Scouts Inc.: Horn has something left in the tank

Posted by Scouts Inc.'s Tag Ribary

Now that the Atlanta Falcons have granted WR Joe Horn's wish and released him, we turn our attention to where he might land. Age and injuries have taken their toll on Horn but it is possible he could still help a team in need.


  • Horn can still get off press coverage with good hand use and footwork. His acceleration and burst are descending, but he has a knack for setting up his breaks by selling routes in the route stem. Good receivers are able to get defenders to open their hips versus off-coverage, and Horn can still do this as well.

  • He is no longer the go-to receiver on third down that he used to be, but he can still make the tough catches because he adjusts well to the ball and has good hands. The fact that his speed is descending means an offensive system in need of a possession receiver makes the most sense at this point in his career.

  • Yes, the fact that he is 36 will scare off a lot of clubs, but consider some of the older receivers who are expected to play big roles for their teams this season: Joey Galloway is also 36; Marvin Harrison, Bobby Engram, Isaac Bruce and Muhsin Muhammad are 35; Terrell Owens is 34.


  • Horn's health is the first red flag teams will investigate. He has yet to play in the preseason due to an ongoing hamstring problem, and durability has been a problem for Horn in recent years as he has not played a full 16-game schedule since 2004.

  • He has also complained about his role and had been asking for his release or a trade for several weeks now, and many will wonder whether Horn will eventually bring the same attitude to a new team should he end up behind younger receivers on the depth chart.

Wide receivers don't really fit into particular schemes in the NFL -- with the possible exceptions of guys who are pure vertical threats or who play primarily in spread schemes -- so a possession receiver with Horn's skill set would fit in pretty much any system. Here's a look at teams that might have some interest:

Dallas Cowboys: There has been a lot of discussion about the Dallas receiving corps beyond Owens. Patrick Crayton is back in the fold this year, but the team recently lost Miles Austin to a knee injury that could take several weeks to heal.

Seattle Seahawks: The Seahawks are temporarily depleted at this position while Deion Branch (knee) and Bobby Engram (fractured shoulder) get healthy. They have some interesting young backups but there isn't a lot of experience in the group while Engram and Branch sit.

Minnesota Vikings: The possible turf toe injury to Bernard Berrian could be damaging. The severity of the injury is not yet known, but any type of toe injury is bad news for a wideout.

Kansas City Chiefs: The Chiefs have Dwayne Bowe, with Devard Darling penciled in opposite him. While there is a lack of experience among the backups, Horn might not be a good fit on a rebuilding team.

Denver Broncos: Brandon Marshall is currently suspended for the first three games.

San Francisco 49ers: Arnaz Battle, Jason Hill, Ashlie Lelie and Bryant Johnson have all been paying regular visits to the training room.

Miami Dolphins: The Dolphins don't have a real strong WR group and have already entertained the possibility of adding former Cowboy Terry Glenn if he can get healthy.

Philadelphia Eagles: Reggie Brown has a hamstring injury and a previous Achilles injury that could affect his availability.

Jacksonville Jaguars: Matt Jones has legal issues. Jerry Porter had hamstring surgery this summer and will miss the entire preseason. Troy Williamson has already missed a lot of practice time with groin and hip flexor issues.

Scouts Inc. watches games, breaks down film and studies football from all angles for ESPN.co