Chat with Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Friday, ESPN's NFL "Caveman" himself, Gary Horton, stops in to talk some football and other news from around the league.
Horton, from Scouts Inc., works year-round on ESPN's NFL-related shows, including NFL32, where he breaks down film, earning him his Caveman nickname.
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 Friday at 2 p.m. ET!
Gary Horton (2:05 PM)
I think last night's first round was the most fascinating and enjoyable draft I have ever been around. The pace was really fast, it never got boring and I think the biggest reason is that the new salary cap limitations no longer scare off teams in terms of making moves to acquiring players that they can't really afford. That allows everybody to get involved and go get players they really want at a reasonable price. What really impressed me even more was how quickly teams did it. With all of the trades that were made, you would think that most teams would have taken their full 10 minutes on the clock. But that didn't happen and that shows me how prepared the teams were to make some moves.
Gary Horton (2:05 PM)
It was a great night with more to come tonight and tomorrow.
Gary Horton (2:06 PM)
In fact, during the first round, I was writing a paragraph on how each player fits in with his new team. The draft was moving so fast, it was hard to keep up. Usually in the first round, you have plenty of time.
Rich (New Jersey)
As expected Luck & RGIII went 1-2, any first round picks you thought would go in the 2nd round?
Gary Horton (2:07 PM)
I think the biggest surprise pick was Bruce Irvin at No. 15 to Seattle, because of so many character question marks. I think a lot of teams liked him as a football player but they moved him down on their boards with the idea of taking him at a much lower risk. Seattle obviously feels comfortable with him and if his character holds up, it could be a really good fit.
Gary Horton (2:09 PM)
A couple of curious picks were Dontari Poe, NT to KC at 11, who it seemed like was dropping on boards as scouts went back and watched film and realized that his film and workouts did not mesh. The Chiefs are rolling the dice a little bit. The Jets at No. 16, I thought, had a little bit of a curious pick in Quinton Coples. I thought their biggest need was more of a OLB to rush off the edge of the 3-4. Coples is more of a 3-4 DE which isn't your best rusher in a 3-4 and there are questions about his motor. But if there's anyone that can make this guy play, it's Rex Ryan.
Was David Wilson a reach pick for the Giants, or was that decent value for the end of the first round?
Gary Horton (2:12 PM)
I thought it was a little bit of a curious pick. Obviously, with Brandon Jacobs gone, RB was a need at some point. But the thing that surprised me about Wilson was that he doesn't really answer a lot of their problems. He's a good football player but he just doesn't dazzle you in any particular area. He's not a great receiver in the passing game. He's not a big power runner. It looks like he's a complementary back to Bradshaw, which obviously gives them insurance, but it doesn't look like he really upgrades this running game, which they would like to get back to more physical and pounding the football. It looked to be more of a reach for the Giants and that's not the way they usually do things. Maybe I'm off.
What did you think of the Bears taking McClellin with Chandler Jones and Whitney Mercilus still on the board?
Gary Horton (2:14 PM)
The more you look at him, you realize he's a nice fit in this 4-3 defense. The only edge rusher they really have is Julius Peppers. The starter on the other side, Israel Idonije, is more of a run defender than a pass rusher. McClellin is a guy that can give them an edge rotation and also help in nickel situations on a defense that doesn't like to blitz and wants most of the pressure from the front four. This is a guy that seems to be really charting up the draft in the last few days.
Thoughts on the Patriots' draft so far? What positions do they target in round 2?
Gary Horton (2:16 PM)
I LOVE the fact that they stayed and made their picks instead of moving around and working the draft like they usually do. Chandler Jones at 21 is a really nice pick and he fills a tremendous need. He's a guy that has the versatility that Bill Belichick is looking for as a DE in the 4-3 scheme, but he can also play OLB in the 3-4 front. He's just really a heady football player. As I said, nobody values versatility like the Patriots. He can probably fill the loss of Mark Anderson, who left via free agency to Buffalo.
Gary Horton (2:17 PM)
I also LOVE their No. 25 pick with Hightower. It's not surprising that Bill Belichick would take an Alabama player, because of his strong relationship with Nick Saban. Again, he has that great versatility that they're looking for. He can line up at ILB in the 3-4 with Brandon Spikes, or he could play outside. That gives them a lot of flexibility with Jerod Mayo. He can rush the passer and he gives them flexibility in their front 7 packages. Now, the Pats have 4 LBs that they can really trust.
Gary Horton (2:18 PM)
It's hard to question these two picks.
Do you think the 2nd round pick was too much for Dallas to give up to jump up to the 6th spot and grab Claibourne ?
Gary Horton (2:20 PM)
They gave up a lot, but I think when they saw Claiborne get all the way to No. 6, they felt he was reachable. Remember, he could have easily gone at 3, 4, or 5. It was a case of a player they love getting close enough for them to make a move. There's no question that the need there was tremendous. They brought in Brandon Carr in free agency and he's a solid cover guy. But now in Claiborne, they have two guys they can put on an island in coverage situations. That allows Rob Ryan to use all of his creative blitzes, because he trusts the guys on the back end. This was a very astute pick and totally changes the way this secondary looks.
Hi Gary:Great action last night, do you think the trading will resume where it left off or it's a day one thing primarily?
Gary Horton (2:22 PM)
No, I think we'll see a lot of trading today for a couple of reasons. First, at the top of this draft in the second round, keep in mind that teams have had all night to readjust their boards and study who's available. That's why these first 10 picks will be excellent with teams moving up to get a guy that they thought wouldn't be there. Also, this draft is so deep and many people feel that it's really solid through three rounds. It becomes a situation where beauty is in the eye of the beholder. Teams can move up and down to get a guy they like or fits a scheme because they don't see a lot of difference in the talent level for the next 60 or so picks.
What do you think of the Tannehill pick and who do they target in the second round do you think?
Gary Horton (2:24 PM)
I thought it was a move that they almost had to make. They desperately needed a young QB to start building around for the future. Though, I think Matt Moore is OK for a while. The problem with Tannehill is it will take longer for him to get ready that some of the other QBs or even the ones we saw this year. He's a developmental QB with a good skill set, but patience will be critical. I don't expect him to make an impact until maybe later in the season. As for the rest of the draft, they have to address the right side of the OL. They need to somehow find an impact WR to give them some big plays. And I think they need some help in their secondary. They could always use an inside pass rusher.
Should the Browns have taken Weeden with their 2nd pick or committed to McCoy and taken a WR?
Gary Horton (2:27 PM)
Well, I think that probably the feeling on McCoy is he's just not going to get a lot better. They've seen enough of him now, so he's not really a developmental guy. Given more weapons around him, his production would have been better. But I think they came to the conclusion that the upside is just not there, so why waste time developing a position that just won't be good enough. Weeden is a little bit of a gamble and because of his age, he's going to have to play early. That can either be a positive or a negative. I think they're going to give the reins to him and let him go with the feeling that the upside will be a lot higher than with McCoy. With Trent Richardson, that can take a lot of pressure off of the QB.
Devin Brooks (Detroit, Mich)
hey Gary, What you think of the Lions getting Riley at 23? also, Do you think they make a trade to get Jenkins in the second or go for Glenn if they can trade up to the third pick in the second round? your thoughts please
Gary Horton (2:28 PM)
I think it was a very solid pick and a need. It wasn't necessarily exciting, but that's where the Lions need to build. Their LT is probably in his last year and you could see Reiff either start as a rookie at RT and then move to LT or simply be a swing guy. He could be a solid NFL OT if not a dominating one. This is a fairly safe pick.
Gary Horton (2:29 PM)
They probably expected him to go 10-15 spots higher. So, I'm sure on their board, this was a tremendous value pick as well.
Gary, are part of the crowd that believes Shanahan offense fits RG3 well? How long before you think he gets comfortable with the complete playbook to use it effectively?
Gary Horton (2:31 PM)
I think he fits perfectly in Shanahan's scheme. It will be a strong run game with zone blocking principles up front. They will ask RGIII to roll out on bootlegs off of play action. That means a lot of half field scrambles. These are all things that fits RGIII perfectly. It gives him a lot of options, including a threat to run. They need to upgrade the receiving game in free agency and give him better weapons. I believe they will give him this offense from Day 1 and let him run with it. This is a very intelligent and savvy guy and he will pick things up quickly.
Eamonn Quinn (Dublin, Ireland)
Hey Gary. Who is your number one rated player still on the board?
Gary Horton (2:33 PM)
My favorite guy is TE Coby Fleener, from Stanford. I like what he brings to an offense. How great would it be for Indy to draft him at the top of this round to give Andrew Luck another player. I'm surprised that Stephen Hill is still around, the WR from Georgia Tech. I think we'll have a semi-run on OL. I also think teams will circle back and grab up the pass rushers.
Gary Horton (2:35 PM)
I think a lot of people think after Day 1 the draft loses a lot of its luster. But keep in mind all of the guys drafted today will be guys expected to make their NFL roster and contribute early. These are the two days that scouts love. This is when the draft funnels to them, because they have more information on these players than anybody. As I said earlier, watch the first 10 picks today and do the same tomorrow, when again, teams have had all night to readjust their board.