Chargers introduce Joe Hortiz as their new General Manager

The Los Angeles Chargers have a new head coach and now they have a new General Manager. After introducing Jim Harbaugh as the Chargers new head coach last Thursday, Chargers President John Spanos introduced Joe Hortiz on Tuesday as the new General Manager of the Chargers. To borrow a quote from a famous movie, "I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship."

Hortiz spent 26 years with the Baltimore Ravens organization, starting as a personnel assistant and ending as the Director of Player Personnel. That kind of longevity and experience, especially with an organization like the Ravens, should be very helpful to the Chargers organization. The Ravens have made the playoffs 15 times since 2000 and have won two Super Bowl titles in that period of time. Hortiz explained what was behind the success of the Ravens and how he would function as the GM.

"It's collaborative," Hortiz said. "I'm going to work with John [Spanos]. I'm going to work with Jim [Harbaugh]. I am good at personnel, I know that. But I know that there are great people at the things that they do. You trust the experts to do their jobs. I'm going to rely on them. We're going to work together. It's a team. It's a team. It may fall under me, but we're going to work together."

Hortiz has known Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh since 1998, when Harbaugh was the starting quarterback with the Ravens and Hortiz was a 22-year-old personnel assistant. Hortiz worked the past 16 seasons with Ravens head coach John Harbaugh, brother of Jim.

Hortiz was asked about the attraction of the Chargers GM job. "Listen, in personnel, if you ask any scout what are the three things you want? You want great ownership. Check. You want a great head coach. Check. You want a great quarterback. Check. Any scout that walks into a GM role, if you say I have those three things, you have a chance. You have a chance to be really good. We have a chance, here, to be really good. Having that, it's awesome. This is a dream job."

"There's talent on this field," Hortiz said. "They know how to draft players here. They've drafted some really talented players. We've played them. We've lost to them in playoff games. We've beaten them in tough, hard-fought games. Our goal is to just build it bigger, better, and strong. We want people to walk in here, teams to walk into the stadium knowing they've played us."

Tom Telesco, the Chargers previous General Manager, often spoke of drafting, developing, and re-signing players, hopefully. For the most part, he did a good job with that. Hortiz has a similar philosophy in regard to the draft. The Chargers have talent, but the depth of talent is lacking, and Telesco needed a good head coach to win games. Hortiz has a proven head coach in Harbaugh and one of the best at any level in football.

Hortiz was asked about the Chargers first round pick, the fifth overall pick in the upcoming 2024 NFL draft and if he would trade back to accumulate additional picks. "I think you stick to the process of finding the best player," Hortiz said. "It doesn't matter where you're picking in the draft, it's always important. It doesn't matter if it's the fifth pick or the 32nd, every pick is important to this organization. Every single one."

Hortiz and the Chargers are not going to share much information about the NFL draft. There is an opening at starting tight end on the Chargers and the Chargers have drafted only one tight end since coming to Los Angeles, that being Tre' McKitty in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft. McKitty was cut during the 2023 season. That fifth pick in the first round could be Brock Bowers of Georgia, the best tight end in college football the past two seasons.

Hortiz and the Chargers organization will make that decision on draft day. This appears to be a home run hire, along with the selection of Harbaugh as the head coach. The Chargers have a new state-of-the-art practice facility, a new proven head coach, and a new general manager with a quarter century of experience in personnel with a proven winner.

"Our goal is to build a winner every year," Hortiz said. "We want to compete to win a championship every year, OK? That's going to be starting now." That is music to the ears of Charger fans, who may finally have a team that can actually, "Fight for LA."

 

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