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Steelers off-season targets: Obi Melifonwu

The Pittsburgh Steelers roster is just about set.  This team has very few needs at his point, except for a select few we have outlined in an earlier post. Top five positions the Steelers still need to address

The big one among these is the third safety positoin.  As it stands right now, the next man up would be journeyman Jordan Dangerfield.  Surely the team doesn’t expect anything more than special teams play from Dangerfield.  So if not him, then who?  The answer is that person  isn’t currently on the roster at this time.

Obi Melinfonwu might be just the player the Steelers are looking for.  Let’s take a closer look at this possible off-season target:

The Numbers:

6 4” – 224lbs

4.4 – 40 yard dash

44” vertical – 141” broad 

17 reps on bench

149.3 SPARQ score (1st at safety)

As you can see by the numbers, Obi Melinfonwu tested off the charts at the 2017 combine.  So much so, that the smaller school player (UConn) was drafted in the second round by the Oakland Raiders.  He has the speed and athleticism to play free safety, and the size to play in the box as well.  Melinfonwu also has the athletic versatility to be the type of linebacker/safety hybrid so many teams covet in today’s NFL.

The Skinny:

On the surface, Obi Melinfonwu seems like the absolute perfect fit for the Steelers needs at the backup safety position.  A versatile player who tested as the number one safety in terms of SPARQ score coming out of college in 2017.  Pittsburgh has shown a great interest in SPARQ score outliers in the past. Steelers value SPARQ score when evaluating draft prospects  That, and the fact that the team had Melinfonwu in for a visit in 2017 is enough to think they might have some interest.

The downside to Obi Melinfonwu is some have speculated that his desire to play football is less than one would hope for. http://www.nfl.com/news/story/0ap3000000950337/article/raiders-waive-2017-secondrounder-obi-melifonwu

There has to be a reason that despite all those physical gifts, he has still managed to have been released twice in only three seasons in the NFL.  What better coach to motivate a player like that than Mike Tomlin?  If there is anything worth pullling out of this player, surely Tomlin is the coach to do it.

At the end of the day there is very little risk in signing Melinfonwu to a minimum contract.  In terms of sheer athleticism,  he would instantly be the best backup safety by a huge margin.  If the Steelers could tap into that enormous potential, this could be the steal of the off-season.  Look for the team to at least kick the tires on Obi Melinfonwu, they might end up very glad they did.

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