Posted: 2:48 pm Saturday, April 27th, 2013

Matt Elam joins select club: Palm Beach County NFL Draft first-rounders 

By Matt Porter

Matt Elam was hanging out at Dwyer High on Thursday, watching a regional track meet. His former football coach, Jack Daniels, said Elam left around 7 p.m. He went home to Riviera Beach to watch the NFL Draft with family and friends.

Once Daniels got home that night, he watched the draft until the 26th pick — he fell asleep. Early the next morning, he awoke to news that would make any coach proud.

Elam, the former Florida safety, was taken 32nd overall by the Baltimore Ravens. He is believed to be the 10th Palm Beach County product chosen in the first round, and is the first since 2006, when Santonio Holmes went 25th.

Elam brings a ferocious style to the Ravens’ defense, which loses hard-hitting safety Ed Reed and emotional leader Ray Lewis.

On the draft’s second day, former Florida linebacker Jon Bostic (Palm Beach Central) was taken in the second round (50th overall) by the Chicago Bears. He could replace middle linebacker Brian Urlacher, a tall order Bostic welcomes.

This year’s Palm Beach County draft crop was lighter than 2012, in which seven players were drafted. Daniels certainly doesn’t care.

“I’m a lifelong Steeler and Dolphins fan,” he said. “And now I’m a Ravens fan.”

Update: Late Saturday, three Palm Beach County products said on Twitter they will sign with NFL teams as free agents: former Florida State fullback Lonnie Pryor (Okeechobee) to the Jacksonville Jaguars; North Carolina State free safety Brandan Bishop (Boca Raton) to the Minnesota Vikings; and Towson free safety Jordan Dangerfield (Royal Palm Beach) to the Buffalo Bills.

Other signings: Missouri State OT Randy Richards (Royal Palm Beach), San Diego Chargers; Michigan LB Brandin Hawthorne (Pahokee), St. Louis Rams; Georgia State RB Donald Russell (Dwyer), Atlanta Falcons; Marshall WR Antavious Wilson (Pahokee), New York Jets.

Brice Butler, the son of Atlantic great Bobby Butler, was drafted by the Oakland Raiders in the seventh round. Butler, a wide receiver out of San Diego State, was raised in Atlanta, where his father played his 12-year NFL career.

Palm Beach County first-rounders

2013 — Matt Elam, Dwyer — Baltimore Ravens (32nd)
2006 — Santonio Holmes, Glades Central — Pittsburgh Steelers (25th)
2004 — Vince Wilfork, Santaluces — New England Patriots (21st)
2002 — Mike Rumph, Atlantic — San Francisco 49ers (27th)
1998 — Fred Taylor, Glades Central — Jacksonville Jaguars (9th)
1997 — Reidel Anthony, Glades Central — Tampa Bay Buccaneers (16th)
1989 — Louis Oliver, Glades Central — Miami Dolphins (25th)
1985 — Jessie Hester, Glades Central — Los Angeles Raiders (25th)
1981 — Bobby Butler, Atlantic — Atlanta Falcons (25th)
1979 — Ottis Anderson, Forest Hill — St. Louis Cardinals (8th)

Note: if we missed anyone, please leave a comment below.

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