Photo of Obi Melifonwu
Drafted By: Raiders
  • Round 2
  • Pick 24
  • Overall 56

Combine Results

Grade
5.77 ?
  • 4.40 SEC
    Top Performer
  • 17 REPS
    Top Performer
  • 44.0 INCH
    Top Performer
  • 141.0 INCH
    Top Performer
Blue Star  =  Combine Top Performer

Draft Analysis:

"Now we're getting into the freak zone. He's a genetic freak. I thought his tape was really solid. What I like is he's a matchup player. ... His movement skills for his length, his ability to get in and out of breaks, his tackling, he's got first-round talent all-day long." -- Mike Mayock

  • 6'4" Height
  • 32 1/2" Arm Length
  • 224LBS. Weight
  • 9 1/8" Hands

Overview

Obi Melifonwu (pronounced OH-bee mel-un-FON-woo) has been a four-year starter at UConn. The Massachusetts area high school star redshirted his first year with the Huskies, and became the team's starting free safety in 2013 (70 tackles, three tackles for loss, two interceptions, five pass breakups, two forced fumbles). He started 11 games the next season (75 stops, 3.5 TFL, three PBU), and 12 as a junior (88 tackles, two TFL, two INT, five PBU). Melifonwu was a first-team All-American Athletic Conference selection and his team's top tackler in 2016, making 118 hits, 2.5 for loss, leading the team with four interceptions and breaking up three other passes.

Analysis

Strengths

Elite size with premium athletic traits that should show up at combine testing. Four-year starter. Sharp focus when ball is in the air. Takes path to the ball with undercut of the route at the last second. Plus hand-eye coordination to flip the field with interceptions. Former cornerback who has the athleticism to cover matchup tight ends and some big slots. Posted six interceptions over last two seasons. Uses big frame to body-up seam-runners and constrict their windows. Downhill tackling machine. Plus range with a wide net to bring runners down once he gets his arms into them. Body-up hitter. Drastically reduced penalties totals over junior and senior season.

Weaknesses

Leggy and gets feet bundled up when asked to turn and sprint. Lacks desired instincts and will play with slow eyes at times. Has to see ball in the air before charging over to help on deep throws. Inconsistent with coverage responsibilities from high safety. Takes time to diagnose play-action. Rub routes found him near goal line. Can take inefficient paths to the ball that get him there a step too late. Would benefit from high-pointing rather than waiting on throws.

Draft Projection

Round 2

Sources Tell Us

"He's a freak. He's going to blow away the combine. He's fast and will post some of the best vertical and broad numbers at his position. He's going to get a lot better in the pros and he has that elite size that will get him overdrafted." -- AFC Pro Personnel Director

NFL Comparison

George Iloka

Bottom Line

Big and athletic, he may lack the coverage qualities and instincts needed to work as a "last line of defense" player in a pass-happy division. Melifonwu is an effective downhill tackler who has the ability to match up against tight ends and make a living near the line of scrimmage. His football instincts aren't up to par, but the size and traits will be extremely enticing for teams who covet traits first.
-Lance Zierlein
C
Grade Title
9.00-10 Once-in-lifetime player
8.00-9.00 Perennial All-Pro
7.50-7.99 Future All-Pro
7.00-7.49 Pro Bowl to All-Pro Ability
6.50-6.99 Good NFL Starter with Pro Bowl Potential
6.00-6.49 Chance to become good NFL starter
5.70-5.99 Could become early NFL starter
5.30-5.69 Backup or eventual starter
5.15-5.29 Developmental prospect or special teams potential
5.01-5.14 Back end of the roster
5.00 50/50 Chance of making the roster

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