Matt Elam was drafted with big expectations, as all first rounders are. Not Ed Reed expectations, but at least expectations that he would be an enforcer and a better version of Bernard Pollard. He hasn't been that.
Elam has struggled with the mental aspect of the game and with coverage, as quarterbacks have a 128.4 QBR when throwing to him. But his most glaring shortcoming is his tackling, as he is in the NFL's top 25 for missed tackles, which was a big reason that the Ravens lost the lead against the Patriots in the AFC Divisional Game — something Terrell Suggs let him know.
The Ravens' top brass didn't shy away from calling him out either, as general manager Ozzie Newsome said that Matt Elam has to be better football player for the Ravens in 2015. And considering that Ozzie rarely ever calls out players, this means that the Ravens aren't kidding.
And with the recent addition of Kendrick Lewis, it appears that Elam may have lost his starting job.
It doesn't look good for Elam, who now looks to be the Ravens first failed first-rounder since Mark Clayton was drafted in 2005.
But is there hope for Elam? Jimmy Smith looked like a bust before turning into a shutdown corner in 2013 and possibly Elam could put it all together in 2015. He could at least improve as a tackler, which would save him from being a total bust and could possibly turn him into a compensatory pick in a few years. That being said Smith was injured for a fair bit of his first two years and he at least made the game-saving play in Super Bowl XLVII. Elam doesn't have that excuse or any such accomplishment.
Elam better polish up his game in 2015 or else he'll join the small list of Ravens busts.