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 (4:01 PM)
We've got Gary!
Do you think Burress could be a solid #2 receiver? Where do you think he'll sign and where do you think would be the best possible teams for him?
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
I think Plaxico will have several teams that will be interested. People don't realize how big and physical he is. At this stage of his career, he could be a good red zone target, a good third down reciever. I think he will work hard for the next 2-3 years. I don't think there's much of a risk.
Josh S. (Philly)
Would it be a good idea for Eagles to try signing Albert Haynesworth?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
I think there's a real negative perception with Haynesworth right now and I don't know how many teams will want to deal with him, though he is talented. From a football standpoint, he would be a good fit with the Eagles, because he's an inside penetrator and he wants to play in a 4-3 defense. I think there are a lot of teams that are just tired of his act.
Will the Cowboys finally get out of their rut and make a deep playoff run?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
I think they have the talent. I think they will play well under Jason Garret. They need to be more consistent on defense. They need better OL play. And Tony Romo needs to come up big, especially in the playoffs. But there's nothing to hold them back from being an elite team.
Josh S. (Philly)
Any updates on Kevin Kolb being traded? And if so, would it most likely be for draft picks?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I think when the lockout is over, he will be a very hot quarterback and I think there are several teams that will overpay to get him. He is obviously the best guy out there. However, Philadelphia has a tougher decision to make than you might think. His contract is not necessarily a real heavy one and they could decide to keep him with Vick for one more season and then trade him before next year's draft and they could still get a lot. There are a lot of people that love what Vick did last year, but they're not sure that he wasn't a little bit of a one year wonder.
Do you think the Bears will go after any big name free agents?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
I never think of the Bears as big free agent spenders, but I think they do a nice job of re-signing their own guys. They could make some need moves, but I don't think they will spend a lot of money. Free agency could be very interesting now, because with this lockout, when it's over, it will be a mad scramble to sign these free agents. But how much time will they have to learn the new systems? Will that factor how much you want to pay a guy that might not be ready to play at a high level?
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
We may see an emphasis on keeping your own guys that are free agents this year more than going out on the open markets.
Whats your opinion on Colt McCoy, and is the West Coast offense a great fit for him?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I think he is a very nice fit in Cleveland and he will be even better as they get a better supporting cast around him. To me, he's just a guy that makes plays. He's not flashy, but I think they can grow and live with him. I really like his demeanor and skill set.
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I think the Browns are a team that will make steady improvements.
What do you think of the Chargers during the upcomming year? They always start out slow then, with their backs against the wall, try to make up ground late. What pieces need to be added to avoid this and make a deep playoff run?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I know that they're very aware of avoiding that trap. They are going to address it in training camp, if camp happens, with some new things to avoid a slow start. But I'm not so sure that the Chargers haven't slipped a little bit. Their talent level isn't where it's been. Oakland and KC are improving teams. The AFC West is no longer a pushover. With Phillip Rivers, they have a chance every week, but I'm not sure, they're an elite team right now, but I think they're a good team.
Al (Wausau, WI)
Gary, do you think the Vikings may be big players in free agency when it happens? If so, might they target a veteran QB to help Ponder out in the short-term?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
I think that the Vikings probably have a plan to bring in a veteran QB like a Donovan McNabb, while Ponder learns. Keep in mind this is a veteran team, so I don't think they're going to put their team in the hands of a rookie right off the bat. I think Minnesota still thinks they are an elite, Super Bowl team and because of that they will spend in free agency and they will do whatever it takes to fill those perceived holes immediately.
with the combination of size and speed, is there a tougher cover in the NFL than Jermichael Finley when he's healthy?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
Well, I think he's the new breed of tight end and there are several of them playing right now. The guys who can catch and run are nightmares for defenses. The new athletic TE are the new mold right now. Look at the guys in New England. Jason Witten in Dallas. Antonio Gates in San Diego. The list goes on and on. I think Finley is right at the top of the list, especially since the Packers have so many weapons at WR and so many multi-receiver sets, that makes it really tough to get a lot of attention to Finley from a defense.
Logan Mankins make sense for the Giants if free agency ever gets started?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
I think he would make sense for the Giants and a lot of teams. He's a really good football player.
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
But I don't know if the Giants are a team, especially this year, that will be active in the free agent market.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
If the Cardinals fail to adddress their QB position, are they really going to start max Hall or Skelton right now? Isn't that esentially going to push Fitz into FA?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I think you're right, but I don't see any way that Arizona will go into the season with who they have right now at QB. I would be really surprised if they don't go out and get a free agent to be their starter. We have heard Marc Bulger's name. We hear about Kevin Kolb. Donovan McNabb is a possibility. But I think that Arizona feels like they can't win right now with what they have at the QB position. And you're point is also very valid. If they want to retain Larry Fitzgerald, they better upgrade the guy throwing to him.
Scott (Northglenn, CO)
Do you think the Broncos need to keep Orton, or since they are rebuilding trade him if they can get a 2nd or 3rd?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
I think that's an excellent question, but it's hard to answer because they don't know what they have in Tim Tebow. I don't think they're ready to commit their future to Tebow, but having said that, how do you know if he can be your guy if you don't play him? Orton put up good numbers last year and he was not the problem. If I was Denver, I dn't think I'd let him go right now. I would give Tebow more snaps. I know in Orton that I have a guy that can run an offense and be pretty competent. I don't think they'll get a blockbuster offer that's good enough to give him up.
Mike (Mission Viejo, CA)
What is your outlook on the Raiders this year? Are they a playoff contender?
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
I really liked the Raiders that I saw at the end of last season. They were physical. They were tough and I thought they really ran the ball well. I just don't know if they can get elite play from the QB position. That can hold them back a little bit. I think the AFC West will be a very competitive race between Oakland, KC and San Diego.
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
I have to say that the Raiders played much beter last year than I thought they were capable of.
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
Another week of no football, but we may be a couple of weeks from a decision by the courts on the lockout. Maybe I'm optimistic, but as a fan, I sense that both sides are maybe leaning towards working harder to get some resolutions than to leave it in the hands of the courts. I hope I'm right and I hope that the meetings between the owners and players can produce some really sincere progress. I think we're all so much better off that it's not run by the court system. I think that's the worst thing that can happen.
Buzzmaster (4:35 PM)