by Douglas O’Connor
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No one created more buzz at the NFL Combine than Henry William Obiajulu Melifonwu. A feat that is even more impressive once you factor in that the fastest 40 yard dash time ever was set during the same event. Melifonwu’s size to speed to power to weight ratio is something that makes NFL GM’s and scouts sit up and take serious notice.
Even with his other worldly combine numbers not all NFL Draft analyzers are sold that he is a first round talent. We are having a similar debate inside the walls of Real Bucs Talk HQ. Myself who has been on Obi since the Senior Bowl, am admittedly in love with what he could bring to the secondary of our Tampa Bay Buccaneers. My shortsighted colleagues, Michael Pless and Mark Ramirez, are labeling him a project player that doesn’t deserve any consideration when the Bucs pick at 19 in this years draft.
If you are in my camp and like Melifonwu as a possibility at 19, this article will give you some background about Obi and how I think his skills will transfer to the NFL. If you side with Scrooge’s, Ebenezer and McDuck, hopefully by the end of your read you will have left the dark side and reconsidered giving an immigrant from England a chance. Yes, Obi Melifonwu was born in England.
— NFL (@NFL) March 6, 2017
Melifonwu first came to my attention when I was going over the rosters for the Senior Bowl. Scanning positions that I felt are needs for the Bucs. WR, RB, TE then I came to S. 6’4″ 220lbs! Who is this guy? After I did same digging I wasn’t sold yet. The biggest red flag for me was his “lack of instincts” but I’ll get to that later. He also wasn’t seen as an NFL cover ready safety. After a week of practice under NFL coaches (Bears) Obi put that stigma to rest. In one-on-one drills receiver after receiver couldn’t shake him and by the end of the week Melifonwu had raised his draft stock as much as any player.
Okay back to Obi.
You’ve probably read about his combine results by now but I’m going to go over them anyway. 6’4″ 224lbs, 4.40 40 yard dash, 44″ vertical jump and a 141″ broad jump. All good enough for first place in each drill amongst safeties at the combine. Now he didn’t run the 3 cone drill or the shuttle drills which measure speed in change of direction. That is a small red flag. Overall it’s hard to argue that Melifonwu didn’t have the best combine of the over 300+ players invited.
😱11’9″ Broad Jump
🆙44″ Vertical Jump
🏃4.40s 40-yard Dash🇬🇧-born safety @Obi_1nOnly was INCREDIBLE on Day 4 of the #NFLCombine pic.twitter.com/OWVIbksNES
— NFL UK (@NFLUK) March 7, 2017
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