Chat with Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, 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 Wednesday at 4 p.m. ET!
Buzzmaster (1:59 PM)
Gary's here to chat Wednesday at 2 p.m. ET!
Gary Horton (2:03 PM)
After a really enjoyable Super Bowl week, it seemed like we would all have some down time, but now in today's NFL, there is no such thing as down time. I really realized this week how much this is a year round job with free agency and the draft now taking center stage.
Gary Horton (2:03 PM)
But it's also a great time to start looking ahead and break down teams and players.
Scooter, minny [via mobile]
Do u think ponder will be better in 2012 with a full off season?
Gary Horton (2:05 PM)
I think all rookies make their biggest progress in the offseason between their first and second years. They can watch a lot of film, see the good and the bad and get on the field with the coaches. However, I am concerned if he has enough weapons and about his pass protection. He now has a running game with question marks because of AP's injury. I'm not sure he has a full hand to deal with.
Gary Horton (2:05 PM)
But he will be better.
Kevin C (Lake Zurich)
Should the Bears get Vincent Jackson?
Gary Horton (2:06 PM)
I think that they will certainly look at the WR position among veterans. It's an interesting group. We don't know yet which guys could come free, because some could be franchised. But you're looking at DeSean Jackson, Vincent Jackson, Bowe, Mario Manningham, just to name a few.
Gary Horton (2:07 PM)
I think teams that have a high priority for a WR might be better to fill it via free agency than through the draft where there aren't a lot of first round grades.
Agim (New York)
With the 10th overall pick in the draft, which side of the ball do you think the Buffalo Bills will address. Do you think they'll take a look at WR Michael Flloyd from notre dame?
Gary Horton (2:09 PM)
I think they're still looking for a pass rusher. They're going back to a 4-3 defense, so they either need a DE who can give them a pass rush or possibly a OLB who can still rush off the edge. If they can find a hybrid guy, that would be perfect. But on offense, they have a tremendous need at WR, especially if they let Stevie Johnson go. They need an OT to develop.
Isn't it a bit premature to say that Eli Manning is already a HOFer bc of "His" 2 SB rings? Just this offseason we all rightfully laughed when he deemed himself elite. This was the first season that he was that consistently. How can a guy who has been elite exactly one year be a HOFer?
Gary Horton (2:10 PM)
I'm a little bit like you. I'm amazed that in the middle of a guy's career we're talking about the hall of fame. It's not like he's at the end. He probably has 7-8 more produtive years and who knows how good he'll get. I thought he took his game to a new level this year. But to me the hall of fame is a discussion reserved for the end of a guy's career, not midway through it.
Gary Horton (2:11 PM)
It seems like it's only been in the last couple of years that we've become so obsessed with the hall of fame. I don't remember anybody talking about Dan Marino when he was in the middle of his career.
Dean (Columbia, MO) [via mobile]
If you're Scott Pioli do you make Dwayne Bowe or Brandon Carr your franchise player?
Gary Horton (2:12 PM)
I would probably tend to make Bowe my franchise guy and keep him, because he's their best option in the passing game. I don't know that they could replace him in the draft or free agency. But I do know that a lot of teams are looking at him closely.
Julius (Hackensack) [via mobile]
Where will Mario Manningham play next season?
Gary Horton (2:14 PM)
I think the Giants will try to keep him, but they're going to have to pay Victor Cruz and I just don't know if you can pay three WRs in today's salary cap enough money to keep them happy. It would not surprise me if he went to a team like the Cleveland Browns, who need a WR and I believe he's an Ohio native. I was looking at the top 10 teams in the draft in the last couple of days and I counted 7 of them that had a serious need at WR. These veterans who come free will have a really nice payday and a lot of suitors.
Have you heard any trade proposals for QB Flynn out of Green Bay?
Gary Horton (2:17 PM)
I don't think it's a trade situation. I think he'll leave as a free agent. They certainly don't want him to go. He's a great backup to Aaron Rodgers, but the way he played at the end of the season, I don't believe there's any way he stays in Green Bay. I find it interesting that there will probably be 3-4 suitors for both he and Peyton Manning. That will be an interesting dynamic. His safest landing spot would probably be Miami because Joe Philbon is the head coach and he knows him well. But the owner in Miami wants to make a huge splash and that could be with Peyton. If Manning goes to Miami, I think logical landing spots for Flynn could be Washington or maybe Seattle. I suppose Cleveland might be a possibility if the Browns didn't get RGIII. But Flynn's going to get a nice payday.
Joey Providence [via mobile]
How good will the Eagles be in 2012?
Gary Horton (2:18 PM)
I think they'll be an excellent team next year, because Andy Reid knows how to fix problems. I think the defensive players will be much more comfortable. They actually played well at the end of the season. I think this offense has a chance to be dynamic. I consider the 2011 season to be a little bit of an abhorration. With another year of everybody being together, I think they'll be right in the thick of the race.
Are we going to find out that Bowe is one of if not the most underrated receiver in the league playing with Matt Cassel? Similarly are we going to find out that Manningham is being overvalued if teams are targetting him as their #1?
Gary Horton (2:21 PM)
I don't think Bowe is underrated. I think a lot of teams really value him, but his problem is that he did not have a stable QB situation in 2011 to showcase his skills. Matt Cassel really needs this guy to produce any kind of plays in 2012, so I think he could get the franchise tag.
Gary Horton (2:22 PM)
I think Manningham is an excellent WR. He can run vertical routes. He has good hands. I don't know if you can build your offense around him, but he's an excellent complimentary guy on the outside. He will bolster any passing game. But I agree with you, I don't think he'll be quite as dynamic as he did with Eli at the end of the season.
Rob (San Antonio)
With Mendenhall going down late in the season with an acl injury, how will this affect for him next season and long term? Should Pittsburgh can an eye on the RB board in the late rounds?
Gary Horton (2:23 PM)
Oh I think they're looking long and hard at that position. There's a feeling that Mendenhall won't be ready to play at least early in the 2012 season. We know this is an offense that wants to pound the ball. They do like their young players, but I think they're always in the market for a physical between the tackles guy.
Big Daddy (Philly)
What do the Eagles do with Jackson? Pay him? Franchise him?
Gary Horton (2:24 PM)
Well, he's a really talented guy, but I was really bothered by how he handled the 2012 season. I'm not so sure that I wouldn't let him go in free agency and bring in one of the other veteran guys and maybe start from scratch with less problems. It's hard giving up that kind of talent. I'm not close enough to the situation to know if it divides the lockerroom, but I do know this that the Eagles will have options. He does not impress me as a guy who would be happy with the franchise tag.
Gary, what does stanford routt bring to the table? Would he be an upgrade over brandon carr in kc?
Gary Horton (2:26 PM)
He's a good cover corner. A change of scenery might really help. But he's also a guy who committed a lot of penalties and missed some assignments. I think anybody that signs him will probably study him very closely. His physical skills are there, but he does not always play up to the level of those skills.
Grant (alabama) [via mobile]
Do you see the KC chiefs re signing kyle orton to challenge matt cassel for #1 on the depth chart? Also what do you see them looking for in April's draft?
Gary Horton (2:27 PM)
I think that would be a very good move because I'm not sure that the organization has that much confidence in Cassel. We've seen enough good things from Orton in the past to show that he can run the offensive effectively, especially one like the Chiefs that will have a run first philosophy. Orton would probably like to start somewhere, but I don't know if that option is available to him. And he might be closer to a deal in KC than a lot of people realize.
Mike newyork [via mobile]
Where do you see randy moss possibly playing at next season?
Gary Horton (2:29 PM)
Oh boy....I just don't know. Beauty is in the eyes of the beholder. You would certainly think that New England would be a fit because of the effect of Bill Belichick and their lack of a deep threat was very pronounced this season. But I just think a lot of teams just won't want to take on the potential risk of a Randy Moss, much like they felt about T.O. even though Moss doesn't have a lot of off field baggage. I think that's going to be a situation where teams spend a lot of time with him off the field and try to determine why he came back. If those answers are positive, then he can probably still play.
Gary Horton (2:31 PM)
We're getting close to the Indy combine and free agency is not that far off. It's always fascinating to combine the two to anticipate what needs your team is going to fill. I just finished doing a team need's document and now I'm going to really dive into free agency and the draft. Like we said at the beginning of the chat, this is a never ending league now. With the exception of some time in May and June, covering the NFL is year round.