When several teams, including the Oakland Raiders and Chicago Bears, expressed interest in Baltimore director of player personnel Eric DeCosta for their general manager opening earlier this offseason, the Ravens responded by giving their long-time executive a contract extension and a title change.
Today, they announced that DeCosta, who started in an entry-level position with the organization in 1996 and is now considered the heir apparent to general manager Ozzie Newsome, has been promoted to assistant general manager.
"When we extended Eric's contract earlier this year, we changed his title to assistant GM," Newsome said. "As Eric continues to grow in the personnel department, he is becoming a vital part of the decision-making process."
DeCosta, 41, has been the Ravens' director of player personnel the past three seasons. He has steadily worked his way through the organization, starting as an area scout, becoming the director of college scouting before being named the director of player personnel in 2009.
DeCosta was instrumental in the drafting of Pro Bowl performers Terrell Suggs, Haloti Ngata, Ben Grubbs, Marshal Yanda, and Ray Rice.
In an interview with The Baltimore Sun in March, Ravens owner Steve Bisciotti confirmed the long-standing belief that DeCosta will be the team's next general manager when Newsome decides to retire.
"There is no doubt that our main plan for life without Ozzie would be Eric DeCosta as the GM," Bisciotti said. "Like I’ve said, it’s impossible to guarantee that, but we did again restructure Eric’s contract in a way where I think he’s off the market for a few years. He’s very happy with us and happy working with Ozzie. They have about the best relationship in football in terms of working in front offices. I’m very lucky to have both of them helping them build our team."
The Ravens also announced the promotions of Joe Douglas to national scout and David Blackburn to area scout.
Douglas, who is 35 and will enter his 13th season with the Ravens, has been the team's area scout southeast since 2009. From 2003-07, he evaluated players in the northeast and in 2008, he scouted the east coast. Douglas was a part of the scouting and evaluating of quarterback Joe Flacco and Rice before they were taken in the 2008 draft.
He's also been in charge of organizing and coordinating the signings of the team's rookie free agent class.
"Joe is so deserving of his promotion to national scout," DeCosta said. "He's a top evaluator and communicator and he's been loyal to the Ravens over the years. In his expanded role, he'll be scouting players across the country, which only makes us better. We are very excited for Joe."
Blackburn, 29, joined the Ravens as a player personnel assistant in 2007. He's performed a number of responsibilities with the team's scouting staff the past five seasons.
'We are looking forward to working with David in his new role as a area scout," said Joe Hortiz, the director of college scouting. "He has done a great job the past five years working in both our pro and college departments, and he has received a well-earned promotion. David has a strong understading of the type of player and person we look for in a 'Raven.' We're confident he'll give us another good set of eyes and ears to continue identifying the prospects we value."
The Ravens also announced that Mark Azevedo has assumed the title of area scout southeast, formerly held by Douglas. Kenny Sanders, who spent the past two seasons as an intern in the team's scouting department, has been hired as a player personnel assistant.