Kaiir Elam 2022 NFL Draft Overview
School: Florida Gators
Kaiir Elam 2022 NFL Draft Profile
Kaiir Elam’s family name might not be a household one, but his father and uncle both played in the NFL, his uncle a first-round pick. Now, as one of the top cornerback prospects available, Kaiir looks to be the third member of the family to make it to the league.
After a multi-sport career at the Benjamin School, including a two-way role in football, Elam fielded offers from over 40 different programs nationally. Ultimately, the Florida native settled on heading north to Gainesville to play for the Gators. As a rookie, Elam appeared in all 13 games, starting five. He logged three interceptions and four passes defensed on the way to an All-SEC Freshman Team selection. He then continued to develop, starting all 12 games as a sophomore. As his playtime increased, so too did his production; Elam notched 11 passes defensed in his sophomore campaign, reflecting his growing role in the defense as a whole. He attracted praise for his physical brand of coverage and his ball-playing abilities.
This past year, Elam was once again a full-time starter, although he failed to replicate the statistical heights he achieved in 2020. Despite not having the exceptional last ride in Florida that his college career was building up to, Elam heads into the 2022 NFL Draft as one of the very best cornerbacks available in a deep class at the position.
- Exceptional length and size;
- Ultra competitive at the point of the catch;
- Uses length to control receivers;
- quick to engage receivers with hands in press;
- Strong hands in the catch;
- High turnover potential;
- Plays aggressive downhill in zone coverage;
- Ability to play the ball from off-leverage;
- Good focus in coverage.
- Doesn’t have elite foot speed;
- Footwork not secure when mirroring receivers;
- Sometimes turns hips prematurely;
- Average fluidity in space.
Teams With Need At Position: San Francisco 49ers, Cincinnati Bengals, Buffalo Bills, Denver Broncos, Arizona Cardinals, Kansas City Chiefs, Philadelphia Eagles, New York Jets, New England Patriots, Baltimore Ravens, Seattle Seahawks, Pittsburgh Steelers, Houston Texans, Minnesota Vikings, Washington Commanders.
NFL Comparison: Antonio Cromartie
Bottom Line on Kaiir Elam
Elam isn’t quite in the elite category with Derek Stingley Jr and Sauce Gardner, but he headlines the very top of the next-best group. He has first-round potential, with a strong chance of going in the mid to late selections in the first. He is less complete than some of his contemporaries, but his physical profile and his ability and willingness to target the ball, are excellent developmental attributes when transitioning to the pro level.
Given some time to refine his technique with NFL coaching, Elam has all the tools to be not only successful but productive at the pro level. He will benefit from a multiple-look scheme with lots of press opportunities to take advantage of his length and ability to physically control and dominate receivers. He has great in-line speed and can run with receivers, but is less efficient in space. Subsequently, allowing him to engage receivers early and often will be vital in his pro career. In the right situation, Elam could be a late first-round steal.
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