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!
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
Hello everyone! Another week of not much happening on the NFL front but that is what we expected. Hopefully these two sides will get together one of these days and start talking again. Right now everything is really quiet. I'm ready for your questions!
Jane Schwarz (Los Angeles)
Hey Gary, We met at Petrinis in Little Itlay (SAN)...I am VIKING Warrior Woman...We need an O line and most of all a D line and a Q back...Who do you see being a big D and a quarterback for MN?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
Ironically I agree with you that they need all of that but the biggest concentration has to be at quarterback. My feeling is the Vikings still think they are an elite team so they could go with a veteran QB to get them another year or two. They have to decide on riding it out another year or two or going with a rookie and trying to grow him and the team. They also need help at the safety position which is very important in the cover 2 and they could use another wide receiver. They could also add a couple LBs and DEs.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
Do you think that the NFL Players should be tested for HGH if they test Positive then Suspensions?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I think HGH testing is fine. I think even the players want a level playing field. While some might not like it, I think that is where we are headed. I think the punishment should probably be a little like it is in baseball. If you are caught you are suspended for a certain amount of time. I'm no expert in that area but certainly there has to be a significant penalty for it to mean anything.
Theres been alot of talk about the best rb in the league. And with Jamaal Charles almost avereging the most yards per carry in history (missed it by 0.02 Jim Brown) is J-Charles the best?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
He's a very solid back. I love their 1-2 punch. I've watched a lot of their film in the last month and K.C. has a very legit running game. He gives them some real explosiveness.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
If a rookie wage scale is implemented it seems like teams would be more risk tolerant in the top half of the first round. Do you think teams will approach the 2011 NFL Draft as if there will be a new rookie wage scale that drastically cuts the amount of guaranteed money players picked in the top half of the first round get?
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
I don't think the rookie wage scale will change how teams approach the draft. They are going to pick the guys they want regardless of the money factor. The real question is in the past we have always attacked free agency and filled needs with the draft. Now teams are looking at the draft as their main area to improve not knowing if there will even be free agency. This may be the expection year where everyone drafts by need instead of best player available.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Gary, if the Vikings have the opportunity to draft a potential blue-chip player that could fall to them at #12 (Amakumara, Robert Quinn, and DaQuan Bowers come to mind), might they be better off drafting such a player in the first round, and (as you mentioned earlier) go with a veteran QB like Kevin Kolb?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
As I said earlier, I think they will want to go the veteran route with a Kolb or McNabb. They don't think the window has closed on them as an elite team ... although I'm not sure I agree witht that. But they are still good. Having said that, a big dilemma will be whether to draft a young QB or go after a veteran. In an ordinary year they would probably already have that settled. I don't think they will pick a QB in the first round. But they are rolling the dice a bit in thinking that when the lockout ends they can get a veteran QB and get him up to speed.
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
Since you're from Wisconsin ... here is an observation ... one reason the Packers could be so good this season is they had 15 guys on IR at the end of the year and all those guys will be back. Without minicamps and OTAs your prep time is drastically limited. The teams that keep their core together and already know the system will be the teams that flourish when this lockout is over. With the Packers, it's like adding 15 guys to the roster they didn't have for the playoffs that already know the system. That is huge.
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
You also have a coaching staff that stayed in place. How would you like to be sitting in Carolina with a new coaching staff and you can't talk to any of your players?
Josh (Washington, DC)
Now that the Chargers have added Bob Sanders and Greg Manusky (and we can probably assume a pass rusher in the first round), can they succeed in a blitz-heavy scheme like they did under Wade Phillips?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I think they want to be more aggressive this season with their blitzes. They got away from it a little last season. They just don't have the elite pass rushers. They need a guy on the other side to rush off the edge. It is anybody's guess if Sanders can stay healthy. But I do think we will see a much more aggressive defense in 2011 that tries to create turnovers.
Tom (MN) [via mobile]
Gary, unless someone unexpected falls to the Vikings at 12 (Amukamara, Quinn) do you think the best option would be to trade down? Because their going to need all the picks they can get because of the lockout.
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
I think that brings up an interesting point. In an ordinary year where you would have already dabbled in free agency, you might stay and take the best player available. But I do think you will see teams move around more this year because they are looking to fill needs more than ever. If MN really thinks they need an OT, they will probably move around to take one where it fits best. In my opinion, there will be a lot of movement.
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
However, always keep in mind that it sounds good to say you will trade down but that requires somebody wanting to trade up. I'm not sure a ton of teams will be wanting to do that this year.
Bill (Westfield Ma)
I think Carolina should draft either a WR or a defensive player, go with Clausen and if they don't do well then they will probably be in a position to draft Luck next year, your thoughts?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
I do know they obviously have a lot of needs. But I've studied them on film this offseason and it is my opinion they can't line up and play with what they have at QB right now. I agree, they might be picking high again next year but to me if you can get a QB that they can build around in a new Ron Rivera era, you do it now. I don't think you wait until next year. I'm not sure they need to take a QB at 1 but they need a face of the franchise and Clausen isn't that guy right now.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
It is a bummer for the Green Bay Packers that they will not get their Super Bowl rings or get to visit the White House until there is some resolution with the lockout. I know it is a small thing in the grand scheme of things but if the lockout drags into August or September when they actually visit the White House and get their rings won't it feel not quite as special?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
To be honest I've never been asked this question. Probably not a lot of people losing sleep over it. But when the time is right they will get their visit and everyone will be happy.
Garrett (Mount Airy, NC)
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, patriots and cowboys...thanks!!!
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
Giants are rock solid with ownership all the way down because they are so defined with their roles and philosophy. I would also put the Jets on that list. The owner gives the coach everything he wants to succeed and the GM and coach get along and are aggressive. Philly could be on the list. Baltimore is also very stable and solid. Those are all worth considering.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
Also Indianpolis. Isn't it ironic that the teams we like the most in this area don't have a lot of turnover?
Tim (Seattle) [via mobile]
Was it a waste of a draft pick for the Seahawks to trade for Charlie Whitehurst considering they're looking for a QB or is it because Hasselbeck could leave?
Gary Horton (4:32 PM)
I think at the time they picked up Whitehurst they felt he was better than he has shown so far. I think the coaches had a comfort level that he could be the QB of the future and replace Hasselbeck. But so far that has not been the case. Now they probably are looking ahead to a young guy to groom for the future if they can get another year or two out of Hasselbeck. At the time they were really happy with that acquisition even though a lot of people on the outside questioned it.
Gary Horton (4:33 PM)
Thanks for the questions! We are lucky that at least we have a draft to occupy our football time for the next four weeks. If the lockout continues, the day after the draft is going to be a depressing time as we try to figure out what to do in May, June and July. Let's hope we can get something done. Take care and we'll talk again next week.