Skip to main content
Presented by

Late For Work 4/4: Where Does Matt Elam Fit Into Ravens' Plans?


Where Does Matt Elam Fit Into Ravens' Plans?

The Ravens' safety unit is absolutely stacked in terms of depth, but nobody outside of Eric Weddle knows exactly where he falls on the depth chart. That includes 2013 first-round pick Matt Elam.

Elam is heading into the final year of his rookie contract after missing the entire 2015 campaign with a biceps injury. He'll see more competition than ever with Weddle on board, 2015 starter Kendrick Lewis returning and veteran Lardarius Webb transitioning from cornerback.

"This is a make-or-break year for Elam with the Ravens," wrote's Clifton Brown. "Elam has recovered from that injury, but he has not proved it wasn't a mistake for the Ravens to draft him in the first round (32nd overall) back in 2013." 

Elam started 15 of 16 games his rookie year, notching 77 tackles, three passes defensed and one interception. But he lost his starting role the next year after struggling both in coverage and tackling, which he excelled in college at the University of Florida. He was credited with 18 missed tackles by Pro Football Focus in 2014.

Despite his struggles, both General Manager Ozzie Newsome and Head Coach John Harbaugh had high hopes for Elam heading into last year's training camp. They both noted Elam carrying himself with more confidence.

Elam never got to prove himself in a bounce-back bid, however, because of the biceps injury sustained early in training camp. So, he'll have start all over again when Organized Team Activities and minicamp kick off this offseason.

In addition to Weddle, Lewis and Webb, Elam will have to battle the other safeties on the roster, including Terrence Brooks, Anthony Levine, and Nick Perry. Harbaugh has also suggested the Ravens could move a safety down to inside linebacker.

So where does Elam fit? At this point, a starting role doesn't look to be in his future, according to Brown.

"The Ravens know he struggles in pass coverage, but if he can tackle and pursue ball carries the way he did in college at Florida, Elam could still help the Ravens, probably in a backup role," Brown wrote. "Elam was a sure tackler in college, but that has not been the case in the NFL. He has also looked hesitant at times, probably due to a lack of confidence.

"Elam has a year more experience than Brooks, and the Ravens saw enough in Elam to make him a first-round pick. But if Elam is going to be a factor for the Ravens next season, he will need his best offseason and training camp."

Weddle Gets His Jersey Number

It appears Eric Weddle received his Ravens jersey number, and it's the same one he wore during his nine-year stay in San Diego. It's also the same number he wore in college at the University of Utah.

Exclusive rights free-agent corner Sheldon Price is still listed on Ravens roster with No. 32 after donning it all last year. So he probably has relinquished the number to the three-time Pro Bowler.

Past Ravens to dress in jersey No. 32 include Dominique Franks, Quinton Pointer, James Ihedigbo and Musa Smith.

Ray Lewis Urges Chicago To End Violence

Future Hall of Fame linebacker Ray Lewis took to social media to urge the citizens of Chicago to end gun violence.

Lewis has read newspaper reports about gun violence reaching new levels and says he is "disturbed." Per the Washington Post, 141 people were killed in Chicago during the first quarter of 2016, up from 82 last year. The city is on track to have 500 killings this year.

Known for his passionate speeches, Lewis made an emotional plea in the Facebook video below.

AFC North Update: Donte Whitner Not Happy About Being Cut

The* *AFC North rival Cleveland Browns cut safety Donte Whitner over the weekend, and the 11-year veteran safety didn't seem very happy with the move … or at least the timing of it.

Whitner started 14 of 16 games last season and was ranked as the 28th-best safety by Pro Football Focus with a plus-3.1 grade. To put that ranking in perspective, the Ravens' top two safeties last year were Will Hill (plus 6.0 grade for 21st ranking) and Kendrick Lewis (minus-3.6 grade for 70th ranking).

Whitner continues a long line of Browns' departures this offseason following wide receiver Travis Benjamin, safety Tashaun Gipson, center Alex Mack, inside linebacker Craig Robertson, offensive tackle Mitchell Schwartz, inside linebacker Karlos Dansby and quarterback Johnny Manziel.

The Browns are clearly starting over with a new regime that is led by Executive Vice President Sashi Brown, Chief Strategy Officer Paul DePodesta* *and Head Coach Hue Jackson.

The "Moneyball" approach that Whitner referred to is connected to DePodesta, who has a baseball background and relies heavily on analytics to make personnel decisions. It's the first time we've seen the approach emphasized this much in the NFL.

The league is watching closely as many are curious to see if this approach to building a roster can be successful.

Quick Hits

This article has been reproduced in a new format and may be missing content or contain faulty links. Please use the Contact Us link in our site footer to report an issue.

Related Content