Ifeatu Melifonwu NFL Draft Prospect Profile

Ifeatu Melifonwu NFL Draft Profile, Highlights, and NFL Comparison

  • 2021 NFL Draft
  • 2021 NFL Draft Prospect
  • 2021 NFL Draft Prospects
  • ACC
  • CB
  • cornerback
  • Draft
  • Draft Prospect
  • draft prospects
  • Ifeatu Melifonwu
  • NFl Draft
  • Prospect Profile
  • Scouting Report
  • Syracuse
  • Syracuse Orange
By Mitchell Wolfe April 5, 2021 0 Comment
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Ifeatu Melifonwu is a 2021 NFL Draft Prospect

Ifeatu Melifonwu is a cornerback from Syracuse and a prospect in the upcoming 2021 NFL Draft. He started all 11 of Syracuse’s games during the 2020 season. Melifonwu recorded 55 tackles (42 solos), three tackles for loss, one sack, 10 passes defensed, and one interception. According to Pro Football Focus, he finished as the 26th-highest-graded cornerback (20% snap minimum) with a Defensive grade of 78.8 (79.3 Coverage, 72.8 Run Defense, 63.3 Tackling, 72.2 Pass Rush).

Melifonwu was a multi-sport star in high school. He played basketball, lacrosse, and ran track in addition to playing running back, wide receiver, and defensive back for the football team. Melifonwu earned a three-star ranking from most recruiting services as a safety and received offers from mostly FCS schools, but also Michigan, Syracuse, and Navy. He eventually chose to attend Syracuse and redshirted his first year with the Orange in 2017.

READ MORE: 10 Things I Learned at Senior Bowl Practices

Melifonwu saw the field for the first time in 2018, playing in nine games and missing four due to injury. He finished second on the team in pass breakups with sixth. In 2019, Melifonwu played in nine games again but made eight starts at cornerback; he also finished tied for the team lead in passes defensed with ten. Melifonwu became a full-time started in 2020, starting all 11 games for the Orange, and earning Third-Team All-ACC (Second-Team AP All-ACC).

In the NFL, Ifeatu Melifonwu projects best as an outside cornerback in a Cover-3 Zone heavy defense, primarily in Off-coverage alignments. He has great height and length, which would normally make him an ideal fit as a Press corner. But Melifonwu needs some more refinement in his technique at the line of scrimmage. However, he is excellent in deep thirds and off-man coverage, displaying excellent instincts. Melifonwu is also very physical in the run game, very willing to attack downhill, stack blockers, and shed to make the tackle.

Scouting Capsule

Ifeatu Melifonwu NFL Draft Prospect Profile

Scouting Capsules compiled by The Brawl Network Draft Analysts Daniel Kitchen and Mitchell Wolfe.

Measurements and Pro Day

Ifeatu Melifonwu was listed at 6’3″ and 213 pounds at Syracuse. At the Senior Bowl, Melifonwu came in at 6 feet and 2 5/8 inches (6025) and 212 pounds. At Syracuse’s Pro Day, he came in at the same height but dropped more weight, down to 205 pounds. His hands are 8 7/8″, his arms are 32 1/4″, and his wingspan is 78 1/2″.

In the drills, Melifonwu ran the 40-yard dash in 4.48 seconds with a 1.48 10-yard split. He ran the short shuttle in 4.34 seconds and the three-cone drill in 7.01 seconds. He lept 41.5 inches in the vertical jump and 134 inches in the broad jump (11’2″). Finally, in the bench press, Melifonwu put up 16 reps of 225 pounds.

Highlights

Strengths

  • Ideal build for long, Press cornerback: great height and length, giving him the advantage when aligned in Press and when attacking the ball/catch-point.
  • Excellent athleticism: good long speed to take away vertical routes; surprisingly fluid with change of direction skills when mirroring routes or triggering to attack downhill.
  • Very good in Zone Coverage, especially from Off-coverage alignments: has excellent zone instincts and reads the QB well; best when playing deep third or quarters, but can be effective playing shallow in Cover-2 zones.
  • Man coverage skills are still very solid: comfortable in Off- and Press-Man with good ability to mirror receiver, and looks comfortable in trail technique.
  • Great ball skills: tracks the ball well in the air from Zone and Man, displaying excellent timing of when to extend and attack the catch point; equally effective on deep outside routes and shorter in-breaking routes.
  • Very physical player: willing to engage at the line of scrimmage and at the top of the stem; can re-direct receiver without committing penalties; very aggressive coming downhill against outside runs & quick passes to the flats, willing to stack and shed blockers and deliver strong hit to the ball-carrier.
  • Brings positional versatility to the table, as he can obviously play outside corner but displays comfort in the slot and has some background playing safety; could see conversion to safety early in career if scheme necessitates or later if athleticism wanes with age.

Weaknesses

  • Can be a little too aggressive or reactionary in Zone: a little too quick to jump routes sometimes, or flips his hips too early when he thinks he’s seeing a deep route.
  • Does not have a ton of ball production: only three career interceptions despite solid number of passes defensed/broken up.
  • Could stand to improve his technique at the line of scrimmage: when aligned in Press, his feet can get tangled sometimes; hand fighting technique at LOS needs some work, but has the length and build to succeed there.

NFL Comparison

Trumaine Johnson (St. Louis/Los Angeles Rams 2012 – 2017, New York Jets 2018 – 2019)

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I cover and write about the NFL, the NFL Draft, and the Pittsburgh Steelers. I am originally from Hershey, PA and was raised a Pittsburgh sports fan. I went to Boston College for undergrad and am currently finishing a Master's degree in Sports Business at Temple University, concentrating in Sport Analytics.

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