The Oakland Raiders Have Signed Obi Melifonwu

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MOBILE, AL - JANUARY 28: Connecticut Safety Obi Melifonwu #20 of the North Team poses after the 2017 Resse's Senior Bowl at Ladd-Peebles Stadium on January 28, 2017 in Mobile, Alabama. The South defeated the North 16-15. (Photo by Don Juan Moore/Getty Images) *** Local Caption *** Obi Melifonwu

After a very stressful wait, the Oakland Raiders have agreed to terms with second round pick, defensive back, Obi Melifonwu from University of Connecticut. To this point, Melifonwu and Oakland’s first round pick, Gareon Conley, had remained two of the few unsigned rookies from this year’s draft. With Melifonwu’s contract signed, sealed, and delivered, only Conley remains for the Raiders.

The Oakland Raiders Have Signed Obi Melifonwu

On Wednesday afternoon, Sean Stellato reported, and then Ian Rapoport confirmed that the Raiders had finally signed the athletic safety. With defense being Oakland’s priority in this year’s draft, Obi Melifonwu was arguably the biggest star of their class.

At 6’4, 224 pounds, Melifonwu is a big, lanky defensive back that can play either corner or safety when needed. While the film room shows that Melifonwu is still very raw, and needs a little work, his athleticism was too good to pass up. Despite his size, Melifonwu ran a 4.4 flat, had a 44 inch vertical, and recorded a 141 inch broad jump. He’s a solid tackler, sees the field well, and has great hand-eye coordination.

Oakland’s biggest problem during the Reggie McKenzie era has been their inability to stop tight ends. Travis Kelce, Rob Gronkowski, and other big tight ends will line up against the Raiders this year, and with the middle linebacker position seemingly ignored in the off-season, Melifonwu will play a huge role. It’s rare for rookie defenders to come in and play such a key role, but that’s exactly what all signs are pointing to.

Hopefully the legal issues with Gareon Conley will be resolved soon and he can join Melifonwu and the Raiders in training camp. The Raiders are set to be Super Bowl contenders this season, and they’ll need all the help they can get from their younger players.

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