Ifeatu Melifonwu NFL Draft Profile

Nov 30, 2019; Syracuse, NY, USA; Syracuse Orange defensive back Ifeatu Melifonwu (23) breaks up a pass intended for Wake Forest Demon Deacons wide receiver Steven Claude (5) during the third quarter at the Carrier Dome. Mandatory Credit: Rich Barnes-USA TODAY Sports

NFL talent runs in the Melifonwu family. Ifeatu’s brother, Obi, was picked by the Raiders in the 2017 Draft and is now a practice squad player for the 49ers. Ifeatu Melifonwu now has a chance to be a very good prospect this year, and he should hear his name called on Day Two of this year’s draft. 

First off, Melifonwu has a one-of-one skill set. There are very few cornerbacks that have the type of size and athleticism that he brings to the field. At 6-3 and 210-pounds, one would expect him to rely on physical play off the line of scrimmage. Instead, Melifonwu has the type of speed and athleticism that is typically seen in a 5’11 corner. At his Pro Day, Melifonwu clocked a 4.48 40-yard dash. 

The thing that holds him back is what should be one of his biggest strengths: his physicality. He has a lack of focus at times, and he is not a great tackler yet. He is long, but that sometimes is a disadvantage as he relies on his arms to tackle too often. This leads to some untimely misses. 

While physicality is a weakness for Melifonwu, he has shown flashes, which is promising moving into the NFL. Specifically against North Carolina during his matchups with Dyami Brown, he showed what his potential is if he can learn how to use press coverage and hard hits to his advantage. Brown ended up with 94 yards in that game, but all of them came when he was on the opposite side of the field from Melifonwu. Brown is projected as a second round pick, so this proves that Melifonwu has the capabilities to be a physical player. He just has to unlock the potential. 

Melifonwu could also take reps at safety for whoever drafts him. Again, his speed, length, and ball-hawk ability leaves a lot of room for error in coverage, and this can be exemplified from the safety position. This versatility brings extra value to Melifonwu, making him a great candidate to go in the middle of Day Two.

Draft Projection: Mid Second Round-Mid Third Round

Best Traits: Speed, Pass Break-ups, Route-Reading

Worst Traits: Physicality, Tacking, Change of Direction