Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports
5'10", 208 pounds
40-yard dash: 4.54 seconds (Watch here)
Bench press: 17
Matt Elam knows that he is small for a modern-day safety, but what he lacks in size he makes up for in effort. Known at Florida for his skull-crushing hits, Elam entered the Combine as the number two safety according to NFL.com analyst Mike Mayock.
"I'm not the biggest safety but I feel like I play hard and that makes me stand out," Elam said during a press conference after the Combine.
When asked who he admires, Elam responded with future Hall of Famer Ed Reed, "I watch tape on him every week." Much of Elam's allure has come through big hits, something familiar to Ed Reed as well. Unfortunately, this comparison may not be as honorable if the NFL office continues to inflict harsh penalties for hard hits.
Elam insists that he can do more than just lay down the hammer on defenders. When asked who the best safety in the class was, he didn't shy away from a self-nomination, "I'm very versatile and I think I can do a lot for teams. Special teams, covering, tackling. So, I think I'm the best."
Elam's 4.54 second, 40-yard dash was fifth best of all safeties at the Combine. His strong performance in Indianapolis didn't propel him over Texas' Kenny Vaccaro as the number one safety, but he made a strong claim for number two, as did LSU's Eric Reid.
If the Bengals were to get Elam, they might have to use their first pick on him. He's been number 25 on Mel Kiper's Big Board for the past two weeks. NFL.com's Charles Davis has him going #29 to the Patriots. He's not worthy of the Bengals' first pick at 21 but could be gone before their second pick at 37.