The Baltimore Ravens avoided some drama by finally signing their first-round draft pick Matt Elam.
Obviously, there are going to be high expectations for anyone drafted in the first round, and the question for Elam is not only if he can be a star for the Ravens, but if he could even attempt to fill the shoes of future Hall-of-Famer Ed Reed.
First of all, it should be noted that Michael Huff, not Elam, is currently penciled in to be the starting free safety, which was Reed’s position. Elam is tentatively slated to be the starting strong safety, which was Bernard Pollard‘s old position.
Filling the shoes of Pollard as opposed to Reed will definitely put less pressure on the young man. One of Elam’s strengths is playing in the box, which was Pollard’s main strength. Elam is a hard hitter; he’s probably not the destroyer that Pollard was, but Elam’s coverage skills definitely eclipse Pollard’s mediocrity in that respect.
Of course, Elam could eventually shift to the free safety position based on what happens with injuries and camp performances. The one concern I have with him is that he’s undersized at 5-foot-10 and is just a shade over 200 pounds. Elam launches his body around with reckless abandon sometimes, and I just hope the dude can stay healthy playing that style in the NFL.
Elam can definitely make an impact right away for the Ravens like Reed did. Is it fair to expect that Elam could be one of the greatest of all-time? No. Is it fair to expect that Elam could be a perennial Pro Bowler and a consistent playmaker for the Ravens? Yes.
He just needs to use his head, and I mean that figuratively.