Jets Host 30-Year-Old ‘Freak’ With ‘Elite Size’ for Veteran Tryout

Obi Melifonwu, Raiders

Getty Former Las Vegas Raiders defensive back Obi Melifonwu trying to make a play during an NFL game.

The New York Jets kicked the tires on an intriguing veteran during rookie minicamp.

Zack Rosenblatt of The Athletic shared on social media that the green and white hosted several veterans for a tryout during rookie minicamp. That list included veteran defensive back Obi Melifonwu.

An AFC Pro Personnel Director described Melifonwu as a “freak” to NFL draft analyst Lance Zierlein ahead of the 2017 NFL draft. Zierlein said Melifonwu had “elite size” coming out of UConn.

He measured in at the NFL Combine at 6-foot-4 and tipped the scales at 224 pounds.


Melifonwu Would Be a Fantastic Dart Throw for the Jets

The veteran defender has bounced around the league the last few years. Melifonwu originally joined the league back in 2017 as the No. 56 overall pick in the second round.

He has played for four different NFL organizations from 2017 through 2021. Melifonwu won a Super Bowl championship with the New England Patriots as a reserve player in 2018.

During his time in the league, Melifonwu has only appeared in seven games and has made just a single start. However, over the last two years, he has competed in the USFL and the newly formed UFL.

An NFL team hasn’t been able to successfully tap into his rare athletic gifts so far, but he possesses incredible traits.

Melifonwu had the highest vertical jump (44″) and the best broad jump (141″) of any prospect at the 2017 NFL Combine. Melifonwu is now 30 years of age.

There must be something in the water.

Obi’s brother, Ifeatu, was the No. 101 overall pick in the third round of the 2021 NFL draft out of Syracuse. Over the last three years, he has appeared in 34 games and has made 11 starts for the Detroit Lions.

Ifeatu is coming off of a career-best season where he recorded eight pass deflections and two interceptions.


Something to Note for the Future

The Jets’ multi-day rookie minicamp and veteran tryouts have come and gone. None of the veterans who tried out for the team were inked to a contract.

However, that doesn’t mean those players won’t join the team sometime down the line.

NFL teams put together and keep emergency lists of available players that they can tap into at a later date because of injury or another circumstance.

In other words, there is a chance someone like Melifonwu could be added later in the summer.

One of the other names the Jets kicked the tires on raised some eyebrows.

A fan responded to Rosenblatt on X previously Twitter saying, “Why do the Jets keep bringing in RBs? They literally have 20 on their roster at this point.”

Gang Green actually only has six running backs on the roster, not 20, but the fan’s point is worth highlighting.

When is enough, enough? At most the Jets are going to keep four running backs on the roster, so why keep investigating other names?

That could go back to our first point about having an emergency contact list ready. The Jets certainly have a type on their running back dating profile though.

Qadree Ollison, the running back that they worked out, is listed at 6-foot-1 and tipped the scales at 232 pounds. He is a bigger physical back which is the same style they invested in during the 2024 NFL draft.

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