The Detroit Lions head into the 2013 off-season with many holes along their defensive. Safety is one of the key spots they must address. Strong Safety Louis Delmas is a dynamic player when on the field, but the inability to stay healthy is a concern moving forward. Same goes with Free Safety Amari Spievy, who was lost for the season with a concussion, but unlike Delmas, Spievey has yet to show much potential since switching to safety during his rookie season. Likewise, veteran Erik Coleman was ineffective in spot duty and Ricardo Silva is still growing in the system as a youngster.
Jim Schwartz has talked about having players with diverse skill sets allowing them to play in various spots on the field. Thomas Dimitroff, Atlanta Falcons general manager mentioned this as well when he spoke with Steve Wyche of NFL.com.
It is certain safety is a position Detroit will bring fresh blood into, one way or another. I have looked at film and evaluated each of the safety's the Lions will have a chance at come draft day I discounted Baccari Rambo due to my hunch that Martin Mayhew will shy away from multiple drug related altercations, which ultimately landed Rambo a four game suspension before the season.
Strengths: Elam is athletic, instinctive and may be the most physical skill position player in this draft. He demonstrated the ability to walk up into the box and be a force near the line of scrimmage while also dropping back into coverage as a single-high safety when called upon. Elam is seems to fit the new hybrid safety mold in the NFL, being able to cover tight ends and backs. Absolutely lays the wood when coming up in run support.
Weaknesses: Elam is a bit smaller than scouts would prefer, at 5-10, 202 pounds. He is a very aggressive and physical hitter, as mentioned above, in coverage trying to knockout a receiver out with every hit. However, this can get him into trouble. Elam looks for the knockout blow too often, as seen against the LSU Tigers. He routinely jumps routes and gets beat over the top. Elam's technique is far from where it needs to be. In the NFL, technique is more important than any physical skill-set an athlete has. Elam will need immense coaching to set his technique to where it needs to be. Character concerns have been raised as well. In his freshman season he was arrested for possession of alcohol. This past season he was the instigator of a pregame brawl outside the locker rooms between rival Georgia that Elam was reportedly the leader of.
Overview: Elam is an immense talent. He was one of my favorite to watch film on due to his passion for the game. He possesses the hitting prowess no other safety in this draft has. For the Lions, however, I don't see them taking Elam. Delmas possesses this same skill set, hard hitting, great in run support, very physical. Barring the Lions allowing him to walk, they will be looking to add a ball-hawking safety in this years draft.