INDIANAPOLIS -- For whatever reason, I feel like I see the (metaphorically used) phrase "Matt Elam just killed a dude" on Twitter at least once a week during the college football season. The Florida safety has a knack for delivering big hits on opposing players.
And it's not a reputation he shies away from, either. Elam said Sunday at the NFL Scouting Combine he loves to "strike people" while citing his "physicality" as his top asset.
"My physicality. I play very hard. I love to strike people," Elam said. "I feel that's what helps me stand out the most and I'm very versatile. I can cover the slot receivers, I can go down and cover, I can go in the box and tackle. I feel like I'm very versatile, I can play in the post. I feel like that's what make me stand out the most."
Of course, that physicality and willingness to lay wood on offensive players can also translate negatively to Elam's game.
As NFLDraftScout.com's Rob Rang noted in his scouting report, Elam "tends to lead with his shoulder and will leave his feet to make the lights-out hit, resulting in some ugly lunges and misses."
Neither myself, Pete Prisco nor Dane Brugler had Elam going in the first round in our mock drafts. Rang had him 29th to the Patriots, however, and it's not hard to envision that as a realistic possibility. The Patriots need secondary help and don't shy away from grabbing Florida guys.
Fire up some of Elam's highlights and you'll quickly learn he's not playing around when it comes to how he plays. But if Elam carries his physicality into the league, he might very well find out there's another guy who doesn't play around: Roger Goodell.