The Ravens coaches and personnel department will head to the annual scouting combine this week in Indianapolis, turning up the intensity on the pre-draft evaluation process.
The combine is a chance to get a look at some of the top incoming NFL talent, but it’s also an opportunity for the coaches and scouts to exchange ideas with each other ahead of April’s draft.
That cohesiveness between the coaching staff and personnel department is part of the reason the Ravens have been able to sustain success over the last several seasons.
“The thing that we have here that is probably pretty unique around the National Football League – this is something that [Owner] Steve [Bisciotti] doesn’t take much credit for anything – but what he has laid is an organizational structure where everybody works together,” Head Coach John Harbaugh said at the end-of-season press conference.
Some teams in the NFL have a division between the scouting and coaching staffs. Also, some teams opt to rely on college scouting services rather than their own internal department, which can lead to differing opinions on how incoming NFL prospects are graded.
But the Ravens have consistently used their own personnel staff to assess talent, which has led to a strong collaboration between scouts and coaches.
“There really aren’t clear lines of demarcation between people – scouts and coaches work together,” Harbaugh said. “Front office and coaches and scouts work together. Everybody is involved with one another.”
The next few months will mark a critical time for the organization, as the Ravens try to re-sign their franchise quarterback, deal with the retirement of a legend, potentially lose another future Hall of Famer in free agency, and navigate the salary cap without much room to spare.
With a tight salary cap situation, the Ravens will look to the draft to replenish the talent pool, making it critical for the coaching staff and scouting department to be on the same page about the type of players they bring into the organization.
To make sure that happens, Harbaugh expects plenty of conversations between him and General Manger Ozzie Newsome – and their respective staffs – over the next several weeks.
And during that time, they’ll rely on the system that has proven successful over the last several years.
“We are all responsible for our areas, but we all seek help,” Harbaugh said. “That’s just huge for us. I know that all of the scouts feel the same way. Ozzie and I do it all the time, but it’s not just us two.
“It’s everybody throughout the whole organization. It’s just interwoven together. To me, that’s the key to any success that we have.”