Scouting the NFL Draft: Obi Melifonwu

The safety from the UConn is climbing up draft boards and could be on the Giants radar.

New York Giants fans, we have nearly reached our destination. In only a few short days, we will be welcoming the newest members of the New York Giants to the NFL, and with the last remaining days leading up to the draft, I want to focus this analysis on one of the most imposing physical specimens I have ever seen.

Obi Melifonwu from Connecticut is a 6’4, 224 lb defensive back who not only recorded a 4.4 40-yard dash time (which was the fastest time at his position), he posted a mind-boggling 44-inch vertical jump, that is the highest vertical jump of any prospect in this years NFL draft. On the field, Melifonwu registered 118 total tackles this past season for the Huskies, as well as 4 INTS. This shows Melifonwu has an eye for making plays, he processes the ability to come in and make solid contact against any Wide Receiver or Tight End he is matched up against at the next level. Melifonwu has also been developing the finer aspects of his game, learning to undercut routes by a receiver at the last second.

Now, there are some issues with Melifonwu that will lead times to be hesitant of selecting him within the first or second round (where he is projected to go). He has difficulty turning his feet at times and moving laterally, while he does process great speed, not being able to utilize it in games will make him less desirable. He has yet to truly develop ‘ballhawking’ instincts that you would like to see in a 4-year college player, and has been described as having ‘slow eyes’, meaning that it takes him longer to read plays and routes in game. He has also been rather inconstant at times with coverage from the high safety, an issue that will need to be fixed for him to reach his potential. Overall, I would describe him as lacking awareness that you would want to see from a defensive back, and while he has all the physical tools to be extremely successful, I could see his shortcomings strictly coming from the mental side of football.

If the Giants decide to forgo several key areas of need, and draft Obi Melifonwu with their 1st round pick, I believe it will give the Giants the best secondary in the NFL. Combining the talents of Landon Collins, Eli Apple, Dominique Rodgers-Cromartie, Janoris Jenkins, and Obi Melifonwu would give the Giants a fearsome group that would suppress any offensive game plan for teams. While I do not believe the Giants will draft Melifonwu, I think he has All-Pro potential in the right scheme, and as long as he goes to a team that will get him prepared mentally. If the Giants do however shock the NFL world and select Obi Melifonwu in the first round April 27th, we will be selecting one of the most physically gifted athletes in the NFL. 

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