Chat with Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's NFL "Caveman" -- and Insider -- 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, breaking 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!
Buzzmaster (4:02 PM)
Gary is here!
Gary Horton (4:02 PM)
Shoutout to Grant's in West Hartford, where I'm doing the chat today.
What free agent will attract the most attention this offseason?
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
Interesting question. There are a lot of free agents right now. A lot of teams are in Indy right now trying to figure out if they want to tie up their guys with a franchise tag or do they want to let them go to the market. It's hard to say who will be the hottest free agent market, because we don't know who it will be.
Al (Des Moines)
Generally, do you think it makes the most sense both in college recruiting and the NFL draft to look for players with projectible bodies and athleticism but less polish, or for players with already adequate bodies and higher levels of technique?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
That's a great question, because I think we have a league full of coaches that think they can develop players. But I also think the college coaching is so good right now that you have to be realistic. If they guy hasn't produced right now, why do you think they would? But I know a lot of coaches in the NFL that think the guys who have great measurables, that they can take them to another level. That's the mentality.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Hi Gary - have teams begun to rethink their draft philosophy/strategy based on how the CBA values certain positions over others?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
I do think that every team has a value on a position. So I don't think they want to get overly heavy on any specific position. For example, the Denver Broncos. You have Demariyus Thomas, Eric Decker. How much can I afford to pay all of my guys? You have to look at the position and figure out how much I can spend my budget on this position.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Gary, With Justin Tuck, Hakeem Nicks and Jon Beason testing the open market, which ones will be with new teams and who'll be back with the Giants in 2014?
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
That's a tough question. I used to love the Giants pass rush, but I don't know how much Justin Tuck has left. I'm not sure about the other guys. This is a Giants team that is in a little bit of a makeover. They have holes on every level. I love Tom Coughlin, but I think this is not his best team.
Gary, Who do you see the Cards targeting in the Draft? Will they try to trade up?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I haven't studied them a lot yet this offseason, but I think it's their OL. For years it's been their huge problem. They can't block. They have a horrible running game. They have to upgrade their OL. Their defense is terrific.
bob nj [via mobile]
hi gary who do u see jets drafting at 18 wr te or safety?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
I think it's probably WR. They need more targets. They need a guy they can count on at WR. Within this draft, they're going to get a guy they really love. This is a team with a lot of needs, but WR is a huge, huge need.
Marshall (Regina, Saskatchewan Canada)
Do any NFL teams employ full time scouts who scout exclusively the Canadian Football League(CFL) and if not, do you think there will ever be?
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
Absolutely, teams look to other areas. Every team usually has a scout assigned to the CFL. It used to also include the Arena Football League. You're looking every year for players that can be successful. The Seahawks just signed a WR they love. Absolutely teams look to the CFL.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
What NFL Team do you think will have a lot holes to Fill the Most in the 2014 NFL Draft?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
It starts with Jacksonville. But there are so many teams that have needs. Jacksonville would be the first one that comes to mind. If you have a QB, you have a chance. If you don't then you have to start over.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi, Since the Giants aren't solely going with David Wilson at running back in 2014, will they pick up someone in the free agent market or in the upcoming draft?
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
I think the Giants are semi-sold on Wilson, but they're hedging their bets. I know Tom Coughlin. I think he's a little worried about the RB position.
most interesting offseason storyline you're following?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
How do the Miami Dolphins come out of this mess.
Martin (Indiana) [via mobile]
How do you think Johnny Manziel will fare in the NFL?
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
I have to tell you, I'm a little more hesitant on Manziel than everyone else is. I'm not always buying the Kool-Aid. I think we're getting way carried away. He's a unique guy. I love to watch him, but let's let it play out.
Hey Gary, do you think hiring Dan Marino would be a good move for the Dolphins?
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I think the Dolphins have totally blown this situation. I am the last guy to challenge coaches, but the fact that you didn't know what is going on in your locker room, that's a hard thing for me to deal with. I think Joe Philbin is a good coach.
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I'm an old NFL guy that's really embarrassed by all of this stuff.
Mike (Misison Viejo, Ca)
You said last week that the Raiders are possibly the furthest team away from being a contender. I slightly disagree. The Raiders have a full draft and will be pickinghigh in each round. they also have an insane amount of cap room this year. Assuming they will be drafting high next year as well (which is a pretty safe bet) they would have three straight years of early picks and the ability to sign a lot of free agents. Assuming them draft well I think they could contend for the AFC West in two years. Thoughts?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
They're coming out of the worst salary cap problems in the NFL. They have a chance to be competitive this year, but they're still a year or two away. The cap problems were horrible. They have a little chance this year and maybe next year. But they're still not a real contender.
Sean (Iowa) [via mobile]
Gary, if Sammy Watkins would happen to be at the Vikings pick and there was no quarterback or defensive player worth taking would they take him or find a team such as the Jets to trade up with them since the Jets will have two third round picks after March 13th due to Revis being on the Bucs roster?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I will say this Cordarelle Patterson, the way he emerged at the end of the season makes me think he'll be special for them. I think they have more problems on defense. I would draft a defensive player.
all in all, will we see another cold weather super bowl soon?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
Honestly, I don't think so. I think New York got away with a great weather day. Had it been one day later, it would have been a disaster. But, having said that, if you build a new stadium, the NFL will reward you with that.
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
In my mind, every Super Bowl should be New Orleans or San Diego.
what are teams looking to get from the combine?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
The combine is just another piece of the puzzle. The biggest thing from the combine are the interviews. How a player acts with teams. The 40 time is fine. All of the measurables are good. But how you interact with teams in the interview process is the biggest thing. That, and the physicals.
which team looks the best headed into the offseason?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
How about Arizona? They are looking good. Carolina. Those are probably the two teams that I really like right now to go to the next level.
If Eric Decker leaves who are a few teams that might sign him? And why?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
You have 31 other teams and they're thinking could he be their No. 1 guy? I'm not sure they feel that way. And if he's your No. 2 guy -- which he is in Denver -- then you pay him accordingly. It will be really interesting to see if someone else will pay him No. 1 money.
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
This is the No. 1 decision in the offseason in free agency.
Michael (Cincinnati) [via mobile]
Could Bortles potential earn him the #1 pick? Clearly the performance on the field doesn't merit such discussion. Can Houston really afford this gamble? I have a hard time swallowing it.
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
To be honest, this year, I'd trade down. I know nobody believes that. But I don't believe in Johnny Manziel being the No. 1 pick. I don't believe in Clowney being the No. 1 pick. I trade down 4-5 picks. I get extra picks and I would feel really good about it. I want to believe in the guys at the top, but I don't feel it right now.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
Thanks for all the questions. Enjoy the rest of the combine.