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"First Look" - UCONN S Obi Melifonwu

April 12, 2017
The Redskins are stepping up their personal visits over the last week, as the 2017 NFL Draft draws closer.

They’ve met with Stanford running back Christian McCaffrey, who we profiled in our two-game “First Look” profile.

Tuesday, they met with Florida State running back Dalvin Cook and his teammate DeMarcus Walker

They have also reportedly met with Connecticut safety, Obi Melifonwu who we take a “First Look” at today, via the great staff at Draft Breakdown. 

Melifonwu is an impressive physical specimen at about 6’4” and 215 plus pounds with great athletic ability, as we profiled earlier this week.

When I watched him in cut-ups provided by DraftBreakdown.com against the Virginia Cavaliers, this is what I noted.

**Melifonwu played a bunch of two deep alignments and rotated to both sides. He has excellent closing burst and took good angles on chasing down short catches and runs.

**Obi was used in press man vs. a tight end for Virginia that was split-out, inside the UCONN-10. Melifonwu had good tight coverage forcing an incompletion.  

**UCONN’s defensive scheme featured him as a blitzer off the edge a few times, forcing an incomplete in the opposite direction once and a short completion.

**Melifonwu had tight man coverage across the middle of the field on one crossing route. He was called for defensive pass interference but the coverage. looked good to me from a high and then distant camera shot. The most important quality in my eyes on this play was the long arm stretch that Obi showed, reaching around the receiver with his long right arm and knocking the ball away on the other side of the receiver.

The Redskins desperately need this type of skill set on their back end.

**Melifonwu played man coverage on several occasions, blanketing flat route targets.

**On one play, he didn’t peel off his coverage in man defense (not sure what UCONN’s rules are) that ran an underneath curl to the flat. A pass intended for a tight end in Obi’s area zipped right past him and it should have been easy and big completion.


**Melifonwu did not miss tackles in this game.

Obi Melifonwu BYU


**The highlight against Virginia? Melifonwu was playing a two deep alignment when he diagnoses a cross-face sweep to the right and blows it up from a starting point of about 15 yards back. No hesitation. He didn’t get picked off by a block or my taking the wrong angle of pursuit. Check out the 4:18 mark with replays.

**Melifonwu also played a deep centerfield safety look (typically cover-3) and on one play closed half the field with a big legal pop/contact to help force an incomplete at the 5:50 mark. On another play late, he was slightly late rotating over on completion from single high.

Chris Russell has covered the Washington Redskins for eight seasons for multiple media outlets and was a part of the Redskins Radio Network broadcast team for five years. He covers the Redskins for Monumental Sports Network (www.DCHotRead.com) & Warpath Magazine. Listen to Chris on Washington D.C.'s # 1 sports radio station, 106.7 The FAN     


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