If there was one trait that Eric DeCosta showed in the first round of his first draft as the Ravens’ general manager, it was that he’s not afraid.
DeCosta drafted a wide receiver in the first round, firing another shot at a position that has frustrated the Ravens the most over their rich draft history.
He also showed that he will continue the Ravens’ tradition of trading around the draft board to maximize value, even if it means potentially losing the player they really want. In the end, they got their man in wide receiver Marquise “Hollywood” Brown.
DeCosta traded back three spots from No. 22 to No. 25 Thursday night. It was a move that shocked nobody considering DeCosta pretty much hung a “for sale” sign on the Ravens’ top pick.
Baltimore wants more draft capital in a very deep draft, and would love a second-round pick after trading it away last year to get quarterback Lamar Jackson.
The Ravens didn’t trade all the way back into the second round, as some pundits thought they might. In the end, they didn’t move all that much. But it was still a bold move that paid off.
With the Ravens on deck at No. 22, the Seattle Seahawks traded back nine spots with the Green Bay Packers, adding a pair of fourth-round picks in return.
Could the Ravens also get a deal done, or did the Seahawks steal the opportunity?
Sure enough, DeCosta and Co. got it done with a familiar organization. For the second straight year, the Ravens traded in the first round with the Eagles, moving back three spots to No. 25 and picking up fourth- (127) and sixth-round (197) picks in return.
But DeCosta wasn’t exactly sure what the Eagles were going to do with the Ravens’ (former) pick.
“To be honest, I was a little bit nervous that Philly might take [Brown],” DeCosta said. “But it’s a calculated risk. We had some other players there that we liked. We like to make trades. It made sense to gamble, to roll the dice a little bit, so we did.”
The Eagles could have added another elite playmaker, but they just brought back DeSean Jackson – the player Brown is most often compared to – earlier this offseason. Sure, Philadelphia could have added his “clone” to groom behind the veteran, but instead, the Eagles were going in a different direction.
The Eagles knew they had to leapfrog the Houston Texans, who gave up the most sacks in the NFL last year, to get the offensive tackle they wanted, Andre Dillard. The Texans also took an offensive tackle, Tytus Howard, with the next pick.
DeCosta didn’t reveal which players he liked that were still on the board, but the list included Mississippi State pass rusher Montez Sweat, other top wide receivers such as D.K. Metcalf or N’Keal Harry, a couple highly-regarded centers and guard/tackle Cody Ford.
DeCosta said the Ravens were open to trading back again in the first round, but that the phone didn’t ring, so they went ahead and got their guy.
“You do get to a point where you start to get nervous,” DeCosta said. “You don’t want to be too greedy. We had a chance to make a trade, go back and get the guy that we wanted. From that standpoint, it was great.”