Prospect: Matt Elam, SAF, Florida
Grade: 6.9 (Grading Scale)
+Matt Elam is a compact physical specimen.
+Displays excellent muscle bulk throughout the entire body.
+He has very good speed allowing him to cover a lot of ground.
+Elam shows a powerful and sudden burst, exploding through the opposing player.
+Above average strength for a safety prospect including a powerful lower half.
+Accelerates quickly getting to speed as a blitzer within a few steps.
+Quick-footed, can plant and come forward explosively.
+For a short and compact safety, he can change direction suddenly and make up for a misstep.
-Doesn’t have long arms and has a short torso.
-Vertical leap is just average as it appears on tape.
+In coverage Elam can do a couple different things well.
+He’s at his best when playing close to the line of scrimmage, disrupting screens, swing passes and short over the middle throws.
+Anticipates plays in front of him well, sees them developing and can close quickly.
+Plays the role of an intimidator in coverage, will lay the big hit as the ball arrives.
+Strong enough to re-route TE or jam at line.
+Does not allow any easy catches, even if he gives it up he will make them pay.
+Swift and explosive tackler, stays low to the ground and tackles through the receiver.
+Makes aggressive plays on the ball, even though they might be undisciplined.
+Violent, risk taker.
-Has the speed to cover hash to sideline, but often takes an overaggressive angle.
-Covers the slot often, but fluidity in coverage might not allow in the NFL.
-Often is a step late in coverage.
-Too aggressive, gets away with poor technique, relying of athletic ability.
-Is susceptible to double moves will jump short route and be beaten in the deep third.
-Elam tries to make up for mistakes in coverage with big hits.
Vs. The Run
+Physical in the box presence.
+Has good run instincts, takes aggressive angles and can close quickly.
+Violent tackler at the point of impact. Strong enough to set the edge.
+Fills running lanes aggressively and plays low to the ground.
+Great ball instincts, will rip and try to punch football loose while falling to the ground.
+Usually finds a way to make the play when he wants to.
-Has very poor form when tackling, launches his body, throws a shoulder or throws ball carrier to the ground.
-Is a pile watcher, stands and watches the end of the play too often.
-Will get flagged in NFL for unnecessary head shots and horse collars unless something changes.
+Will be an excellent Special teams player at the NFL level, spent entire Freshman year on kick coverage and kick return units, is a very good gunner.
+Plays with great passion and enthusiasm.
+Team feeds off his aggression and big hits.
+Celebrates after every tackle and exudes confidence which rubs off on other teammates.
+Plays his best in the biggest situations. Love the spotlight.
+Brother of NFL safety Abe Elam.
-Arrested for alcohol related charges as a freshman.
-Took plays off at Florida, standing around watching the end of plays and letting others make the tackle.
-Lack of discipline at times, will be a heavily penalized player.
Matt Elam is a violent, explosive and physical presence as a Safety prospect. He’s a very good athlete with a physical build and is not afraid to throw his body around. With his ability to make big hits and disrupt plays, opposing players will know where he is one the field at all times. Can be a force in the run game and as a blitzer. Is somewhat limited in coverage due to over-aggression and poor technique. Not afraid to take chances, but will get burnt now and again. Which ever team drafts Elam will be doing so to pair with a rangy coverage free safety.
Elam will be at his best when playing in the box, disrupting short passes and making plays at and behind the line of scrimmage. With his athleticism, physical presence and ability to make the splashy play, he won’t make it out of the 2nd round in April’s draft.