The Baltimore Ravens held their annual pre-draft press conference Tuesday afternoon, or as general manager Eric DeCosta put it, "The Liars Luncheon."
DeCosta, head coach John Harbaugh and director of college scouting Joe Hortiz answered questions for about 30 minutes on the Ravens' plan for the 2019 NFL Draft. Here are the biggest takeaways.
1. The Ravens have spent a lot of time throughout the offseason talking about this year's prospects. Their first-round of pre-draft meetings lasted seven days opposed to the typical five. In addition to the draft board they started constructing back in October, the team conducted formal interviews with 60 players last month at the NFL Combine and met with about 100 more players.
2. Baltimore currently has eight picks in the 2019 NFL draft, including their No. 22 spot in the first-round. But DeCosta does not seem opposed to trading back into the second-round to accumulate more.
“I think if there’s a great player there at No. 22, we’ll make the pick and we’ll be very, very excited,” DeCosta said via the Ravens website. “But one thing that we’ve shown over the past years is we know how to manufacture picks. So if the opportunity is there, we’ll have a chance to trade back and accumulate picks.”
The Ravens of course gave up their second-round pick to the Philadelphia Eagles last year when they traded back into the first-round to acquire Lamar Jackson. DeCosta also noted how happy he is with the amount of picks the Ravens have in the third and fourth-rounds, possibly further cementing the desire to trade back for more.
“Those third-round picks and those fourth-round picks, those are gold for us this year," he said. "In this draft, having four picks in those two rounds, that’s an ideal situation to be in.”
3. Wide receiver was obviously a hot topic considering the Ravens only have two of them on their current roster who have caught a pass in the NFL. The Ravens have only drafted three receivers — Travis Taylor, Mark Clayton and Breshad Perriman — in the first-round of the draft and have selected two in the first three rounds since 2008 in Perriman and Torrey Smith. DeCosta has a baseball mentality when it comes to drafting wide receivers in 2019.
"One of the biggest things that we have to do is just take some at-bats and swing,” DeCosta said. “It’s hard to be a .400 hitter if you’re only at bat twice. We’ve got to take some chances. We’ve got to find some guys that we like and try to appreciate the really good football players, the guys that make plays.”
If and when they take that chance will depend heavily on which receiver prospects best fits the Ravens and the direction their offense is going.
“Receivers come in all different shapes and sizes,” DeCosta said. “Some guys are big and physical. Some guys are fast and run good routes. Other guys catch the ball really well. Other guys drop three or four balls but catch six or seven touchdowns. It really comes down to finding the guys that fit who we are, that we like, who can help us win football games."
4. As it is each and every year, coming out of the draft stronger than when they entered it is of importance to DeCosta. The new general manager and Ravens front office are typically parsing their words in an effort to not unravel too much of their plan during the pre-draft press conference. And for DeCosta, their strategy throughout the entire process is like a game of monopoly.
“I love it,” DeCosta said. “That’s one of the fun things about the draft throughout the course of history is the strategic aspect of the draft. I love that. As a kid, I loved to play Risk. I loved to play Monopoly.
"To me, this is a game,” DeCosta said. “But it’s not a game we can afford to lose.”
April 15: Voluntary OTAs may begin
April 19: Deadline for restricted free agents to sign offer sheets
April 25-27: 2019 NFL Draft in Nashville, Tn.
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