Ravens veterans impressed with rookie Matt Elam

The Baltimore Sun

Getting acclimated to the NFL hasn't been a slow process for Ravens first-round safety Matt Elam.

The former Florida All-American has been picking up the defense quickly and hasn't displayed any hesitation while lining up at strong safety.

Although the more difficult litmus tests will occur in training camp and the regular season, Elam has made a positive impression on the Ravens' veteran defensive backs.

"Matt looks good," Ravens veteran free safety Michael Huff said. "You can tell he's a young, hungry rookie. He just wants to run around and make plays. He's a smart guy, tough and physical. He's definitely going to make plays. Safety is going to be a nice group."

Drafted 32nd overall with the final pick of the first round by the Super Bowl champions, Elam is slated to compete with James Ihedigbo for a starting job. Ihedigbo once competed with Elam's older brother, Abram Elam, for playing time with the New York Jets.

"Matt's a great player, he's a great guy," Ihedigbo said. "I played with his brother, Abe, with the Jets, so he comes with a great pedigree. I'm excited. At the end of the day, the best 11 players will be on the field."

The 5-foot-10, 210-pound Elam recorded 176 career tackles, 24 for losses, six interceptions and two forced fumbles in three seasons for the Gators before being picked in the first round by general manager Ozzie Newsome.

"He's a great young man, quiet young man but not quiet on the field," cornerback Lardarius Webb said. "I'm glad he's here. I'm very impressed. Ozzie picked a nice young man in the first round."



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