With the 32nd pick in the 2013 Dawgs By Nature NFL Community Mock Draft, the Baltimore Ravens select...
Matt Elam, SS, Florida
This selection and write-up was made by Ecwingen:
Drafting the Ravens is usually easy: Ozzie will take the best player available, and he’ll usually be right. But this year is different. For a Super Bowl champion, Baltimore is unusually needy, especially on defense. Given the loss of Ed Reed and Ray Lewis, the Ravens should select the best safety or linebacker available, not necessarily the best player. In this draft that leaves Manti Te'o and Matt Elam. I think Teo is a flat-out steal at 32, but I don’t think his style of innocent, clean-cut, almost naive enthusiasm is a fit for the culture "mighty men" Harbaugh wants to maintain. Matt Elam, by contrast, is an out of control hitter with multiple arrests, so he’s already a Raven in spirit. He’s the pick, even though there are at least three better players still available (Teo, Eifert, and either Williams).
While Elam is a bit short of ideal height, he hits hard and plays instinctively. Florida often used him near the line and playing the run is a clear strength. His coverage skills are also strong, showing excellent athleticism and timing and an ability to mirror the receiver, though in the film I’ve watched he doesn’t always seem to find the ball. Elam was an impact player for Florida in 39 games he played, with 176 tackles, 23.5 tackles for losses, 13 pass breakups, six interceptions, three forced fumbles and one fumble recovery.
While Elam is no Ed Reed (and that’s an unfair comparison for any rookie safety), he has experience doing everything that the Ravens ask a safety to do, and to do much of it well. His main weakness is tackling, as he sometimes tries to make the big hit rather than wrapping up the ball-carrier and sometimes waits for the runner to come to him instead of attacking down the field. But these are weaknesses that coaching can correct. And with his speed (under 4.5 forty) and explosiveness, small corrections to his technique could make him very reliable.
I suspect Elam would start for the Ravens on day one. At the very least he’ll be a serviceable safety, with the potential to be great over time. At the high end he’s more likely to be Bob Sanders than Don Rogers, but I’d take Bob Sanders any day. At worst he should be a decent starter that won’t hurt the team.
...and with Abram Elam's brother going off the board, our first round is complete. The only player in our top 20 big board who was not taken in the first round is tight end Tyler Eifert.
For possibilities on the second round of the mock draft, see the comments section below.
2013 DBN Community Mock Draft Results (so far)
|New York Jets
|Ted Washington's Belly
|New York Giants