Former Ravens top pick Elam: This is my last chance

Former Ravens first-round pick Matt Elam believes that the 2016 season is his final opportunity to prove he belongs in the NFL, and he's using an awful lot of tired cliches to prove it.

"This is my last chance, my last go-round," Elam said, via the team's official site, adding: "I've been here for three years, didn't live up to what I wanted to live up to. It's my chance to prove everybody wrong and prove it to myself. This is it, do or die, winner take all. Every day is a championship game for me."

It's now or never. Elam won't live forever ... (sorry, that was ours).

So it goes for one of the more surprising duds in the Ozzie Newsome era. Elam was a stud in college and was viewed among the best safeties in a crowded draft back in 2013. Kenny Vaccaro and Eric Reid went before Elam and Johnathan Cyprien went to the Jaguars one pick later.

However, Elam struggled with some of the more basic aspects of the position -- tackling and deep coverage. A miserable rookie season bled into 2014, when Elam was eventually replaced by former Giants safety Will Hill. Had Hill not been busted for yet another violation of the NFL's substance-abuse policy, we might not be talking about Elam this summer at all.

The Ravens are still buffering themselves against the possibility that Elam will play significant snaps -- at least so far. Cornerback Lardarius Webb is making a move to free safety and the team added veteran Eric Weddle in free agency.

We're not rooting against another opportunity for Elam. As we've said many times before, players deserve the chance to get better and re-write their own narratives. We do, however, disagree with Elam that this is his last chance. As a former first-round pick, he joins a particular pantheon of players who seem to get endless opportunities in the NFL, with each coach trying to be the savior that the previous one could not be. Elam will be in camp somewhere else in 2017 and all will be right with the world. As for 2016, he might need an injury from someone else to get the opportunity he seeks.

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