If there’s one theme for the Detroit Lions and their young secondary, it seems to be the importance of versatility.
Multiple players have the ability to play multiple roles, and that helps the team in a big way as it relates to being able to find roles to contribute. Yet another young player is going through this in safety Ifeatu Melifonwu.
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Melifonwu has seen some time at safety so far during the OTA sessions, and that’s something which is new based on the fact that the cornerback had been drafted to his original college position in Detroit, even seeing time in one game in the spot during 2021 when injury bit the Lions.
Right after that, though, injury bit Melifonwu and he was lost until the end of the season. As he explained to the media on Thursday, May 26, the coaches urged him to try something new, and Melifonwu happily obliged.
“Aaron Glenn and the coaches just asked me to try it, and I’m a football player so they kind of want to put me at different spots to see what works, get versatility and know the other position just in case if anything happens,” Melifonwu told the media.
No matter where he ends up playing, Melifonwu said he is happy to get experience in order to gain a new perspective on the game, which is something that he likes to do.
“I like it. It’s a different perspective. It’s definitely a different perspective. You see the whole field instead of just one side of the formation,” he explained. “I’m still getting used to it. I like corner as well, it’s just honestly two different things so I’m getting used to it.”
Having a new perspective could end up being a benefit for Melifonwu, which would be significant as he attempts to chase down a role with the Lions for 2022. To this end, it’s nice to see Melifonwu chasing down a role by any means necessary.
Melifonwu’s Future Still Will Be Determined
Wherever Melifonwu plays, there might be a longer road toward figuring it out. The Lions could need help at cornerback this season, but they could also want to see if anyone takes to safety. Whatever the Lions need, Melifonwu will be there, something the defender said he is very proud to offer the team.
“I do take pride in that that. The coaches can use me as a matchup and put me where they need me to be for each week so I do take pride in that,” Melifonwu said. “Even if you never end up playing safety in the game, (there) is the value of learning the position, learning the playbook. It’s a huge value because now I kind of know what everyone’s doing. At corner you might know what the safety to your side’s doing, maybe the backer to your side at the end but at safety, you literally know what everyone’s doing so I get to see the full field.”
Not only will Melifonwu’s play help him earn a role, but wherever he lands, he might be experienced enough to stick. That could make the shift all worth it in the end.
Melifonwu Stats & 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 in college:
The clips do show a player who has plenty of ability and could even play a starring role in the future for the Lions if he is able to put this training to good use on the field.
Wherever he plays, the hope is Melifonwu can put this training to use in order to chase down a role with the team.