Randy Mueller is a known commodity and undervalued by many because of it. Eric DeCosta is the young stud, and his value is much harder to predict. DeCosta is 38. He worked in the Ravens scouting department from 1996 to 2008. He was promoted to director of player personnel in 2009.
DeCosta was in charge of the Ravens' 2009 draft and selected Sandra Bullock's adopted son at 23. He traded up in the first when Michael Oher fell, and exchanged the Ravens first and fifth round picks for the Patriots 23rd overall pick. The rest of Baltimore's draft is MIA. Combine-sensation Paul Kruger has two tackles and has played in only three games. Third round pick Lardarius Webb has played in ten games, playing nickel and dime corner, but has been most valuable for his return skills. Webb has averaged 28 yards in 21 returns, including 14 returns over 20, 3 returns over 40 and a 95 yard return for a touchdown.
No other player from the 2009 draft is slotted for a significant role in the Ravens future. The Oher pick is reminiscent of Mike Holmgren drafting Steven Hutchinson. Both were much hyped offensive line prospects that fell. I only give DeCosta a modest amount of credit for trading up and selecting Oher in the late first round. It was a feat of opportunism, but an opportunity not soon repeated.
DeCosta is best known for scouting defensive talent. Heck, everyone associated with the Ravens is best known for scouting defensive talent. Ozzie Newsome is the big fish in Baltimore, and before 2009, it's difficult to know where Newsome ends and DeCosta begins. DeCosta is a hotshot youngster with good hype and ties to one of the best-run organizations in the NFL. He is high risk-high reward; could be the general manager for the next twenty seasons, or bury the Blue even deeper.