Ravens GM Ozzie Newsome said it wasn't a very hard decision. Florida safety Matt Elam was the best player available when the Ravens made the final pick of Thursday night's first round of the NFL draft and they were thrilled to get him.
Of course, what else was Newsome supposed to say at that point. He even conceded that the assembled media might not believe him when he said that Elam was the highest name on the Ravens board when pick No. 32 came around. But John Harbaugh, Eric DeCosta and Joe Hortiz all nodded in agreement when he said it, so who's going to argue?
The Ravens do this draft thing as well as anyone in the NFL. They almost always come up with a couple of players who comes up big for them, and what better time for a rookie safety to arrive in Baltimore to compete for a starting job right away.
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"He definitely has a chance to do that, but he'll have to earn it,'' Harbaugh said. "We always play the best guy and he has a chance to be that. He'll be right in the middle of the fight."
Every member of the braintrust said the same thing. Elam is a great hitter and a very good tackler, which is what made him jump off the screen when the Ravens were analyzing film. Pollard and Reed were great safeties, but it was obvious from the comments of the Ravens executives that they felt there was a tackling deficiency in the team's defensive backfield at times last year.