Chat with Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, Scouts Inc.'s Gary Horton stops in to talk about the NFL season and other news from around the league.
Horton spent 10 years in the NFL as a scout and another 10 years at the college level as an assistant coach and recruiter. He is the founder and most seasoned member of the Scouts Inc. staff, and his extensive experience at all levels of football make him an excellent talent evaluator.
Send your questions now and join Horton Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (4:02 PM)
We've got Gary!
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
This is kind of a fun week because I've been able to watch the NFL combine on TV. I'm amazed, as I am every year, at how many good players there are entering the NFL. There is so much preparation now for the draft that these guys are well schooled that when they get to Indy, they do everything expected of them. The numbers being put up are amazing. It would also be interesting to watch this week as we are getting close to the end of the CBA. There is a lot going on in the league right now.
Gary, how important is the combine to talent evaluation?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
Well, it's not as important as the college film. But it's important from the standpoint of being able to compare players in the same setting, obviously, in an athletic area. But just as important is the mental and medical testing, which are two things you can't see on film. That's very important to teams and a big part of the combine. What you don't want to do is fall in love with a guy just based on his workouts. That's just part of the story. There have been a lot of mistakes made by evaluating players in shorts.
What do redskins need to do to go to the superbowl????????????!!!!!!
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
The Redskins need a QB to start with. I don't believe they feel they have their QB of the future on their roster. Their defense is OK, but they also have tremendous needs at RB and WR. This offense just doesn't have very big playmakers or offensive explosiveness. When you look at the guys on this offense that scare you, it's scary how few there are.
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
I think the Redskins have more needs than any other team in the NFL. As we all know, they're not very patient about filling those needs in the draft.
SHOULD THE COWBOYS TRY AND TRADE FOR CARSON PALMER?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
No, I don't think they should. I think Dallas is very happy with Tony Romo. I think it's way too early to give up on him and make a change. I don't think the Bengals have any intention of letting Palmer leave, whether he's happy or not. I think people forget how hard it is to develop stability at QB in this league. Even though Palmer has not played perfectly the last few years, but he's a quality veteran guy. You can't replace that over night. I would be very surprised if Dallas or Cincinnati made any kind of move in this area.
is there any chance the nfl fly's to a major city and goes into a major city hotel and hammers out a last minute CBA deal before Thursday at 11:59 pm???
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
I don't think there's any chance that will happen. I think what they could do where they come up with a situation where they extend the agreement to give them more time to talk and then they could try to get something done in the next couple of months. But I don't think there's any chance an agreement gets done by the deadline. The best chance is for an extension. If they keep talking, then there's a chance to get something done. But I have a fear that the two sides will quit talking and try to stare each other down. That's when things get really negative.
do you see the steelers taking a rb in the later rounds of the draft and if so who might they be looking at?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I don't have RB as a need for Pittsburgh. But I think they're really good at finding guys that they like late in the draft. If there is a guy there, they could certainly take a look at him. But I think their concentration will be on the OL, the DL (which has aged) and the secondary. As good as the Steelers are, they have some very specific needs that must be addressed for them to keep being successful.
Can the Bills win with Ryan Fitzpatrick as the quarterback?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I think the Bills are in a tough situation, because while Fitzpatrick does some things that you really like and he has shown improvement, the problem is that he is probably better suited as a quality backup than an NFL starter. But Buffalo has so many other needs that it's hard to use that first pick on a QB when you have a guy that is at least servicable. This is a tough call for the organization, because they have so many needs on both sides of the trenches and so many holes to fill. They are going to be looking at a quality rookie QB when their name is called on Day 1. To me, it's one of the big decisions early in this draft that will have to be made.
What do the 49ers need to do, though the draft or trade, at the QB position in order to take them to the next level?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
Well, the 49ers are a perfect case of how devastating it is for a franchise when you fail at the QB position. Right now, it looks like Alex Smith certainly isn't the answer, along with Troy Smith and David Carr. Now, look at the spot this franchise is put into because of a mistake at the QB position. It could take them 5 years to come back if they choose to start over. I don't see how they prevent that. This is a team with a lot of needs that could be spent in other areas, especially on defense. But they may not have that luxury.
Nick (Middletown, NJ) [via mobile]
What are the odds the Bills go after Tommie Harris?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
Tommie Harris lapsed a little bit in the playoffs, to make us feel a little bit better than him. But the reality of it is he has not played well int he last few years. The production just was not there. He was due a big bonus, which he obviously didn't want to pay. They need to find a young guy to play defensive tackle in their penetrating 4-3 defense. But they were going to do that whether Harris was there or not. I think they're comfortable with moving on.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Gary, given your assessment of the 49ers as provided to Chuck from Iowa, would you give a similar assessment to the Vikings' QB situation?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
Yeah, I think the Vikings are in big trouble, but they are in a little bit of a different situation. They were a veteran team with a fairly short window of being elite. That's why they thought that Brett Favre filled that hole so well. But now, as that window closes, they have to make a decision to make. Do they start over with a young rookie? In my mind, this team is headed for a huge drop off in quality and production. The question is can they delay that drop off in production for another year or two.
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
I expect them to go with a veteran at the QB position and avoid drafting a rookie really high.
Have you seen anything at the combine that's impressed you?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
Without getting into specific players, I continue to be impressed on what great movement skills these guys have. You have to keep in mind that in today's world of draft preparation, these guys have been working out for two months on combine specific drills with trainers and there's nothing that surprises them when they get to Indy. The numbers are terrific. I will say that the speed and athleticism at the QB position seems to be better than it has ever been for so many big guys. I don't know if that translates into production, but it's interesting.
Do you think Colt McCoy can be a franchise QB?
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
Yes, I do. I really like his intangibles and leadership skills. I think he has enough arm and good enough athletic ability to play the position. While I am not sure he'll be an elite QB, I think he's a guy who can run the team and get excellent production if the offense runs the ball well also and doesn't ask him to carry the team with his arm. He needs more help in the passing game. Even though it sounds corny, I just think that McCoy is a winner. The players around him will follow his lead.
Do you think eagles can do good this year
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
It looks to me that the Eagles never start over, they just re-load. Each year, as good as they are, they seem to have specific needs. Right now, they have to look heavy at the CB position, because they like to play those aggressive man to man schemes. They also need to look at the OL, S, and they could use some help at OLB. In my mind, especially on defense, there is not enough game changers. They need to infuse some athleticism into that side of the ball.
Gary Horton (4:33 PM)
As we have talked about, this is an important week in the NFL as we finish the combine. I am hopeful that both sides will continue to talk and agree to an extension on the CBA this week to give more time in the next month or two to continue the dialogue. My biggest fear is that if the owners lockout the players this week and there is no extension that both sides will draw a line in the sand and that's when the rhetoric starts and nothing gets done. Right now the players don't have the concerns that they normally would because they don't get paid this time of year anyway. The lack of a paycheck won't effect them until this fall. The owners seem determined, on the other side, to play hard ball. It's a scary time for the game we love.