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 (4:01 PM)
We've got Gary!
Douglas Munoz (Los Angeles,CA)
What Team That Did Bad In The Last Season Will Rise To The Top In This Season
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
Well, obviously, Dallas is the first team that comes to mind, because their talent level is so much better than their record was. And they don't have as much to fix as these other teams. I also really like Detroit as an improving team, as well as the Rams. I think they are two teams that can dramatically get better. This is going to be an unusual year if this lockout continues, because the only way you can improve is the draft and not free agency. It's probably right now harder to fix your team in one offseason than it has in the past.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
I think there is going to be a run on offensive and defensive linemen before the Packers pick 32nd. If so do you see Ted Thompson trading up or down in the first round to add another quality lineman?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
I think the way the Packers operate, they will stay right there and pick whoever comes to them. They're too far down to make a big enough move to get one of those top rated players and they don't want to mortgage their whole draft. I think they're such a stable organization that they will be very comfortable with where they pick. And don't be surprised if they try to trade out of the No. 32 pick. And I'll add this on Green Bay that's very dramatic. If I'm not mistaken, they had 15-16 guys in IR at the end of the season and this was still a Super Bowl team. In a year in which we are seeing a lockout and no free agency, keep in mind that the team we saw at the end of the 2010 season will have 15 guys back that they didn't have late in the year. That's almost like a new great free agent class that already knows your playbook, in case time becomes a factor. I think that gives them a tremendous advantage.
Mike P. (Seattle, WA)
Any chances that 49ers would get Patrick Peterson?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
After QB, I have CB as their No. 1 need. These guys give up a lot of big passing plays. They have got to be able to find a shut down CB and also a guy that can possible blitz off the edge, because they'll try to do some of that. I wouldn't be shocked if they stayed pat at the QB position another year and give Alex Smith a chance. If that's the case, then I think they'll look hard at the QB position and possibly OLB.
Matt (Kingsport, TN)
Gary, if the Saints choose not to address the front 7 of their defense, who do you think they are most likely to draft in the first round?
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
I think you hit on it. Their front 7, DE and OLB are their biggest needs. Although you don't like to draft a safety that early, they could certainly use a strong safety. It would not be shocking if they even take a RB, even though they've had a lot of guys at that position. Can you imagine this offense with a physical guy that can carry the ball 25 times a game? I think when it's all said and done they probably go on the defensive side of the ball.
Do you think that the Lockout could end before the draft?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I don't think it will end before the draft, but I get the feeling that they're making some progress. I think they could get some of the minor issues that they disagree on out of the way. But I don't think we're all of a sudden going to wake up and it will be over. But once this draft will be completed, there may be more of a sense of urgency, because now players want to get to mini-camp, coaches want to coach them and that may bring a high level of talk.
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I just don't know if this is a real fast process. My fear is that they'll hit a bump in the road one of these days and decide they don't want to meet any more. I hope that doesn't happen.
Jason Willis (Pittsburgh,PA)
Do you really think their will be an NFL lockout this coming 2011 season and do you think their will only be preseason scheduled games and not a season?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
As I've said in the past, players won't be monetarily effected until September, because they're paid during the 17-week regular season, if I'm not mistaken. Right now, they're not feeling the effect financially. In the worst possible scenario, I could see the lockout going for 4 or 5 weeks and then maybe October 1, we get something done. But then it would take a couple of weeks to get ready to play. If this thing goes to the fall, you're maybe looking at the middle of October and the season goes 12 games. But that's just my opinion as the worst case scenario. But we're all hopeful that we get something done so that the season is not effected.
Gary, what is your take on Chad Henne going into the 2011 season? Will he succeed?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
I think the Dolphins have a tough choice at QB. I think there's a feeling that Henne has had a lot of opportunities to produce and he just hasn't suceeded. I know they like Tyler Thigpen a little bit. I think it will be interesting to see if they go one more year and give Henne a chance because they're a veteran team and don't want to start over. Or, do they get a rookie to build around? I think it's an interesting organizational dilemma.
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
Ironically, as run oriented as they have been in recent years, that may be their No. 1 need.
Jeff (Atlanta, GA)
Gary, a lot of draft prognosticators have Cam Newton or Blaine Gabbert going to the Bills at #3. After watching Ryan Fitzpatrick last year, he seems to be a pretty good fit in Chan Gailey's offense. I think they should address their horrendous defense with the #3 overall pick (Dareus, Miller, or Peterson). Agree?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
I think they have a very tough decision on their hands. Ryan Fitzpatrick, as you mentioned, showed some real flashes of excellent play. This is a roster with so many holes to fill that part of you thinks that they shouldn't do it with a QB, but then there's part of me that also said that on a good team that Fitzpatrick is no more than a backup. I know they desperately need help on the DE. They need a pass rusher off the edge. They need help on the OL. Those are all glaring needs with excellent players available to them. I have a feeling that they may pass on the QB and give Fitzpatrick one more year and take one of those excellent DL or a guy like Von Miller at OLB.
Dustin (Dayton, OH)
What do you think the Broncos are going to do this year at quarterback?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I don't think they'll draft one. I think this is an important year for them to figure out what they have or don't have with Tim Tebow and it's not going to be easy. They have so many needs on defense that that's the easy place to go early in the draft on a team that really lacks quality personnel. In my mind this is not a team that will win a lot of games, so I would go with Orton early and when I'm out of the playoff picture, I would let Tim Tebow start as many games as possible to see if he can be the QB of the future. I know what I have in Orton, which isn't bad, but I think I make my big QB decision a year from now, rather than now.
Gary what should Jerry do at 9? Trade down or pick Tyron Smith or someone else?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
They have a glaring need at OT. I think that's what they'll zero in on. I think what makes this draft unusual is that because we haven't had free agency, we haven't filled any of our needs, so it makes it tougher to make take the best player available. I think for this one year we may see a lot of teams draft more by need than they have in the past. I think Dallas could go with DE, they could use help at CB and S and they have a lot of age at ILB. I think if they can't find an OT that they like, and you're right, they could move up or down to get the guy they want, then it's a defensive pick.
What went wrong with Vernon Gholston and Aaron Maybin?
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
Obviously, we all mis-evaluated them. It wasn't just the teams that drafted them that liked them, we all liked them. The hardest thing to measure on a defensive player some times is how badly he wants to be great. We are so enamored with edge pass rushers that I think some times we overrate some of these guys, especially when they are playing in a 3-4 defense, which is a transition from what they played in college. I've watched both of these guys and you just don't see any explosiveness and they just don't have a great feel for the pass rush.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
Both have been given every opportunity.
Gary Horton (4:32 PM)
This is always a fun time with the draft, when we're less than two weeks out. Now, all of the misinformation starts as everyone lies to everyone else and tries to throw everyone off the tracks. It's fun to take all of these rumors, but it's also important to stay true to how you felt about players all along. With this lockout continuing, the draft becomes even more important to the average fan. How are fans going to feel Sunday of the draft? Now the draft's over, my new guys can't go to mini-camp or have a press conference with the new team.
Buzzmaster (4:32 PM)