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 (4:02 PM)
We've got Gary!
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
If there's a positive sign to what's going on, it appears the judge is forcing the two sides to get back to the table. But I don't think much progress is going to happen now. I think May and June now become our key months. One thing I've been thinking about the last week is the product on the field really gets hurt if this thing lacks. A lot gets made about the OTAs and mini camps, but the playbook gets put in there and the players are in better shape if they're in a structured environment. I think if this thing lasts, we'll see a lot more injuries because players don't take care of themselves as well as we think.
Should the Colts take the top defensive or offensive player in the first round?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
As I look at their needs, I think they could go either way. I think they could go with OT or DT. They need an upgrade both in size and athleticism. They could use help in the secondary. They could actually use 2 OL. And as strange as it might sounds, they could look WR, because they're not as deep as everyone thinks. However, I think their first pick will be a lineman on either side of the ball.
Tom (MN) [via mobile]
Why do most mock drafts have the Vikings taking a DE in the first round? Granted Kevin Williams had an off year but Jared Allen had over 10 sacks. I believe their secondary needs an upgrade more than the d-line.
Gary Horton (4:08 PM)
First and foremost, in my mind they have to get their QB situation settled. I think they would like to do that in free agency, if and when that happens, rather than go with a rookie. But don't discount them going QB in the first round, if they can't get a guy like McNabb. I have them with the biggest need at safety, where they were hurting in the deep middle of the field. There could also be a big need at WR, as good as that group has been, if they lose some guys in free agency. DE and OLB are down the line needs, but I'm not sure that would be a priority in the first round. The whole key to what the Vikings do is at the QB position.
Cheesehead Sports Nut (Chicago, IL)
We are in the unofficial misinformation period before the NFL Draft when it seems like any information coming from teams has to be taken with a grain of salt. How do you sift through that information to determine what is fact and what is fiction?
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
The first thing you have to do is do your own research. If you listen to other teams, a lot of information will be leaked and a lot of it isn't even the truth. I think there is a fine line of being aware of what teams are doing but not depending on them for your information. You are exactly right, at this stage of the game, a lot of teams are trying to throw teams off the track. There is a lot of bluffing going on. You have to stay true to your board. It becomes really easy, because you get into a competitive environment that you can start making rash decisions. I think the way teams set up their board in a controlled environment with all of their information is probably their best decision making tool. I think you have to really be careful and not leave that.
Andrew Kettmann (Toms River,NJ)
What is the Jets biggest need in this years draft? And will the lockout hurt there chances of drafting a big name player because they can't trade up in the 1st round?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I think the Jets absolutely will concentrate on defense early. To me, the biggest need is OLB that can be an effective pass rusher in their 3-4 defense. As good as this team has been, that has been a big weakness. They need a double digit sack guy. They also could use a DE as they really lacked depth there. They could use help at the safety position. As good as this team is, they have more needs than you might think. I think that Rex Ryan really wants to get an impact pass rusher.
so will the nfl schedule come out this week since next week is Easter week?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I'm sure that they'll produce a schedule just as they always do. Everyone will remain optimistic. I think right around the draft we'll get the full schedule. But I do think that the NFL and the owners are looking at a variety of scenarios, in terms of a 12-game schedule, 8-game schedule, etc., if this lockout carries on. I think they will have that in mind, the variations of different timelines.
sydney Robinson (houston)
do you think the texans have a chance to draft up and get the von miller or patrick peterson they need
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I think Houston is a team that is going to be fairly conservative and I don't see them making a lot of dramatic moves. They have so many needs on defense, including OLB, CB and S and maybe even a NT. Keep in mind this team is now going to a 3-4 defense with Wade Phillips, so they need pass rushers. I would think it's Houston's style to stay where they're at and get the best defensive player available. I just don't see them making a lot of dramatic moves.
Chris Fiegler (Latham,NY)
How far do you think that the NFL Lockout will go? Do you think the whole entire 2011 season will be cancelled?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
No, that scenario would shock me. I think if we are pessimists, which I hate to be, if this thing goes into September, it could be solved in early October. As we've talked about before, players don't start losing paychecks until September. So, there's not a sense of urgency until they stop getting paid. Once that happens, then people start to say, "we better get to the table and get this thing done." But I would like to think that they want to get this thing done in May or June and get it hammered out. If they don't, then I think, as a guess, that we lose 4-6 games and we have to adjust to a 10 or 12 game season, which would certainly displease most people.
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
As I mentioned, if that scenario would happen, how long would it take to get teams into shape? Not only physically but mentally? What kind of product would they put on the field? Could they do it in 3-4 weeks? That'd be a guess.
blake r (florida)
what are your thought about colt mccoy?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
I don't think there's any question that they're comfortable with Colt McCoy as their future. I think he shows great leadership. He really looks like he has a flair to lead this team. Everybody is on board that he's the QB of the future of this team. I would be really surprised if they look anywhere else. I think they could go defense in this draft or for a top WR if he's tehre.
Will (New Orleans)
what do you think the Saints' biggest needs are?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
We obviously have to look at the Reggie Bush situation. I don't think it's a No. 1 priority, RB, but I think the Saints would love to have a guy that they could depend on and give them 20-25 carries a game. That would help Drew Brees in the passing game. My guess is that they look defense early on, DE, DT, S. I would think they would address RB later in the draft.
unclebilly (kennesaw ga)
With the Lions in a position to miss out on the top cbs and lb in the class, is it a foregone conclussion they have to go ot?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
It's hard to know, because I don't think OT is their primary need. But they could certainly use a guy, if that was the best available pick. I think that they are probably looking long and hard at defense again, OLB, CB, S. I think there will be a good player available to them at one of those three positions. We talked about it before, but let's keep in mind that this is an unusual draft, where we can't necessarily draft the best player available because we didn't fill our needs in free agency. So, we could see some teams reach for a position because it's an area of need.
mike (new jersey)
how about jimmy smith to the steelers? if not, what other cornerback?
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
I agree with you. CB is a huge need, along with OT and OG. But they really need a young cover guy to develop. Ike Taylor is getting up there in age. But they could also go DL, because this is a group all in their 30s along the defensive front. My guess here is the pick will be a DT or CB. The wild card could be in the second or third round a WR.
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
This defense has more age on it that maybe people realize.
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
Enjoy the next three weeks, where we can talk about the draft, because if we don't have a deal in place, May is not going to be the most fun month.