Lions Reveal Signing of Final Rookie Pick Ahead of Training Camp

Ifeatu Melifonwu

Getty Ifeatu Melifonwu makes an interception for Syracuse.

The Detroit Lions didn’t have much left on the docket in terms of housekeeping this offseason, but one thing hanging over the team’s collective head was the fact they had not finished signing their draft class.

Though the Lions had gotten the signings done with every single player but one, there was likely a little bit of concern within the fanbase that something might not get done and a holdout would happen. Such events have been uncommon with the Lions for years, and after Friday, that will remain the case.

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The Lions revealed they had come to an agreement with cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu, who was the last player they had left to sign. The announcement comes just ahead of the team opening training camp.

All of the other rookies had managed to get under contract already, so it’s huge to see that Melifonwu will be joining them now in order to continue his development. It was likely just a matter of timing which caused the delay, because Melifonwu has not shown any signals that he didn’t want to join the team or that he craved a holdout.

Now, he can begin training camp without any worries at all.

Melifonwu Grinding Hard During Offseason/h2>
Obviously, Melifonwu wants to hone his craft and become great. He was already seen to be one of the bigger potential steals of the draft class when the Lions nabbed him late in the third round this year, and thus far, he has begun to live up to that potential given how impressive he has looked at times on the field working out.

Recently, Melifonwu was putting in some extra work this summer ahead of Lions training camp beginning, and he showed off some very impressive size as well as moves when he was grinding on the field.

Here’s a look:

These clips, no matter how brief, show just what kind of player Melifonwu could be for the Lions. He’s got the size teams covet at cornerback now as the ability to stay with opposing receivers. As the NFL has changed, this has become the ideal archetype in the defensive backfield, meaning Melifonwu could be poised to make a big impact quickly.

If that happens fast, his maturity and extra work could be to thank.

Melifonwu Stats and Highlights

If the last name sounds familiar to fans, that’s because Ifeatu’s brother Obi Melifonwu played in the NFL recently as well. The older Melifonwu didn’t have nearly as much success, but that doesn’t mean the younger one can’t be great. Melifonwu has solid size at 6-3 and is the type of player who can be a better cornerback than some of the options that may go higher than him in the NFL Draft. In college, he put up 88 tackles, 3 interceptions, 19 passes defended and 1 sack. Melifowu might end up being one of the better cornerbacks that comes out of this draft process, and the Lions hope they will look smart to have nabbed him given their major needs at cornerback.

Here’s a look at some of Melifonwu’s best highlights:

Ifeatu Melifonwu 2020 Regular Season Highlights | Syracuse DBIfeatu Melifonwu proved that he had what it takes to compete at cornerback in the ACC in 2020. Melifonwu finished the campaign tied for 6th in the league in passes defended with 10 and 5th in the ACC with 9 breakups. The junior cornerback averaged 5 tackles per game to rank third in the conference among corners.…2021-02-24T02:39:50Z

The clips do show a player who has plenty of ability and could even play a starring role in the future for the Lions. Now that his contract is signed, it should be all systems go in terms of the future for Melifonwu.

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