The Baltimore Ravens had the final pick of the 2013 NFL Draft, but that did not stop them from getting a player that could contribute right away. Safety Matt Elam from Florida was the first of 10 players drafted by Baltimore over the three-day event, and the team has already basically penciled him in as a starter.
With Bernard Pollard gone, Elam appears as though he will eventually settle into the strong safety spot for the Ravens. He actually brings a similar skill set to the former standout, as Elam became known for his hard-hitting and run-stopping ability.
At Florida, Pollard has a grand total of 76 tackles in his final season. He was at his best when he jumped off the blocks and halted the ball carrier right away. Passing defense is still somewhat of a work in progress, but it isn’t too bad.
Pollard and Ed Reed are out of Baltimore now, so finding a talented safety was essential in this draft. The team has to be thrilled that Elam was still available late in the first round. Defense is something that Baltimore as a franchise always takes pride in, so shoring that up a bit in the offseason through the draft has to feel good, and should make them one of the first D’s to go in fantasy football drafts.
Repeating in the NFL is extremely difficult, and the Ravens are going to go through that this upcoming season. Elam does not have to be outstanding right away, but he just needs to be able to stay within himself and grow. Chances are, if he lives up to expectations, he will be around for a long time. Perhaps he can be the new face of the franchise on the defensive end as the likes of Ray Lewis and Ed Reed move on to the next chapter in their lives.