Chat with Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Wednesday, ESPN's NFL "Caveman" himself, Gary Horton, stops in to talk some football and other news from around the league.
Horton, from Scouts Inc., works year-round on ESPN's NFL-related shows, including NFL32, where he breaks down film, earning him his Caveman nickname.
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!
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
This is an exciting week, because of the combine. A lot of people get their first chance to get a look at some of these college players that prepare for the draft. It's also a fun week because teams are starting to make decisions on franchise players, etc., so we are seeing some movement among veteran players.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Gary, Have feeling Osi Umenyiora will be moving on but other players such as Beatty, Boothe, Bennett, Blackburn, Victor Cruz and Bear Pascoe, will they be moving on or be back with the Giants in 2013?
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
I agree with you that the look of this defensive line is going to probably change. For so many years, we've been spoiled by a unit that was one of the deepest in the NFL, but when you look now, it's no longer the case. When they don't play good, it really exposes the back end in their coverage. I don't think we'll see major changes, because I think they still think they have good enough players to make a Super Bowl run. I think they'll address the trenches and they'll look to really upgrade their run game and maybe even add another dynamic receiver. Having said all of that, that's more change than we thought.
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
They probably have more holes than recent Giants teams.
Troy (Seattle, WA)
Do you think that Seattle would make a play on Jennings or Welker? How bout DE ( need 2) one FA and one in draft. How would you prioritize for Sea? Get weapons for DangeRuss or DL help? How bout Kruger and drafting best WR available somewhere in the top 3 rounds?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
Both of those WRs would help them. I just looked at the Seahawks on film today. Their trio of Tate, Rice and Baldwin were at least adequate, but I think that Pete Carroll would like a guy who could really stretch a defense and give them some vertical plays. That's probably a nice match for Jennings. I think they probably feel that they can get guy at the slot position with Baldwin. I do believe they'll target an explosive receiver with size this offseason.
Steve (Long Island)
Who will trade up for the Chiefs pick at #1?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I haven't really studied the draft a lot yet, because my concentration has been more on the teams and their needs. But I've been told by guys in the league that I trust, that there is probably not very many guys to trade up for this year. I don't think that KC will get huge offers for that No. 1 pick. My guys tell me that there are about 30 good players that are almost interchangeable but this is a draft that is not exciting in terms of difference makers. When you have a draft like this, where a lot of players are graded closely I think teams will make minor moves to get the guy that they want.
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
But in my opinion, we're talking about moving around a couple of picks, while not giving away a lot. I also think this could be a draft where a lot of teams just sit and wait with the comfort that whoever falls to them will be OK.
the Pats have been hoarding draft picks the last few years....isn't it time they go all in to try and get one more title with Brady? He's nearing the end isn't he?
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
I think he can play at a high level for 3-4 more years. I don't think it's Bill Belichick's style to go "all in" especially in a draft where there is a lot of good playesr but not exciting players. To me, this draft will reward the NFL teams that are very well prepared in terms of how they line up their draft board. I do agree with you that the Patriots are still an elite team and most of their weaknesses are fixable. as I watch them on film this week, I think that for the first time in a long time they have some vulnerability at WR and they have to fix their secondary, maybe by keeping Talib. But overall, this is still a good roster with more youth than you might think. That title window will stay open.
Michael [via mobile]
Do you feel that ultimately a deal gets done to trade Revis?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
The longer I think that one through the more I think they could trade him. When you really break down this team, they are not in very good shape. They're a team that has had recent success. They have an abundance of holes on their roster, with a bad salary cap situation. It's not going to be a quick fix, especially if they continue to struggle at QB. As great as Revis is, what they could get for him in a trade could really help them with a couple of young players and ease their cap situation. This is not a playoff contender right now that would benefit as much from an elite shutdown CB as some other teams. He's a terrific player, but parting ways may make a lot of sense. If they do it, I think it shows you that the front office and ownership are making the decisions and not Rex Ryan.
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I used to think that it was crazy to let an impact player go, because they're so hard to find, but my thinking has changed over the last few days.
Jeff (Rhode Island)
How much will Ed Reed cost (in terms of picks)? I've already bought my Ed Reed Patriots T-Shirt.
Gary Horton (4:19 PM)
I don't think that a far fetched idea. I think that Ozzie Newsome will probably let Reed check the open market in free agency and see what his worth is to other teams and then come back to the Ravens and see if they can make a deal. I think Reed wants to stay in Baltimore and finish his career as a Raven. But he also has a great admiration and relationship with Belichick. From New England's standpoint, he could really solidify and bring leadership to a defense that isn't that far away from being really good.
What will you be studying this offseason on film?
Gary Horton (4:21 PM)
Right now I'm working on a huge ESPN.com project where I'm going through all 32 teams and breaking down their offensive and defensive philosophies in terms of their schemes. That's significant because we have so many new coaching staffs. Also, during that project, I'm going through each team's needs. That requires a lot of film work and study. When you finish a team, you really feel good about knowing them on a lot of levels. What I love about this time of year is you have time to do it the right way.
Michael [via mobile]
Who's willing to pay Revis? Trade takes two. I agree it makes sense to trade him, but who will give the Jets what they want, and who makes him the highest paid defensive player in the league? Tough nut to crack
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
I think the argument here is that elite teams that feel they are close to a Super Bowl run will be intrigued by acquiring a guy that can be a final link. Can you imagine, for example, Revis in New England? As the shutdown CB they've been looking for for years? Or the Packers? Good teams that need a franchise type player. I don't think they'll get offers from middle of the pack teams.
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
But I don't know anybody in the league that doesn't hold Revis in the highest regard. What it may come down to is the Jets are not realistic and ask too much for him if a trade scenario happens.
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
The other thing, from a personal standpoint that I don't understand, is why Revis is so indignant on the possibility of being traded or disrespected, etc. This is a business. He knows they have cap issues and personnel needs. I don't think he should take it personally. If the Jets make a move, it will be not that they want to, but that they feel they have to.
Don (Berkeley, CA)
How likely is it that the Raiders draft a running back and part ways with the oft injured Darren McFadden?
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
No, it's hard to do, find a RB like him. When he's healthy, he's a productive and explosive back. But I know what you're saying. I'd probably give him one more year and see if he can get through one full season. Finding complete backs is hard to do. This Raiders team has so many needs, I don't think they can get too cute with making changes at the RB position.
Chip Kelly has brought back Michael Vick as well as brought in Dennis Dixon, is it safe to say we will see that read-option offense in Philly this year?
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
Oh, I definitely think we'll see it as a big part of the offense, but not as the entire scheme. I think Kelly realizes you can't run that offense every down in the NFL and get your QB hit. He is a very bright offensive guy. I think he'll use a form of the read option. I think he believes in a quick, uptempo attack where he runs a volume of plays. I think it makes a lot of sense to acquire Dixon, who has a similar skill set as Vick and knows the offense from his days at Oregon. On a side note, if Seattle could trade Matt Flynn, they would probably bring in a backup for Wilson that could run the read option and has a similar skill set. That's what coaches are doing right now with those young option QBs. If a guy gets hurt, it's hard to do a change in offense.
Steve (Long Island)
Who would you rather have as your WR: Percey Harvin, Greg Jennings, or Wes Welker?
Gary Horton (4:32 PM)
I would probably take Greg Jennings, because he has size and he can stretch a defense. Harvin, in my opinion, has the biggest upside. What I worry about is durability. I don't know about his approach to the game. But if he is right and healthy, he has tremendous big play ability. Welker is a tough guy for a front office because while you love his production, you also have to look in the mirror and ask how much longer can that hold up? It always brings me back to Bill Walsh. He seemed to have a real knack for trading or releasing productive veterans in San Francisco, usually a year or two years before their production really dropped off. That's hard to do to a guy that's given you a lot of big plays, but it's the reality of this game.
Gary Horton (4:34 PM)
If you're really bored with TV, you can spend the next few days watching the combine workouts. But even for a guy like me, that gets old. There is no shortage of storylines now. You feel like this week, the offseason starts in earnest.
Buzzmaster (4:34 PM)
Thanks for chatting Gary!