General manager Ozzie Newsome said last week that there were so many good safeties in the draft that there would be one that the Ravens could take in all seven rounds.

However, the Ravens showed on the first night of the 2013 NFL Draft just how much adding to the position was a priority as they used the 32nd and final pick of the first round on Matt Elam, a hard-hitting and play-making safety out of the University of Florida.

Elam had 76 tackles, four interceptions and two sacks in his junior season for the Gators. Opting to forego his senior season, Elam was considered by most draft pundits as the second best safety in the draft behind the University of Texas’ Kenny Vaccaro, who went 15th overall to the New Orleans Saints.

His selection, which came with Notre Dame middle linebacker Manti Te’o still on the board, marks just the second time in franchise history where the Ravens used a first-round pick on a safety. The other was in 2002 when the Ravens took Ed Reed with the 24th overall pick.

Reed, a nine-time Pro Bowl selection, played 11 seasons for the Ravens before signing as a free agent with the Houston Texans this offseason. The Ravens also released Bernard Pollard, leaving the reigning Super Bowl champions without their two starting safeties from last season.

The Ravens did sign former Oakland Raiders’ first-round pick Michael Huff and re-sign valuable reserve safety and special teams standout James Ihedigbo. However, Elam is expected to come in and immediately be given the opportunity to start. Aside from Huff and Ihedigbo, none of the other safeties on the Ravens’ roster have starting experience.

Elam, meanwhile, started 26 games the past two seasons for Florida and in his three-year collegiate career, he registered 176 total tackles, including 23 ½ for losses, six interceptions, five sacks and three forced fumbles.