Chat with Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Gary Horton (4:01 PM)
This is the week we've all been waiting for. It's fascinating that the last 2-3 days before the draft to try and follow the rumors and potential moves. But we all know by now that much of what we hear should be taken lightly. This is such a deep draft, that even thoguh it doesn't have a lot of sizzle, teams with really strong scouting departments will really upgrade their personnel.
do you think the chicago bears are a playoff ready team
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
I think they still have enough good personnel to be a playoff contender. But they are not a team without holes. I think they have some major questions on the offensive line. I think they need a little more depth at WR. As I look at their defense, age and depth is a real factor. But they do have a big time QB and a big time WR. This defense still knows how to make plays. I think they're going to love Marc Trestman's offense.
Is the Revis trade closure for the Jets, or will it haunt them?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
I think there is tremendous pressure on them now to get two quality starters out of these two picks. If they don't, it will set them back even further than they are now. I look at this roster on film in the last few weeks and I just don't know if I see a team with more holes and needs. They are going to have to have a great couple of drafts to re-stock their personnel. They can just not afford to miss on some of their prospects, especially the high picks.
Jay B. (San Diego)
Any chance the Chargers move up a couple of places to get Johnson?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
I think there is no question that improving this OL is probably their No. 1 goal. I don't know that they'll necessarily move up, because I think they could also be satisfied with a great offensive guard, if all three OTs are gone when they pick. They might be in position to get a good OL, either inside or outside. I don't see them giving up picks to move up. They are a team with a lot of needs.
Gary, what are the chances KC can trade out of the first pick? It seems like they don't want more than a second round pick.
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
I don't believe they will. I think they'll probably stay there and take one of the OTs. I'm not sure who they could trade with. I think they'll stay where they are at and take the top rated guy on their board. I think with three OTs that everybody likes, the need to go up to No. 1 really decreases.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Hi Gary - as the game & players get faster, stronger and more athletic are the teams with forwarding thinking front offices changing the way they look at building a team that can compete year in and year out - shorter contracts, younger players, more yearly turnover except for a couple of key players (like if you have a real franchise QB)?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
I think you're somewhat on the right track. Really good organizations accept turnover as a fact of life. They are really smart to not carry players too long and reward them based on what they've done in the past. Obviously, a young roster is a cheaper roster and as you said the forward thinking front offices do a really good job of anticipating when a veteran player is going to start to decline and that's when they probably cut their losses a year before anybody would expect them to. You have to be careful that you don't have so much turnover that there's not continuity. You need that core of veteran players to build around.
Jay B. (San Diego)
Do you think the Jets should trade up to #4 to grab Milliner? He takes Revis's spot at a lot less money.
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
I think there is no question that they will target the CB position in the draft because not only of need, but also Rex Ryan needs a lot of corners to play all of the man sub packages that he likes. With Revis gone, that's an obvious hole they have to fill. BUT I would be very surprised if they try to trade up. They can not afford to give up any picks. They have two selections in the first round and they need to get a home run on both of those picks. Giving up something to get a player is out of the question this year. They have to let the draft come to them and then make sure they pick the right guys.
now that luck, wilson and kapernick all have a year of experience under their belts, which one is most likely to have the best season in 2013 and do you see any of them changing their style or approach (especially those who run alot)
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
If RGIII is healthy, I think all of these young guys will make good progress, because they are not only gifted passers, but they are athletic guys who really seem to have a great feel for the game. I don't see any reason for the production to drop off from a year ago. I would probably think that Andrew Luck will have a better supporting cast and he has his college coach as his new offensive coordinator. I also think that Wilson will benefit greatly with the addition of Percy Harvin. You can certainly make the argument that Kaepernick will benefit from Boldin, especially on third down. We'll just have to wait and see if RGIII is healthy enough to pick up where he left off. But I don't think these young guys were one year wonders. I think they're here to stay for a long time.
Gary, does this year's draft seem more "compelling" than in years past? Without a bonafide star at the skill positions, this years 1st round seems to be completely up in the air. Do you anticipate more trades than in years past?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I think you're right in the fact that the depth of this draft is really good. You can probably look at 40-50 really good players, even though there isn't a lot of sizzle. There is a chance that there is a lot of trades. I can see teams using their full time allotment in the first couple of days. With so much depth, teams will target certain guys and move up a little bit or move down a little bit without giving up a lot to get a guy they prefer. However, having said that, I can also disagree with myself and make the case that because of the depth of the first three rounds, teams don't need to move up or down. Teams can stay where they're at and feel good that a player they've graded high will fall to them. I've talked to teams that feel both ways. I think it will be very interesting to see where it plays out. I think the drama in this draft will either be teams trading from the high second round to the lower first round to get a QB on Thursday night, or if that doesn't happen, I think the first hour or two on Friday, the first half of the second round, will be very interesting, because that's where all of the QBs could go. I think that's certainly a trend to follow. If you're looking for sizzle, watching interior linemen come off the board early in the draft might be exciting for teams, but not so for the fans.
Understanding that the draft is, at best an inexact science, how is it there are so many later round picks that made it under the radar? Like Tom Brady and Terrel Davis, for example.
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
That's a question we've always tried to answer. I think we can all evaluate measureables and the things that we can see, but I think what is an inexact science is the intangibles - how hard does he work, does he go to the right situation. There are a lot of things involed. We see some kids drafted later that are hungry and have a great work ethic and they seem to develop.
With the Patriots only having a handful of picks, do you see them moving back to stockpile picks?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
They've certainly done that in the past, if they didn't like a guy. Nobody is better than the Pats than reading the draft and having a feeling of where guys are going to go and adjusting their board accordingly. Since they did not get Emmanuel Sanders from Pittsburgh, they will target a speed WR. I think they could certainly look at the safety position, the DL. They don't have a lot of glaring needs. What I think they need to do is really hit on the mid round picks, which used to be a huge strength and they need to re-establish it.
What do you think the Jets do with their first two picks?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
There is no question that they need two solid starters out of those two picks. But I do not expect them to use those picks to move up or down and get specific players. I fully expect them to let the draft come to them and they hopefully make really strong selections. This is a team that I see needing numerous players. They're way beyond just needing one or two difference makers to turn them around.
Gary, a lot has been made about the Packers failures against the 49ers last post season. While they obviously didn't have the gameplan to stop CK, they didn't envision having to lean on Walden like they did either. That said, with the injured linebackers coming back (Bishop, Perry, Smith) and the offensive line another year older, do they have the roster depth to simply take best player available or do you think they have to focus on the OL, DL, LB spots? Thanks.
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
First of all, I agree with the fact that the scheme versus San Francisco failed more than the personnel. I was shocked in the film that the back seven turn and run man to man schemes and they let Kaepernick turn the corner time after time. I believe they're an organization that will take the best player available on the board. They're not a team that will necessarily draft to a need. I will be very interested to see if they pull the trigger on a running back. I know there are problems in the OL. I know they'd like to have a little more speed at LB, but I think the biggest problem with this team is a lack of running game to get them balance. It would be very interested to see if they pull the trigger on a guy in the first round, like Eddie Lacy. This is a front office that never panics.
Woody (Washington, DC)
If you were the Miami Dolphins GM, would you trade your 2nd round pick (#42) to the Chiefs for LT Brandan Albert?
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
I would certainly consider it, because I would look at this draft. I would see that the three OTs that everyone likes will be long gone. If you put Albert in this draft, you'd probably say you'd be very happy to get him with a second round pick. The key would be if you can get him to a long term deal, not just deal with the franchise tag. He is a good football player. I really was excited a few weeks ago about the prospects of the Chiefs having Albert and a guy like Joeckel, which would solidify the OT position for years to come. It's disappointing that has not worked out, because that would have dramatically upgraded this offense. Having said that, the Dolphins desperately need to replace Jake Long. Giving up a second round pick to do so is probably not a bad deal.
Gary Horton (4:32 PM)
Next Monday will be a great chat, because we can be armchair QBs after the draft. I think the draft format now, spread out over three days, is so exciting. I think it's going to lead us into a great weekend.
Gary Horton (4:33 PM)
I really enjoy these three days on a personal level, because a lot of us are in one big conference room at ESPN. My job is to evaluate the players role with his new team after every selection: where he fits in, what to look for, what the offensive/defensive philosophy is, etc. It's a lot of fun to plug in players and project what their role might be. By the time you do it almost 250 times, it makes for pretty long days.