Kaiir Elam, CB, Florida
The Arizona Cardinals drafted two cornerbacks last year (Tay Gowan out of UCF and Marco Wilson out of Florida), and only Wilson remains on the squad. They signed Jeff Gladney in free agency, but he hasn’t played competitive football since 2020 and remains a question mark. Gladney, Wilson and 2019 2nd round pick Byron Murphy are all corners that are six feet tall and under. Kaiir Elam is just what the Cardinals need in the size department.
Elam is a bigger corner at 6’2” and 193 pounds, and should be able to match up with some of the larger wide receivers that line up out wide in the NFL. He has good bloodlines as his father Abram Elam played in the NFL for seven years and his uncle Matt Elam played at Florida and was a 2013 1st round pick of the Baltimore Ravens.
But Kaiir Elam isn’t just big, he’s fast too. He ran a 4.39 40-yard dash at the combine. His size and speed combination will be coveted by multiple teams, and he’ll likely be picked in the first round. Arizona may like his physicality as he’s shown a penchant for skillfully playing press man coverage. He can get right up into the receiver’s face and knock him off of his route at the snap. Elam is also strong at the catch point and can get into position to high point the ball when on longer passes.
There are a few knocks on Kaiir Elam, as would be expected for someone who’s available at pick 23. He didn’t play as well last season as he did in 2020 and got beat over the top a few times. His technique wasn’t as sharp in 2021 as it was the year before, as he was more prone to grabbing receivers while they were out in the pattern. He also plays smaller than this listed measurables when coming up in run support, which is something he’ll have to work on. With the right coaching and a bit of time and patience, Kaiir Elam could be just the defensive back that the Arizona Cardinals are looking for.