New England Patriots Draft Prospects: Matt Elam, Josh Evans


As Florida Gators safety Matt Elam starts to slip on draft boards, fellow safety partner at UF Josh Evans is stealing Elam’s momentum and rising on draft boards. Evans is no longer a sleeper, because he is starting to gain even more ground and is starting to close the gap on Elam on draft boards.

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According to Russ Lande of the National Football Post, Matt Elam had a solid but unspectacular Gators pro day, and Lande criticized Elam’s hip tightness. He wonders if Elam’s tight hips could impact whether or not scouts believe he has enough athleticism to make up for significant size concerns. Elam no longer looks like a first-round prospect, and Lande writes that he won’t slip past the second day due to his character and explosiveness. I completely agree, and I think the Pats should consider taking him in the later second round. Even though the signing of Adrian Wilson means that the Pats won’t view the safety position as anything near a priority in this draft, Elam could be  good value there.

Lande wrote that Evans looked more fluid and athletic than Elam did during the pro day workouts, and the latter classification comes as a huge surprise to me. Evans is the more fluid safety, but I don’t think he is more athletic than Elam. An “NFL Person” told Lande that  Evans also looked better in coverage this past season at Florida.

While Elam does have coverage concerns, it is apparent to me that he is a strong safety at the pro-level. Those concerns do not matter at SS, but they do impact his value as a future free safety. It’s good to see that Josh Evans is starting to gain some major ground in the scouting community, but I think it is a stretch to value him too closely to Elam. To me, Elam is still one of the best safety prospects in this class and someone who could make a huge impact at SS. He does have some bust potential, but he also has significant upside. Whatever the case, both Evans and Elam are safeties to watch for closely as we near draft day.

You can follow Joe Soriano on Twitter @SorianoJoe.