Ravens' draft review: Matt Elam

January, 13, 2014
1/13/14
4:00
PM ET
The Baltimore Ravens blog will take a look at the team's top five draft picks in 2013 and how they fared as rookies:

MATT ELAM

Elam
Position: Safety

Drafted: First round, 32nd overall (selected after Cowboys C Travis Frederick and before Jaguars S Johnathan Cyprien)

Key stats: 77 tackles, one interception, three passes defensed and two fumble recoveries.

His 2013 season: It was a forgettable season for the most part for Elam, which is not what you want to hear from your first pick in the draft. He didn't make enough plays (Elam acknowledged this himself) and disappeared too often. In his defense, Elam was playing out of position at free safety. He's much more comfortable playing down in the box than covering centerfield. The Ravens had to like the fact that Elam came up big at the end of that game in Detroit, just a few days after he made headlines by describing Calvin Johnson as "pretty old." Elam does deserve credit for being the only player from this draft class to start all season.

Forecasting 2014: General manager Ozzie Newsome made a point to say the Ravens need an athletic safety. That means adding a rangy defensive back who can play free safety and moving Elam to his more natural position. This will allow Elam to make more of an impact.

What the Ravens are saying about Elam: "Matt Elam should be a really, really good safety in this league. He’s fast, he’s physical and he’s going to understand the expectations a little more. He’s going to anticipate checks a little better. He’s going to understand what it means to stay deep when you’re supposed to stay deep – not to stop your feet when you’ve got a vertical receiver running up on you and you’re a deep-third or deep-half player. Those are things that sometimes you learn from experience the hard way. He didn’t make too many mistakes for a guy who played that many repetitions as a safety, so it’s a good start for him." -- Head coach John Harbaugh

Jamison Hensley

ESPN Ravens reporter

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