Ifeatu Melifonwu
Syracuse defensive back Ifeatu Melifonwu has all the physical tools to be a playmaker in the NFL. (Joe Robbins/Getty Images)

Cornerback Ifeatu Melifonwu has all the physical traits you could ever ask for. The 6-foot-2 205-pound defensive back possesses 4.4 speed, 32-inch arms, and elite explosiveness. Demonstrated at his pro day, Melifonwu showed off his 42″ vertical and 134″ broad jump. Melifonwu comes from a long line of athletes with his brother being a former second-round pick in 2017. Similar to his brother, Melifonwu has all the intangibles, but can he turn it into production at the NFL level?

In his time at Syracuse, Ifeatu Melifonwu didn’t become a full-time starter until his redshirt sophomore season where we saw him grow. Producing 2 interceptions, 7 pass deflections, and 20 tackles, Melifonwu began to get draft hype. In the 2020 season, Melifonwu showed off his ability to make plays in the run game. Totaling 54 tackles, 3 tackles for loss, 1 sack, Melifonwu took another step forward that scouts love to see. However, his physicality against opposing receivers was still lacking. His size is ideal for press-man coverage he just hasn’t been able to add that to his game. This has led many to presume he could make a transition to safety.

At the Senior Bowl, Ifeatu Melifonwu was set up as a safety. In one-on-one drills, he only guarded tight ends and running backs in coverage. Scouts had him rushing the passer as well. Melifonwu was exceptional in practices, not allowing a single reception in a coverage drill that favors the receiver. He also managed a sack in the pass-rushing drills displaying his athletic versatility.


Considering all his traits and production. Melifonwu has all the tools to be a cornerback, a free safety, or a box safety at the NFL level. Teams in the second or third round may look towards the versatile player and see someone they can mold into any position they may need. At the end of April, Melifonwu will be a great addition to any team willing to take a chance on him.