Cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu may have been the first non-lineman selected by the Detroit Lions in the 2021 NFL draft, but he matched the team’s theme of drafting elite athletes: checking in with a 9.70 RAS score.
“I remember when scouting his brother years ago,” Lions general manager Brad Holmes said, “and he’s got the same physical specimen traits for a big, long corner that from the outside it looks like he’s just a press corner, but he’s actually not. How Iffy grew on me in the process is his ability to actually play in off-coverage and actually be able to maneuver, show quickness in a short area, in zone and off-coverage, which usually guys that long and that big aren’t able to do.”
While Melifonwu is still developing as a player, he had some very impressive intangibles that could get him on the field this season. But instead of waiting that long to see what he’s got, let’s take a look at some of his career highlights, starting off with the video produced by the Lions:
Watching CBs this week – and this rep from #Syracuse CB Ifeatu Melifonwu really stood out.
Was a big fan before he went to the @seniorbowl; big reason why he was one of my top DBs there was reps like this
Great size. Solid athleticism. GREAT instincts / spatial awareness pic.twitter.com/5veuwUONJA
— Fran Duffy (@EaglesXOs) April 6, 2021
Melifonwu one hell of a force player and tackler… Fights off perimeter blocks like rag dolls and will use those long limbs to wrangle ball carriers. Throws body around.
Size, length, physicality – good skillset on Ifeatu Melifonwu 6’2 205lbs with 80” wingspan pic.twitter.com/3eWuEobZJk
— Ben Fennell (@BenFennell_NFL) January 26, 2021
In the @Cover1 Slack chat, I did an NFL Draft Q&A and was asked about Ifeatu Melifonwu (CB 2 Syracuse). I hadn’t watched him yet so I didn’t have an answer. That being said, I turned on the tape & here he is making a tackle on Dyami Brown of UNC. Melifonwu is listed at 6-3 213 pic.twitter.com/L50SXkeDyz
— Russell Brown (@RussNFLDraft) January 9, 2021
Syracuse CB Ifeatu Melifonwu had himself a game against UNC/Dyami Brown. He was in Brown’s kitchen all day, playing both press and off-man. Threw in some impressive tackles as well.
— Evan Lazar (@ezlazar) March 30, 2021