Florida coach Will Muschamp took a few minutes to speak with the Baltimore media this morning about Ravens first-round pick Matt Elam.
The former Gators safety made quite an impression on Muschamp, who sees Elam having a bright future.
“I think he’ll be very successful,” Muschamp said. “Matt is extremely intelligent. He can play multiple positions. He can do a lot of things for you. He is a physical, tough football player. He plays the game the way it’s supposed to be played. He is a guy that throws his body around. He is a reckless football player. He has ball-hawk ability as far as creating turnovers and being a part of gaining the ball back for the Ravens. So I think he’s going to be outstanding.
“He is a really good communicator. He can handle everything that you ever want to do defensively. He communicates well. He sees the game very well. He’s just a really good football player. I think this past year, he was as productive of a defensive football players as I’ve been around.”
Muschamp described Elam as a great competitor, someone who really loves football and, because of that, a natural leader. On top of that, Elam sure can tackle.
“He is a violent tackler. He has really good explosion in a short area,” Muschamp said. “He can really snap his hips in a short area, so a guy that is a good box safety. He can do that. He can still also play with range in the middle of the field and tackling and running in the alleys and different things. He’s a physical football player.”
Muschamp believes Elam has to go through the normal progression of adjusting to the NFL like every other young player.
“The different hash marks, the different markings on the field,” Muschamp said. “Obviously, going against the type of caliber athletes and adjusting to the speed of the game - the natural progression that any rookie goes through and adjusting to the NFL. It’s a long season. When you hit Thanksgiving, you have five, six games left, and that’s not including the playoffs there for the Ravens.
“The natural things that happen for any rookie, those are the things he has to be able to adjust to. But again, I go back to he’s a very mature young man, and he’s very intelligent. Generally, those guys that have those two qualities adjust well.”
Elam is a little undersized at 5-foot-10, but Muschamp doesn’t believe that will limit him.
“I think again that can be a little overrated at times. What’s the difference between 5-10 and 6-foot?” Muschamp said. “He has great leaping ability, and he has really good ball judgment. As far as playing the ball and getting the ball off of people and being strong-handed in coverage, (those) are things that, I think, are some of his strengths. I think that overcomes those two inches that people may point at.”