Position: Defensive Back
College Stats: 349 Tackles (221 solo, 128 assist), 11.0 TFL, 8 INT, 1 FR, 2 FF
Obi Melifonwu was a four-year starter and an intimidating defensive presence for the Huskies. In the combine, he showcased his elite athleticism with a 4.40 40-yard dash, 44.0 inch vertical, and 141.0 inch broad jump (11-9). This made him one of the top combine performers and should have put him on the radar of any team looking to strengthen their secondary.
Obi was four-year starter at Uconn, and thus he will have impressive experience for a rookie. He also has elite athletic traits and qualities that can’t be coached. In college, he was a dependable tackler and good at using his size to limit a receiver’s routes and windows. With his size, he would likely be able to handle covering Tight Ends off the line of scrimmage.
In college he showed he was capable of playing in the box, deep, and press coverage. His coaches rave about his incredible character, which will make it much easier for him to learn and grow as a professional athlete. Many teams could use a player like him.
Melifonwu consistently stood out on a talented UConn defense. He was a tackling machine with 10+ tackles on seven different occasions last season. His 24 tackles in the season finale versus Tulane were the highest single game total among AAC players.
In spite of his athleticism and talent, scouts found that Melifonwu did not possess the ability to diagnose plays that they had hoped for. This is their largest concern with him, though it may just take time and experience in the league for him to develop this skill. Since his football instincts failed to impress at the combine, Obi will need to prove himself on the field in the NFL. However, because of his size and skill these concerns will not hurt his draft stock significantly.
Where Will Melifonwu Be Drafted?
Obi Melifonwu has bounced between the late 1st round and early 2nd round on most draft boards. I predict that he will go late in the 1st round to a team that needs to beef up their secondary, and I think that the best fit would be the Green Bay Packers with the 29th pick. They shouldn’t be worried about their offense, and the weakest part if their defense last season was clearly the secondary. A player like Melifonwu would be a perfect fit to improve their defense.