Fantasy Impact: Baltimore Ravens select Matt Elam
With the 32nd pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Baltimore Ravens selected safety Matt Elam (Florida Gators). A hard-hitting safety who consistently demonstrates great instincts on the field, Elam has the potential to be a real difference-maker at the NFL level. Elam plays on the edge, hurling himself at opposing ball-carriers like a missile. It’s a style that yields a fair number of turnovers and fear-induced dropped passes, but also a fair share of missed tackles, blown coverages, unnecessary roughness penalties, and even instances where he puts teammates in jeopardy.
Perhaps an even bigger concern is what happens when Elam is forced to blanket a much-larger receiver (in the slot or downfield). In particular, the 5’10”, 202-pound Elam had a really difficult time against 6’3″, 242-pound Mychal Rivera in the 2012 game against Tennessee, and if he’s called upon to cover the ever-increasing number of pass-catching tight ends, that could bode very poorly. The Ravens will be employing two new starting safeties in 2013, with Elam (strong safety) and Michael Huff (free safety) replacing Bernard Pollard and Ed Reed, respectively.
College statistics courtesy of Sports Reference.
With the departure of Bernard Pollard to the Titans, Elam fills a huge need in the Ravens’ lineup alongside Michael Huff (who replaced the departed Ed Reed). Look for Elam to generate solid tackle numbers and some forced fumbles, but it’s hard to see him being a big-time playmaker on the interception front given his coverage and size limitations.