When it was time for Eric DeCosta to make his first draft pick as Ravens general manager, the room went silent.
The frenzy of making a first-round trade with the Philadelphia Eagles was over. Baltimore moved down from No. 22 to No. 25, while also acquiring a fourth-round and a six-round pick from the Eagles.
Now it was time for DeCosta to choose his first player as Ravens GM. The phone was no longer ringing. Nobody was talking. And for the first time, DeCosta said he was a little unnerved.
“It wasn’t making the pick, but it was in the room, I don’t even think guys were breathing,” DeCosta said. “It was just strange.”
DeCosta handled the moment, choosing Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown, who will be forever linked to DeCosta as his first pick as general manager.
Watching the draft with other prospects in Nashville, Brown was moved to tears after hearing his name called. No tears were shed by DeCosta, but it was a moment he won’t forget.
“It was great, because he and I had a great conversation last week up in my office,” DeCosta said. “It was just awesome. He was emotional. I think he was really, really happy. I think he got a great feeling about this place from Day One.
“Honestly, too, him being my first pick was emotional, I think, for both of us. I stressed that he and I would always be forever linked. So, it was great.”
DeCosta may see some of himself in Brown, who has always heard from doubters due to his smallish build for an NFL player (5-foot-9, 166 pounds). When DeCosta was looking to begin his NFL career, he sent letters to every team in the NFL, and he still has the rejection letters in his office.
When Brown visited DeCosta’s office, he was impressed with the wide receiver’s competitive nature.
“I do this test with the players that come into my office,” DeCosta said. “It’s just a game, and most of the guys sit down when they do it, and he stood up. He asked me if he could stand up, and that kind of resonated with me because I would do the same thing because you get really into it and he just didn’t feel comfortable sitting so he stood up. And I could see the intensity when I met with him and that was cool.”
DeCosta still has plenty of work to do, with six rounds to go and the Ravens holding nine more picks. But DeCosta made a statement with his first pick, taking a wide receiver in the first round. The Ravens have drafted just two other wide receivers during the first three rounds since 2008 – Torrey Smith (second round 2011) and Breshad Perriman (first round 2015).
“We were very excited to get Marquise when he was there,” DeCosta said. “He was obviously the best player that we had available at the time. It just made all the sense in the world to take him.”
Check out first-round pick Marquise Brown's custom suit jacket, his green room experience and his emotions upon being drafted by the Ravens.