Matt Elam dominated in the defensive backfield for the Florida Gators for three seasons. His efforts earned him a first-round NFL Draft selection with the defending Super Bowl champion Baltimore Ravens.
Even more importantly, the Ravens were feeling so confident in bringing in the safety that they are not missing Ed Reed. One of the greatest to play the position, Reed was allowed to walk after winning his ring, and has since signed with Houston.
As the Ravens’ three-day mandatory minicamp has wrapped up, it looks like Elam is rewarding the organization’s confidence in him.
“He’s been doing well,” Baltimore cornerback Corey Graham told the Carroll Country Times. “He’s a smart kid. He’s been picking everything up. He’s been out there playing fast. I don’t think he had too many [mental errors] at all this whole minicamp, and he’s making plays.
“When you go out there and you’re playing fast and making plays, you give yourself an opportunity to play, and I think he’s doing really well right now.”
At the moment, Elam has worked primarily with Baltimore’s second-team defense. However, secondary coach Teryl Austin believes he will eventually supplant veteran James Ihedigbo for the starting safety responsibilities.
“He has a lot of things to learn, but he’s learning them because he is bright, and he gets football. He has a lot of stuff to work on, and our job is to get him there by the season … [but] he’s tough, he’s fast, he gets football, and I think he is going to be a fine player for us soon.”
Graham, has been particularly impressed by Elam’s versatility.
“He’s at safety. They’re putting him in the “Dollar” package. He’s coming down and playing nickel,” Graham said. “When you have the ability to play all of those positions, that’s pretty impressive. You don’t see that much, especially not in the first couple months of being on a team.”
From the sounds of it, Elam is well on his way to being the next in a long line of Gators to star at the next level.