Join Executive Report host Steve Taormino as he sits down with Eric DeCosta, the Executive Vice President and General Manager for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. In this episode, Eric discusses building and maintaining a winning culture that transcends generations. Eric DeCosta’s loyalty, love and pride for the Baltimore Ravens are unmatched. A pillar of the… Read More
Join Executive Report host Steve Taormino as he sits down with Eric DeCosta, the Executive Vice President and General Manager for the NFL’s Baltimore Ravens. In this episode, Eric discusses building and maintaining a winning culture that transcends generations.
Eric DeCosta’s loyalty, love and pride for the Baltimore Ravens are unmatched. A pillar of the organization’s well-laid foundation, DeCosta has been with the franchise since Day One, first beginning as an intern during the inaugural 1996 season and then ascending to the personnel department’s chief decision-maker in 2019.
In 2007, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti first approached DeCosta about becoming general manager one day. Years later, they decided Eric would continue to serve as Newsome’s top lieutenant through 2018, helping groom him for the GM role and setting up a seamless transition.
From an outside perspective, the imminent ascension might have spawned challenges in DeCosta’s relationship with Newsome. That was never the case, however, because the duo has always had a remarkable connection – one that forged a rare professional partnership and an extraordinary friendship.
“Ozzie basically took a 25-year-old kid who had no experience in the NFL, who was so different from him, and gave me a chance and accepted me,” DeCosta says fondly. “He and I have always been very different in a lot of ways, but so aligned. It’s a special relationship in my life. I’ve learned a lot of football, but honestly, just a lot more about being a good person.”
A graduate of the Ravens’ “20/20 Club,” which includes members of the personnel staff who started with the team as young assistants and grew into evaluators with more input, DeCosta quickly moved up the ranks. He was first a personnel intern (1996), then area scout (1997-2002), then director of college scouting (2003-08), then director of player personnel (2009-11) and then assistant GM (2012-18).
It became evident early in DeCosta’s tenure that he was destined for NFL success. Brimming with passion, resourcefulness, a relentless attitude and an advanced aptitude, he quickly earned his co-workers’ respect.
“When Ray Lewis walked into camp his first day, he never really was truly a rookie,” Ravens SVP of football operations Pat Moriarty recalls. “He was Ray Lewis, our starting linebacker. [That same year of 1996], I think Eric was never ‘Eric the Intern.’ He was more than a scout.”
Growing up in Taunton, MA, DeCosta set his sights on becoming an NFL GM from the age of 6. His interest first piqued in 1978, when, contrary to many of his friends who were Patriots and Broncos fans, he began to follow the Cowboys.
“I was fascinated by the Cowboys and Tom Landry, Gil Brandt, Tex Schramm – the whole notion of scouting and building a football team,” DeCosta states. “Doing things differently than all the other teams did back then really appealed to me.”
Throughout much of his upbringing, Eric would study the NFL – particularly the draft – in a detailed manner that continuously amazed friends and family members.
His passion for the game of football was also quite evident on the field. Though, admittedly, he was never the biggest, fastest, smartest or most talented athlete, DeCosta was undoubtedly the hardest worker – someone always seeking ways to make himself better and gain a competitive edge.
While attending Colby College in Maine, the undersized linebacker went on to become a three-year captain and starter. He knew every assignment on the gridiron, holding himself to the highest of standards, all while inspiring teammates to reach new levels.
After graduating from Colby in 1992, DeCosta took part in a graduate coaching fellowship for the football team at Trinity University, where he would also earn a master’s in English. But as time passed, he became uncertain about where a coaching path would lead. Looking to maximize his options, Eric applied to law school and prepared to pursue a new career, rather than cling to his football passion.
However, a chance encounter reinvigorated DeCosta’s football pursuits in 1995, when he met someone who had completed an internship with Washington’s NFL team. Upon learning of such NFL opportunities, Eric immediately sent resumes and letters to all 32 clubs. In response, he received rejection notices from all but one team – Washington – which hired him to serve as a training camp intern.
Thanks to that experience, DeCosta had finally – and successfully – broken into the NFL. The following year (1996), he landed the Ravens’ personnel internship during their first-ever season. Coincidentally, he accepted Baltimore’s offer the same day he learned that he had been placed on the University of Connecticut Law School waitlist.
“I was willing to take a chance,” DeCosta affirms, “because I knew that once I got to Baltimore, I’d do everything to make the most of my opportunity.”