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Getting to Know a GM: Eric DeCosta



Read about more GM candidates here.

Yesterday Chris Mortensen reported that there were 4 candidates under consideration by Clark Hunt for the GM position. One of those was Eric DeCosta, the Director of College Scouting for the Baltimore Ravens. He's been a member of the Ravens organization in some form or another since 1996. His background is in personnel and scouting

The Ravens hired DeCosta in 1996 as a player personnel assistant. His career got off to the right start with the Ravens 1996 draft. Baltimore selected 2 future Hall of Famers in Jonathan Ogden (Round 1) and Ray Lewis (Round 2). The next draft (1997) brought 4 players (Peter Boulware, Jamie Sharper, Kim Herring and Jeff Mitchell) that started 6 or more years.

After two years, he moved up as the Mid-West Area Scout, a position he held for 5 years. Through this 5 year tenure the Ravens were excellent at drafting. However, his first 2 seasons in this position were a bit rocky, only (only?) finding 2 players (Chris McAlister and Edwin Mulitalo) that have started 8 years. Duane Starks has been a serviceable player for the team throughout his career as well.

As I went over the Ravens drafting habits I noticed something interesting. They rarely missed on the 1st day picks. Whether this is a credit to DeCosta and the rest of the scouting staff, I don't know. But a good indicator of how a person in DeCosta's position (only worked in one environment) will respond is their current environment.

2000 had Jamal Lewis and Travis Taylor in the 1st round. Both 7 year starters.

2001 had Todd Heap, Gary Baxter, Casey Rabach and Ed Hartwell. All have started at least 3 seasons for the Ravens.

2002 1st 3 picks: Ed Reed, Anthony Weaver, Dave Zastudil. All 5+ year starters.

2003 Terrell Suggs and Kyle Boller. 4+ year starters and 1st round picks

In 2003 the Ravens promoted DeCosta to Director of College Scouting where he's been to this day. At the time of his hiring, he was the youngest Director of College Scouting in the NFL.

His drafts since haven't been as star-studded but still impressive considering 2004 is only 4 years out.

The point is that DeCosta's been involved in an organization that has stressed the importance of the draft. They have succeeded in that respect. The most impressive thing I noticed was how successful the Ravens (and DeCosta as the Director of College Scouting) have been on nailing the 1st day picks. This means that they're usually picking up impact players.

That said, if DeCosta really is a candidate as Mortensen has reported, his resume speaks for itself. He works closely with GM Ozzie Newsome but ultimately doesn't have final say.

Coach Billick has a certain amount of input, but what it really comes down to is Ozzie and me, and ultimately Ozzie. I may not always agree, but he's got the final say.

Over the last couple of years I've had the opportunity to kind of learn on the fly. Ozzie and I have had a lot of good discussions this year, and I feel excellent about the work that everybody's done. I've spent a lot of time looking at players. I've basically graded about the top 175 players that we have ranked. I think the process that we have in Baltimore has been proven over time to be a very good process. And we've really deviated very little from that process. Time will tell, but I think we're in a position to pick some good players this year.

If he's looking for a job with final say then Kansas City can offer him that.

Does he fit Clark Hunt's expectations of a GM?

  • "Shrewd Evaluator Of Talent" - Yes. His involvement as a scout in an organization that has been successful in the draft is a good indicator that DeCosta is effective at his job.
  • Experience With Winning Teams - Yes. 5 playoff appearances, 3 appearances in the divisional round and beyond and 1 Super Bowl victory.
  • Strong Leader - Up for debate. It's a good sign, however, that he's in charge of other people.
  • Effective Communicator - Up for debate. Like I said above, it's difficult to judge his personal skills but he's been successful at his job in the past.
  • Blends Into The Chiefs Culture - Yes. The Ravens are what the Herm Edwards vision is. They have been better than what the Marty Schottenheimer years were. He is, by all accounts ( and why would the Internet lie to me?), a good employee that comes from an organization like the Chiefs in several ways.
  • Someone Outside The Organization -Yes.