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Eric DeCosta's Brilliance Has Led Ravens to This Point

Credit for the success of the 2023 Baltimore Ravens, usually goes to head coach John Harbaugh and MVP front-runner Lamar Jackson. It's their general manager, though, who is the unsung hero of the entire group.
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There hasn't been a team as dominant in 2023 as the Baltimore Ravens

No matter who they play, where they play, or what time, the AFC's top seed has proven throughout the year that they are among the most formidable franchises to face.

It shows on the field, in the day-to-day work, and even in the front office. 

While many people will point to quarterback Lamar Jackson and head coach John Harbaugh as the reason behind Baltimore's dominant season (and rightfully so), the unsung hero of the entire franchise operates in the shadows. 

When Eric DeCosta took over for Hall-of-Fame executive Ozzie Newsome, he understood that the team was coming off a divisional-round playoff exit, and needed to be bold if they were going to continue to be considered a perennial championship contender. 

That is exactly what he has built now in his fourth season. 

Consider this, of the seven Pro Bowl players that were nominated for the Baltimore Ravens, four of them were drafted in the DeCosta era with Roquan Smith being a trade acquisition during that time as well. 

Only Jackson and All-Pro kicker Justin Tucker were the mainstays heading to Orlando that DeCosta inherited. 

To be able to find, and grow talent is an art that few teams in the NFL have. The Ravens, over the last 20 years, have done that much better than most. 

It allowed them to stay aggressive when they drafted Jackson in the first place, and it allowed them to "go for it all" when he showed himself to be a top NFL player. 

Another piece of why DeCosta is so effective in his executive role is that he understands the importance of each position on the field. Many executives now (and good ones to boot) try and circumvent their cap space by paying premium money to positions of higher value. The other positions are shunted aside due to their lack of value. Linebackers, safeties, and even running backs - positions that have seen major decreases in contract guarantees - have been seen as mere role players you don't need.

Not to DeCosta though. It's no accident that the Ravens drafted safety Kyle Hamilton with a top-20 selection, linebacker Patrick Queen in the first round, and also gave $100 million to Smith. 

His double-down at positions teams no longer value has allowed him to build the most dominant team in football in 2023. 

It's what separates him from the other top executives in football like Howie Roseman, Jerry Jones, and Brett Veacch. 

DeCosta is the unsung hero of the Ravens this season. It'll be up to the roster he constructed to take them the rest of the way.