Man, I thought Atlanta was difficult to destroy! Thanks to Ozzie Newsome the Ravens have been one of the most successful franchises as far as drafting talent. There have been very few picks worthy of deeming “busts.” But I’m determined to break EVERYONE’S heart’s. So let’s start off by saying Flacco isn’t elite! Let’s get to it!
My choice for “What Hurts The Most” is Matt Elam, free safety from the University of Florida. He was the 32nd overall pick in 2013, Baltimore was fresh off a Super Bowl win over the 49ers and didn’t have many holes on their roster. Elam was considered a can’t miss prospect, I can remember reading that Baltimore considered him their “next Ed Reed.”
He started his career off decently, his rookie season he notched 54 tackles, 3 PBU’s and an interception. After that it was all downhill though. In his second season he struggled mightily and lost playing time. In 2015 he tore his bicep and missed the entire season. In 2016 Baltimore opted to not pick up his 5th year option, he started the season on IR and wasn’t activated until week 9. To make matters worse he was arrested in February of 2017 for marijuana possession and reckless driving, then again in May for larceny grand theft and battery.
It’s not very often a 25 year old former first round pick ends up out of the league, but Elam is the special type to make that happen. Now you might be thinking, “Baltimore has Eric Weddle so it’s really not that bad.” You’d be right, that’s not the worst part, the worst part is the players still on the board.
When Baltimore picked Elam they still had their choice of the following available players; Zach Ertz, Darius Slay, LeVeon Bell, Travis Kelce, Tyrann Mathieu, Jordan Reed, and Keenan Allen. Those are some all-star players still on the board, Bell would have been a great replacement for Ray Rice but instead went to the rival Steelers who they have to play twice a year. Keenan Allen would have solved the revolving door the Ravens have had at receiver since Steve Smith left. Ertz and Reed would have given them dynamic players at the TE position, something Baltimore has been longing for. Mathieu is a versatile play-maker at Elam’s position, while Slay would be a great pairing with Jimmy Smith.
Well Ravens faithful, you’re welcome for this glimmer of sadness in a relatively happy draft history. Maybe just pray the Steelers are dumb enough to let Bell walk? Luckily Baltimore got a jump start on the off-season so they’re probably already waist deep in player scouting!