As the 2022 NFL Draft draws closer we will profile some of the players that may be on the Patriots’ radar or that we feel would be a great fit.
The Patriots need some big-time additions at cornerback. Last year, they traded away Stephon Gilmore and then J.C. Jackson left for the LA Chargers in free agency. The team has added former starting corner Malcolm Butler and former Texan CB Terrance Mitchell. With Jalen Mills, Joejuan Williams, Shaun Wade, and Justin Bethel also on the roster, they’ll look to add at least one, probably two more corners to rebuild their depth.
The Patriots like to play man coverage, but due to injuries and a lack of depth down the stretch, last season opted to play more zone coverage. We could be seeing the team lean more towards zone coverage in 2022. Especially with the plethora of athletic, mobile quarterbacks in the NFL.
Kaiir Elam from Florida is another cornerback who has been frequently linked to the Patriots during the draft process as a potential 1st round draft pick.
Elam comes from an NFL pedigree, his father played in the league for seven years and is the nephew of former Ravens 1st round draft pick safety Matt Elam. He comes to the draft with the desired size and length (6’1, 191-pounds) for the position in the NFL.
Elam has the size, physicality, athleticism, and foot speed to be a very effective press man or zone corner at the next level. He received offers from about 40 different schools before choosing to attend Florida.
Elam was named to the ALL SEC Freshman team living up to the hype surrounding the sought-after hype he received. He followed that up with a stellar 2020 campaign. However, in 2021, teams in the SEC opted to throw away from his side of the field and his numbers dipped (29 tackles, five pass breakups, one INT) because of it.
– Prototypical size for the position, broad shoulders, well-developed
– Excellent agility and acceleration for his size
– Contested catches are an advantage for him
– Rarely bites on double moves
– Stays leveraged and can read the QB from his position
– Arm tackling is an issue
– Can be too grabby at times in man coverage
– Will match up well with big WRs, but twitchy ones will give him trouble
What his Role Will Be:
Elam should immediately compete for a starting role as a boundary corner as a rookie
Will His Role Change from Year 1-to-2?
Yes, he could be the team’s #1 corner by his sophomore season in 2023.
How Many Downs Can He Play?
What Current Player on the Roster Will He Replace?
J.C. Jackson who left in free agency
What is his ST Value?
NFL.com draft analyst Daniel Jeremiah believes that Elam will probably go in the 2nd round of the draft.
I’ll be curious to know where Kaiir Elam ends up going. (He’s) really, really tall. He’s a press corner. He’s got big-time makeup speed. There’s some stuff in the transition that he struggled with a little bit, gave up a little bit of separation, but I think there’s a lot to like about him in kind of that range of where they are.”
Elam is a bit of a boom-or-bust prospect who definitely has the size, athletic ability, in terms of speed, agility, and quickness to be an elite corner at the NFL level. But he hasn’t been as consistent as he should be. One NFL scout told NFL.com that “he got a little lazy with his technique in 2021” but that he should be fine.
While he’s widely considered one of the top 4 corners in the draft, taking him in the 1st round with his consistency issues could be a bit of a gamble.
A highlight video reel from Just Bombs Productions can be seen here:
Posted Under: 2022 NFL Draft
Tags: Bill Belichick Jalen Mills Joejuan Williams Justin Bethel Kaiir Elam Malcolm Butler New England Patriots NFL Patriots Patriots 2022 NFL Draft Patriots cornerbacks Shaun Wade Terrance Mitchell