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Biggest Takeaways From Eric DeCosta's Draft Review

GM Eric DeCosta
GM Eric DeCosta

As has become tradition, Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta joined "The Lounge" podcast to share more insight on the inner workings of the draft and his thought process.

Listen to the full episode below or watch it on YouTube.

Here are some of the biggest takeaways from the interview:


611: Eric DeCosta Shares New Insight on the Draft

General Manager Eric DeCosta joins Ryan Mink and Garrett Downing to talk about the Ravens' process behind the picks, alternative paths their draft could've taken, their vision for the rookies' impact, and much more.

The Ravens were also considering Cooper DeJean.

DeCosta went into the first round thinking it was likely that eight offensive linemen would be off the board before the Ravens were on the clock at No. 30. He thought that would set up Baltimore well for drafting a cornerback or wide receiver.

The Ravens had the likelihood of Wiggins being available at pick No. 30 at about 40 percent.

"Looking at the corner board, I thought there was a good chance that [Quinyon] Mitchell would be gone, I thought that [Terrion] Arnold would be gone – those two guys for sure. I'm looking at it going, 'If we have a chance to get DeJean or Wiggins, that would be great.' We had the chance to get both guys," DeCosta said.

DeCosta said after the draft that there was one other player the Ravens would have drafted at No. 30 or it would've been a trade back. He didn't confirm that it was DeJean, but DeCosta clearly liked him. Could the Ravens have traded back and still got DeJean? The versatile Iowa cornerback/safety went at pick No. 40 to Philadelphia. DeCosta felt so strong about Wiggins that he didn't want to move.

"Wiggins is an extremely talented player, phenomenal athlete, just a straight lockdown cover-type guy," DeCosta said. "He's a little thinner. I think sometimes people confuse his lack of frame with a lack of toughness or aggression, which we don't subscribe to that theory because we see a physical, competitive player at times with a good motor – highly competitive. He does need to get stronger. He will get stronger. He can do that. We thought he was the best cover guy in the draft, quite honestly."

Not speaking specifically to Wiggins, DeCosta did say Owner Steve Bisciotti "always wants to make trades."

"He's always pushing me to make trades and he's like staring at me," DeCosta said. "But I'm confident in the work that I do and I'm confident in my evaluations and I'm confident in my ability to assess the market and assess the draft board. Ultimately, it's my call and if I decide not to make a trade, I'm going to look at Steve and say, 'We're picking.'"

A trade nearly happened with the Chiefs.

The Ravens didn't make a draft day trade for the first time during DeCosta's tenure as GM, but he did agree to one.

DeCosta said he called the Kansas City Chiefs to accept a trade in the second round. The Ravens would have moved back two spots and netted at least an extra fifth-round pick. But the Chiefs backed out of their own proposal.

The Ravens were fine with it because they still got the offensive tackle they coveted in Roger Rosengarten. The Chiefs traded up one spot with the San Francisco 49ers and gave up less draft capital to take offensive tackle Kingsley Suamataia on spot after Baltimore.

"You never know 100 percent, but we had some people tell us that this was the case. Both teams, the 49ers and the Chiefs, both wanted Rosengarten," DeCosta said. "So when Rosengarten got picked, the Chiefs traded with San Francisco to get the next tackle.

"I would have been very angry had we traded for the Chiefs and they had taken Rosengarten. I would have been in a dark place."

DeCosta said he went into the second round knowing he wanted to take an offensive tackle and knew the Ravens would have a good shot at getting one considering so many teams had crossed their need off in the first round.

Two offensive tackles went before the Ravens were on the clock – Patrick Paul to the Miami Dolphins at No. 55 and Blake Fisher to the Houston Texans at No. 59. DeCosta called Rosengarten the "cleanest player" among them.

"Younger guy, excellent feet, outstanding athlete, great mover, durable, had played on the right side … he's a natural left tackle who was moved to the right side to protect Mike Penix's blindside, so we get the left tackle experience with him. He's never given up a sack," DeCosta said.

"I'll be honest, we had Roger over those two guys. Those guys were good players though. Definitely viable options for us at some point. We liked both those guys in different ways. We had Roger over those two, but when they got picked, I was sweating."

DeCosta liked Xavier Worthy a lot, but not so much for them.

Speaking of the Chiefs, they moved up four spots to grab wide receiver Xavier Worthy, who was the only prospect to run a faster 40-yard dash time (4.21) than Wiggins (4.28).

DeCosta's reaction to Worthy's 40 time at the Combine went viral. He did really like him.

There's a theory that the Ravens could've drafted Worthy at No. 30. DeCosta poured cold water on that, and on the notion that Baltimore drafted a speedy cornerback to keep up with the Chiefs' speedy receiver.

"It's nice when your strengths align with another team's strengths so you match up well – especially a competitor. But you're not going to draft players generally based on one other team's moves that they've made," DeCosta said.

"We would have taken Wiggins had the Chiefs taken a tackle. Worthy is a heck of a player, an explosive guy, a guy that I liked a lot as a prospect. But looking at him, he's a little bit like a Zay/Hollywood Brown type of guy. We have a Zay. For us, we were looking for a different body type this year. We were looking for an outside big-bodied guy. I subscribe to the theory that it's like a restaurant. You go to a restaurant, you want a lot of different things on the menu. You don't want all the same thing on the menu. At the receiver position, it is smart to have different types of receivers."

Lamar Jackson didn't end up turning in a list of wide receivers he wanted, but he made it clear that he wanted a bigger-bodied X-type receiver that would complement Flowers, Rashod Bateman, and others. That's what the Ravens got in 6-foot-1 Devontez Walker, who ran the 40-yard dash in 4.38 seconds.

"He was hoping to get a different body type with a different skillset outside and we were able to supply that for him," DeCosta said.

Ravens would've liked to draft another guard earlier.

Runs defined the 2024 draft and DeCosta felt good about being out in front the rush to grab cornerbacks and the second/third round run on offensive tackles.

One run the Ravens couldn't get ahead of was guard. Ten offensive linemen were drafted in the third round before Baltimore was on the clock at No. 93, including guard/tackle Brandon Coleman (67), guard Isaiah Adams (71), guard Cooper Beebe (73), guard Christian Haynes (81), guard Zak Zinter (85), and guard/tackle Dominic Puni (86). Only two guards were picked in the next 33 selections.

DeCosta said Baltimore was considering going with a guard in the third round to add to their offensive line rebuild.

"Basically the entire guard board just got wiped out," DeCosta said. "Would we have taken an offensive lineman? We probably would have. We took Adisa and he was pretty highly rated on our board as a player and a person. So it was a really, really good pick for us. I'm really happy with that pick."

DeCosta also said the Ravens considered drafting cornerback T.J. Tampa in the third round at No. 93. They ended up still getting him near the end of the fourth round at No. 130.

DeCosta reiterated his confidence in Ben Cleveland, Andrew Vorhees and Sala Aumavae-Laulu for the two open guard spots, and pointed to veterans Patrick Mekari and Josh Jones as possibilities.

"Would I have liked to take another guard maybe? Yeah, potentially," he said. "But that would have affected what we did in the draft. It would have affected other positions. And what I always see with need is your needs change daily."

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