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2017 NFL Draft Profile: Obi Melifonwu, UConn

Melifonwu was a bright spot on a team that struggled in 2016 and could sneak into the first round.

NCAA Football: East Carolina at Connecticut David Butler II-USA TODAY Sports

Obi Melifonwu- Safety, UConn Huskies

HEIGHT: 6’3”


ARM LENGTH: 32 1/2"

HANDS: 9 1/8”


40 YD DASH (NFL Combine): 4.40 sec

BENCH PRESS (NFL Combine): 17

VERTICAL (NFL Combine): 44”

BROAD JUMP (NFL Combine): 141”

NFL: Combine Brian Spurlock-USA TODAY Sports


STRENGTHS: Melifonwu has tremendous size for his position, and his long frame will be something teams gravitate towards. UConn was mostly average on defense, but had a few pieces that were bright spots, including Melifonwu. He knows how to close gaps between himself and the ball carrier quickly, and his long strides allow him to get into a play in a hurry. Against the run, he will stick his nose anywhere and knows how to fill his gap properly to make the tackle. His aggressiveness on reading routes allows him to break up passes and make interceptions over receivers. He sinks his hips and chops his feet well to mimic a receiver’s motions.

WEAKNESSES: While he is able to make tackles, he tends to be too high making those plays in space. He gets to the play quickly but doesn’t decelerate enough and finds himself reaching for the ball carrier. A lot of his tackles were up high on ball carriers, which won’t work against NFL talent. His aggressiveness on certain cuts leave him vulnerable to double moves, and leaves him grabbing the receiver. Teams will be fine with the aggression, but he will need to work on his footwork so he doesn’t get beat or draw penalties. On goal line plays, teams used pick plays to take him out, and almost always resulted in a catch by his man. Working to get through traffic will need to be addressed.

FINAL THOUGHTS: With the season that the Huskies had, Melifonwu was definitely one of the highlights. Coaches will work with him on his technique and footwork, and his natural size and athleticism should help him see the field. He performed well at the combine, which only helped his draft stock.