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Ravens hoping to get more out of 2013 top draft picks Matt Elam, Arthur Brown

Ravens safety Matt Elam during pregame.
Ravens safety Matt Elam during pregame. (Karl Merton Ferron / Baltimore Sun)

When the Ravens selected safety Matt Elam in the first round of the NFL draft and inside linebacker Arthur Brown in the second round two years ago, they envisioned them emerging as top young defensive players.

That plan hasn't worked out, though, as Elam, a former consensus All-American at Florida, has struggled in his first two NFL seasons and lost his starting job last season. A former All-American and Big 12 Defensive Player of the Year at Kansas State, Brown has just 15 tackles in 18 career games. He had zero tackles last season in four games and was rarely on the active roster on gameday.

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Ravens general manager Ozzie Newsome acknowledged that Elam hasn't lived up to expectations so far.

"I think it's readily known that we have not been satisfied with the way he's played thus far," Newsome said during a conference call with season-ticket holders "And I don't think Matt has been satisfied with the way he's played thus far."

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Elam started 11 of 16 games last season, but finished with just 50 tackles, a half-sack, zero interceptions, five pass deflections and a forced fumble. Elam had a team-high 18 missed tackles.

"Ozzie has a lot of expectations for me because he drafted me in the first round," Elam told The Baltimore Sun last week. "I'm not surprised. I just got to out there and do my job. I prepared myself well enough in the offseason and I'll be ready to go."

Elam is noticeably leaner following a diligent workout regimen and stricter diet.

"I lost 5 percent body fat, I got myself stronger than I've ever been," Elam said. "I'm just ready go go to and break out this season. The offseason went well. I'm ready to start the season. I'm ready to play ball again.

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The Ravens are still looking for more out of Elam and aren't giving up on him.

"We still have high hopes for Matt Elam," Ravens coach John Harbaugh said.

Elam was the lowest-graded player on the Ravens' defense and the 78th-ranked safety in the NFL, according to Pro Football Focus. Elam allowed opposing quarterbacks to complete 38 of 53 passes thrown in his direction (71.7 percent) for 500 yards and three touchdowns. He frequently lined up out of position as a nickel back because of injuries at cornerback.

Elam is slated to compete with Will Hill for the starting strong safety job.

"We're all looking at 2015 as a different year," Newsome said. "Just seeing him walk around the building, he's carrying himself a little bit different, he's carrying himself a little more confident. I'm looking forward to seeing what he can do out on the field. We'll let that determine his fate."

Harbaugh said that he's noticed a difference in Elam, saying that the former Gators standout is in tremendous shape after losing eight pounds of body fat and geting down to roughly 6 percent body fat.

"He looks good," Harbaugh said. "He's moving around well."

Brown isn't the top backup to starting inside linebackers C.J. Mosley and Daryl Smith, the Ravens' leading tacklers last season, with Mosley making the Pro Bowl as a rookie. Brown was the subject of trade rumors, but the Ravens decided not to move him.

Brown registered 201 tackles, 16.5 for losses, three sacks and three interceptions in two seasons at Kansas State after transferring from Miami. He has been trying to add weight without sacrificing his speed and has been working out this offseason at TZ Sports in Eldersburg.

"Arthur Brown is another young man who, at this point of his career, needs to find a way to get to the field," Newsome said. "When you've got C.J. Mosley and Daryl Smith playing at a very high level, it's hard for someone like Arthur to get to the field.

"If those guys [Brown and Elam] put forth the effort and show the improvement that we think they should show, then both of them will get a chance to be on the field this year."

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