What strengths – or otherwise – could Rashaan Melvin Bring to the Lions?
In the NFL, you’re never more than one breakout season away from the big payday. All you need is a chance. Rashaan Melvin got that chance in 2017. Melvin, an undrafted free agent in 2013, took pitstops in Tampa Bay, Baltimore, and New England before landing in Indianapolis as an in-season waiver pickup in 2016. He worked his way up an injury-depleted depth chart to finish the season starting opposite of Vontae Davis.
Last season, Melvin elevated his play to another level as the Colts’ top cornerback. He primarily played as the right cornerback in a man-to-man scheme that selectively employed cover 2/3/4 late in the down. He moved inside to the slot to take on the opposing team’s WR1 in man. He improved throughout the season before suffering a dislocated bone in his hand that landed him on injured reserve in December.
Rashaan Melvin has a lanky frame with the kind of height and length that can make you right when you’re wrong. He displays solid athletic ability through excellent acceleration and burst, good fluidity, quickness, and agility, and adequate balance and change of direction.
|Prospect (Last, First)
|Scout Name (Last, First)
Free agent (previously IND)
|INJURIES||2017: Concussion(Week 8, 1 Game), Dislocated Bone in Hand(WK13-17, 5 Games)
2016: Knee(WK17, 1 Game)
2015: Thigh, 2 Games(WK1-2)
2014: Ankle(Out for Season)
2013: Hamstring(WK4-17, 13 Games)
|KEY STATS||2017: 3 Interceptions, 21 Passes Defensed, Allowed 60.3 Passer Rating when Targeted(9th in NFL)|
|MEASURABLES (Pro Day)|
|Height||Weight||40 YD||10 YD||Arm||Hand||Vert||3Cone||SS||Broad||Bench|
Rashaan Melvin plays with excellent length and physicality at the line to funnel receivers towards his help. He shows the quickness to defend the two-way go from the slot and take on slants and crossers over the middle of the field. He flashes the versatility to go head up against bigger Eric Decker types as well as the shifty Antonio Browns. Melvin can mirror routes in man from ideal off-hip trail position with the agility and body control to plaster on comeback routes to boot with the speed to go stride for stride with Tyler Lockett deep.
He drops with a smooth pedal with good cadence to allow excellent closing speed from off. In zone, he plays with his eyes in the backfield and can see the full picture develop. He splits the difference between routes when conflicted and never chases receivers out of his area. When he’s in-phase, Melvin fights to get a free hand in to deflect the ball with the competitive fire to lay out and make a play. He recorded two interceptions against Cleveland.
In run support, Melvin plays with the controlled aggression that gets coaches fired up in the film room. He keys to the backfield to identify screens and misdirection, fills his lane and can move into the fray to finish. He goes low to bring down bigger running backs in space with the vigor to make touchdown-saving shoestring tackles.
In press, the cornerback struggles with the timing of his jab and will frequently miss late. He’ll get eager and open his hips early to lose leverage against speed releases. His pad level is higher than desired in his pedal, but it doesn’t seem to affect his ability to plant/drive on the ball. From both man/zone, Melvin will commit his hips vertical too early and lacks the route anticipation to mirror sideline routes consistently. When he gets a half-step behind in coverage, he doesn’t get his head around.
When he’s moved downfield on run releases, he has a hard time disengaging from stronger receivers. He’s prone to take too sharp an angle moving up towards the ball to whiff on open field tackles.
Melvin’s sudden breakout as a late bloomer last season was perfectly timed as he hits free agency. He’s a scheme versatile player that flashes CB1 traits due to his stingy coverage and impressive ball skills. As a one-year wonder at age 28, scouts should move forward with controlled optimism. Paired with Darius Slay, Melvin could give the Lions one of the league’s premier defensive backfields. He’d be well-worth a front-loaded contract in the $6-9 million range annually.
Grade: 6.75(Starter You Can Win With)