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 (3:56 PM)
Gary will be here at the top of the hour to take your NFL draft questions!
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
As expected, nothing has really happened in the last week. I think this lockout is obviously in the hands of the lawyers. My fear is that after the draft, not having football will really sink in. If this thing goes on through May and June, that's when everybody will really start to get nervous.
owen(PA) [via mobile]
who would be a good first round pick at 23 for the Eagles ?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
I think the Eagles will concentrate on defense early in the draft. As I look at them, I think they need a CB or an OLB. They blitz a lot, but they also play a lot of man to man schemes behind it. That puts their corners on an island. They could do some juggling at OLB and move some guys around, which would make it less of a need, but I still think they'll go defense early in the draft. And something to keep in mind might be do they draft a QB? With all of the offers they'll get for Kevin Kolb, eventually they might deal him. And even though they like Mike Kaftka, they could get a young developmental guy, even though right now it looks like they're loaded at QB.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What do you think of the NFL thinking of Banning Kick-off Returns?
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
I'm not wild about it. I think the kickoff return is one of the most exciting plays in football. I think it gives some unique players a real niche and now that may be gone. Starting on the 20 every series is just not that exciting. Everybody assumes that kickoff returners can be excellent receivers or backs, but some times, that's their unique skill and I'd hate to see it taken away.
Tom (MN) [via mobile]
It appears a lot of mock drafts have the Vikings taking Tyron Smith at #12. Does he have the ability to play left tackle because it would seem to be a waste of a 1st rounder on a right tackle?
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
They certainly could use a tackle. One of the big surprises for me in the last couple of years is how the production of this line has gone down. I used to think they were an elite group, but I don't think they are now. They could use a tackle, but I don't think it's a top need, and move one of their starters to guard and fill two needs. I think their biggest area of concentration will be QB. Do they go free agency? Or do they start over with a young guy? I think that they feel they're still an elite team with a couple of years left. That may cause them to go with a veteran than with a rookie. They could also use help in the secondary, especially at safety. And surprisingly, they could use a WR. We know about Percy Harvin's headache problem and Berrian and Rice could leave via free agency.
Patrick Cunngham (Austin,TX)
I know the NFL is talking a lot about the lock out and things of that nature, but when the season does eventually get started do u think the Patriots will be as successful as they were the previous season?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I think they'll be even better than a year ago. They were young on defense and went through some growing pains. These guys now have a lot more experience. Also keep in mind that they have so many draft choices that if they pick the right guys, they're going to have 7-8 new contributors to add to the mix. I think it's also important to remember that they changed the philosophy of their offense during the season in 2010 when Moss left. These guys all have a year of experience in this offense. This is a team that will be hurt by the lack of an offseason, in terms of OTAs, etc. But I think they will be an elite team once the season starts.
From top to bottom, starting with owners down to the gm and so on. Who are the top franchises? I've been a long time NFL fan and for the longest time i found myself cheering for players. First was Jim Kelly to Randy Moss and now Reggie Bush. But now im 23...ha wanting to be a die hard fan and i want to cheer for a stable franchise so thanks for your help...excluding the packers, steelers, and cowboys...thanks!!!
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
New England is a great franchise. I think Philadelphia is. I think the Giants are. I think the Jets are. Just to name a few. To me, the best franchises are ones that have ownership that are involved, but they also let the coaches and front office do their job. If that relationship is good, I think it tends to lead to good success.
Dawson Johnson (Seattle Washington)
is Drew Brees going to do better this year or last year?
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I think he'll have another solid year. I don't think there is a lot of rollar coaster with Brees. You know what you're going to get week in, week out, because it's such a sophisticated offense and he'll be prepared. I do think if they can fix the RB position, they will have more balance and an even better play action package. This will always be one of the top passing teams in the league, as long as Brees is healthy.
Justin Hill (Pittsburgh,PA)
I really like the thought of brining the NFL back to Los Angeles but if you had to pick a runner up city after L.A..you know another city that could use an NFL squad what else would be on your list?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
Hmmm, interesting. To be honest, I have never heard of anybody talk about other cities. I can't think of a place where the NFL might go to. Although, there have been rumors over the years about moving Buffalo to Toronto to have a team in Canada. And one of these years we might have a team in Europe. But I don't think that's on the horizon right now. As soon as L.A. gets a stadium, started at least, than the talks of moving will heat up. In my mind, there is a lot more conversations about which teams would move from their current cities than there are talks about a city other than L.A.
Tom (Terre Haute, IN)
Do you think the Colts were too one dimensional last year and need to look for better running backs? And is it too early to start grooming a replacement for Peyton Manning?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
To answer your first question, absolutely they were too one-dimensional, but I think they did it because they had to. They just couldn't get their running game going. The Colts were at their best when they had their stretch play which Peyton Manning is at his best and that led to play action. As good as he is, it's easy to defend if it's one-dimensional. As far as a replacement, it's absolutely something to think about. We've seen in the past that this team can't be successful if Peyton's not on the field. I think we've gotten spoiled with his ability to play week in, week out and avoid injury. If he is healthy, I think he can play into his 40s. But I would love to see a backup that we could trust a little bit more.
Stevie (Dallas, TX)
Do you have a feeling on who the Panthers will pick in the draft?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I would draft a QB. I know they have a lot of needs. The tricky thing for them is, could they trade down and still get the QB they want? I don't think they can win with Jimmy Clausen. I think they need the face of a franchise to start building. But I'm not sure that they want to use that first pick to take a QB that's not rated that high. But I don't know how creative they can get.
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
Most people think they'll pick defense. And that's probably where the most value is with the No. 1 pick.
Where do you rank Aaron Rodgers in the NFL QB hierarchy?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I think he's right at the top. I think if you had to pick between he and Brady and Manning and maybe Rivers and Brees, you couldn't go wrong. I'm not sure that he won't surpass them all. He's a young guy and he has nothing to hold him back from putting up huge numbers. I did a lot of film work on him previous to the Super Bowl. I was really surprised at how complete he is at every phase of the game. I don't see any weaknesses.
Todd(PA) [via mobile]
Draft question lot rumblings goin on with Dallas possibley taking Tyrone Smith you think it's to early to take him at 9? Part II Watkins(Baylor guard) would be a great steal at 41.If that somehow happens do u think that's the right move for the first two rounds? They both could start right away.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
Their biggest need is at OT, you're right. Marc Columbo is at the end on the right side. And Free could move to the right side if they found an LT. It's a glaring need, but they could also go defense at No. 9 if an OT isn't there. They have a lot of age at ILB and some issues at other positions. My guess is that they go OT or OG early if they have a guy they like. And then move some guys around.
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
As I say every week, thank goodness we have the draft to occupy our time. If nothing else, with no other football, I think fans will be more aware of this draft class than any in recent years. Maybe that's a good thing when we finally start playing football.
Buzzmaster (4:30 PM)