Sports

Kaiir Elam ranks 24th on Mel Kiper’s big board


It’s been a bit of a frustrating season for Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam. He missed three games after suffering an injury in the game against Alabama, which hasn’t exactly helped his stock as a potential top-10 pick.

Still, Elam has been as good as advertised when he’s on the field. He’s been the Gators’ best defensive back this season (though that isn’t saying a ton) and he has 12 tackles, an interception and three pass breakups on the season.

He entered the year projected as a first-round pick (and potentially even a top 10 pick, at that). That hasn’t changed, and ESPN draft analyst Mel Kiper, who actually didn’t have Elam previously ranked in his top-25 prospects, ranks him now. Elam sits at 24th on the board, making him the third highest-rated cornerback behind LSU‘s Derek Stingley Jr. and Auburn‘s Roger McCreary.

Elam sprained his knee earlier this season and missed a few games, but he has been good when he has played. His 2020 tape is inconsistent — he got beat for a couple long touchdowns — but in five games in 2021 he has allowed just 42 receiving yards as the closest defender in coverage. That’s an average of 3.5 yards per attempt in his direction. Elam has long arms and good instincts; he has six career picks. He can play press coverage and lock up wideouts.

Florida’s defense has not had a very good season, but Elam’s play when healthy has been one of the few bright spots. He will almost certainly declare for the draft following the season, and he should hear his name called during the event’s first night.

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