OWINGS MILLS, Md. — The biggest change in Eric DeCosta’s first draft as the Baltimore Ravens‘ general manager isn’t how the team scouts players or where he sits in the draft room.
It’s the draft room itself.
The Ravens have gone high-tech with DeCosta, installing 20 digital boards that will display all 205 college prospects ranked by Baltimore. Each screen costs $15,000, which brings the total investment to $600,000.
For the franchise’s first 23 drafts, the Ravens set their draft board by using paper cards with magnets taped to the back of them. When a player was selected, someone got up and manually moved the card. Now, that can be accomplished with the click of a mouse.
Just as a contingency, DeCosta says he will keep a hard copy of the player rankings beside him.
“If the power goes out, we should be able to pick,” he said with a smile.
This certainly marks a new era for the Ravens. DeCosta took over for Ozzie Newsome, the only previous GM in the team’s history, in January and will man his first draft as the final decision-maker.
DeCosta, though, won’t take Newsome’s seat at the head of the draft table. With how the screens are situated, DeCosta would have his back to the draft board if he sat in Newsome’s usual spot and would need to turn around throughout the three days of the draft.
There’s another reason for DeCosta not to change seats.
“[Newsome] definitely doesn’t like change, and I just feel like if we moved his seat, he’d be really flustered,” DeCosta said.
The Ravens are expected to take a pass-rusher, wide receiver or offensive lineman with the No. 22 overall pick. Baltimore has been linked to Oklahoma wide receiver Marquise Brown, Clemson pass-rusher Clelin Ferrell and Texas A&M center Erik McCoy.
There’s also a good chance that Baltimore will look to trade out of the first round to acquire more picks. DeCosta sees this as an extremely deep draft and has put 55 more players on the board than in average years.
How is DeCosta feeling before his first draft as GM?
“Right now, I’m anguishing over what’s going to happen in the first round,” DeCosta said. “That keeps me up at night. Ozzie is like, ‘We’ll see how it all shakes out.’ That’s just the difference.”