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Is Kaiir Elam Lions' No. 1 Cornerback of Future?

Read more on whether Florida Gators cornerback Kaiir Elam should be a draft target of the Detroit Lions.

The name of the game on defense in the NFL is being able to defend against the pass.

This is why Florida cornerback Kaiir Elam could be on the Lions’ radar in the late first-early second round.

Will he stay on the board that long?

It is distinctly possible.

Elam showed up on Pro Football Focus’ top 150 prospects in early January at No. 18 overall, but did not show up in the first round of the site's most recent mock draft (released on Jan. 24). 

He also was not included in CBS Sports' first-round mock. 

However, that may not be a bad thing. In fact, it could play right into the Lions’ hands, with the 34th overall selection in the second round.

Elam is an intriguing prospect with length. He is a one-dimensional cover corner -- great in coverage, but bad against the run. He is what he is.

The thing I love about Elam, though, is that he is an imposing force. Elam gets in wide receivers’ faces and stays there.

Point blank - - Elam is a menace.

Elam just does not go away. It is like he is joined at the hip to receivers in coverage.

Elam has an edge to him that caused him to record 20 passes defensed and six interceptions in three seasons with the Gators.

Elam is the type of player who changes the complexion of a defense. 

This is exactly the type of corner that seems to end up on the Eagles. But, maybe this time around, the Lions can get him instead. 

Maybe even at No. 27 overall. 

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#5 Kaiir Elam - 6-foot-2, 196 pounds

40-yard dash time: 4.5

2021 game film reviewed: Alabama, UCF and FSU

Grade: Late first-early second round

NFL comparables: Barry Wilburn, Darius Slay

Scouting Report

Lanky, athletic corner with long arms, thin lower legs and a physical and challenging demeanor in coverage. Imposing presence. Will not hesitate to come right up in press and crouch in tight. Strong jam. Able to peddle into off coverage. Can close well downhill on screens. 

Surprisingly agile in the hips with his frame. Able to flip hips, run and consistently stay in receivers' back pockets. Good at achieving inside route leverage on vertical sideline routes, and uses the sidelines well as a boundary. Very active hands in coverage. Feels receivers, and moves with them. Shadows. Good techniques. Lots of hand checking. Keeps at it. No backdown. No quit. Uses long arms to constantly distract, disrupt and to aggressively defend. Can get under a receiver's skin. 

Does not have coveted short-area burst. This can be a problem on intermediate crossing routes, if he is in trail position. Good straight- line speed that builds over distance, like a long-distance runner. Able to hang with receivers deep. Did not see him blitz. 

Does not want much to do with running plays. Avoids. Reluctant to provide support that is outside of his assignments. Will do it if he absolutely has to. Selfish. Missed a number of open-field tackles. This is the kind of player who wants to live on an island all by himself.

Let’s face it: Detroit has got to improve its 23rd-ranked pass defense. 

Scheme can only do so much. It takes talent. What Detroit has presently is not getting it done.

Elam would be a serious upgrade. He is someone who could come in and not just start, but instead come in and actually move the meter for the Lions' secondary.