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Mike Preston's observations: DeCosta seems well-prepared as man in charge of Ravens' draft

Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta addresses the media ahead of the NFL draft.
Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta addresses the media ahead of the NFL draft. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

It’s hard to predict what new Ravens general manager Eric DeCosta will do on draft day, but it is clear he has zeroed in on the team’s needs for the 2019 season, and it wouldn’t be surprising if the team traded out of the first round.

DeCosta, coach John Harbaugh and director of college scouting Joe Hortiz appeared at a predraft luncheon Tuesday and, as expected, gave little indication about their plans for the draft in several weeks.

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But DeCosta might have given a clue when he said there were 180 draftable players in this year’s class. That’s a large number considering most classes have about 90. If the Ravens trade back to get more picks, they still should be able to come up with a player or two who can step in immediately.

Ever since the Ravens moved to Baltimore from Cleveland in 1996, Eric DeCosta has been in the shadows of either head coaches or general managers. Now, it’s his time to step into the spotlight and under the microscope.

DeCosta said this draft class was strong with pass rushers, both on the interior defensive line and at outside linebacker. He also indicated this group has a lot of depth along the interior offensive line and at wide receiver.

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If the Ravens stay at No. 22, they should be able to fill a need and continue to build their running game by taking an offensive lineman, such as North Carolina State center Garrett Bradbury, or a guard, such as Oklahoma’s Cody Ford or Alabama’s Jonah Williams.

It was intriguing that despite the failures the Ravens have had at wide receiver in the draft, DeCosta wasn’t backing away from possibly selecting one. DeCosta said the team needed to take more chances drafting wide receivers.

DeCosta wasn’t bashful about taking more swings.

Less than a month from the NFL draft, the Ravens remain in a wait-and-see approach with the status of Marshal Yanda.

The Ravens have eight overall picks in the draft with one in the first round, two in the third, two in the fourth, one if the fifth and two in the sixth. But if the Ravens can get two in the second, that would be a big help and increase their chances of finding immediate impact players.

“That’s gold for us, the ideal situation,” DeCosta said of the Ravens having multiple picks in several rounds.

Overall, DeCosta seemed confident and poised during the news conference and clearly was in charge. There doesn’t appear to be much difference between him running the draft compared with predecessor Ozzie Newsome. The Ravens still will use a committee approach with input from the coaching and scouting staffs but the final choices must go through Harbaugh, Hortiz and Newsome before DeCosta makes the final call.

DeCosta appeared well-prepared to make that decision Wednesday.

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