Ravens Detail Work To Be Done Before Draft

The sign outside Baltimore's draft room read "In Use" early Monday morning.

The entire personnel department and members of the coaching staff crowded into the war room to begin a series of pre-draft meetings that play a critical role in setting the team's draft board.

"It will be very intense," General Manager Ozzie Newsome said last week when describing the upcoming meetings.

"These meetings that are coming up in the next week are probably just as important as any meeting that we have."

The meetings include all of Baltimore's area scouts, who spend the entire year watching college players around the country. The scouts come together with the team's decision makers like Newsome, Assistant General Manager Eric DeCosta and Head Coach John Harbaugh to determine the final grades on more than 300 NFL prospects. 

"We'll vet each player,"  DeCosta said. "We talk for about 15 minutes or so, going through background, character, ability."

A difference with the meetings this week is that the coaching staff joins the discussions. The coaches have spent the last few months watching tape and visiting colleges since the season ended, and they can provide a different perspective on the prospects.

"In these meetings, the coaches really have a chance to chime in to discuss the players, their strengths and weaknesses," DeCosta said.

Another part of the discussion throughout the week is players with off-the-field concerns. The Ravens scouts have already done homework on these players – Newsome confirmed that the team had wide receiver Dorial Green-Beckham, cornerback Marcus Peters and pass rusher Randy Gregory in for visits – and the brass will discuss whether certain players should come off the board.

"Until we finish our meeting, then everybody is on the board, because we haven't made any firm decisions," DeCosta said.

The week of meetings is when the Ravens do the bulk of their work in establishing the order of the draft board. Newsome said "our board will be pretty much set" by the time the scouts leave the Under Armour Performance Center at the end of the week.

The goal is to establish a board of about 150 draftable prospects, and a secondary board of players the team may target as priority undrafted free agents.

After the meetings throughout this week the scouts and coaches will go back to the tape to make their final assessments of players. They convene again in the week leading up to the draft for another series of meetings with Owner Steve Bisciotti.

Those final meetings conclude just two nights before the draft, and then the board will be set the Wednesday before the first round begins.  

"We'll finish our meetings Tuesday night [April 28] and have a chance to tweak it, maybe iron out some rough patches, so to speak. But the board is going to be set," DeCosta said. "We'll work on the various scenarios that might unfold during the draft. We'll then come in here Wednesday afternoon and kind of go over the gameplan on how we think things are going to unfold."

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