Wednesday, September 20, 2023

Joe Hortiz: A Possible Next Chicago Bears GM Deep Dive


One of the most baffling facts about the GM hiring process is how other NFL teams simply refuse to pursue possible options from the Baltimore Ravens. That franchise has remained one of the best in the league at continually building and rebuilding their roster. Yet for whatever reason, nobody has made a concerted effort to hire one of their top evaluators. Perhaps the Chicago Bears need to change that and Joe Hortiz is the man atop that list.

If you’re looking for a model of consistency? This guy checks the box. Hortiz has been part of the Ravens for all but two years of their existence since 1998. In that time he became one of their most trusted voices first as a scout and then as an executive. His area of expertise has always been the draft and especially the eastern half of the United States during his days as a scout. Finally, in 2009, they made him their Director of College Scouting. A job he would hold until he was promoted in 2019 to Director of Player Personnel.

The Ravens have certainly enjoyed a strong draft streak since then.
  • Jimmy Smith
  • Torrey Smith
  • Kelechi Osemele
  • Brandon Williams
  • Kyle Juszczyk
  • Ricky Wagner
  • C.J. Mosley
  • Za’Darius Smith
  • Darren Waller
  • Ronnie Stanley
  • Matt Judon
  • Marlon Humphrey
  • Lamar Jackson
  • Orlando Brown
  • Mark Andrews
  • Patrick Queen

Hortiz comes across as a man who is knowledgeable, experienced, and familiar with every level of the process. The Ravens have groomed him for two decades. He had a chance to learn from one of the best of all time in Ozzie Newsome. While he might not come across as flashy, the track record speaks for itself. The guy seems to find quality football players. All of whom want to win. That is exactly what the Bears are looking for. Especially as they prepare to retool an aging roster.

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Joe Hortiz is boring and that isn’t a bad thing for the Bears

There is no doubt that Pace makes things exciting with his ultra-aggressive style. While that is a great way to grab headlines during an offseason, it hasn’t always served the team well when trying to win football games. One thing about the Ravens? They are not an organization prone to blockbuster moves. They’ll make trades and notable free agent signings, sure. Just not of the variety that is out of their price range. They always operate with a ceiling in mind. If a player is unobtainable? They move on.

The same goes for the NFL draft. They’ll move up. They’ll move down. Just never in such dramatic ways that it can mortgage their future. This is what the Bears would be getting in Joe Hortiz. A man intent on building his roster through the draft, sticking to his board, and using trades and free agency to enhance rather than solidify the depth chart. Something Pace initially said he planned to do but soon went back on his word.

After years in Baltimore, don’t expect Hortiz to make that mistake.

Since the Bears revived the GM position in 2001, their hires have come from Tampa Bay, Kansas City, and New Orleans. Three organizations that have had success in spurts but nothing approaching what one would call consistent. If that is what this organization is aiming for, then they have to pluck from the Ravens. Since their inception in 1996, Baltimore has made the playoffs 13 times. That includes two Lombardi trophies. All without the benefit of Hall of Fame quarterbacks. It is the formula they want. A formula Hortiz was raised in.

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