upside as receivers.

big ben (pa)

Matt I want both pounceys here so r m can bust one up the gut. Is he worth trading up for?

Matt Williamson
  (12:16 PM)

He has to be the ideal pick for the Steelers. And would be a great fit next to his brother. Trade up? Not really their style, although it has been done. But they need those 2nd and 3rd rounders to help the secondary if they were to land Pouncey. Might move up a few spots, but not putting together a huge package for a OC/OG.

Raoul Duke (Las Vegas)

Did Colt McCoy show enough to merit the Browns not looking at a QB in round 1?

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

Yes. And trust me, I don't love him-and have plenty of questions. But Clev needs a LOT. Their DL for a 4-3 is a total nightmare. Might need 3 starters on that line. Might need 2 WR starters. And a RT. Maybe a RG. And LB and the secondary are far from perfect. So, I live with McCoy this year, install the WCO (that fits him well) and surround him with more talent. Then, this time next year, I would reevaulate the situation at QB. And I would prob keep Wallace around to back up McCoy-you could do worse and Wallace knows the system.

Nick (Middletown, NJ) [via mobile]

If shawn merriman comes back full strength, do you think the Bills will still look at Von Miller 3rd overall? That would be a sick OLB duo.

Matt Williamson
  (12:18 PM)

I have no faith at all in Merriman. Hasn't done a thing in years. Seems very far fetched and seemed like a desperation signing when it occured.

Andrew (Alpharetta GA) [via mobile]

Do you think the falcons will take a WR or a DE in the first round? I've seen both mocked to them.

Matt Williamson
  (12:20 PM)

My dark horse for ATL's 1st round: Kyle Rudolf. Use a lot of 2 TE sets with Gonzo and then eventually take over. This is just such a poor TE draft. Get the best guy and come back in round 2 and 3 for those other needs (or in free agency). I don't love the fits at WR at #27.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

See the ESPN article on top 10 RBs in the league? Give us your top 5 please.

Matt Williamson
  (12:22 PM)

I looked at it briefly. Hmmm...1. Peterson with ease. 2. Johnson 3. Charles 4. Gets stickier here, as I am not sure I trust MJD any more. But I will put MJD at 4 and McCoy at 5.

Sampson (IN)

If Liuget is there does Polian skip an OT again and take the other big need for this team?

Matt Williamson
  (12:23 PM)

He would be extremely difficult to pass on. Put him next to Fili Moala-and Indy might actually have a pair of true starting DTs for once!

WyattBurp (Chicago)

Hey Matt! Is Dareus better than Fairley? I think so.

Matt Williamson
  (12:25 PM)

I do too. Safer, which is key here. A LOT of high picks at DT bust. I just think there is FAR less chance of Dareus busting. Fits every system. Plays stronger and harder. I would consider Dareus and #1, but would kill to have him at #2 for Denver. I do see the allure for Fairley though for sure. He is a big time penetrator and if that is what you absolutely need at that 3 Technique position, he is pretty tantilizing.

jordan (texas)

Did you hear glover quinn is moving to safety? And since we are 3 4 do we draft a nt or olb?

Matt Williamson
  (12:27 PM)

Quinn to FS makes a lot of sense. I like it and he should upgrade a terrible position and give Houston more flexibility in that he can come down and cover a WR if need be. As for Houston's needs-they are massive. A true 3-4 DE like Jordan or Watt would be great. A NT like Taylor (not a lot of help at NT in this draft). OLB is a huge need. And oh-by the way-this is the worst secondary in the league and moving Quinn to FS isn't going to correct that in itself. This D could be awful. WR is also a need.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

So Broncos hit a home run if they get who with their first 3 picks (#2 overall and 2 2nds)?

Matt Williamson
  (12:28 PM)

Dareus at #2 is the guy/fit they should want. With the next one, there will be a quality D player available. K Moore, A Williams, C Hayward, J Houston.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

How do you feel about Jimmy Smith? He has outstanding measureables...

Matt Williamson
  (12:29 PM)

He does, but doesn't play to them all the time and has gotten into trouble off the field. Obvious concerns. I bet he ends up going quite high though. Balt and Philly have to be real intersted. But maybe he even ends up in the mid teens. Pretty impressive speciman, but I see a lot of risk in taking him that high.

Tiki Barber (Pondering going to the gym)

Am I broke? Why am I making a comeback?

Matt Williamson
  (12:30 PM)

That is the best answer I could come up with-but I don't know that for a fact. Maybe no one is talking about you any more. But I dont see this comeback going well!

GRANT (INDY)

Is this Reggie Wayne in his last season in

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

I would say so. To me, he has drastically declined. Now a borderline Top 10 WR-and prob only getting worse. Tremendous career, but guys don't last forever.

Antonio Pierce (NYC)

Pipe down Tiki.

Matt Williamson
  (12:31 PM)

Nice

WyattBurp (Chicago)

If your team is looking for a tackle. Would you take Clint Boling of Georgia, a 4-year starter, over Nate Solder of Colorado, who has a nice body and greater up-side?

Matt Williamson
  (12:32 PM)

Don't really like either. Boling is more of a OG to me who can play RT in a pinch. Where Solder is a true LT only who just isn't strong/powerful enough. Little risk with Boling-if you look at him as an OG. A LOI of risk with Solder to me. Plus, Boling is much cheaper on DDay.

Paul (Albany, OR)

Matt, you make no mention of Stephen Paea from Oregon State as you list off various defensive tackles. I agree with Darius and Fairly, but isn't Paea the next best one for someone to snatch near the end of the first round? Thanks.

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

No question. I like Taylor better as a true 3-4 NT, but that role also fits Paea too. He would look good in Indy as well. Maybe KC at NT-although that seems a little early considering his injury. To me, this is the perfect guy for those bad teams at the top of Round 2.

CC (Atlanta)

You know somehow, some way Mallett will end up in Oakland. He just has to.

Matt Williamson
  (12:35 PM)

He really does. Perfect fit. Bombs away. D Lamonica.

Al (Wausau, WI)

Matt, if the Vikings decide to go non-QB with their first draft pick, would it be possible/worth it to trade their second-round pick up to the end of the first or beginning of the second round, and trade for the best possible remaining QB? If so, who may be that QB? Ponder? Dalton, Mallett?

Matt Williamson
  (12:36 PM)

Could happen and if Newton and Gabbert are gone as I expect, I could see that happening. Not having a 3rd rounder might make moving up a lot tougher though. What I am not sure of in Minny is what system do they really want to run with the passing game. Makes it tough for me to project which QB.

CC (Atlanta)

Also high bust potential for Mallett... another reason he belongs on OAK.

Matt Williamson
  (12:37 PM)

No question about it...especially behind that OL!

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Do you see Akeem Ayers and Clayborne as guys that could drop to the 2nd, and should they?

Matt Williamson
  (12:38 PM)

Yes, that very well could happen. Clayborne has this shoulder/arm issue where he really doesn't use that arm very well. I am real curious if all those docs at the Combine red flagged him big time for that-and he can only play on one side of the line because of it. As for Ayers-that 40 time is hard to overlook. Especially because LBs fall anyways. And at the end of round 1, I don't see a ton of teams that should be real excited about Ayers. Maybe GBay or the Jets.

Marc (Malden, MA)

Wow, Ryan Mallett sounds like someone Al Davis would love to have.

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

Exactly! Tons of upside though. Guy can REALLY sling it.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

I know it's a weaker class of safeties in this draft, but are there any TJ Ward types that can take your head off available?

Matt Williamson
  (12:39 PM)

I am really not coming up with anyone. It is a horrible safety class.

WyattBurp (Chicago)

Guards in the draft. What do you think of Jason Pinkston of Pittsburg, 6-4, 305?

Matt Williamson
  (12:41 PM)

I see Pinkston as a starting OG in this league and a guy who can fill in at RT in a pinch. He isn't tremendous or overly explosive, but quite solid overall. There is a big OL shortage of quality OLinemen in the NFL right now. He could help an ailing line.

Drake (Tampa)

All this talk about Jimmy Smith's off-the field issues: drugs, work ethic, insubordination. Are these legitimate character concerns to his professional makeup or are they being overblown by certain outlets as part of the propaganda smokescreen in an effort to get him to fall by a later team(s)?

Matt Williamson
  (12:43 PM)

Drake, I wish I could answer that for you. I just don't get that kind of info. I don't know the young man. He might be a Saint. But those things are out there about him.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Do you see Mark Ingram as a difference maker? Otherwise it makes no sense to draft a RB that high...above average ones are so easy to find...

Matt Williamson
  (12:44 PM)

I very much agree on your RB analysis. But he is quite good. Not Adrian Peterson good-and maybe not a Top 5 type of RB in this league. But a Top 10 type in a year or two. Pretty solid all around. But who is willing to spend to get him? Miami and New England make the most sense, but I tend to think BB is done using high picks (see Maroney, L) at that position too. So what if the 'Phins pass on him? Could fall.

donald (cali)

Haha matt I love mallet to the black hole throwing bombs to ford Murphy. Miller but we have no 1st round pick.

Matt Williamson
  (12:45 PM)

Not sure it would take a first rounder to land Mallet. Well, maybe a late first/real early 2nd.

Drake (Tampa)

In evaluating a current NFL runningback, how important to you is ball security? Peyton Hillis and Ahmad Bradshaw, both celebrated in 2010 for their productivity, were terrible fumblers last year. How correctable is it and do you consider it?

Matt Williamson
  (12:47 PM)

Very important. As is durability. HAVE to be able to really rely on your stud RB down after down and week after week-that is one of the toughest things for RBs...cause they take a beating and the NFL schedule is so much longer. I do think ball security issues are correctable, but these guys-when the bombs are flying-often resort back to their old habits in piles. The way Hillis runs, I would be shocked if he isn't always a fumbler though.

Joseph (Sacramento, CA)

Do you think Shanahan could make Jake Locker into the franchise QB that many people predicted a year ago he would be? Thanks.

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

I think Shanny is an exceptional coach-a very average GM, but a great O coach. And I do like that fit a lot. I wrote recently that Locker seems like a very good blend of Cutler and Plummer. But he needs to work on his footwork and mechanics to be more accurate. Can't miss open guys and leave plays on the field (like McNabb) or this won't work at all.

Kider (INDY)

Why is it if a QB only throws 12 ints he is good but if a rb fumbles 4 times a year it is a problem?

Matt Williamson
  (12:49 PM)

I hear what you are saying and I guess that does depend on the # of attempts for both. Either way, you can't be at the top of the league in that category and be satisfied with it.

Scott (Northglenn, CO)

Who do you see as most likely to rebound from last year and be good - Ryan Mathews, Beanie Wells or Shonn Greene?

Matt Williamson
  (12:51 PM)

Matthews. Best supporting cast-by far. Probably the most talent too. He did good things and really flashed-when he was on the field. I like Wells more than Greene as a runner, but Zona's supporting cast is hideous.

Steven (San Bernardino)

With the chargers having 4 draft choices within the the first 3 rounds who do you see them drafting in 2nd and 3rd rounds???

Matt Williamson
  (12:53 PM)

It is a great problem to have! And they really are not desperate at one singular position. But...they have a TON of free agents (Floyd, Weddle, etc) and need to make decisions. If by chance, they could lock up Weddle and Floyd-then SD really can almost take player available and not really consider need. That would be fantastic. An OLB who makes a huge difference would be great as would an upgrade at DE. So I see those two spots as 2 of the 4 picks. RT wouldn't hurt.

CC (Atlanta)

You see what Kider is saying? INTs are oftentimes not the QBs fault (WR runs bad route, tipped ball, etc). When a RB fumbles there's only one person to blame.

Matt Williamson
  (12:54 PM)

True. But that might be a little harsh too. Think in the Super Bowl the Mendenhall fumble. The guy has been great with ball security. And he had it wrapped up. But got hit just perfectly by two guys and it came out. Is he to blame? Sure, but you can't crush the guy for it. But I hear ya.

Drake (Tampa)

Ryan Mathews (12th overall) despite his talent, and likely productivity, and Beanie Wells (31st??) two more examples of RBs with no business going in the 1st round. There is just so much available talent at the position at any given time.

Matt Williamson
  (12:55 PM)

True-but give them a little more time, esp Matthews. I did think trading up as drastically as SD did to get a RB was foolish at the time though.

Aggie (TX)

Cowboys select ? at 9? Or is it better to trade down and accumulate picks?

Matt Williamson
  (12:57 PM)

Couple guys I love for Dallas at 9: C Jordan and T Smith. Prince also is hard to pass on. Very well could set up that all 3 are sitting there at 9, then moving back a few spots could be a real nice situation to pick up another pick.

Drake (Tampa)

That's my main point. It isn't so much a critique of the player, especially in Mathews' case, but the allocation of resources and the player missed by taking those RBs there.

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Indeed. Especially in a rebuilding situation. If you are loaded with needs, I always say find a cheap RB somewhere and live with him. I understand what SD was doing though. They thought they were a powerhouse with one huge need: RB. And on paper, he could have made a great O into a fantastic O. It didn't work out that way for the Chargers and they had historically bad special teams-and a TON of O injuries. But the logic was sound. Not saying I approved even though.

Matt Williamson
  (12:59 PM)

Folks, that is a wrap for today. Great stuff. Much appreciated. See ya next week.