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!
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
If you're an NFL fan, you've got to love the fact that we're at the end of February and there's more going on than we can keep up with. Between the combine, free agency, franchise tags, new coaching staffs, etc. it truly points out there is no offseason in this league.
Gary, how closely do you pay attention to the combine workouts?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
I've watched them fairly closely. I watch them more as time goes on. What people have to realize they go back and put these tapes together where you can see a guys workouts in its entirety. It's a lot easier to evaluate a guy when you can look at all of guy's workout instead of watch 20 different guys do one drill. And I'm watching the times and I'm really surprised by how some of these big guys run. Today's workout with the DL and LBs caught a lot of us by surprise.
Gary, Robert Griffin III measured in at over 6-2 and over 220 pounds....does that make him the solid No. 2 QB and probably the No. 2 player selected in the draft?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
I think it goes a long way toward that. Everyone is comfortable with everything else in his game. There was just a nagging fear that size could become an issue. Now that it's not, all of the other things that you love about him, you can go forward with. I don't think there's anything that will stop him from being the second pick.
If you are the Cowboys GM and you can only sign one big name free agent, would you go after Mario Williams or Carl Nicks?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
That's a very interesting scenario, because both guys fill a tremendous need. However, I would probably say Mario Williams, because they need a game breaker on the edge. Can you imagine Williams combined with DeMarcus Ware as edge rushers? That all of a sudden makes a so-so secondary that much better. However, having said that, remember that Nicks played for new offensive coordinator/OL coach Bill Callahan at Nebraska and he would really change the dynamics of this inside run game which was so bad in 2011, especially in the red zone.
Timmy (Leonardtown, MD)
With RG3 looking so good in the combine, will RG3 give Luck a run for the top pick or is Luck locked in at number one?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
I think Luck is locked in at No. 1. But I certainly think the gap may be a little closer than people realize. People forget that Luck had an excellent workout in his own right, even though neither guy threw. His numbers were similar to Cam Newton a year ago. RGIII is so off the charts in terms of speed and athletic ability that it really gives us a different look at the position.
Gary did you ever think we'd see many QBs running sub-4.8 40s and even 4.4 and 4.6s?
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
No. I tend to think that's a little bit of an odd year. I think we're still looking for the big drop back QB. But we're also seeing a lot of guys come out of spread offenses at the college level now where they really move around the pocket. That speed and athleticism is really important. But I just think we're fortunate this year to have more athleticism than we've had. I don't know that it's a trend, but it's interesting to think about.
Scooter, minny [via mobile]
With so many holes on the vikings roster do u think they should trade down 4 more draft picks or take kalil with 3rd pick?
Gary Horton (4:15 PM)
I think that's going to be a tough question for them. I'm sure that pick is for sale, but the problem is, coming up to No. 3 now does not ensure you that you're going to get RGIII. So they're really stuck in a sense, because St. Louis is certainly willing to trade out. My guess is that they may stay at No. 3, with everybody trying to jump to No. 2 and then take Kalil at OT. That fills a giant need and is worth the No. 3 pick. I just don't know who gives up a lot of draft choices to move into No. 3 for a group of 4-5 guys. You certainly would think the QBs would be out of the mix at No. 3, I don't know that teams would trade in for Justin Blackmon at WR and I don't know if they would trade in for a RB like Richardson. In my opinion, once you get past No. 3 for the next 5-6 picks you take the highest rated guy on the board and I do not see a lot of trades.
do you think st. louis stays at 2? They'd be stupid not to listen, right?
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I don't think there's any chance they stay at No. 2. I think now it is clear that is where you have to go to get RGIII. I think they're going to get some blockbuster offers and teams will overpay because if they don't get to 2, they're out of it. St. Louis can fill a lot of needs both this year and next year by making that move. I think if they're down to No. 4-8, they will get a good player and they will add terrific depth with the other picks they receive in compensation.
Kurtis (Houston, TX)
If Houston can make it work, and somehow re-sign Mario AND Arian, do you think this team could have the topped rank Defense and the top running game in the NFL?
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
Well if that could happen, then I think you're probably right. We know they're great in that zone running game with a good offensive line and Foster runs it to perfection. Keep in mind that defensively, they got unexpected production from a couple of young guys as pass rushers. That sets up an even better pass rush if Williams comes back. Having said that, it's going to be really tough for them to sign both guys. Another concern is Myers may be a bigger loss on the OL than people realize.
the bears have a need at TE...how much do they regret the Olson trade and maybe even the Martz project?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
Well, I thought trading Olsen last year was a huge mistake. But you have to realize that in Mike Martz's system the TE wasn't that important. It will be different with Mike Tice at OC. They'll have to look at free agency or high in the draft to get a guy. I know Jay Cutler is looking for more size and red zone skills whether it be at TE or WR. He wants some big guys that can convert jump balls and make plays at the goal line.
Suburban Rhythm (Pittsburgh)
Is Dontari Poe solely a two-down player, or could he become a Ngata-like force?
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
His workout was certainly impressive. What that does from a scout's standpoint is cause you to go back and re-look at the film. Now you'd like to give him the benefit of the doubt in some areas because you're so enamored with the physical skills. However, you have to keep in mind that nothing comes close to evaluating a player all season on film. I remember listening to Bill Walsh one year and he made a statement that if I see a player do something once that's really good, it's up to us to get it out of him more consistently. I think that applies to a guy like Poe. If he has those skills in his body, then how do we get it out of him on a consistent basis? That is the challenge with a lot of these guys in the next two months - to try to take those red lights off and try to get them to a point where they're a clean player by draft day.
Gary, how active do you think the Vikings will be this free agent season, and what positions/players do you see them going after.
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I think their biggest two needs may be at OT and at WR because they need a guy to team with Percy Harvin. It looks like that they could go OT in the draft with Matt Kalil and that makes them a candidate for a WR in free agency. This team has a lot more needs than in the past. I no longer see them with elite personnel and are only 1-2 players away.
I keep hearing that Fisher might take RG3 and shop Bradford since he likes those mobile QB's like McNair and Young. Do you see this happening its kind of hard to imagin?
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
I certainly don't think so. I think the Rams are committed to Bradford and I think there is probably a feeling there that if they can surround them with better players, which they can certainly get in a trade for the No. 2 pick, they will be a much better offense. I just don't know if you confuse your organization at this stage by making total changes at QB. But, having said that, I know that RGIII is an impressive guy and teams are going to fall in love with him in terms of intelligence and personality. Who knows if that could be enough to sway a team. There will be a lot of gamesmanship regarding that No. 2 pick. It's not out of the realm of possibility that the Rams could leak that they might be interested in RGIII to just make the pick a little bit hotter.
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
Although, I don't know what good that would do. Everyone knows you have to get to No. 2 to get the QB.
Timmy (Leonardtown, MD)
What will the Redskins have to give up in order to get the number two pick?
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
Well, I think we're talking multiple picks this year and we're probably talking something next year, maybe even a first round pick. I believe that St. Louis is going to get a lot for the pick, no matter who moves up. Just because a team like Cleveland may go from 4 to 2, they'll have to pay. Same thing with Washington. In my opinion, it might be the Browns in the best spot to move up, because they have No. 4 and No. 22. If you make that deal and add in a pick from next year, that's enticing for the Rams. But boy, that's expensive for the Browns. No matter how you cut it, this is not going to be cheap.
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
I think it's a minimum of swapping first round picks and either another No. 1, 2 or 3 whether it's this year or next year. I don't know if there's a book that you can feel comfortable with using on this trade.
Gary Horton (4:32 PM)
All of this RGIII talk is also directly connected to Peyton Manning and Matt Flynn and what happens to them. There is a lot of drama involved with the QB position in the next few months.
Gary Horton (4:32 PM)
Now that we're almost past the combine, we'll now look at free agency starting soon. That's a whole other ball game, along with the individual workouts we'll see spread out over time. It certainly looks to me that we're looking at a very good draft class that's a little better than we thought. See you next Monday!