Originally written on Ravens Football Machine  |  Last updated 4/15/12

Eric DeCosta is the Ravens' director of player personnel... which is a fancy way of saying he's responsible for all scouting and due diligence matters regarding players the Ravens are interested in acquiring.

Eric DeCosta, Ravens Director of Player Personnel...

Garrett Downing did a nice summary report at Ravens.com (NFL website) of Eric DeCosta's constant struggle between nailing down a player pick based on either science or art.

The Ravens personnel department spends all year preparing for the NFL draft. Scouts watch countless hours of tape, conduct several rounds of player interviews, travel the country to see prospects practice and play, and ultimately come up with a series of rankings that they take into draft weekend.

But as much time as they spend analyzing the tape and crunching the numbers, sometimes a good draft pick simply comes down to gut instinct.  "We try to make it a science; we really do,”  Eric DeCosta said last week. “But in the end, it’s really probably more of an art than a science.”

Projecting the future performance of a football player is tricky business, which is why so many promising prospects never end up panning out. A number of factors – injuries, maturity, work ethic – all contribute to how a player develops at the professional level.

It’s up to the Ravens scouts to eliminate the inherent uncertainty as best they can. To put together their draft board and ultimately pull the trigger on a pick, DeCosta, General Manager Ozzie Newsome and the rest of the Ravens brass combine information from a variety of sources. They compile details from years of game tape, conversations with college coaches and a scouting combine performance, and try to assess intangibles like toughness and leadership.

“There’s a lot of nuance involved,” DeCosta said. “It’s a big-picture thing. It’s a lot of bits and pieces of information. It’s gut instinct. It’s experience, which I think is really, really important. It’s past things that have happened. It’s memories. It’s gut. And it’s also a little bit of science involved. It all kind of works together like a mosaic and you just end up doing the best you can and you have to make a pick – you can’t run away from a guy and you hope you hit on it.”

For the Ravens front office members like DeCosta, the draft is a culmination of a year’s worth of effort and arguably the single biggest weekend of the year.

“It’s a competitive atmosphere for me,” DeCosta said. “I take it very, very personally. The best thing is when you hit on a player and you see the fans wearing his jersey, like a Ray Rice, for instance. That’s an unbelievable feeling and it’s what keeps you trying to do what you do.

“It’s improvement, but it’s also for the fans, it’s also the brand, it’s selling, it’s everything. It’s the lifeblood of this organization and we take it very seriously.”


Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Brandon Saad, Ryan O’Reilly sign long-term contracts with Columbus, Buffalo

Dallas Mavericks solidify future with Wesley Matthews and DeAndre Jordan signings

A-Rod, Yankees settle dispute over home run milestone bonus

Report: Robin Lopez, Knicks finalizing four-year deal

Becky Hammon will coach Spurs' Summer League team


Jimmy Butler on Derrick Rose: ‘I don’t think we have any issues’

Yankees get A-Rod's 3,000th hit ball for $150,000 donation

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Lakers apologize for first, get second meeting with Aldridge

Mike Scioscia: Josh Hamilton should apologize to Arte Moreno

Sacramento Kings continue to be an utter disaster

Remember when the Cincinnati Bearcats were the scariest team in America?

Are the Angels now the worst organization in baseball?

Five reasons the Browns should play Johnny Manziel

Blue Jays need rookies to keep producing for success in 2015

WATCH: Sean Doolittle gets cup check from teammate

University of Florida developing high-tech smart mouth guard

Pat McAfee is the best punter in NFL history

Mets coach on slump: The only thing left is human sacrifice

MLB teams who will continue to surprise in second half

2015 Women’s World Cup Final: The Rematch

Answering the five biggest questions in NBA free agency

Report: Mavericks sign Wes Matthews to four-year contract

NFL News
Delivered to your inbox
You'll also receive Yardbarker's daily Top 10, featuring the best sports stories from around the web. Customize your newsletter to get articles on your favorite sports and teams. And the best part? It's free!

By clicking "Sign Me Up", you have read and agreed to the Fox Sports Digital Privacy Policy and Terms of Use. You can opt out at any time. For more information, please see our Privacy Policy.
Get it now!
Ios_download En_app_rgb_wo_45

Russell Wilson 'would definitely consider' playing for Mariners

Solo, Rapinoe among USWNT stars up for World Cup awards

LBS on Sports Jeopardy! Here's how how it went

College football's 35 most patriotic helmets

A brief history of non-star All-Stars

With Love retained, the Cavs can take care of LeBron

Grading the deal: Davis commits to Pelicans

Obama Administration: Change name if Redskins move to D.C.

Deciding what the All-Star Game means

Odell Beckham Jr. offered professional baseball contract

Orioles keep finding a way to win

Lloyd sends USWNT to World Cup final

Today's Best Stuff
For Bloggers

Join the Yardbarker Network for more promotion, traffic, and money.

Company Info
What is Yardbarker?

Yardbarker is the largest network of sports blogs and pro athlete blogs on the web. This site is the hub of the Yardbarker Network, where our editors and algorithms curate the best sports content from our network and beyond.