Obi Melifonwu, SS – Connecticut
When watching tape on Connecticut Huskies strong safety Obi Melifonwu the first thing that stands out is that he looks like a linebacker. This young man is naturally sculpted to play football and to hit people in the process. He stands 6’4″ and weighs 219 pounds, I believe he could play just as effectively (or more so) in the 225 to 230 pound range.
Obi plays with great athleticism, possessing a surprising amount quickness and speed for his size. His hips are very fluid and he is able to switch from back pedal to drive forward to the ball with relative ease. He isn’t out of this world instinctual, but he makes his reads, believes what he sees and gets after it.
When watching Melifonwu his potential stands out more than his actual ability. He needs a lot of work in the film room to improve his instincts. At this stage the Huskie is more of a read and react player and often gets burned when misdiagnosing plays, especially in play action. Lacks a natural feel for where the ball is when it is in flight as he hones in on the receiver instead of tracking the ball so he wont make many plays on the ball.
Looking at Melifonwu’s opposing stature you immediately expect an enforcer who makes wide receivers pay for crossing his zone and crushes running backs and quarter backs in the backfield. Then you watch him play and you are left disappointed. This guy is not the enforcer that his sizee would lead you to believe.
Outlook for the Dallas Cowboys
Unless a team falls in love with him he should be available in the third round and I would still pass on him. He looks the part, but doesn’t play it. Loads of potential, but there will be better options in the third round.
Dallas Cowboys safety J.J. Wilcox is more physical and starting to learn the position. I think Obi would be a downgrade day one, possibly an upgrade over time, but not enough to warrant the pick. I’d rather sign Los Angeles Rams safety T.J. McDonald and see what he could offer as far as camp competition.