Obi Melifonwu Could Make An Impact On The Lions’ Defense.
Obi Melifonwu is a safety who played his college ball at Uconn. It isn’t easy for a player coming from a school that doesn’t usually produce NFL talent. However it is a lot easier if you’re a four-year starter, productive, have great size and freakish athleticism. Fortunately for Melifonwu, he is all of those things.
At 6’4” and 224 lbs he possesses great size for the NFL. As already mentioned he pairs that size with great athleticism. At the combine, he turned a 4.40-second 40-yard dash, a broad jump of 11 feet and nine inches and a 44-inch vertical.
Scouts really started to notice Melifonwu during Senior Bowl week. He showed that he was comfortable and smooth in coverage. For a guy with the size that he possesses to be as smooth as Melifonwu is rare.
In the NFL teams love to create match-up advantages with their tight ends and running backs. It helps a defense immensely to have a player who has the size to cover tight ends and the athleticism to stick with most running backs. This is where Melifonwu could really help a team at the next level. While at Uconn and during Senior Bowl week he also showed that he could play some slot corner. Versatility always makes a player more valuable.
During his four years in college, Melifonwu showed that he has good range and ball skills. He logged a total of eight interceptions throughout his career, with four of those coming in 2016. Although he doesn’t always do a great job of locating the football in the air at least he’s shown that when he does he has the ability to create turnovers.
Against the run Melifonwu is pretty solid at running downhill and making tackles. He doesn’t always take the easiest path to the ball-carrier however. His athleticism helped him overcome that at the college level but it’s something he will need to clean up in the NFL. Overall he had good tackling skills but sometimes he comes in too high. Also, he isn’t the punishing tackler that his size suggests he could be.
One area where Melifonwu really needs to improve is trusting his instincts. Too often he hesitates and misses a chance at making plays. At times it just looks like he thinks too much rather than reacting. He’s also slow to diagnose play action at times.
There are still a lot of things Melifonwu needs to learn. However, what he can bring to the table has a lot of teams intrigued. One of those teams has been the Lions. Detroit has met with Melifonwu three times already so it seems they have a serious interest in the talented safety. It makes sense when you consider how badly the Lions struggled to cover tight ends and running backs last season. They are in desperate need of help in that area. Melifonwu could be the guy to help.