Chat with Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, 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 Monday at 4 p.m. ET!
Gary Horton (4:05 PM)
Most NFL teams are now in the second week of their draft meetings, putting their boards together and coming up with consensus grades for all players. So most of the rumors that we hear right now are not generated by the teams. We won't see those rumors start being public until the teams are finished with their grades. That's when we see all of the posturing leading into the draft. Anything you hear now, in terms of a guy moving up or down or who will take him is nothing more than speculation, because the teams have not made those decisions.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
Do you think Tracy Porter will provide the Raiders with solid cornerback play this year?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
I don't know that he's an elite player at this stage of his career, but they are so thin at that position, anything is an upgrade. They want to play those tight man-to-man schemes, but they don't have the guys to get it done. You combine that with a mediocre pass rush and this secondary is in tough shape. But at least he's a seasoned veteran that can give them some solid play.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Gary - the Pats model for building a year in, year out Super Bowl contender is incredibly impressive but how do they maintain a harmonius locker room when they let in their prime players leave for greener pastures?
Gary Horton (4:09 PM)
I think players know coming in that the Patriots treat this like a business. They have high character guys who are treated well while they're there and players love to win and they know they'll get that in New England. They've been very fortunate to have tremendous veteran leadership that holds that thing together. Most of these players know that this organization is willing to part ways when they think they're close to starting to decline, much like Bill Walsh did with the 49ers. It may not be popular with the fans, but the Pats do a great job of not keeping players around and paying them for the past. That's what keeps them fresh.
Does anyone in the NY Jets organization know what they're doing? Between Revis and Tebow, they dont seem to know what to do, which would explain much in their recent lack of success. 5 qb's on the roster? Wow.
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
Let me say, as an ex-scout, everybody in this league is smart and they all want to win. But I can sure see why you question some of their moves. In the case of Tebow, they just haven't received an offer for him and I don't think they will. I don't understand why they don't just part ways and let him find another job. In the case of Revis, I think this can get very heated if they try to force him to be there for offseason workouts. I understand what they're doing, but he's a very hard worker with a good workout regimen in Arizona. This is a guy who has been the face of the franchise and whether it's true or not, he probably feels that he's been disrespected. I've watched this team on film this offseason and I'm shocked at how far they seem to have fallen. I just don't see very many difference makers on either side of the ball. It all starts with the QB position. Maybe this coaching staff did a better job than we thought and the talent level wasn't that good. This will be a tough transition process as they try to rebuild this roster.
Gary Horton (4:12 PM)
You can always add the old adage, that if you have five QBs, you probably don't have one.
Has Phil Emery improved the talent base in Chicago to be more competitive with GB?
Gary Horton (4:14 PM)
I think that's a very good observation. I read some stuff on the Bears this morning. He's made a lot of moves since he's been there, to replenish the roster. They're not always huge moves, but I think they've done a nice job of filling in where they needed help. I believe if Jay Cutler plays well and if they can get any kind of pass protection, they will be competitive in the NFC North, but I don't know that they're an elite team. It sure looks to me that they've taken a very active and intelligent approach to the offseason.
Mike newyork [via mobile]
What do you see the ravens doing in the 1st round of the draft i think they should go safety or wr?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
I think they still need help at ILB. Ellerbe was a huge loss. I think they need help at safety. They probably need depth at DL. Asking this OL to play as well as they did a year ago is probably a little optimistic. They have scrambled in the last few weeks to at least cover some of the losses, but this is not going to be close to the same team of a year ago. But Ozzie Newsome will always have a plan. It will be something they believe in and they will follow it closely. If they have a good draft, they'll fill some of those holes.
Gary Horton (4:17 PM)
I think it's fair to say that the AFC North does not look like a power division in 2013. Cleveland is still rebuilding. Pittsburgh and Baltimore will take a step back, I think. I think the favorite will be Cincinnati and how much can we trust them?
With QB Salaries now escalating to 20% of the Salary Cap for the elite, do you think we may see a trend where they will start getting higher guarantees with lower yearly averages ala Tom Brady's recent contract? I think this would be a good trade off to open up salary cap room for teams.
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
Everybody wants the big deal. Everybody has an ego in this business, especially at the QB position. I also think these guys are realistic in the fact that they know their success is certainly tied to the people around him. I think you'll always have successful veteran QBs sign big deals and then adjust them to give them salary cap relief. But that's the world we live in. The moment Joe Flacco signed his deal, you could see guys like Aaron Rodgers signing next. Everyone wants to be No. 1. We're in an age of great veteran QBs a little later in their career and that means big money to keep the continuity of the team going. That's why these young QBs are so great in their first deal, because the success they're having on the field does not cost the team a lot of money, until that second contract comes along.
It is ridiculous how little recognition Jon Schneider receives from the rest of the country. He has to be the leagues best GM. agree?
Gary Horton (4:22 PM)
He's certainly in the upper echelon. He and Pete Carroll work really well together. Schneider knows the Green Bay way of doing things, which is solid and sound. What I like about Seattle is they're not afraid to push the envelope and make bold moves, which is a key upgrade. The great thing is this roster is so good right now that they don't have a lot of glaring needs, so they can make those bold moves.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
True or False, Chad Johnson and Terrell Owens will be on an NFL roster in 2013?
Gary Horton (4:24 PM)
I think that's false ... in both cases. I think their age and declining skills probably take reps from a younger guy with more upside at this stage. These two guys have had chances to regenerate their careers and they just didn't get it done. At some point, NFL teams move on and just don't look back. I don't think either one of these guys are guys that as soon as a team gets an injury get a call. I think it will be tough for either one of them to get an honest look.
Harry (Babylon, NY)
Are teams waiting on signing a few of the bigger name free agents left until after the draft?
Gary Horton (4:26 PM)
I think you're exactly right. We may see some midlevel moves in the next couple of weeks, but I think now your mindset is on setting your draft board and figuring out your needs. Then you move on to post draft and seeing if you filled a need in the draft or still need to with free agents. So I think it will be slow until late April, early May. We may see some signings, but I continue to be surprised at how many good, veteran players are still available. This draft is so deep that a lot of NFL teams think they can fill needs that way instead of free agency than in the past.
Where does Brian Urlacher end up or is he "retired"?
Gary Horton (4:28 PM)
I think he'll get a job, because I think he can still play and his leadership skills and instincts are off the charts. That can still make him a productive player. I think the hardest thing he'll have to come to grips with is the money he'll have to play for. I don't think there is a big deal out there. To continue his career, he'll have to take less money than he thinks he's worth. I also think if he's willing to do that he can have a few more solid years. A lot of it might be incentive based.
bob nj [via mobile]
hi gary all quiet on revis what is the latest?
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
I would be really surprised if he's in a Jets uniform when training camp starts. I think the Jets have made a decision to move on and they're just hoping they can get the best deal possible. I think teams that are interested, like the Bucs, are probably letting this thing stay in limbo to not only get him at a cheaper price, but the longer you go, the better handle you have on his health and what those risks are. I certainly think he will be on another team, but I don't know if it will be before or after the draft.
Gary Horton (4:30 PM)
As we said at the beginning of the chat, NFL teams are putting their draft boards together now. Starting next week, we will see all of the rumors and posturing, especially about the QB position. That's what makes the last two weeks before the draft so much fun, because you don't know who to believe and who is telling the truth.
Buzzmaster (4:31 PM)
Thanks for chatting Gary!