What to expect from Raiders draft pick Obi Melifonwu in year one

When it came time for the Oakland Raiders to make their second round selection many, including myself, were shocked to see that Obi Melifonwu was still on the board. After a dominant performance at the scouting combine, Melifonwu shot up the boards of many observers. In fact, he was so highly thought of that had Gareon Conley not fallen to the Raiders at 24, there was a chance they would have taken Melifonwu there.

So clearly he was a guy that Reggie McKenzie and the Raiders brass liked. But what does he bring to the Raiders in year one? Though he wasn’t a first round pick, the expectations are still high. Second round picks are expected to contribute at the least and be a starter on day one at best.

As talented as Melifonwu is, I don’t think we can reasonably expect him to be a starter when the season opens. But that’s ok. The Raiders have Karl Joseph and Reggie Nelson to man the starting positions in 2017. And that doesn’t mean Melifonwu won’t get on the field or make an impact. In fact, I think Melifonwu will get a ton of playing time and might even overcome Nelson as the starter before the year is over.

But first, Melifonwu is going to be playing a very specific position: Tight end assassin.

While Melifonwu will provide valuable depth at safety, you can also expect Melifonwu on the field in certain packages right away so that he can lineup and cover the tight end. One of the biggest problems for the Raiders defense over the past two years has been covering the tight end. Melifonwu will put an end to that problem right from the start. He’s athletic enough to keep up with speedy tight ends and big enough to handle physical ones.

Even if he isn’t a starter, Melifonwu could have a huge impact for the Raiders defense in year one. Right away he can fill one of the biggest holes on defense and again, I would not be surprised if he was starting alongside Karl Joseph by the time the season ends.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

%d bloggers like this: