Baltimore Ravens safety Matt Elam is entering the last year of his rookie contract after being selected in the first round of the 2013 NFL Draft. Elam has had an up and down start to his NFL career as is rookie season showed promise with his play late in the season as well as his confidence. Elam played well enough to even taunt Detroit Lions wide receiver Calvin Johnson (Who has now retired) before a week 15 matchup between the Ravens and the Lions in 2013 and backed it up by playing a part in shutting Johnson out of the red zone and getting an interception as well.
However, Elam's second season in the league turned into a sophomore slump. Elam had issues during the 2014 season with tackling, and being disciplined in coverage. Elam's biggest error of the 2014 season occurred in the playoffs when he missed a tackle against New England Patriots wide receiver Danny Amendola that played a huge part in the Ravens losing the game after holding a 14 point lead on two separate occasions.
During the 2015 offseason, Elam dedicated himself to the film room and becoming more of a leader in the locker room to the extent where Ravens defensive coordinator Dean Pees expressed positive thoughts about Elam publicly. However, Elam's season would be cut short during training camp as he suffered a torn biceps injury and would be placed on injured reserve.
Now, in the middle of the 2016 offseason, Elam knows he has to prove his worth and he has his mind set on making an impact on this Ravens defense despite the fact that he will be a backup at free safety and strong safety with Eric Weddle and Lardarius Webb holding down both positions.
"I'll do whatever the team needs from me," Elam noted via BaltimoreRavens.com. "I'll play great on special teams, I'll play in certain packages, I'll push these guys to get better every day, be a leader, be a high-energy guy. Anything I can do to make the team better, that's what I want to do."
Elam still has the potential to be a starter in this league and a quality one at that. Elam will be vital for the Ravens defense in 2016 as the team will certainly ask Webb to play as a nickel corner in certain packages with Elam having the responsibility of taking care of the back end with Weddle.
Speaking of Weddle, he had very positive words to say in regards to Elam and Ravens safety Terrence Brooks via BaltimoreRavens.com.
"They both are extremely talented, they're eager to learn, they're eager to get out there and help and be a Raven. I know both have struggled with injuries and up-and-down play, but it's exciting to see their growth."
Elam wants to prove his worth to the Ravens and the Ravens front office wants to see him do so. When he was selected with the 32nd overall pick in the 2013 NFL Draft, the Ravens envisioned Elam taking over the reigns at safety as the legend Ed Reed left for the Houston Texans. If Elam can perform at a high level in 2016, the Ravens would most likely want to keep his services.