Last night, the Bears had to bench the quarterback they traded up to get in 2017.
Earlier in the day, the Ravens celebrated another win with the quarterback they got after trading down a few times, and he’s leading the MVP race.
Peter King of NBC’s Football Morning in America talked to Ravens General Manager Eric DeCosta about the process of the 2018 NFL Draft that produced their future.
The Ravens entered longtime G.M. Ozzie Newsome’s final draft with the 16th pick in the first round, and an owner who was hoping for some spark to energize a team grown dull. And they reportedly considered using the first pick on Jackson, but rolled the dice.
With the top names at the position going in the top 10, the Ravens knew they liked the Louisville quarterback, but thought they could move down.
“We wanted quantity that day,” DeCosta said. “With the way the draft fell that year, we saw a way to really improve our offense. We were hoping the phone was gonna ring, starting at 16.”
It did, and they dealt the 16th pick to Buffalo for 22 and 65.
“We get to 22, and all of the players we liked are still there,” DeCosta said. “So we traded again.”
They moved 22 to the Titans for 25 and 125, but then used the 25th pick on South Carolina tight end Hayden Hurst, before trading back to the 32nd pick to get Jackson, giving the Eagles their 2019 second-rounder to move back up. That was not without some nervousness, but DeCosta said he and Newsome had kept their interest in Jackson largely to themselves.
“We didn’t share what we were going to try and do with anybody,” DeCosta said. “Drafts are strange like that. It’s just Ozzie and me at the end of the table, the only ones who really know. When you’re trying to make a decision as important as that, you try and keep it as quiet as you can. Because it’s not that you don’t want to share it with people, but the downside — which would be losing the player — is much greater than the upside of sharing the information with somebody that you care about.
“We didn’t even interview Lamar at the combine because we didn’t want to be associated with him. We didn’t want rumors about us and him to start. They didn’t. We were proud of that. So we pick him, and to hear him talk, and to hear his emotion and to see Lamar on TV with Deion Sanders, so happy, and to see his conviction, and to see his competitiveness. That’s a powerful thing. So, after the pick was announced, we hadn’t even had the chance to tell the scouts and coaches.
“And I think it’s probably the first time in my 24 years that you could hear cheering outside the draft room. You could hear the coaches and you could hear the scouts. That was a powerful moment for us.”
And one that changed a franchise.