As with every year, 2017’s NFL Scouting Combine thrust some ‘under the radar’ names into the spotlight. One name was Connecticut safety Obi Melifonwu.
He got his weekend started in strong style, thanks to the tape measure.
Arm Length: 32 1/2′
In other words? Three boxes ticked for the Seahawks.
Then he took to the field on Monday.
— NFL (@NFL) March 6, 2017
That’s a 44″ vertical jump. The biggest of the weekend.
Then came a 11’9 broad jump from the London-born prospect. It was a day he owned. That fact was reinforced with an blazing 4.40 40. After that, the TV showed he had a more than interested onlooker.
— Rob Staton (@robstaton) March 6, 2017
All this, along with Eric Edholm saying the player the Seahawks have spent the most time on and with so far this draft season is Melifonwu.
So lets go through what he’s put together with the Huskies past his gaudy workout at Lucas Oil Stadium.
After today it’s clear that Melifonwu has an incredible mix of size, length and athleticism. That translated to solid production in college. Over his four year collegiate career Melifonwu racked up 349 tackles. It is a surprise watching him that it wasn’t more. As sure a tackler as you may see in the open field and also consistently around the ball and pile. It’s a good flash to watch #20 for Connecticut, particularly in 2016.
It was a year which really put some attention on his stock as career-highs in Solo and total tackles were backed up with the same in Interceptions.
His speed (4.40 40 speed) shines as he was often lined up way off the line as part of a 2-deep safety look. With teams attacking underneath and short of the line to gain, Melifonwu really does fly to the ball. No missteps and sound tackling sees the play end upon his arrival.
In Seattle, that far off the line is somewhere he likely won’t find himself. Earlier in the weekend GM John Schneider talked about the draft and being able to ‘accentuate’ what the players can do. Putting them in a position to thrive and shine. Melifonwu near the line, showing his explosion, physicality and tackling skills would be a good place to start. In Seattle, that fits what they could be on the look for.
Some have compared him to Arizona’s ‘hybrid’ safety/backer Deone Buccanon. Buccanon was a 1st round pick a few years ago and is just as physical, if not smaller than Melifonwu.
That size, in that position is a mouth-watering prospect for any team, for Seattle it would be downright scary.
Mixing him in the secondary/linebacker mix with Kam Chancellor’s presence, Earl Thomas’ speed and Bobby Wagner’s nose for the ball would add a different layer to the evolution of the L.O.B.
After this weekend, the cost for Obi is one that has risen. It seems now that 26 is the spot for Melifonwu, at the very best for Seattle.
On a day of when so many defensive backs stood out and had a shot at ‘star of the weekend’ honours. It was Melifonwu who lit it up the most. Most importantly, with that Carroll look, he has the Seahawks attention too.
So in a mix of names at 26, add this one to it. He’s a lot of fun.