Obi Melifonwu, S
School: UConn | Conference: AAC
College Experience: RS Senior | Age: 22
Height / Weight: 6-4 / 219 lbs
Projected Draft Status: Top-50
NFL Comparison: George Iloka
Melifonwu is a 4-year starter after redshirting his freshman year at UConn and as a senior made the All-AAC first team. He was a sleeper draft prospect until his official 6’4” measurement at the Senior Bowl. A personnel director for an AFC team is quoted as saying that Melifonwu is a “freak” that will blow the doors off the Combine with his vertical and broad jump. A strong performance in the explosive drills at the Combine could very well vault him into the first round.
- Very strong downhill tackler which is rare for someone his size. Efficient wrap-up and usually takes good angles in pursuit
- Understands gap responsibility and patient to meet ballcarrier (does not overpursue)
- Length and speed to cover sideline-to-sideline
- Converted corner that has experience covering receivers man-to-man
- Elite height and fluid athlete
- Just adequate in coverage - often caught flatfooted. Inconsistent.
- Slow to diagnose combination routes and play action
- Trusts his size too much when pursuing ballcarriers out of the backfield, leads to missed tackles
News + #DraftTwitter
Watch Uconn SS Obi Melifonwu at top of the screen. He's 6'4" 219. Range & speed unreal for a DB his size. Sees field well too. Rising fast. pic.twitter.com/hxvIrk4bUA— Ryan Dunbar (@RyanDunbar_) January 28, 2017
Studying Obi Melifonwu tonight. There's so much to love about his game. pic.twitter.com/su1oLVKChc— Marcus Mosher (@Marcus_Mosher) February 4, 2017
Obi Melifonwu Round 1 hype is warranted. Karl Joseph/Keanu Neal weren't 1st rounders this time last year. Obi's gonna wreck the Combine.— Shane Alexander (@Alexander1Great) January 30, 2017
How He’d Fit On the Redskins
I’d love Obi Melifonwu in the 2nd round as I think the safety pool is relatively shallow after the first 5 or 6 players - but it’s unclear if he’ll last that long given the rising hype. Currently I have Melifonwu as my #4 ranked safety (behind Jamal Adams, Malik Hooker and Eddie Jackson) and view him as interchangeable although his best position is strong safety. I’m most impressed with his play in the box as he takes generally excellent angles to the ballcarrier and tackles with conviction - which is so rare for a player 6’4” and 219.
His coverage ability isn’t fantastic but with his length and athleticism he can make up for some mistakes. I believe our new DBs coach Torrian Gray could work with Melifonwu to unlock more of his raw athletic potential while polishing his football instincts.
Our new coaching staff additions (Gray and Tomsula) make me generally confident in taking secondary and defensive line players with traits early on and “coaching them up”. A backcourt of Cravens and Melifonwu could be really nasty for years to come.