On the final day of the NFL Scouting Combine, former UConn safety Obi Melifonwu showcased his pure athleticism, raising his draft stock in the process.
On Monday, Melifonwu dazzled scouts and analysts alike with an all-around incredible performance. The safety broad jumped 11 feet, 9 inches and had a 44-inch vertical, leading all combine participants in both categories.
According to NFL.com, Melifonwu’s broad jump was the second-best number since 2003, trailing another former Husky and current Cowboys free safety, Byron Jones, who recorded a 12-3 mark in 2015. The modern combine record for the vertical jump is 46 inches set by Gerald Sensabaugh in 2005, a number Melifonwu fell a mere two inches short of. Melifonwu followed this up by running a quick 4.40-second 40-yard dash this afternoon.
Many draft experts had Melifonwu being taken outside of the first round. However, today’s incredible performance may have opened enough eyes to the defender’s talent to warrant him being selected with one of the first 32 picks. His combination of a 6-4, 220 pound frame and natural athletic ability makes him an enticing choice at the end of the first round.
There’s been some speculation that his next employer may shift him to the outside to play corner. Even if he’s on the back end, his size, speed and leaping ability should allow Melifonwu to neutralize the league’s best tight ends.
Perhaps Melifonwu will see himself wearing a different shade of blue next season. According to Eric Edholm of Yahoo! Sports, Seattle has taken a particular liking to the former UConn safety who nearly mimics Seahawks safety Kam Chancellor’s build.
There’s also a chance the safety will stay in New England and be selected by the Patriots with the final pick of the first round. It’s no secret that Patriots Head Coach Bill Belichick loves athletic and versatile players. With Logan Ryan and Duron Harmon most likely signing elsewhere, an opportunity would open up for Melifonwu to fit right into a roster ready for a Super Bowl repeat.
If Melifonwu goes undrafted through the first round, look for the Jets to grab him with their early second round selection. After a series of cuts last week, New York is in full-on rebuilding mode and the team’s weak secondary definitely needs addressing.
The underwhelming Calvin Pryor may be traded, Marcus Gilchrist was having a dud of a season before tearing his patellar tendon to end his year, and Revis Island is no more. Drafting Melifonwu would be a key move for the Jets to have a quick turnaround. The team has shown interest for awhile now, having a lengthy meeting with him at the Senior Bowl.
Wherever Melifonwu ends up, both on the map and on the field, he is sure to make an impact right away at the NFL level. If anyone had any doubts about how his game would translate from college to the pros, they just need to take a look at today’s highlights.