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How Joe Hortiz's 'Outstanding' Reputation Will Benefit the Chargers Front Office


Joe Hortiz is two weeks and two days into his new gig as the Chargers General Manager.

And while there's certainly work to be done in the coming weeks and months, the initial vibe from NFL pundits at Super Bowl Radio Row last week is that the hire was a home run.

"Sterling. Outstanding," ESPN's Field Yates said of Hortiz's reputation. "Joe is, and I hate to use a cliche, but he is what they call a scout's scout.

"He is built to go through every prospect available, from the guys who might go first overall to the guys that might not be drafted at all," Yates added.

NFL Network's Ian Rapoport added: "When he got hired, I got texts from several football dudes, like hardcore football guys in the league, [who] were like, 'That's a great hire'. This guy is going to do a great job."

Hortiz joined the Bolts after spending a whopping 26 seasons in Baltimore, working his way up from an area scout to eventually becoming the Ravens Director of Player Personnel.

Baltimore had plenty of sustained success during Hortiz's tenure there as the Ravens tied for fourth in regular-season wins in that timespan.

ESPN's Mina Kimes called Baltimore's front office "the gold standard" in recent years but noted Hortiz is now set up for success with the Chargers.

"You never know obviously what you're getting, but I think coming from that organization is pretty exciting and it's obviously a very winning culture," Kimes said.

A pair of other NFL experts echoed Kimes' thoughts.

"An excellent [hire]," said Robert Mays of The Athletic. "If you look at what the Ravens have been over the last 10 to 15 years, even beyond that, this is a team that has had the same sort of feel and the same set of values and how they've built them for a very, very long time.

"The process will be good, the process will be sound. I think they are going to put themselves in position to succeed," Mays added. "They're going to be aggressive in the right moments, patient in the right moments, because that's how the Ravens have been for a very long time."

The Ringer's Steven Ruiz added: "Everybody that comes from that organization has a sterling reputation — coaches, front office people. Everything you hear about that front office is they empower people that have different ideas. I don't think he's going to come in with a closed minded approach, which is something that gets some executives into trouble. We've seen that across the league, and I think he's going to be open minded. I think that's just going to be good for the whole process."

Get a behind-the-scenes look as Joe Hortiz is formally introduced as the general manager of the Los Angeles Chargers on February 6th, 2024

Of course, there's already a natural connection between Hortiz and Chargers Head Coach Jim Harbaugh, whose brother, John, has been the Ravens Head Coach for the past 16 seasons.

"What's really important, regardless of who the head coach and regardless of who the general manager is, is that they both rowing in the right direction in the same direction," Yates said. "I think that Joe and Jim, they certainly have this dynamic of a shared vision of what it's going to take to build a winning roster."

And just what kind of players will Hortiz and Harbaugh add to the Bolts roster?

Will Brinson of CBS Sports said he anticipates the Bolts targeting "blue-collar guys, guys who want to grind, guys who want to work."

NBC Sports' Myles Simmons added: "Hard-nosed guys who love football. That's something that you see in Baltimore. It's something that you've seen when it comes to Harbaugh in different places. You have to have a certain amount of stuff to you, I think, in order to play for Harbaugh, in order to excel in a Harbaugh team and part of that is what Jim Harbaugh says all the time, right? You got to attack the day with an enthusiasm unknown to mankind. And if you're not going to have that kind of attitude, I don't think that you're going to thrive in a program run by him."

Hortiz will certainly face challenges and obstacles ahead, the first of which being that he is in a GM role for the first time.

"It's always different when you go into the big chair for the first time because yeah, you're scouting and Joe's reputation is positive, but you've never had to put your name on a player, you never had to turn in the card, you never had to make those final decisions," NFL Network's Tom Pelissero said.

Hortiz will rely on a strong Chargers front office that includes a few new additions plus holdovers from the previous regime.

But with Hortiz leading the way, look for big things from the Bolts this offseason and beyond.

"He is excellent at his job, he is a great scout, he talks to no media, he self-promotes zero and he doesn't care if his name is ever in the headlines," Rapoport said. "Usually those guys don't get jobs. So when I found out that the Chargers were considering him, I was pleasantly surprised because I was like, 'Oh, like this actually might work.' He has deserved a general manager job for a while. I just didn't think it would happen because there's no PR about him."

Yates added: "Joe is probably a few years overdue to become an NFL GM, so I'm glad he's finally getting the chance."

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