The Baltimore Ravens had a tough decision to make with the final pick of the first round: Florida safety Matt Elam or Notre Dame linebacker Manti Te'o. The Ravens went with the playmaking defensive back as the Super Bowl champions completed revamping their safety position.
Gone are Ed Reed and Bernard Pollard. When the Ravens line up against the Denver Broncos and Peyton Manning in Week 1, it's expected that Baltimore will put Elam and Michael Huff in the back of the defense.
Why I think the Ravens went with Elam is his knack for making big plays at crucial moments, which is a trait that has always ranked high with the franchise. With two safeties off the board (Kenny Vaccaro to New Orleans and Eric Reid to San Francisco), Baltimore selected Elam, who is the first safety taken by the Ravens in the first round since Reed in 2002.
After selecting Elam, Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome told reporters that Elam was the one player all four decision-makers (Newsome, coach John Harbaugh, assistant general manager Eric DeCosta and director of college scouting Joe Hortiz) wanted.
Newsome said the Ravens didn't receive any calls to trade out of the first round.
Scouts Inc. pros: Very good ball skills. Consistently high points the ball and shows ability to elevate and make difficult catch over his head. Very good body control. Natural playmaking instincts. Knows when to attack the ball and when to attack the body. Has a tremendous feel for the game. Prepares hard, and tape work translates to the field.
Scouts Inc. cons: Does not have good length, and struggles to get hand on ball if not in good position. Lacks ideal height/bulk to match up versus some TEs. Will struggle to shadow NFL WRs with good-to-elite quickness and/or vertical speed. Can hold up in deep-half coverage but lacks range to handle deep-third responsibility.