How Much Input Does John Harbaugh Have on Ravens' Draft?


The input NFL head coaches have on the draft varies from team to team. Some coaches have limited sway on personnel decisions, while others have total control of the process.

Ravens General Manager Ozzie Newsome has the final call when it comes to draft-day decisions, but Head Coach John Harbaugh certainly has opportunities to share his opinions along the way. 

"I try to have a lot of input," Harbaugh said during this week's pre-draft press conference. "I think that there's a great collaboration here. To me, it speaks to Ozzie's format and the kind of people Ozzie, Eric [DeCosta] and Joe [Hortiz] are."

The Ravens' process of building the draft board is primarily based on the work of the team's scouts. They spend the entire year traveling the country to visit schools and evaluate college prospects, and the personnel department has a series of meetings throughout the year to establish a draft board.

The coaching staff gets more involved during the NFL Scouting Combine and in the weeks leading up to the draft. Coaches have a chance to see the players up close during events like the Combine, Senior Bowl and pro days, and they also dive into the tape.

They then take part in the final round of draft meetings when the scouts all return to Baltimore to have some intense discussions on the entire draft class.

"[Newsome and DeCosta] include the coaches and want the coaches to be a part of it, and you end up having as much impact as you're willing to work for, and I work really hard at it," Harbaugh said. "I feel like they listen. I learn a lot on players in the process every year."

During his 11 years in Baltimore, Harbaugh has discussed how much he enjoys the draft and building the roster in the offseason.

DeCosta praised Harbaugh for his grasp on the draft classes every year.

"What separates John from a lot of different coaches is that he watches every player," DeCosta said. "He has a tremendous work ethic, he has a passion for it, and he works well [with the scouts]. He has tremendous credibility with the scouts because they know he's done the work.

"He has a strong opinion, but it's always backed up by the tape and by what he wants on this team, and the scouts and coaches always respect that. We're all invested in the same process, and that's what makes our process – for me – so satisfying."

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