The Detroit Lions continued to trust their own board with their second selection from the third round of Syracuse corner defender Ifeatu Melifonwu. Cornerback was not a much-needed position at this point in the project, but the theme of Day 2 was simply attracting defensive talents with sporting features, and Melifonwu certainly responded to that bill.
Let’s see if this is the right choice for the Lions.
The first thing that stands out for Melifonwu is his athletic profile. At 6 feet-2, 205 pounds, it has a long and tall structure with modern exterior corner backs. However, it moves like the fast turns needed to handle changeable receivers. Put it all together and you have a person with elite athletic traits:
The game has not yet reached the athletic profile. He does not play too physically, despite his high height and can sometimes seem hesitant, taking away from his elite speed.
His college productions were everywhere:
Melifonwu had 7 forced fouls (T-10th in FBS), but also had 6 penalties (4th)
He also had 10 defensive stops in coverage (T-3rd), while he had 5 missed battles (T-5th)
The definition of a type of player with trains in an amusement park
– PFF DET Lions (@PFF_Lions) May 1, 2021
However, Melifonwu has played several different types of schemes in Syracuse, breaking the form of a “fresh corner back” that is sometimes mislabeled. General manager Brad Holmes specifically said that Melifonwu’s ability to play off-court really caught his attention on Friday night.
How “Iffy” grew on me in the process is its ability to actually play out of cover and actually be able to maneuver, to show speed in the short zone, in the zone and outside the cover, which is usually so long and not so big. able to do, ‘said Holmes.
Degree of talent: C +
For Holmes, Melifonwu stayed for Detroit because his value was clear and the rest of the players still on board at 101. The view around some national media experts seems to agree that this is far lower than Melifonwu expected to go.
Dane Brugler: 57th overall perspective
PFF: 2nd-3rd round
The biggest proof that this is an extreme value is the comparison of where he went (101) with the consensus board of Arif Hasan, which on average contains 70 different large boards in one collective board. This board has Melifonwu as the 56th best prospect in this year’s class. In other words, it’s a fantastic value.
Value rating: A +
This off-season, the Lions’ coaching staff is talking to its young midfielders. With Jeff Okudah and Amani Oruwariye starting to hopefully advance under new defensive coordinator Aaron Glenn – who is a former defender behind the NFL Pro Bowl – the cornerback was not at the top of the team’s list of needs. Throw a free flight agency to Quinton Dunbar – who was one of the best cornerbacks just a few years ago – and it was potentially a “luxury” choice for a team with many other needs.
Yet it is not clear what lions have in debt in terms of long-term need. Dunbar could bounce back a lot, but he also signed a cheap dirt contract with a reason. Both Okuda and Oruvarie fought hard in 2020 and there is no guarantee that they will progress, even with an improved coaching staff. The trajectory of each young player is not elevated.
There are some rumors that Melifonwu could play safety or some in nickel – and Holmes suggested it was possible – but I’m not buying it. The Lions went for the best player available here.
You need a degree: D
When you’re in rehab, I have absolutely no problem sticking to your big board and just picking the best player available. The team’s number one need is talent, and the Lions have just caught the man most expected to go to Round 2 at the end of the third round. Fans will find that some of the team’s most pressing needs have been avoided. , but we are talking about club 2021. You do not make a draft for immediate needs, but you play the long-term game in draft. And while many probably hoped the Okuda-Oruvarie duo would be the outer corners of the future, there is little speculation that they will be able to do it on the field yet.
Overall rating: B +
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