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Late For Work 5/22: Eric DeCosta Shares 2014 Draft Secrets

Posted May 22, 2014

DeCosta wanted Ebron, Ward. Mosley ranked in Ravens’ top 5? Campanaro instead of Edelman.

Ravens Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta spoke at a post-draft event with fans at Mother’s Federal Hill Grille Tuesday night, and had a number of interesting things to say.

Here’s a collection of a few, reported by Pressbox and Russell St. Report (RSR):

Ravens Wanted Ebron, Ward

There was a report leading up to the draft that the Ravens “coveted” North Carolina tight end Eric Ebron. Turns out, that had some truth to it.

A big-bodied, playmaking tight end, Ebron was drafted by the Detroit Lions 10th overall. It seems DeCosta had him at the top of his wish list at No. 17, reports Russell Street Report’s Tony Lombardi.

“I think that this year, maybe the one guy that I was excited about getting that we didn’t get was Eric Ebron from North Carolina, the tight end. I thought he was a premier talent,” DeCosta said.

“I really thought if he had gotten out of the top 10 he would have fallen to us. Looking at the other teams, there was a really good chance we were going to get him, and didn’t really think Detroit would take him.”

Detroit had re-signed former first-round pick Brandon Pettigrew and big pass catching tight end Joseph Fauria. So the need wasn’t really there.

“I thought we had a chance to really get him. That was kind of frustrating for us,” DeCosta said. “I thought he was an elite player. I think he has a chance to be a difference maker, Pro Bowl type guy.”

Another player the Ravens liked, and thought they had a good shot of getting, was free safety Jimmie Ward of Northern Illinois. But the other Harbaugh brother liked him too, and the 49ers selected him in the first round at 30th overall.

“I really liked safety Jimmy Ward,” DeCosta said. “Probably a little undersized but reminded me somewhat of Ed Reed in terms of style. He’s a great player and one that I thought would be there in the second round.”

Mosley Ranked In Top-5?

Even though the Ravens didn’t get Ebron, they’re more than thrilled with inside linebacker C.J. Mosley.

The Ravens never share exactly where they had a player ranked, but they hinted that Mosley was quite high on their list. DeCosta dropped another clue at the event.

“DeCosta went so far as to say that Mosley was the highest-rated player the team had drafted during the first round since selecting University of Arizona cornerback Chris McAlister 10th overall in 1999,” wrote Press Box’s Joe Platania.

That means that Mosley was ranked higher on the Ravens’ draft board than defensive tackle Haloti Ngata in 2006 (picked 12th overall), linebacker Terrell Suggs in 2003 (10th overall) and even running back Jamal Lewis in 2000 (fifth overall).

So that would put Mosley in the Ravens’ top five of the 2014 draft class.

DeCosta said the Ravens had started to get old and slow on defense, which in part led to their selection of three defensive players with their first three picks. They were also drafting according to best player available.

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Campanaro Instead Of Edelman

The Ravens pulled off a surprising move by trading to get back into the draft when it looked like they were done. They dealt a sixth-round choice in the 2015 draft for a seventh-rounder this year.

That’s because DeCosta and the Ravens wanted wide receiver Michael Campanaro that badly.

“[Campanaro] was a guy that I really wanted us to draft, we just didn’t have enough picks,” DeCosta recalled, according to RSR’s Brian Bower.

“I had seen this guy at the Senior Bowl and when I saw him at the Senior Bowl, I was thinking to myself ‘You know, we were considering paying $5 million a year this year for a slot receiver in free agency.’ This guy is going to be that guy in two to three years.”

If you recall, the Ravens were reportedly aggressively pursuing slot receiver Julian Edelman this offseason. Edelman ended up re-signing with the Patriots and the Ravens inked Steve Smith.

The Ravens may have had an inside track in adding Campanaro as an undrafted free agent, but they were worried somebody (even possibly the Patriots) might take him in the seventh round.

DeCosta compared Campanaro to Edelman and Broncos receiver Wes Welker. If Campanaro can become that, the Ravens got a similar weapon at a much cheaper rate.

“If you think about guys like Edelman, Welker even Davone Bess, a lot of these type of guys are late round draft picks and all might lack one quality – it might be size, it might be speed. But they have the ability to get open inside and make the tough catches and move the sticks.” DeCosta said.

“I think Michael Campanaro is going to be one of those type of guys. I’m really excited and [he] kind of was a sleeper for me throughout the entire process. I kept telling the scouts I like this guy, I like this guy and then I saw the workout and liked him even more.”

Campanaro really intrigued DeCosta during the Ravens’ local pro day workout. DeCosta said, “it was probably one of the most impressive receiver workouts that I have seen in a long time at our facility.”

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