NBC Sports’ Patrick Daugherty recently released his rankings of all 32 NFL general managers. Baltimore Ravens’ general manager Eric DeCosta did not land inside the Top-10, instead coming in at No. 12 on the list.
“Eric DeCosta’s 2021 was a lesson in what can go wrong even when you have a franchise quarterback,” Daugherty wrote. “The league’s run-heaviest offense had its backfield wiped out by ACL injuries before so much as a real snap was played. The secondary soon followed. Despite all that, DeCosta’s club was sitting at 8-4 entering Week 14. That’s what happens when you have a deep roster. Then Lamar Jackson joined J.K. Dobbins, Marcus Peters, Ronnie Stanley, et al. on the injured list and the Ravens didn’t win another game.”
It may have required a little luck for the Ravens to be 8-4 considering the injuries they had. However, it also spoke to the quality of depth DeCosta has built since taking over the mantle of general manager in 2019. Baltimore was somehow finding ways to win games when they had no business doing so. That was, of course, until Jackson went down with an ankle injury against the Cleveland Browns in Week 14, which was the straw that finally broke the camel’s back.
“That challenging year begat a challenging offseason, with No. 1 receiver Marquise Brown demanding a trade out of an already thin receiver corps,” Daugherty wrote. “Left tackle Stanley still isn’t 100 percent healthy after two years battling ankle issues. DeCosta coped the only way a Ravens executive knows how — by knocking the draft out of the park. Safety Kyle Hamilton was arguably the most talented player in the entire class. DeCosta got him at No. 14. Tyler Linderbaum was unquestionably the best center. DeCosta got him at No. 25, helping to stabilize the Ravens’ road-paving line. S Marcus Williams was one of the glitziest signings of free agency, while Ravens returnee Michael Pierce was one of the most down low.”
DeCosta has received a ton of praise for how he handled the 2022 NFL Draft. He was patient during the draft and let the board fall to him. This resulted in netting several players at much later picks than originally projected, including Hamilton, Linderbaum, David Ojabo, and Travis Jones. He was also patient in free agency as usual and aside from giving a big contract to Williams, decided to opt for cheaper deals to help fill other positions of need on the depth chart.
“DeCosta’s problems are far from solved,” Daugherty wrote. “L-Jax is playing out his rookie contract, for example. But DeCosta is showing the same aptitude for adapting and reloading on the fly as his mentor Ozzie Newsome.”
DeCosta has varied wildly in certain areas from his legendary predecessor, such as taking multiple wide receivers in drafts, but the core strategy remains the same as it was under Newsome’s watch.