2013 NFL Draft News: Matt Elam and Desmond Trufant


2013 NFL Draft News from a New England Patriots perspective.

Melina Vastola-USA TODAY Sports

Matt Elam is one of my top targets for the New England Patriots in the 2013 NFL Draft, because he would be a perfect fit for the Pats at strong safety. Elam has a strong NFL pedigree, he’s an enforcer, and he can also hold his own in coverage when asked. This year’s crop of safeties is so talented that you can’t go wrong with Kenny Vaccaro or Eric Reid either. Vaccaro is the best prize of the group and won’t be falling to the 29th pick, so Elam is my logical best preference for the Patriots in the late first-round.

Former scout Bryan Broaddus broke down the top five safeties in the NFL Draft on the Dallas Cowboys official website, and I would strongly recommend you guys clicking on that link and reading through what he has to say. He says that Elam “plays with a chip on his shoulder”, and that’s a comment stated by most people who have covered Elam. He is a fierce competitor, a natural leader, and a man who has grown up around violence that claimed the lives of loved ones. Elam’s intangibles are off the charts, but it’s his coverage ability that has been questioned. Broaddus criticized that part of Elam’s game and said he views him as more of a strong safety, and I agree with that. That makes him a better fit for the Patriots there, and Elam’s coverage skills at SS will be more than adequate. The Pats aren’t looking for a free safety, because Devin McCourty is elite in coverage and is a terrific FS.

Jonathan Cyprien was ranked above Elam, but I disagree with that. Cyprien is a terrific player, but the formerly underrated prospect is now getting overrated. I don’t know if it was a straight-up ranking, but I’m assuming that it is.

CBS Sports’ draft scout Dane Brugler offers up excellent insight on draft prospects, and his tweet on Washington’s Desmond Trufant was extremely interesting. Brugler said there is “a lot to like” about Trufant, but he doesn’t view him as a “slam dunk” first-rounder. A common criticism of Trufant is that he gets burned too much and doesn’t have elite speed, and that’s all true. I don’t view Trufant as a sure-fire first-rounder, and I don’t even have the Husky as a first-rounder myself. He’s a high-line second-rounder and a talented draft prospect, so I have him on the New England Patriots draft radar.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.