Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta is quite good at it.
Yes, he does have the advantage of a whole lot of inside knowledge. But it also requires predicting what other teams will do.
More than a week before the start of this year’s draft, DeCosta told reporters he could probably pinpoint the player the Ravens will take.
“I think I can predict it, I think I know who we are going to get,” DeCosta said. “I could give you three names and it will be one of those three guys most likely.”
DeCosta said two things the Ravens do every year is try to get a gauge on what the league value is for certain players and team needs. That way, they can try to predict who might fall to them, or whether they need to maneuver around the board to get someone they covet.
“That’s hard to do. There’s a lot of smokescreens, a lot of false information,” DeCosta said.
“We do the best we can. There have been times when we’re accurate in our assessment and other times we’re totally off base. And that’s really just the luck of the draft.”
While General Manager Ozzie Newsome makes the final call on draft picks, DeCosta is the man largely responsible for the draft. He mainly sets the board, in collaboration with the other scouts and coaches. Then the Ravens stay true to their board.
For DeCosta, the draft is his biggest day of the year, a culmination of nine months of work.
“It’s pressure filled, maybe a little emotional at times, hectic, intense. It’s what I’ve always loved to do; it’s my favorite time of the year,” DeCosta said.
“Since I was 4 years old, I’ve loved the NFL Draft. It’s amazing even now for me when I’m driving in the gates in the front to think that we’re going to have this draft and add all these players. It’s what I live for.”