FOXBORO, Mass. — Recent New England Patriots signee Obi Melifonwu has unique athleticism for his size. And that’s an understatement.
At 6-foot-4, 224 pounds, Melifonwu ran a 4.40-second 40-yard dash with a 1.51-second 10-yard split at the 2017 NFL Scouting Combine. During the pre-draft process, he also posted a 44-inch vertical leap, 11-foot, 9-inch broad jump. 7.07-second 3-cone drill and 4.30-second short shuttle.
His vertical leap was the fourth highest measurement at the combine since 1999. His broad jump was the second farthest measurement since 1999. His 40-yard dash was the sixth fastest among safeties since 1999.
Melifonwu played safety at UConn, but he has the athleticism to play cornerback. He actually played some snaps there last season as a rookie with the Raiders against the Patriots. So, how does Patriots head coach Bill Belichick view his new chess piece? Is Melifonwu just a safety, or could he provide some versatility?
“Yeah, we’ll see,” Belichick said. “That’s a good question. We’ll see. We’ve really only had him for a couple of days, so we’ll see how it goes. He has good size. He’s smart. He learns quickly. He’s athletic. We’ll see what he can do. I don’t know; possibly.”
Melifonwu is open for anything, though he did say he’s “primarily a safety.”
“I think I’m a versatile guy,” Melifonwu said. “Wherever the coaches want to use me here, I’ll definitely be ready to fill a role.”
We’ll find out where Melifonwu plays when he takes the field for the Patriots. The Patriots play the Tennessee Titans on Sunday afternoon. It would be a slight surprise if he was active in his first week with the Patriots.
Thumbnail photo via Kirby Lee/USA TODAY Sports Images