Eric DeCosta, 38, has been at the top of a lot of teams' lists for potential GM candidates for reasons you're about to see. This year, he was promoted from his role as Director of College Scouting to his current position as Player Personnel Director. His complete Ravens bio can be found at the link on his name.
DeCosta cut his teeth as a scout in the Ravens organization, focusing on the Midwest as a scout from 1997-2002. He impressed enough in his short years there to be named scouting department director, and in his first draft in that capacity, the Ravens selected Terrell Suggs. Some of the other players he has helped draft are OL Jason Brown, DT Haloti Ngata, S Dawan Landry, offensive lineme Jared Gaither and Ben Grubbs, RB Ray Rice and QB Joe Flacco. The point isn't that DeCosta selected these players, but was on a team that did. He knows what talent looks like, and knows what red flags to look for, too. The Ravens organization has built and re-loaded mainly through the draft, with a few veteran free agents sprinkled in.
By looking at that list of players it seems DeCosta and the Ravens have been able to identify quality offensive line talent - something the Bills haven't done in the past. I didn't even look at the 2009 draft but that includes OT Michael Oher who has been a force for the Ravens this year. As the Field Gulls put it when they profiled DeCosta, his tendency to draft "big bodied, big armed profile DeCosta seems to favor is notorious for producing busts." For a complete listing of every Ravens draft DeCosta was in charge of and breakdown of the players the Field Gulls profile is extensive.
In 2005, DeCosta was interviewed before the draft. One question was about his level of input, the nebulous thing about GM candidates who have never been GMs themselves. Here's what he had to 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.
That year they selected Clayton, Brown, and QB Derek Anderson who was cut before the season began.
In addition to being on the team that selected good players he was also on the committee that hired current Ravens head coach John Harbaugh. He was honored in 2005 by The Sporting News as one of the top young stars in sports and was selected to both the 2008 Baltimore Business Journal and Baltimore Magazine "40 under 40" group.
It must be mentioned that DeCosta has worked with Ozzie Newsome during his entire tenure in Baltimore. Two other Newsome proteges, Phil Savage and George Kokinis, both failed on their own in Cleveland.
For more information on other GM candidates we have scouted head to this link. More bios will come as we gear up for the GM search. If you have suggestions for who we should profile, email me at MattRichWarren@hotmail.com.