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Not every team’s draft process works the same.
For some, the coaches run the show. At other clubs, the personnel department handles the draft.
In Baltimore, it’s a collaborative effort.
And it’s one of the chief reasons why NFL Network analyst Mike Mayock said on a recent conference call that the Ravens are “one of the best and most consistent drafting teams out there.”
“They do as good a job as anybody in the league at being connected with their coaching staff and understanding the needs of their coaching staff,” Mayock said.
Mayock believes the biggest mistake in pro football concerning the draft is having a disconnect between the personnel side of the house and the coaching side.
When that happens, you become a bad drafting team and, thus, a “cellar-dweller,” Mayock said.
“In Baltimore, Ozzie has always connected, whether it’s Brian Billick or John Harbaugh,” he added.
Harbaugh is a coach that’s very invested in the draft. He watches tape of every prospect on the Ravens’ draft board, which includes more than 150 players.
He became involved in the process the day after the Ravens’ AFC championship loss. Harbaugh flew to Mobile, AL for the Senior Bowl with General Manager Ozzie Newsome, Director of Player Personnel Eric DeCosta, Director of College Scouting Joe Hortiz and other scouts.
“When I was a college coach I really liked recruiting,” Harbaugh said. “To me it’s important. I like doing it.”
All the coaches independently study tape and come up with their own evaluations before convening for draft meetings. They avoid cross-referencing their findings because they don’t want to influence each other.
“Ozzie has a great system he’s developed over the years,” Harbaugh said. “Nobody is really getting on the same page. Ozzie doesn’t really allow that; he wants everyone to have their own opinion. Then we go in those draft meetings and really duke it out and come to a consensus.”
In Newsome’s system, everybody has a voice, from the youngest scouts, to the entire coaching staff and owner. And they are encouraged to speak up.
“I think we have a great coaching staff in terms of evaluators,” DeCosta said.
“We really try to build a consensus with coaching and scouting. Some organizations do it differently – some are coach driven and some are scout driven. We are organizationally driven with coaching and scouting. I think it works well.”