Joe Hortiz was named as the Baltimore Ravens Director of College Scouting in January 2009. Prior to that promotion, Hortiz spent eight years as a scout for the Ravens before becoming a national scout in 2006.
With the 2011 draft now in the books, Baltimore Sports and Life thanks Mr. Hortiz for taking the time to answer a few questions.
Baltimore Sports and Life: “Jared Gaither has stated his desire to remain in Baltimore, but if that does not occur; do you expect Jah Reid has the ability to start this Fall? Is there any chance Reid begins his career at RG instead of RT?”
Joe Hortiz: “Jah will be given the opportunity to compete for his role on the depth chart. In terms of OG vs OT, he was drafted as an OT but the coaches will decide where the best position is to start his career. Ultimately I see him playing at OT.”
Baltimore Sports and Life: “Tell me more about Mississippi State DE Pernell McPhee. I see he was a 2x All-SEC player. I’ve read conflicting reports on his motor, but numerous reports about him being a good run-stopper. Do you see the tools necessary to be a guy that can improve his pass-rush?”
Joe Hortiz: “Pernell is a competitive player on film…He had a bit of a slow start early in the year in terms of production but really came on vs teams like Alabama, Arkansas and Mississippi late in the season. He came out of junior college with a lot of pass rush production and while his sack numbers weren’t that high, he’s capable of putting pressure on the QB vs the pass. I thought he played well in this regard at the Senior bowl where he challenged a lot of the top OT’s from the North squad in the game.”
Baltimore Sports and Life: “Flipping back and forth between ESPN and the NFL Network, there were a lot of positive comments made about Virginia Tech QB Tyrod Taylor. What I liked hearing best, was that he is not just an athlete, but a guy who has shown some pocket awareness. The Ravens evaluated and drafted the 2010 ACC Player of the Year as a Quarterback. What did you like best about Taylor? What limitations prevented him from going earlier? Would he ideally be the 3rd QB on the roster this year, or do the Ravens believe he will be ready to be the back-up?”
Joe Hortiz: “The most intriguing thing about Tyrod is his combination of physical tools along with his competitive nature and playmakers mentality. While he possesses outstanding athleticism and speed for the position, he also displays a strong arm as a passer. His lack of size and consistency in terms of accuracy is probably what kept him from going earlier. He’ll need to work on becoming more consistent from the pocket as a thrower but he has shown ability to throw strikes on film. Ideally I think he would be best as a 3rd QB his 1st season but if he can show the ability to run the offense I think he can provide an added dimension if called upon in a game.”
Baltimore Sports and Life: “Tandon Doss was a 2x All-Big Ten Selection, that averaged 175.8 all-purpose yards this past year. Flacco personally recommended him as a receiver, but I’m excited by his reputation as a Kick Returner. Did he also return Punts at Indiana?”
Joe Hortiz: “Tandon proved to be a versatile player for the Hoosiers over his career. He did return punts on occasion but his primary return role was as a Kick Returner. He also saw a good bit of action as a Wild-Cat QB. The thing he’ll bring to Baltimore is a big and physical presence as a receiver and returner who has very good hands and feel as a receiver with a physical style and toughness with the ball in his hands.”
Baltimore Sports and Life: “Chykie Brown was a 5 year CB, who played in 47 games and started 29 for Texas. I would imagine that vast experience at a high-major school made him attractive. He also had good 40 times at the Texas pro-day, and the height desired. His Senior season ended early due to a forearm injury. Will he have to perform on Special Teams to make the Ravens as Nickle or Dimeback?”
Joe Hortiz: “Chykie has the size/speed and toughness combination to help us on special teams. He has special teams experience in his background at Texas where he lined up as a Gunner on punt, Vise (DC) on punt return and also covered kickoffs. He is more suited as an outside corner but his teams ability definitely adds value to help get him on the field.”
Baltimore Sports and Life: “The Ravens ended their 2011 Draft, with the selection of Georgia Tech RB Anthony Allen. The 6’1, 230 lb back had 1,316 yards rushing this past year, and is described as having good burst, and toughness. The Yellow Jackets under Paul Johnson use the triple-option offense. Is it harder to evaluate backs in that system? How are his hands out of the backfield? With Georgia Tech not doing a lot of throwing, is his blitz-pickup raw?”
Joe Hortiz: “It is tougher to evaluate running backs in that offense. They play much closer to the Line of Scrimmage and come out of a 3-point stance. That said, what you can see every play is their willingness for contact as they either carry the ball or carry out the fake and get hit while looking for someone to block. Having the ability to see him participate in the Senior Bowl gave us an opportunity to evaluate him as a pro style runner. In terms of hands, he didn’t get a lot of chances at Georgia Tech but he caught it very well in the position drills at the combine and has catch production in his background from his days at Louisville. He’ll need some refinement in terms of blitz pickup but he is big, strong and willing to block.”
Baltimore Sports and Life: “There are always multiple ways to accomplish things. We all saw that the pass-rush needed to improve. Jimmy Smith has the physical capabilities to play out on an Island. Combined with a returning Foxworth, and Webb; will that allow the Ravens to be more aggressive in their blitz packages?”
Joe Hortiz: “If our DB’s show that they can handle the one-on-one aspects of coverage, it will definitely allow our coaches to be more creative and aggressive with their blitz packages and the timing of when they call them. Having the combination of the veteran experience along with our younger DB’s, will hopefully allow our staff to do just that.”
Baltimore Sports and Life: “If DaQuan Bowers was still available when the Ravens selected in the 2nd round, would he have been an option; or was he removed from the board due to the medical concerns?”
Joe Hortiz: “We do not comment on whether players are taken off our board or not.”
Baltimore Sports and Life: “As a University of Maryland product, many Ravens fans were familiar with Torrey Smith. He gives Baltimore a receiver that can stretch the field, and improves the Special Teams. Also brings an outstanding work ethic along with him. What will be the biggest transition point for Smith as a Rookie NFL receiver?”
Joe Hortiz: “The speed of the game and the crispness of routes is what most receivers have to adjust to at the next level. I think in Torrey’s case, he will need to improve on his routes and while he certainly has the speed to compete at this level, he’ll need to adjust to the speed at which the defense plays and reacts.”
Chris Stoner founded Baltimore Sports and Life in 2009. He has appeared as a radio guest with 1090 WBAL, 105.7 The Fan, CBS 1300, Q1370, WOYK 1350, WKAV 1400, and WNST 1570. He has also been interviewed by The Baltimore Sun, Baltimore Business Journal, and PressBox (TV). As Owner, his responsibilities include serving as the Managing Editor, Publicist, & Sales Director.