Ravens GM Eric DeCosta isn’t concerned about picking 30th in NFL draft

OWINGS MILLS — There is speculation the Ravens might trade the 30th overall pick in the 2024 NFL draft to amass more selections.

In addition to the 30th pick, the Ravens have six other selections — second round (62nd overall), third round (93rd), fourth round (13oth and 133rd), fifth round (163rd), and seventh round (225th and 247th).

The team has numerous holes to fill on the roster, mainly on the offensive line, at cornerback and with edge rushers.

DeCosta shed some light on the team’s strategy and said the additional picks don’t always provide the best value.

“You certainly have to have players that you covet and that you want to draft,” DeCosta said. “So, that’s always a factor with every draft. You could have 15 picks, and sometimes you’re there at the end of the draft, and you’re looking at the [draft] board, and you have no idea who you want to pick. You just don’t see anybody that you really covet.

“I always think about it as, ‘What picks do you need to get the players that you want to take?’ You can have some great picks, but if the board doesn’t fall the right way, and you’re looking at a bunch of players that aren’t any better than the players you have on your roster, those picks don’t really help you very much.

“I like the idea of having more picks, but I want to have more picks in a specific range in the draft. If we can get that done, then I could see us being in a good position to really maximize our chances to find good players.”

The Ravens have traded out of the first round three times in franchise history:

  • 2012 — The Ravens traded the 29th pick to Minnesota in exchange for the  No. 35 overall selection in the second round and the Vikings’ fourth-round selection (No. 98 overall). The Ravens used the 35th overall pick to select linebacker Courtney Upshaw and pick guard Gino Gradkowski with the 98th pick.
  • 2010 — The Ravens traded the 25th pick to the Denver Broncos in exchange for a second-, third-, and fourth-round selection. That gave the Ravens a total of seven draft picks.
  • 2004 — The Ravens had traded the 21st pick to the Patriots in exchange for New England’s 2003 first-round (19th overall) selection to take quarterback Kyle Boller.

DeCosta, who took over as the general manager in 2019, has done some maneuvering in the first round.  In 2019, the Ravens traded back from No. 22 to No. 25 with the Philadelphia Eagles, acquiring a fourth- and sixth-round pick. The Ravens also traded back from No. 23 to No. 25 with the Buffalo Bills and acquired an additional fourth-rounder in 2022.

There are questions about whether the team can find a coveted player with the 30th pick. However, the Ravens have had success drafting late in the first round.

The team selected quarterback Lamar Jackson with the 32nd pick in the 2018 draft, tight end Todd Heap with the 31st selection in 2001, and linebacker Patrick Queen with the 28th pick in 2020.

DeCosta has no issue picking so late in the first round. It means the team is coming off a successful season and there is almost always value, even late in the first round.

“I don’t see any unique challenges picking early [or] picking late. It’s really the same,” DeCosta said. “It’s just having the players that you really want be there when you have to pick. If you have a typical draft, if you’re picking 10th, you maybe have four or five guys you really want. If you’re picking 28th or 30th, you might only have 15 or 20 guys that you really want. The way your brain works, is you [assign] a value to players, and you’re hoping to get that value at that pick. You really want to get value.

“For us, it’s just you hope and pray that one of those top 20 guys might be there for us at [pick No.] 30 so we have some additional value associated with that. In the end, you just grade the players, and you rank the players.”   

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