Photo of Matt Elam
Drafted By: Ravens
  • Round 1
  • Pick 32
  • Overall 32

Combine Results

80.0 ?
  • 4.54 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 17 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 35.5 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 118.0 INCH
    Top Performer
Blue Star  =  Combine Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

The Ravens continue their offseason changes, drafting a player who could help step up for a defense that lost veteran safeties Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard. Elam is a tough defender with solid ball skills, though he is a bit on the short side at 5-foot-10.

  • 5'10" Height
  • 32 5/8" Arm Length
  • 208LBS. Weight
  • 9" Hands


A two-year starter in Gators' secondary, Matt Elam boasted one of the best highlight reels of any prospect in this class due to his big hits and personality on the field. Elam entered the college ranks as the top high school safety prospect. His older brother Abe Elam has paved the way for Matt to make it in the NFL. He was a two-way player in high school, but Elam made the transition to safety shortly after focusing on special teams during his freshman season in 2010.

During that first year, Elam played on the kickoff coverage unit and was one of the first defensive backs off the bench. As a sophomore, Elam took a big step forward and was one of five Gators to start all 13 games in 2011. Playing strong safety, Elam led the team in tackles for loss (11), pass breakups (seven) and forced fumbles (two). Elam kept his starting strong safety spot in 2012, compiling 76 total tackles, once again making 11 of them for a loss. He added two sacks, one forced fumble, and four interceptions.



Plays close to the line of scrimmage or in the box very often. At his best when asked to make a play, either blitzing or one-on-one on the edge. Frequently assigned to cover the slot receiver. There are times when he flashes tremendous disruption when the play is developing in front of him. Has catch-up speed to chase down when he wants to. Gets hand up to disrupt at the catch point even if head is not turned to locate the football. Gets downfield very quickly as a gunner in punt coverage.


Would rather drift laterally against the run rather than plant his outside foot, free outside arm, and force run upfield immediately. For how many hard-hitting splash plays he makes, he could be much more aggressive every down. Little urgency to his game. Seen standing around far too often. Waits on screens rather than attacking while ball is getting there. Tries to make big hit far too often, lunges, leads with shoulder, or leaves his feet rather than just wrapping up.

NFL Comparison

Quintin Mikell

Bottom Line

Elam is one of the higher profile prospects at his position due to his onfield emotion and energy when lining up big hits in the open field. The junior thrives when his number is called, and Elam was very visible since he frequently lined up in the box at strong safety. However, when looking beyond the splash plays, Elam lacks urgency and can be seen standing around while others make the play. That combined with his tendency to launch himself at ball carriers rather than make form tackles might have caused some scouts to be a bit apprehensive.
Grade Title Draft (Round) Description
96-100 Future Hall of Famer Top Pick A once-in-a-generation type prospect who could change how his position is played
85-95 Immediate Starter 1st An impact player with the ability/intangibles to become a Pro Bowl player. Expect to start immediately except in a unique situation (i.e. behind a veteran starter).
70-84 Eventual Starter 2nd-3rd A quality player who will contribute to the team early on and is expected to develop into a starter. A reliable player who brings value to the position.
50-69 Draftable Player 4th-7th A prospect with the ability to make team as a backup/role player. Needs to be a special teams contributor at applicable positions. Players in the high range of this category might have long-term potential.
20-49 Free Agent UDFA A player with solid measurables, intangibles, college achievements, or a developing skill that warrants an opportunity in an NFL camp. In the right situation, he could earn a place on a 53-man roster, but most likely will be a practice squad player or a camp body.