All aboard the Obi Melifonwu train.
CBS Sports’ Rob Rang just released his newest mock draft to kick off this Monday and he has the Pittsburgh Steelers taking the UConn safety with the 30th overall pick. Here’s his full explanation.
“Two years ago, it was former Husky Byron Jones who wowed scouts at the combine with his sheer athleticism, earning a first-round pick by Dallas. Melifonwu was one of this year’s brightest stars in Indianapolis, producing a 4.40-second 40-yard dash, 44-inch vertical and 11-9 broad jump at 6-4, 224 pounds. Better yet, Melifonwu’s athleticism translates onto the field and the Steelers could use his range in the deep patrol.”
Melifonwu blew up the Combine to vault himself into the first round conversation and should be considered a late first or early second selection. He was also the selection in my latest mock draft. In year one, he’ll be able to get on the field as a dime defender, an “answer” to defending spread sets and the league’s best tight ends, who have always given a team like Pittsburgh loads of problems.
The Steelers have tried to use a dime defense for parts of the last two seasons but never enjoyed regular success. Melifonwu would allow them to do that. He’d also be the eventual heir to Mike Mitchell’s free safety spot in 2-3 years.
He is scheduled to visit the Steelers as part of their 30 visits before this year’s draft so the interest is obvious, making this selection even stronger. In 47 career starts for the Huskies, he recorded 351 tackles, 11 TFL, 8 INTs, and two forced fumbles.
Check out the scouting report I did on him right before he blew up the Combine. And tell us if you’d be content with taking him over an EDGE rusher in the first round, a generally unpopular choice with Steelers’ Nation.