After winning the Super Bowl in 2012, the Ravens were riding high. But with the success of the Super Bowl came the departure of players. One of those players was future Hall-of-Fame free safety Ed Reed. Reed left the Ravens in free agency after the 2012 season and signed a 3 year deal with the Houston Texans. This left a gap in the free safety position for the first time since 2002.
With the 32nd pick in the 2013 draft, the Ravens addressed the position immediately by taking Matt Elam. In his first season with the team, Elam had a fantastic rookie season. He started 15 games and recorded 77 tackles. The ceiling was high for the young safety, but that quickly changed the following season. He struggled to tackle players and continually got burned in the secondary. Injuries forced him to miss the end of the 2014 season.
Elam did not see the field in 2015 and was activated to the 53-man roster at the end of last season. The little playing time he saw did not him any justice. He continued to struggle and the team eventually had enough. This off-season, the Ravens chose not to honor Elam’s fifth year option, making him a free agent.
This pick will go down as one of the worst picks that the Ravens have ever made. Elam came in with a ton of talent, but could not live up to his potential. With an aging Lardarius Webb playing safety, the Ravens will have to address the position in the next few years. Hopefully they will not make the same mistake twice.