Joe Hortiz already fulfilling big promise is great news for Chargers future

Feb 27, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Los Angeles Chargers general manager Joe Hortiz during the NFL
Feb 27, 2024; Indianapolis, IN, USA; Los Angeles Chargers general manager Joe Hortiz during the NFL / Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

Time will tell if Joe Hortiz is the right general manager for the LA Chargers. Given the muddy salary cap situation he absorbed, it'd be draconian to judge his initial moves. While trading away Keenan Allen will never sit right with Chargers fans, it's important to exercise patience with Hortiz given this is his first offseason at the helm.

The offseason got off to a tumultuous start with the aforementioned Allen trade, but Hortiz and Jim Harbaugh have done well to round out the Chargers roster with limited resources.

The NFL Draft is another sign for optimism. By selecting Joe Alt fifth overall, the Chargers boast maybe the best tackle tandem in the league. They also shored up the wide receiver position with Georgia's Ladd McConkey at the top of round two. Junior Colson in round three is a quality replacement -- and potential immediate upgrade -- over Kenneth Murray.

Murray was part of a mass exodus in Los Angeles this offseason, which brings us to a promise Hortiz made when he was hired as GM and has already delivered on.

Chargers GM Joe Hortiz already delivering on compensatory pick promise

"Let’s create that chain. Let’s create that cycle of comp picks. How do you do that? You gain as many picks as you can early, and then you develop, draft, develop, and then make smart decisions on who you re-sign. Obviously you want to extend your core players. And then there’s some players we’re not going to be able to because of the cap. But you want to create that cycle of comp picks, and you’ve got to manage your signings in free agency to do that. … You do those summer signings, the cap casualties, things to do to protect comp picks."

Chargers GM Joe Hortiz

Draft analyst Lance Zierlein of NFL Media projected every team's 2025 compensatory pick haul. In a complete diversion from the Tom Telesco era, Zierlein expects the Chargers to net three comp picks: one in the fifth round via Kenneth Murray and two in the sixth round via Austin Ekeler and Gerald Everett.

That's three extra picks Hortiz will have at his disposal in the 2025 draft. That's extra ammo to either trade for a veteran or move up in the draft at some point. Hortiz has mastered the art of stockpiling comp picks from his days as the Ravens director of player personnel.

Meanwhile, comp picks were an afterthought during Telesco's tenure. In fact, during his 10-year stint as GM, the Chargers accumulated seven total comp picks, per Over The Cap. Just one of those selections came in the third round (thanks to Philip Rivers) and only two belonged in rounds 3-5.

During that same span, Hortiz's Ravens collected 22 compensatory picks, including a whopping 12 in the third round and 15 total between rounds 3-5. It helps that Baltimore is one of the best draft-and-develop teams in the NFL, but comp picks have helped them maintain incredible depth over the years.

It's no secret that the Chargers had suspect roster depth while Telesco was pulling the strings. Hortiz already delivering on his promise is a fantastic sign for the future of Chargers football.