Since 2007, Eric DeCosta knew he would become the next General Manager of the Baltimore Ravens. He disclosed this in a recent interview with former Atlanta Falcons General Manager Thomas Dimitroff on his podcast, “The GM Journey.”
“I knew in 2007 that I would be the next general manager, which isn’t the typical situation for most general managers,” DeCosta said. “I became the general manager in 2019, so I had a 12-year period where I had on-the-job training. Steve Bisciotti, our owner asked me to be his next general manager and Ozzie [Newsome] knew that. There were no surprises, there was a plan of succession. It was all about when Ozzie was ready to retire. That’s what would happen. So, I had a long time to think about what it would look like.”
By 2017, DeCosta had declined interviews with seven teams, including one twice.
On January 11, 2019, DeCosta officially became the General Manager of the Baltimore Ravens, with Ozzie Newsome stepping down from the role but still offering guidance for the franchise. In that time, DeCosta has “won” trades for multiple stars, hit on a few draft picks, won The Sportings News’ NFL Executive of the Year, and the Ravens have made the postseason twice. But according to NFL.com’s Gregg Rosenthal, DeCosta isn’t in the top half of his NFL GM Power Rankings. He’s ranked 15 of 22 (A GM needs to have completed more than one draft to be eligible.)
15) Eric DeCosta, Baltimore Ravens
You can barely tell Ozzie Newsome has left the GM post, which is intended as the highest of compliments. The Ravens balance short-term goals against veteran contracts along with tough decisions about their future (the Orlando Brown trade) as well as any team in the league. Baltimore staying competitive despite the worst injury luck in two decades speaks to the organizational strength. DeCosta just needs a few draft home runs like Newsome used to hit to round out the portfolio.
It’s fair to critique DeCosta’s drafts as the Ravens haven’t retooled as much through the process post-Newsome in the later rounds. But DeCosta’s still selected players that have been key contributors for the Ravens, including wide receivers Marquise “Hollywood” Brown and Rashod Bateman, linebacker Patrick Queen, defensive end Justin Madubuike and outside linebacker Odafe Oweh, who they were able to draft after receiving a first-round pick from trading Orlando Brown Jr. to the Kansas City Chiefs.
Also, DeCosta’s landed multiple trades for stars, bringing in All-Pro cornerback Marcus Peters and defensive end Calais Campbell. DeCosta’s been unafraid to improve the team.
Among the candidates, it’s a close argument for all to be in the top 10. There are excellent executives with great success. When stacking one up with another, there’s fair debate as to why one should be above the other, and it’s not as simple as the stat-driven arguments football fans are accustomed to when ranking one against another. But one things for sure, DeCosta has helped build the franchise long before becoming the Ravens General Manager, and would be welcomed on just about all 32 franchises if he were to become available.