Chat with Gary Horton
Welcome to SportsNation! On Monday, ESPN's NFL "Caveman" -- and Insider -- 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, breaking 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!
Buzzmaster (4:02 PM)
Gary is here!
Jeff M. Bay Area, California [via mobile]
Have the Oakland Raiders done enough this offseason to make a playoff push this year?
Gary Horton (4:03 PM)
I love their aggressiveness and it's the first time they've been able to be active in free agency, because of so many salary cap problems. In my opinion, this team was so far away I don't think they can solve all of their problems in one offseason. I think they'll be competitive this year, but they have a long way to come back.
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
If this were a baseball team, this was a Triple-A roster until this offseason.
Gary Horton (4:04 PM)
But at least they've added some players.
Ed (Queens Village)
If you were a GM would you give DeSean a 1 year deal or multi year deal?
Gary Horton (4:06 PM)
That's an excellent question, because I just don't know enough about the off-field issues that seem to be a factor here. Part of you says a one-year deal would give you a chance to get to know him and figure out if he's worth a huge commitment. But another part of you would say he's a young guy with a future, so let's lock him up for a while. I think this is a very compelling story. While we don't know all of the answers, I think there is a huge red flag here that the Eagles were so willing to part company with him.
Rich (New Jersey)
Hi Gary - The Buffalo Bills stadium leas expires after the 2021 season, will they be known in 2022 as the Los Angeles Or London Bills or will Buffalo try to keep them in where they belong?
Gary Horton (4:07 PM)
Oh, I think with the passing of Ralph Wilson, everything is in play. We will probably see this team being sold and, right now, we have no idea what new ownership would do. But, I would think, that there are attractive alternatives out there that could lure them out of Buffalo. I hope not, because I think it's a great fan base that has been very loyal to this team. But money is a reality and that may be a huge factor.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
What is your take on the DeSaan Jackson situation? Are the Eagles fair or foul in their actions?
Gary Horton (4:10 PM)
It's hard to say, because nobody wants to really talk about it. But it's clear to me that the Eagles did not have faith that this relationship could work, for whatever reason. I think Chip Kelly is trying to instill a really positive culture, but I don't think we can automatically buy into all of the rumors with Jackson and gang ties, etc. This may be more of a case of a coaching staff that just didn't think a really talented player was buying into what they wanted to do. I just don't know. I think this is a captivating story. While you would think that he would have a lot of offers, I'm not sure that's the case.
Tony (Richmond, CA)
How much will the Saints regret not holding on to Darren Sproles next season?
Gary Horton (4:11 PM)
Personally, I think it's a huge miscalculation by them. I think he gives an offense a lot of versatility, both as a runner and a receiver. I think more importantly, Drew Brees really trusted him and depended on him in a lot of situations. So, it doesn't make sense to me, based on that relationship that they would want him to leave. I expect him to have a big impact on an already improved team.
Gary, aside from the Peppers signing, it's been a pretty typical off-season for the Ted and the Pack. But don't the re-signings of Shields, Neal, Raji and Starks along with the 9 picks they're armed with set them up for a considerable step forward, not only on defense but offensively as well? Would one solid addition at safety or linebacker be enough to make their defense top-10, considering their deep talented pool of corners?
Gary Horton (4:13 PM)
I think it's been a typical Packers offseason. This is a team that builds through the draft. They dabble in free agency, but they're not huge spenders. I think that if they can have a good draft, they'll be a lot better. But I continue to be concerned about their defense. They're trying to win with schemes right now, because their personnel is just not good enough. That has to drastically improve. While Peppers should add some pass rush, I just look at that side of the ball and I'm not real comfortable.
Eric (Long Island, NY)
Hi Gary, what do you make of the Giants' offseason so far? Do you think they will be competitive if they use their first two picks on rebuilding their offense?
Gary Horton (4:16 PM)
They've added a couple of pieces, but they've also lost some key pieces. So, I do not expect them to be dramatically improved this season. However, I think if Eli can correct some of the weaknesses we saw a year ago, they can be an improved offense. I think Rashad Jennings in free agency, maybe gives them a run game that defenses respect. But this is still a team that has age and a lot of weaknesses. I think it all comes down to the QB position and if he can turn around a bad season.
Who do you think ends up signing Desean Jackson?
Gary Horton (4:18 PM)
I would think that the Jets are certainly a possibility, because they desperately need a No. 1 WR. He could team with Eric Decker. That would give them a totally different offensive look. But you could also look at teams like the Raiders that might take a chance on him. I think this comes down to an organization doing their homework and feeling comfortable with him off the field. This is going to be a big financial commitment. So, I think whoever signs him will want to feel really comfortable.
what position would you want to build around with the No. 1 pick?
Gary Horton (4:20 PM)
That's a good question. I think you always have to look at the QB position. If there's a guy who deserves it, because that's the key to your football team. QBs can win games, like no other position can. If there's not a QB there, to me, you're always trying to trade down and acquire more picks. If I had the No. 1 pick, I'm looking for a difference maker that is the face of my football team. That doesn't necessarily mean an OL, pass rusher, etc. In today's NFL, you can not win if you don't have an elite QB.
with DJAX leaving what do you think makes sense with the eagles for the draft? Was hoping first was a defensive player
Gary Horton (4:23 PM)
I think Chip Kelly is always going to look for a receiver in the draft. In his offense, the more guys the better. But remember, they re-signed Maclin and Cooper. And they have a very good two TE set, along with a new RB Darren Sproles. This offense right now has a lot of weapons and variety. I think they can withstand the loss of Jackson a lot better than most people think. In my mind Kelly has a philosophy that his system is so good that he can plug guys in and be very productive.
What is happening to the RB position? Chris Johnson, MJD?
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I think we have a new NFL, where the RB position is just not valued very high. We're in a pass first league and there are a lot of coaches right now that think they can win with a RB by committee approach, with guys that have varied skill sets. I just don't think that we have a mentality of really valuing a RB that can carry the offense.
Gary Horton (4:25 PM)
I think you have to look at the draft and realize how many RBs are not drafted high any more to really carry the point home. This is an era of specialization.
Gregory Rosenthal (Salem) [via mobile]
How is Seattle and Desean Jackson NOT a match made in Heaven? They have the cap space (15ish million), the perfect fit and an opportunity at a championship. D-Jax went to Cal with Marshawn Lynch, was heavily recruited at USC by Carroll and was even childhood friends with Sherman! Is it just the FO being conservative with the money or what? Percy and Jackson would send fears to the rest of the NFL.
Gary Horton (4:27 PM)
That actually might make some sense. Could you imagine Jackson along with Percy Harvin? I do know this, Pete Carroll is terrific in handling guys who maybe had some past problems. This is also a strong lockerroom, which could give him a great support system. It would be a very interesting fit. AND Carroll probably has a better handle on this than you might think, because he knows the L.A. scene and he is very familiar with gang scenario. So, he could probably get the answers he needs.
Kansas City is "expected" to choose a WR with their first draft choice. If it's true about Alex Smith's lack of arm strength, wouldn't they be wise to choose a Kelvin Benjamin type over a Brandon Cooks or Lee deep threat? Thanks...
Gary Horton (4:29 PM)
I think we're in an era right now where teams really value size at WR. It helps on third down; it helps in the red zone. Most teams look for big guys who also have some speed. Bowe is on the back side of his career, possibly. And I think they need more targets, especially as a No. 2 WR and at the TE position. I think Smith has a stronger deep ball than you might think. I believe that they really want to stretch this offense a little more than they have in the past.
Gary Horton (4:31 PM)
As free agency starts to slow down, the draft will really kick in and I continue to be amazed that we just do not have a quiet time any more in the NFL. It's probably magical marketing, but this is now a year-round business.
Buzzmaster (4:31 PM)
Thanks for chatting Gary!