As the 32nd pick of the NFL Draft, strong safety Matt Elam is already drawing praise from the Baltimore Ravens‘ coaching staff for his recognition of the defensive playbook. In rookie mini-camp, Elam directed the secondary on the back end with no fear and the willingness to learn. It was seen as very unusual for a rookie considering the fact that there is a general line in place where the rookies don’t say much and learn from the veterans around him. But so far Elam has taken the bull by the horns and is expected to stabilize a unit that featured Ed Reed from 2002-2012.
If all goes well for Elam in his career, the Ravens will soon be known as a safety factory that would had featured legendary players in Reed and Rod Woodson. Here is what Elam had to say via Baltimoresun.com: “It went well,” Elam discussing mini-camp. “I got better every day. I’m improving. I’m very comfortable and very smooth out there. It felt great. I’m very excited to be with the best and start working with the vets.”
It is assumed by some that Elam will be taking the role of Reed, but he will actually be taking the role of Bernard Pollard. Elam possesses the hard hitting ability of Pollard but with more range in coverage. Whether or not he moves to free safety in the near future remains to be seen. After all, if Elam did go that route, he would be following the steps Reed took early in his career. Reed started out as a strong safety in 2002, even won defensive player of the year in 2004, before transitioning to a free safety in 2005. The Ravens wanted to get faster on defense, and it looks like they are on their way to achieving that goal. Even though Elam is a rookie, it is wise for him to take the leadership role quickly. The defense is in a new phase, and Peyton Manning is coming up week one. Talk about a way to prove your worth as a young secondary player in the NFL.