Advanced scouting: Matt Elam

Florida safety Matt Elam has shown that he can be a physical presence and make plays on the ball. Richard Dole/Icon SMI

To help preview who might be on the Dallas Cowboys’ board for the NFL draft, ESPNDallas.com has identified five players at five key positions that we’d like to learn more about. Along those lines, we’ve asked former Cowboys assistant coach Glenn “Stretch” Smith – the official scout of Galloway & Company – to study tape of each player and give his thoughts.

No. 1 safety: Matt Elam

Height/weight: 5-foot-10, 208 pounds

School: Florida

Why he’s on the radar: The Cowboys need to improve their play on the backend of the secondary. With veteran Gerald Sensabaugh gone and veteran backup Will Allen now on the roster, finding a younger player who can cover and play close to the line of scrimmage is important. That's Elam, who covered slot receivers and displayed a physical presence in college. Making plays on the ball is important in the new Tampa 2 scheme and Elam is someone who can do that. Getting Elam in the second round is a good selection if the Cowboys go with an offensive lineman in the first round.

Projection: Late first round, early second round

Stretch Truths: Another of many box safeties in this draft. ... Flashes to play the run. ... Inconsistent to force and rush. ... Has some catch-up speed and makes big hits. ... Not natural to pedal, turn his hips and run. ... Not comfortable as a half-field or single-high safety. ... Not very aggressive to plant and drive on the ball. ... Poor hands to go and make the catch. ... Does play the game with some passion.