Two days after losing the AFC championship game, the Ravens have said goodbye to one of the most valuable members of their front office.
After 26 seasons with Baltimore, director of player personnel Joe Hortiz is set to become the new general manager of the Los Angeles Chargers. The 48-year-old Hortiz will join new Chargers head coach Jim Harbaugh, the younger brother of John Harbaugh who undoubtedly had good intelligence on the former Ravens executive. Hortiz interviewed for general manager openings with the New York Giants and Pittsburgh two years ago and drew interest from Arizona for its opening last year.
One of general manager Eric DeCosta’s chief personnel evaluators along with George Kokinis, Hortiz was responsible for leading all aspects of the draft evaluation and ranking process while also coordinating the schedules and cross-checking duties of Baltimore scouts. The Auburn grad joined the Ravens as a personnel assistant in 1998 before steadily climbing his way up the scouting ladder to become the organization’s director of college scouting from 2009-18. In 2019, Hortiz was promoted to director of player personnel, a title also held by Kokinis.
“When you’ve had the privilege of working with one organization your entire career, something that’s exceedingly rare in our business, the opportunity and fit has to pretty much be perfect to consider a change,” Hortiz said in a statement released by the Chargers. “This is that opportunity — the Chargers’ brand, the uniforms, foundational building blocks already on the roster, a new training facility, SoFi Stadium, and a clear commitment from the Spanos family to dedicating every resource possible towards bringing a Lombardi Trophy home to our fans; it’s all there.
“Then of course, having known the Harbaugh family for all these years and the chance to continue that special relationship in this new role, I truly could not be more fortunate.”
It’s unclear whether the Ravens will promote from within or hire an outside replacement for Hortiz, but current director of college scouting David Blackburn and assistant director of player personnel Mark Azevedo would be among the most logical in-house candidates.
The Ravens are also bracing for potential coaching departures with defensive coordinator Mike Macdonald interviewing for head coach openings with Washington and Seattle this week. Other assistants such as defensive line coach Anthony Weaver, inside linebackers coach Zach Orr, defensive backs coach Dennard Wilson, and wide receivers coach Greg Lewis are reportedly interviewing for coordinator jobs elsewhere.
Zeitler finally gets Pro Bowl nod
After years of being passed over for the Pro Bowl, right guard Kevin Zeitler has finally received the call as an alternate.
The 33-year-old veteran will join several Ravens teammates in Orlando this week after a strong showing in his 12th NFL season and third with Baltimore. Pro Football Focus graded Zeitler 15th overall and second in pass blocking among all qualified guards this season. Set to become a free agent this offseason, Zeitler reaffirmed his desire to stay with the Ravens on Monday.
Joining Zeitler on the official Pro Bowl roster will be safety Kyle Hamilton, center Tyler Linderbaum, defensive back Justin Madubuike, inside linebackers Roquan Smith and Patrick Queen, and kicker Justin Tucker. According to an NFL press release, quarterback Lamar Jackson will not attend the Pro Bowl due to personal reasons.