Matt Elam  S   Florida

TALENT BOARD ROUND  2

 

STRENGTHS

Matt knows how to make plays.  He shows on film good hands to make the interception and the agility to cover and be used in the slot against some receivers. He has good strength and is an aggressive player who anticipates and shows the instincts to impact.  He has an excellent burst to the ball and shows the quickness, lateral agility and strength to be used as a single safety, two deep zone safety or an in-the-box style safety up on the line.  Matt is very savvy and shows the street smarts to play head games with the quarterback and fool him into reading the wrong coverages on the pre-snap read.  He is very good with the play in front of him and does a good job in single coverage in a 10-20 yard radius from the line of scrimmage.  Matt should be able to impact on special teams returning punts and in nickel-dime packages the day after you draft him.  

 

CONCERNS

Matt is a very smart player who does some of the dumbest things I have seen on the field.  He is a helmet-to-helmet tackler who does not wrap up and looks for the big hit when he should be going for the interception.  He will do dumb things like continue a tackle out of bounds or jump on a pile late and is called for penalties that hurt his team way too much for him to be called a leader.  He does this because he is small in stature and bulk to play his position and tries to overcompensate by playing what I call "macho" football.  If Matt will change his ways and become more of a sure tackler and make plays by intercepting the ball instead of going for the illegal hit, than Matt can become an impact player and even a coach on the field.  If not, he will just bounce around the NFL for awhile until teams learn that he is not ever going to change and finally give up on him. 

 

BOTTOM LINE

It's real simple:  instead of working on helmet-to-helmet contact, Matt needs to work on his coverage skills and become a better all around defensive back.  I believe he can achieve this because he is very smart and instinctive.  That, along with his solid athletic skills, should allow him to be more than a specialty player for the next level.  Right now if you leave him on the field, he is bound to make some stupid play that will result in penalties that will give the other team more yardage and an extra downs, allowing them to continue moving the ball down the field.  You just can't keep him on the field for any length of time because teams will take advantage of his immature play.  Add that to the fact that Matt does not have the size-speed ratio most teams want at the safety position and you have a player who, because of his immaturity on the field, cannot be trusted to be the player his talent and intelligence suggest that he can become. It's really that simple -- Matt has to grow up. It's not like this draft isn't full of good safeties bigger than him and with just as good talent that play the position with more maturity.  Grow up, Matt, and become a star.  Don't grow up and you become an afterthought. 

 

Drew "The B.S. Detector" Boylhart

Feb/2013