Much of the national discussion leading up to this year's NFL Draft has naturally focused on the quarterback position.
This draft features what might be one of the top quarterback classes in recent memory, particularly when it comes to the top prospects. The Ravens expect to see a run at the position before they're on the clock at No. 16.
USC's Sam Darnold, UCLA's Josh Rosen, Oklahoma's Baker Mayfield and Wyoming's Josh Allen are all viewed as sure-fire first-round picks, and Ravens Assistant General Manager could see all four of them coming off the board in the top-10 picks.
"It's become a quarterback league. It always has been, but it's even more-so now," DeCosta said last week on an episode of "The Lounge" podcast. "And when you see with certain franchises, their fortune turns around really quickly with a quarterback. We're a great example of that in 2008, 2009. But when you see the teams that are able to do that, whether it's the Philadelphia Eagles [with Carson Wentz] or the Houston Texans [with Deshaun Watson] last year."
Talented young quarterbacks have shown in recent years that they're entering the NFL primed to become immediate difference makers. The top two picks of the 2016 class – Wentz and Jared Goff (Los Angeles Rams) – both led their teams to the playoffs in their second seasons and were among the league's top passers.
Adding to the likelihood of a quarterback run is that most draft analysts believe next year's class won't be as strong at the position. Teams needing a quarterback know they may need to be aggressive in getting one this year rather than waiting to see what's available in another 12 months down the road.
Teams without a franchise quarterback are on the hunt for the next Wentz or Goff, and that's why some pundits believe that Darnold, Rosen, Mayfield and Allen could be the first four picks in the draft. Louisville's Lamar Jackson, the 2016 Heisman Trophy winner, also has a good chance of being a first-round pick and could even come off the board before the Ravens pick.
"You see the success these guys have as young players and you just see how it shapes the entire franchise," DeCosta said. "I think that's a good reason why all four of those guys, and maybe even five guys, will all go in the first round."
For the last decade, the Ravens have rooted for the top quarterbacks to fly off the board early in the first round.
Since taking Joe Flacco in 2008, the Ravens haven't needed to take a quarterback in the early rounds. That's allowed them to sit back as teams fight for quarterbacks while quality position players fall down the board.
With the Ravens in the market for help at receiver and offensive line this year, the clamoring for quarterbacks could push the top receiver Calvin Ridley or one of the top tackles like Mike McGlinchey or Connor Williams to the middle of the first round.
It's a good spot to be for the Ravens, and it means they could have plenty of options when they get on the clock at No. 16 next month.